Now it's time for me to start thinking about the next novel and the rest of May will be taken up with the planning process. As you can imagine, with time travel I have to map everything out very carefully to ensure it all ties up - not only within the current story but also with all the others. It's quite a task keeping track of it all!
Here's what I have so far. It will be book #5 in The Time Bubble series and will be set predominantly in 1992. Nostalgia always seems to be about a generation behind in my experience. When I was a kid, everyone used to go on about the fifties. In recent years, it's all been about the eighties. So I think it's high time for an appreciation of that somewhat overlooked decade, the nineties. This book will give me a good opportunity to kick-start that.
Cornmarket Street in 1992. Remember when you could
hardly move for all the buses?
It will focus on two main characters. One of these will be Peter, who we've only ever previously met in middle-age. In 1992, he'll be a twenty-one year old University student in Oxford, and we'll get a chance to explore the culture of the times through his youthful eyes. This shouldn't be too difficult for me, as I was that age and living and working around Oxford at that time.
The other main protagonist will be Josh, who you'll recall at the end of Splinters in Time was heading back to 1992 in the hope of finding a way back to his own time. With several months to kill before he can attempt to get home, he'll need to integrate into the nineties culture from his twenty-first century perspective, which should prove interesting. I like the idea of pairing him up with Peter from their altered places in the timeline - Josh now middle-aged with a youthful Peter, who was once Josh's middle-aged teacher when Josh was at school.
Of course, there will be a big time travel conundrum for them to deal with, and this time I want to explore a concept that I touched on twice before, that of people from the past coming to the present. In Global Cooling there was the sailor who went missing for several months before popping up in the cave in Cornwall. Then in Splinters in Time, I wove the old English folk tale of The Mermaid of Zennor into the story, providing a time travelling explanation for the mysterious disappearance of Matthew Trewhella all those centuries ago.
So, what if a malfunctioning Time Bubble started sending people from the past into 1992 Oxford? And how will Josh and Peter handle that? I don't know yet, I haven't figured all that out, but that's what this planning process is all about.
Jason Ayres is the author of eight time travel novels including his latest release, Happy New Year. You can find out more by clicking here