Author Carrie Pack is here at Love Bytes today with her blog tour for her book In The Present Tense.
Welcome to the blog, Carrie!
Author Name: Carrie Pack
Book Name: In The Present Tense
Release Date: May 19, 2016
Pages or Words: 336 pages
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: CB Messer
Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
Hi Carrie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hey there! I’m so excited to talk about my writing process for In the Present Tense. This book is my second novel and it’s a sci-fi story about a young man named Miles. He has an unusual dissociative disorder that causes him to time travel. Miles’s journey involves trying to reconnect with a past love and find a cure for his rare condition.
Favorite thing about building your own world?
I love getting to make all the rules. I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s hard for me to let go in real life. But when I’m writing a book, I can do whatever I want. For In the Present Tense, I got to create a world in which time travel is possible and mental illness means you have super powers that no one else does. How cool is that?
What inspired you to write your first book?
Designs On You came directly out of my love for classic rom-coms and my experiences at my first job. The story follows a When Harry Met Sally-esque plot where the characters hate each other when they meet, then gradually become friends and finally lovers. Of course, there’s confusion along the way and other obstacles to keep the story moving, but it’s got a great HEA.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I think I’m a bit of a minimalist, and I like to reveal plot through dialogue. Most of my scenes start out as just conversations and I have to go back and flesh out the action. But I’m really proud of the dialogue that I write. I think it comes across as realistic and easy to read. I focus on dialogue because when I read, I find myself skipping ahead to read the conversations.
Who are some of the authors that influenced you to write?
This is going to sound strange, but I think the first one I remember influencing me was Truman Capote. In Cold Blood is dark and twisted and oddly makes you feel sympathetic toward two murderers. It also made me realize I could apply my journalism skills to fiction.
What are some jobs you’ve held? Have any of them impacted your writing? How?
My work as a graphic designer and marketing director definitely influenced Designs On You. Scott’s opinion of his job and his mindset at the beginning of the novel are a reflection of how the work can make you feel like nothing you do matters. When we first meet him, he’s working on a cupcake logo and he hates it, which is kind of an inside joke between me and another professor at the college where I work. A few semesters ago, all her students kept submitting cupcake shop logos for her graphics class and she was over it.
In the Present Tense took more research because I don’t have a dissociative disorder, and sadly, I cannot time travel. I did manage to give Miles a job I’m familiar with, though. He’s a copyeditor and freelance writer. I tend to draw inspiration from my own life as much as I can; it leaves room for the more important research, like mental illness.
Miles sat there and tried to make out shapes and colors in the dark room as he searched his brain for a memory of anything.
Nothing looked familiar. His desk, his drum set, the sheets—all gone. Not one thing looked the way it had when he’d fallen asleep, and Ana certainly hadn’t been in his bed.
He tried to replay the previous day’s events, but everything seemed fuzzy, like a fogged bathroom mirror that he couldn’t wipe clean.
Why was everything so fuzzy?
Last night… What happened last night?
Adam had come over and they were watching TV together, and Adam had given him a small stuffed giraffe because Miles was scared about having surgery. He reached for his left arm, expecting to find the cast that had been there for the last two months, but it wasn’t there. His heart began to beat so loudly he glanced over at Ana to make sure she was still asleep.
Unable to determine what had happened to his cast, Miles resumed his tally of the previous evening’s chain of events. At around ten-thirty, his mom said Adam had to leave because they had to get up early to go to the hospital. He had taken his pain meds and gone to sleep with the phantom of Adam’s goodnight kiss on his cheek. He’d been happy.
He’d gotten a text from Ana earlier in the evening, but she was only wishing him luck with the surgery. She hadn’t come over. In fact, as far as Miles knew, Ana had been several hours away in her dorm room.
So how had she gotten into his bedroom? And who had changed his sheets?
He threw off the covers and stood up, noticing he was only wearing a tight-fitting pair of boxer briefs instead of his usual basketball shorts.
He looked around the room for anything familiar, but it was still dark out, and all he could see were shadows and vague shapes. On the dresser opposite the bed, he found a few framed photos. Squinting to see without turning on a light, Miles studied the images carefully.
As his eyes focused, he recognized a couple of the photos. One was from last year’s prom: Adam wearing that ridiculous corsage Miles had bought him, Ana being dipped by her date, David, as all four of them smiled widely in front of a cheesy faux tropical scene. One of the frames held a collage of photos of his and Ana’s friends. He recognized Adam, Lucky, Antonio, Dahlia and Brienne. But the last one, the largest of all the photos, was of him and Ana—her in a flowing white dress and him in a black suit, both wearing broad smiles and flanked by Miles’s parents and a woman Miles had only seen once: Julia Espinosa, Ana’s mother.
A loud clatter echoed through the bedroom as the frame hit the edge of the dresser and fell to the hardwood floor. This wasn’t his room, and he didn’t remember that photo being taken.
“Go back to sleep,” Ana mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow.
“Ana,” he whispered, risking her full anger, but unable to stop himself, “we’re married.”
“Thanks for the update. Now go back to sleep before I divorce your dumb ass.”
He dropped to the floor on his knees, barely even noticing the sharp pain of bare skin hitting the hard surface.
Married. To Ana?
What the hell had happened?
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Carrie Pack is the author of Designs On You and a part-time college professor who recently left her job in marketing to actively pursue her writing career. Carrie lives in Florida, which she fondly calls America’s Wang, with her husband and four cats.
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Tour Dates & Stops:
Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, 5 First Prizes: eCopy of In The Present Tense by Carrie Pack