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Interview: Aidan Stonecross, Author of Twist Of Time

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After reviewing his rather interesting book, Twist Of Time, I was able to get some time to chat via email with the man of mystery author, “Aidan Stonecross”. Due to it being an email interview rather than face-to-face, I have presented his answers verbatim, merely adding a few comments at the end. 

Scott Varnham: First things first, I suppose. As some of my readers may remember from my review of your book, Aidan Stonecross is not your real name. Can you tell the readers something about why you chose not to employ your real name in this instance?

Aidan Stonecross: I chose not to use my real name because of my previous work in television. Having created three series, I also worked in sitcom, episodic and mini-series. I wanted my novel to stand alone with no connection to my television work.

What made you choose the name Aidan Stonecross for your work? Lord knows it’s almost as far removed from your real name as it is possible to be. Is it in reference to something else? (I love pseudonyms like that)

Thanks! I chose the name Aidan Stonecross for a couple of reasons. The Celtic Saint Aidan is my personal favorite. Stonecross, I chose for its Celtic connotation since much of the novel deals with this history.

Can you give some hints as to who you really are, obviously without revealing too much?”

My name would not be recognized by the average reader but a long running series I created would be known and therefore, my name. And since that series is about as far from Twist of Time as you can get – I wanted the novel to stand on its own

In your other life, as it were, you wrote for film and television. Obviously a 250-page book is a very different beast to a 30 or so page television script. Did writing throw up any challenges for you where there weren’t any in your previous work?

Actually, it was because of my writing in mini-series that I made the connection with novel writing. A two hour mini-series contains 14 acts. Many of these are self-contained — like completed chapters in a novel — only shorter. Novels seemed like a natural transition for me. Writing a novel gives enormous freedom to develop characters and intriguing plot twists that you don’t necessarily have time for in a mini-series. But telling a story in the mini-series format was wonderful training for sure.

What inspired you to write a book regarding the Templars?

Good question! Probably more has been written about the Templars than any other group, beginning in the 12th century to the present day. This is a wealth of historical source for a fiction writer. Unfortunately, much that has been written is not merely fictional but in some cases deceptive, especially when presented as fact. There was never any connection between the Templars and Mary Magdalene or the Holy Grail. The latter was fiction created by three Medieval novelists. Additionally, there is absolutely no evidence that the Templars believed that the resurrection was false or that Mary Magdalene had Jesus’ child. (Would Templars by the thousands die in battle for something they believed was false?)

This spurious argument is often revived to sell books, novels and documentaries that do not stand up to historical scrutiny. However, there is a connection between the Templars and the Shroud of Turin, as they brought it from the Holy Land to Europe. Templar history and mystery is so rich and complex it is not necessary to fabricate. Just find the damn story.

What kind of research sources did you use for this book?

My research sources were many and varied. I list them at the end of the novel as “Facts and Fiction for the Curious,” which may be fun for the reader. I studied historical works on the Templars and the Crusades. I especially looked for writers who contradicted each other – wonderful grist for fiction. I drew on my background in Counter Intelligence, which targets foreign Intelligence agencies. Additionally, I drew on my experience in crime and police writing, especially in the re-creation of actual homicides.

Do you personally think there’s any truth in some of the theories advanced by the characters? Psychics, reincarnation, etc?

Another great question! I personally believe some of the theories, especially reincarnation, which took me a long time based upon personal experience. Independent sources estimate that approximately half the world’s population (including various faiths) also believe in some form of reincarnation. With between six and seven billion people, that leaves approximately three billion believers – more than all the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam combined.

Do you have any advice for young writers who are hoping to either write their first book or go into scriptwriting?

Yes — write, write, write! It is the only way. And when reading your favorite writers, try to discover why you like them. What makes that story so believable to you? It may tell you something about why you write the way you do.

Also, mentoring is critical; as is happening when reviewers like you give a rare podium for writers to share their experiences – thanks for that! I have been fortunate to know two successful novelists who read my work and gave me wise advice.

Finally — and I believe this is not negotiable — when you finish your novel, hire a good, tough editor to read and comment. It is painful but invaluable – they see things you don’t. Even though I self publish online, I hire a tough editor and we battle it out line by line until we both are happy.

How do you feel now that you have completed the book?

Exhausted! When I finished the first draft and gave it a hard read, I was not happy. I had ducked some important issues, especially prophecy and reincarnation. I then spent months re-writing what I should have said in the beginning. I hope I NEVER make that mistake again.

And finally, are you planning, or indeed already working on, any sequels to Twist of Time? I’m pretty sure I caught a sequel hook or two in there. Or will the next book be something else entirely?

You most definitely caught a sequel hook in Twist of Time. The next novel — Fugue – is something entirely new. It is in final re-write and I hope will be published sometime this summer. It is about a famous concert pianist secretly afflicted by Fugue syndrome. Due to childhood trauma, he commits homicides of which he has no memory – which is an actual, not fictional, condition. After 9-11, he is recruited and trained as an assassin by an extreme anti-terrorist group within the Department of Intelligence. When he tries to get out, he is blackmailed with the very assassinations they ordered. He has to cut and run. But he is also being tracked by a veteran homicide detective who is unaware these were ordered assassinations and believes it is the work of a serial killer whom he is determined to find and convict.

The sequel to Twist of Time is deep in research with notes and some narrative completed. A portion of it deals with the Merlin-Saint Dubricius double-life paradox and how this entraps Thomas. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

(Neither can I.)  

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