How long did it take you to write it?
Well, I should point out that I left my day job as a bookseller in order to write it. If I’d been working as well, it would have taken much, much longer – if it had have happened at all. I forced myself to write a thousand words a day and, after about three months, I had something like a first draft. I then spent another three months rewriting it over and over again and adding detail. After this, I still occasionally went back into it and changed a few things.
Did you plot the book in advance? If yes, how did you go about it?
I actually just had what might be called the “arc” of the story in my head, and then just worked it out as I went along. I think if I had have planned it all out in advance I would have ended up deviating considerably from the plan anyway. I think in some ways you have to follow the characters and discover what the story is yourself rather than writing characters to fit into a pre-conceived plan.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing the book?
Probably making the time travel aspect work. It gave me headaches and I’m still not satisfied with it! I read a book called How To Build A Time Machine by Paul Davies, which is about how a real time machine might work. I realised that I couldn’t possibly use any of it or I would get bogged down in scientific gobbledegook.
What is your favorite scene in the novel?
I’m not sure I have a favourite scene as such, but I think the section set in Munich is the best part. I have a favourite character, Steiner, who was created on the spur of the moment. I still feel like I want to find out more about him, so I’m hoping to feature him more prominently in a future book.
Tell us about your main character and what makes him compelling.
Michael Lear is a well-intentioned man who has suffered a personal tragedy in the loss of his parents. In some ways he’s very well suited to the task of going in back in time to kill Hitler but, in other ways, he’s completely the wrong kind of person. This means that during the course of the story he has to become a different person, and adapt to strange and unexpected situations very quickly.