The following is an interview with Elizabeth Crowens regarding the recently released speculative fiction novel, A Pocketful of Lodestones. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Crowens about the inspiration behind this latest installation in The Time Traveler Professor series, her creative process in bringing the series’ world to life, what readers can anticipate from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your speculative fiction novel, A Pocketful of Lodestones, which is the second book in your series, The Time Traveler Professor! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the premise of The Time Traveler Professor universe, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Elizabeth Crowens: I’ve always been fascinated by books and films dealing with time travel. In fact, the very first science fiction novel I read was A Wrinkle in Time and was thrilled that my school library had a copy. For years, I was also interested on how to take metaphysical concepts and put them into a palatable form of fiction. Recently, I gave a lecture in London on the topic. In the early twentieth century, many British writers tried to do this, but didn’t do it too well. Arthur Conan Doyle, who is one of the featured characters in the Time Traveler Professor series, was essentially an original Victorian Ghostbuster. He tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes, because he wanted to spend more time doing and writing about paranormal investigations. In turn, I came up with the idea that he hired my protagonist as a ghostwriter, but created an eventual rift between the two of them because he wanted to keep this arrangement secret.
BD: For readers who have been following along with the series, what can they anticipate from the latest novel?
EC: The first novel, Silent Meridian, ended with the outbreak of World War I. When the protagonist, John Patrick Scott, is stranded in his home town of Edinburgh and is unable to return to his job as a music professor in Germany, he joins the Royal Scots and is sent to the Western Front. Much to his surprise, the psychic experiments he conducted in Book One give him the shocking ability to see ghosts of the dead soldiers on the battlefield.
BD: Do you feel that A Pocketful of Lodestones serves as a solid jumping-on point for new readers, or would you recommend that they start with the first novel of the series?
EC: Similar to reading a series like Harry Potter, I highly recommend reading the first book, because it establishes the main characters and lays the foundation for their goals, conflicts, and motivations; however, there is an Author’s Note at the beginning of A Pocketful of Lodestones that summarizes the first book. The first edition of Silent Meridian was published three years ago, and many of the people who read and loved the first book might’ve forgotten a lot. The new release this past summer was a second edition with a different cover, revisions, and with a different publisher.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process, and what have been some of your creative influences?
EC: Some of my creative influences are the actual lives of people like Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and H.G. Wells. All of them are very interesting people on a personal level, and the average person has no clue about many of those details. Ironically, it was only after I had already written a few drafts of the first novel that I began getting into Doctor Who and authors such as Tim Powers who wrote bizarre time travel novels such as The Anubis Gate and Three Days to Never.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
EC: Similar to many plots of Doctor Who and the show, Quantum Leap, I’d like my readers to relate to the concept of going back in time to learn a lesson and to straighten something out. It’s not merely an adventure. There’s a mission to be accomplished.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your story into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
EC: As a series similar to Doctor Who.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
EC: Currently, I’m juggling three projects: the third book in the Time Traveler Professor series, A War in Too Many Worlds which will finish out WWI, the third novel in a Hollywood suspense series that I’m trying to acquire a new agent to sell, and bits and pieces of a dramedy (comedy with dramatic elements) based on someone’s real life story.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about A Pocketful of Lodestones and The Time Traveler Professor series?
EC: Both books are for sale on Amazon. They often show up at vendors rooms at SF/F conventions, but you can also order them through your favorite bookstore since they are available to retailers through Ingram distribution.