Of the many cool things in my life that being a writer has provided, the best by far is getting to meet and talk with fellow authors from pretty much everywhere.
Case in point, I’d like to introduce you to my new friend and colleague Neve Maslakovic. Her books are tearing up the charts, and we recently had the opportunity to interview one another in a grand, cross-marketing getting-to-know-you kind of way. In fact, you can read her questions to me over on nevemaslakovic.com.
But enough about me. It’s time to for some hard-hitting, tongue-in-cheek journalism!
SJM: I’m a huge fan of time travel stories, and time travel in general. I’ve read both papers and novels on the subject, and given the recent developments in atomic/particle theory I think some form of it is inevitable. Was it a love of science, or a love of history that inspired you to use it as a backdrop for the Incident series?
Neve: In this case, it was the love of history. Each book in the series is set in a different time period – the first in ancient Pompeii, the second in fourteenth-century Americas — which means I get to dive into history books for research purposes, which is great fun. As to the science behind STEWie (the SpaceTimE Warper), I’ll be the first to admit that it’s all hand-wavy and vague. It has to be, though, because if we knew how to travel in time, it wouldn’t be fiction obviously. But that, too, was great fun – coming up with rules governing time travel, with Julia Olsen and her companions having to avoid “ghost” zones and trying not to get time stuck when their presence might interfere with history.
SJM: I loved the way you interspersed the perils of academia with your story in The Far Time Incident. Are you ever tempted to return to a University position?
Neve: I’m tempted to answer with a joke about the perils of academia — I’ve heard people refer to themselves as being “grad school survivors.” I suppose in having the fictitious St. Sunniva University as the setting for the series, I’m sort of spending my days on a campus… Seriously, though, there are many things I miss about being in a university environment, although a lot of them are there in the writing life too. Being a writer is somewhat like being a life-long student – you’re constantly learning new things about the world, reading, observing. Not to mention probably struggling financially!
SJM: Your early life is almost a page-turning thriller in and of itself. I try to keep my own—shall we say, “interesting”—adventures out of my fiction, but instead draw on elements of individuals I’ve met through the years to people it. Which of your characters would you say is most modeled on a real person?
Neve: I never base my characters on real people, at least not on purpose. But I do think that each of my characters (likeable or not) has a little bit of me in them… I don’t think that egotistical – I just don’t know how else you can write characters other than getting under their skin, trying on their masks.
SJM: We already know your opinions of Ducks, but where do you come down on the Cat vs Dog divide?
Neve: Nothing against cats, but I’m more of a dog person.
SJM: My readers are also clamoring to know: Cake or Pie?
Neve: It would be whichever of the two has a dark chocolate flavor. And nuts. Nuts are good, too.
SJM: Back to time travel for a bit. Say you have access to the time technology in your books. What’s the most important, non-personal event you would document?
Neve: I think about this question a lot, and I always end up with a list. One of the things that would be high on the list would be recording lost languages, ones that have disappeared because of time, migrations, extinction. How cool would it be to record Neanderthal speech, find out what it was like?
SJM: You’re one of three authors of my acquaintance to release a time travel book centered around universities or think tanks in the last few years. Why do you think this particular backdrop is resonating with editors right now?
Neve: Three? Really? And here I thought I was being original… Seriously though, I think time travel has always been a fascinating topic to read and write about and that will not change. Well, unless we manage to achieve it in real life. Then it will get even more interesting.
SJM: What’s the story you’re afraid to write?
Neve: My memoir? I’m an introvert and not exactly given to sharing much publicly, even on social media. Having said that, each book I write, whether it has parallel universes or time travel, is probably a reflection on my life in many ways, but a distorted one, if that makes sense.
SJM: Time for the obligatory “what’s next” question. Where will you be taking us in your next book?
Neve: I don’t think I’m supposed to give out the details until the book listing goes up on Amazon, but I will say that this third, final book in the Incident series is turning out to be my favorite. Continuing the progression forward in time, the action takes place in the twentieth-century, and Julia is faced with some personal issues as well as delving into some historical ones.
SJM: And to wrap things up, what should we know about you that’s not on any website or dust jacket?
Neve: I really dislike cilantro. Like really, I can’t eat it at all. I recently discovered that there’s an “I Hate Cilantro” website with four-thousand members, so apparently I’m not the only one. Also, my favorite color is peach. Apparently I think about food a lot.
You can check out Neve’s work on the web at: