In The Present Tense by Carrie Pack
Release Date: May 19, 2016
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: CB Messer
Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is lucky to be interviewing Carrie Pack author of In the Present Tense. Hi Carrie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I’m thrilled to be here and share my new release with you. In the Present Tense explores the impact of mental illness on those we love through the lens of contemporary science fiction. My main character, Miles, has a condition similar to dissociative identity disorder that causes him to time travel and it causes all sorts of trouble in his personal life.
I write because I love the written word. I love the way language ebbs and flows over time. I love the way you can create poetry, songs, prose, nonfiction, and a dozen other types of writing with the same 26 letters of the alphabet. I love the way other languages worm their way into English. I am a shameless abuser of puns and I’ve always been fascinated by a writer’s ability to craft a well-turned phrase. I became a writer because I wanted to be one of those people.
- Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
Definitely In the Present Tense. There was a sense that I was writing a “Book” this time. Whereas my first novel was written without the intent of publishing it, this go around, I had a contract before the first chapter was written. I also had to do a lot of research because I wanted to make sure I respected my topic. I have characters who are mentally ill and it’s very important to me that I treat that properly.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
He time travels, which is pretty unique, but that particular characteristic causes a lot of problems for him. One of the themes of this book is how varying degrees of mental illness affect those around us. Obviously, Miles’s illness is extreme, but nearly all my characters have varying degrees of mental health disorders. Miles has an amazing ability to use his mental illness as a tool to help him understand his own mistakes, though. So he tries to fix his past, and, of course, that changes his future.
- How much research do you do for your books?
I always do some research. For my first book, Designs On You, my research was my early career as a graphic designer. For In the Present Tense, I read books and articles on dissociative identity disorder to make Miles’s condition as realistic as possible. And right now I’m working on a novel set during the Riot Grrrl movement of the early ‘90s. Research for that is fun. I’m reading back issues of zines and listening to lots of punk music.
The lovely and talented CB Messer at Interlude Press is art director for all the IP covers and she frequently designs a lot of the covers as well. She was the artist for mine and it just so happens to be one of my favorite covers she’s ever done. I’m so lucky.
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?
Pages or Words: 336 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
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?
Buy the book:
Meet the Author:
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.
Where to find the author:
Tour Dates & Stops:
19-May: Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Oh My Shelves, Happily Ever Chapter
20-May: The Novel Approach, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows
23-May: Anna Butler Fiction, Outrageous Heroes, Alpha Book Club, Jessie G. Books
24-May: Unquietly Me, Dawn’s Reading Nook, BFD Book Blog
25-May: Inked Rainbow Reads, Divine Magazine, Boys on the Brink Reviews
26-May: Love Bytes, Louise Lyons, A.M. Leibowitz
27-May: My Fiction Nook, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings
30-May: Bayou Book Junkie, MM Good Book Reviews
31-May: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, TTC Books and More
1-Jun: Prism Book Alliance, Molly Lolly
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