How did “Double Occupancy” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
I love time travel stories, and I always have. Not just time travel stories, but time-bending stories, time-jumping stories, any kind of time-futzing—I’m there for it.
The novel I’m writing now is called Big Time. It’s a time-manipulation piece, and it had me doing a lot of research on theories and mechanisms of time travel. I think this story came from that work. So it’s a bit of a subsidiary to the novel I’m working on—although it’s a very, very different piece, both in plot and tone.
In terms of inspiration, Back to the Future is an obvious one; anything where you’ve got a hero, especially a self-confident, clever kid, traveling through time, you’re in BttF territory, although “Double Occupancy” takes things in a different direction. She meets her future self, rather than her past. But the big theme for me, the big question under consideration, is the idea of stability over time. Just because we are who we are doesn’t mean we will be who we are, which can be both exciting and kind of scary. This is why I love time-travel stories—they really do help us think about what it means to be a person.
What is your writing space like? What do you like to have around for optimal creativity?
During the early days of pandemic, I got used to working all over my house. Like so many writers, I work from home, and suddenly I was dealing with the fact that my whole family was also working at home—wife, three kids, and new pandemic puppy. So there was this daily question of who was going to be working where, who needed to be online when, etc.
Eventually I moved down to the basement, which is really the garage, and kind of carved out a space. I think it’s an undervalued skill in writers, to be able to work anywhere, and for any amount of time. The world will rarely give us a cushy space and unlimited time to write. So I try to be ready to write anytime, anywhere. Sometimes I’m better at it than other times!
Other than writing, do you have any other creative pursuits? What do you do to relax?
In my middle age I’ve become a runner, and I do that most mornings. Now, usually, with the aforementioned pandemic puppy, who needs to be worn out! I really love it. Running is not a creative pursuit, of course, but it is relaxing—it’s meditative. It evens out my spirit. It reminds me of that life of the physical body, since so much of my life is about being in my head, chasing these ideas around in circles.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
I’m almost done with the first full draft of Big Time, which should come out late next year from Mulholland Books. The paperback of Quiet Boy, my last one, also comes out next year. And as I’m writing this I’m in Canada, shooting the pilot for The Never Game, my adaptation of the thriller by Jeffrey Deaver. With any luck that’ll be on CBS in the fall.
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