It stemmed from watching a lot of Doctor Who in a very short period. My brain had been on time travel and I was thinking about how time can impact and change relationships. Two episodes that directly influenced this were Doctor Who - School Reunion, where the 10th Doctor reunites with his companion that he hasn't seen since his 4th incarnation, and Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Inner Light, where an alien probe allows Picard to live another life in the span of 20 minutes. That, along with my wife and I looking at the possibility of getting pregnant and starting a family after years of insisting we would not have kids, all coalesced into this idea.
2. How did you come up with the title?
I always wanted to riff off the idea of Now And Then. For a while, I was using the working title of Now And Then And Now, which I didn't like but felt represented the story accurately. The shift to Here And Now And Then came in an epiphany while I was driving.
3. What research did you do when writing Here and Now and Then?
Mostly looking at lists to create a strong sense of world. It was important to establish a very tangible but personal 2142. I wanted the future to feel lived in and relatable, just different. Kind of the opposite of how movies in the 1980s portraryed 2010 and beyond -- those went fantastical, and while we have some very sci-fi things in our lives like smartphones, voice recognition, and nanotechnology, it's still very mundane in a way.
4. What is your writing process like for Here and Now and Then?
Once I knew the concept worked, I created a 3-act structure. The second half has stayed functionally the same since the beginning. The first half had to be torn down and rebuilt a number of times, and the starting point was even a little different. The original version starts with marital strife rather than a strong relationship.
5. Did you have writer’s block on Here and Now and Then? If so, how did you get over it?
There was one revision I did when the manuscript was on sub to editors where I felt like I didn't know where to start. But I'm the type of person where I know if I just dive in, the ideas start happening.
6. List three adjectives to describe your lead character Kin Stewart?
Stubborn. Committed. Analytical.
7. Silly-Game question: From Here and Now and Then could you please leaf through the pages and point at a random place. What is the full sentence? And what is the page number of this random sentence?
Noise upon noise. -- page 141
8. Is there a message in Here and Now and Then that you want readers to grasp?
The story is driven by time but I think the overlying theme really is more about knowing how and when to let things go and trust in the things you've built, particularly as a parent.
9. Which fictional character (besides yours) would you like to sit down and chat with?
Jean-Luc Picard, hands down.
10. What has been the best compliment you heard about Here and Now and Then?
I've had several readers tell me it reminded them of The Inner Light. That seemed to nail everything I intended. And Library Journal compared it to The Time Traveler's Wife, which made me -- and my publicist -- very happy.
11. If (or when) Here and Now and Then does become a movie, would you like to make a cameo?
I would love to be a person sitting in the TCB mission control room surrounded by holographic data.
12. What book are you currently reading?
I just started the audiobook of TORN by Rowenna Miller. And I'm starting an ARC of FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED by K Chess.
13. As a sports journalist, who was the most interesting person you ever spoke to and why?
You'd think it would be Wayne Gretzky but I did a series of interviews where I talked with hockey players who are big music buffs. So two of my favorite interviews were discussing guitars with former goalie Sean Burke and indie rock bands with Boyd Devereaux.
14. What advice do you want to give anyone that wants to be a writer and a journalist?
Write, write, write. And talk to other writers, especially those who are at your stage. Go out and write stories or make blog posts, do anything to help your craft -- and find the community to support it.
15. Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences in your writing career?
Nick Hornby is the author that influenced my decison to try to write. I don't think I would be here without his first two books.
16. What is your favorite time-travel movie and why?
Star Trek: First Contact. Because it's the best Star Trek movie, even more than Wrath of Khan.
17. Last question, what were your hobbies as a kid? What are your hobbies now?
Video games, playing music, and playing hockey. I wish I still played hockey but I don't have the time. I miss playing music in bands like I did in my 20s but I certainly don't have the commitment to practice and gig anymore. For video games, I can't wait til I retire because then I will just play video games all day.
To sum it up, I would like to thank Mr. Mike Chen for this interview. If you want to know more about him you can check out his website: https://www.mikechenbooks.com/about/ . Don't forget to check out his latest book or at least put it on your to-read pile. Thank you for reading this interview and I hope you come here again.