A trip back in time to 1980

2024 marks the beginning of a new era in The Time Bubble world. A new era that began back in 1980. Apologies if that doesn't make sense, but that's time travel for you.

The most recent Time Bubble book (Gone to the Rapture) was released in October and was very well received (4.6-star average on Amazon from 139 reviews). I was most pleased with how it turned out and consider it to be one of the best in the series yet. It proved that I can still come up with fresh concepts, even after fourteen books in the series.

However, there is something that has been bugging me for some time. I feel that The Time Bubble series has become too long. Before everyone gasps in horror, in fear that I'm not going to write any more, don't panic! (as fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide might say). No, what I mean is that I feel having fourteen books in one long series makes it rather unwieldy. It leads to a situation where I can write one of my best works, like Gone to the Rapture, yet it's unlikely anyone who hasn't read the previous thirteen will be interested in it.

I say this as a reader, that if I spot a book I like the look at and see it is part of a very long series I will think seriously about passing on it. Do I have the energy to tackle a saga that long? And what if I decide to go back and give the first book in the series a try to see if I like it and it doesn’t grab me right away? I may well check out at that point and never get to the better books later in the series.

Of course, when I started writing the first book, I didn't even know there was going to be a second book, let alone fourteen. If I had known in advance exactly what I was going to write I would probably have planned them out as several shorter series e.g. 

The Time Bubble/ Global Cooling/ Man Out of Time (The initial trilogy)

Vanishing Point/ Cause of Death/ Lauren's Odyssey (Vanessa trilogy)

My Tomorrow Your Yesterday/ Return to Tomorrow (two-book set). And so on…

Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing. If I had done it this way I would have split the series up into digestible chunks, giving people more entry points. They wouldn’t all have to have started with the first Time Bubble book, a point at which I lose many people because they mistakenly assume it’s a teen romance series. You only have to read the reviews of the first book to realise that.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that Book 15 will be the last in the main series, but again, don’t panic! It won’t be the last Time Bubble book. On-going, I will do exactly what I said above and write some shorter spin-offs. For example, I might decide to have a three-book series focused on the pub around Andy, Kent, Lauren and co. Or I might write a series all about some of Josh and Alice’s earlier adventures when they first invented the tachyometer. These could have been Time Bubble books 16, 17, and 18, but instead, they’ll be something else numbered 1, 2, and 3. I hope everyone can see the logic in my reasoning about all of this.

To reiterate – The Time Bubble series is not ending. It is only the current numbering system that will be ending with book 15.

The process of branching out into a venture has already begun. For the past year, I have been planning and beginning to write a series set in the 1980s. Writing stories set in that era was always quite difficult with the main Time Bubble characters as Josh, Lauren & co weren’t born until around 2001. Therefore, what I’ve done is utilise some of the older characters from the existing series instead.

I plan to produce a set of ten books each set in a different year of the 1980s. That might sound like another long series but the beauty of these is that they will all be standalone. When the series is complete, anyone will be able to pick up any book from the series without ever having to read any of the others. I believe this is what in television terms is known as an anthology series – like The Twilight Zone or Tales of the Unexpected.

Although these will be standalone, they will have an interlinking theme. Without revealing too much in the way of spoilers, there is a bracelet which is passed on every year from person to person. It sends each new recipient back exactly forty years in time to spend a calendar year in the past. There they are given the responsibility of looking after the timeline, which can involve both changing things or preventing things from being changed. These changes range from confronting issues in their personal lives to major, world-changing events.

This all takes place within the existing Time Bubble universe, with plenty of nuggets for fans of the series. Each person going back in time will have appeared in earlier books and while there, they will encounter other familiar faces. For example, in both the 1980 and 1981 books, everyone’s favourite security guard, Barry, makes an appearance.

The stars of the first two books are Keith Diamond, who appeared in Lauren’s Odyssey, and Nick Taylor, who was Thomas’s best friend in his two stories. Although they both go back in time with the same mission, the settings couldn’t be more different. The first book revolves around the world of Fleet Street tabloid journalism in the 1980s, whereas the second has a rural setting and is more about family life and the experience of growing up in the 1980s. And here they are:

I’ve got a few candidates lined up for future books, with Nobby from the pub a possibility for one, and Charlotte, the girl Thomas got involved with in Return to Tomorrow earmarked for 1988. That will give me the chance to revisit that story from a different perspective.

All of it takes place against a backdrop of the music, fashion, attitudes, and culture of the time, all of which as someone who was a teenager in that era, I remember with great fondness.

I’m really excited about this new venture and I am hoping you will be too. It’s probably the most important book launch I’ve ever done so anything you can do to help in terms of spreading the word and positive reviews all helps. You can pre-order your copy here: Link to pre-order


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