A Matter of Time
By Michael J. Bowler
Genre: Romance, Thriller
The world’s greatest evil stalks the world’s greatest ship, and the only one who can stop him hasn’t been born yet.
Jamie Collins is a junior at Santa Clara University in 1986. He has friends, a professor who mentors him, and a promising future as a writer.
Then the dreams begin - nightmarish memories that transport him back to a time and place fifty years before he was born: Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912.
When Jamie discovers a foreign cell in his blood that links him to the famous vessel, the two timelines begin to overlap and he realizes an unimaginable truth - something supernatural stalks the ill-fated ship, something that will kill him if he can’t stop it first. And the only way to stop it may be to prevent Titanic from sinking.
But even if he can figure out a way to do that, should he? What will be the effect on history if he succeeds? And what about the lady he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with? As her destiny becomes entwined with his, Jamie discovers the value of friendship, the power of love, the impact of evil, and the vagaries of Fate.
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and a master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.
A Conversation with Author, Michael J. Bowler
1. Tell us how long you’ve been writing?
I’ve been writing stories all my life, since elementary school. I recently found a story I wrote in the fourth or fifth grade. It made me laugh.
2. Why was it important for you to write A Matter of Time?
Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by the story of Titanic. The many strange coincidences and the perfect storm of everything going wrong that could go wrong almost gives the impression Fate decreed from the get-go that this ship would sink. Also, the personal stories of various passengers are by turns fascinating and heartbreaking. When the ship was finally found in 1985, A Matter of Time began unfolding in my mind. I combined incidents from my college years with the sinking and created this mash up of genres–thriller, romance, and fantasy–that might excite some readers and irritate others. I originally wrote this story as a screenplay, but a few years later James Cameron’s “Titanic” came out and I knew another movie about the ship was unlikely to be made. I spent a number of years, while working full time, turning that script into this book.
3. When you’re writing, how do your characters personalities come to you?
My characters usually start out with traits or personality characteristics that I possess or have seen in people I’ve encountered throughout the years. As the story progresses, these characters take on personas all their own and make choices I wouldn’t always make and diverge quite a bit from the person I initially pictured as the inspiration. Scenes within the story precipitate specific reactions from each character and, like I said, over time each character tells me what he or she wants to say or do.
4. If you could live the life of one of your favorite characters from any of your favorite books, (besides your own), which character would you be and why?
That might be a tossup between Peter Pan and Huckleberry Finn, two of my favorite characters of all time. I’m also partial to Frodo of Lord of the Rings. These characters all choose to do what’s right, rather than what’s easy, even Peter who comes across as self-centered, but when push comes to shove he helps Wendy in her in time of need. Huck Finn went against everything society taught him about slaves when he helped Jim escape. And Frodo stepped up to carry the ring of power when no one else would or could. All three represent a kind of freedom from the constraints society of all ages tries to place on us, and I guess I like running my own program.
5. What’s next for you?
I have two completed novels and am writing a third one. The first is an action/adventure/urban/contemporary story aimed at the teen market and anyone who likes realistic superhero movies such as “The Dark Knight.” It has been professionally edited, and is currently being shopped around to agents and potential publishers. So far, there’s been no interest expressed by either. The other book is a contemporary drama/fantasy about two brothers, the older of whom is autistic. The autistic brother disappears one day and the younger brother blames himself. After five years with no trace of the missing brother, something happens that changes the younger brother’s life forever. It is being edited right now and then I will shop it around, too. The new WIP is a teen-centric mystery thriller. While self-publishing clearly works for some authors, it has not proven successful for me, so if no agent or publisher is interested in any of these new books, they will remain unpublished.
6. What does writing do for you?
Writing allows me to articulate thoughts and ideas and feelings that I think are important, especially for teens and young adults. I love the creation process and having characters take on lives of their own. I love the revision process because I’m OCD about tying up every loose end and paying off every character or plot thread introduced within the storyline. Sadly, I notice in many current films and books that there isn’t such a focus on keeping characters consistent and/or tying up loose ends. It’s not hard to do, no matter the genre or storyline, so I guess it’s just a symptom of laziness or inattention to detail on the part of the writer and/or editor. Fortunately, my editor keeps me on my toes.
7. Why should a reader choose your book to read?
I think with all of my books they will see ideas and situations they haven’t experienced before, or in the case of ideas, haven’t come across often. I tell stories that hopefully engage both the mind and the heart of a reader because those are the kinds of books I always loved growing up. My five-book Children of the Knight saga has engaged teens and adults alike because it crosses over into so many genres and deals with such a wide variety of characters. A Matter of Time mashes up a seemingly unworkable series of incidents and time periods, but the strength of the characters and their relationships carry it beyond its fantasy underpinnings into something memorable and heartfelt.
8. What character presented the most challenges in A Matter of Time?
Jay was probably the most difficult because he is sarcastic and self-absorbed and treats Jamie unfairly, but I didn’t want him to be a “villain” in the piece in his self-absorption. My hope is that he’s redeemed at the end and readers have come to understand that he’s not a bad person, that his actions are a result of the hurt he felt at being rejected.
9. What do you do to relax?
I go to the gym and workout or take walks or go hiking or read books.
10. What famous author’s work would you say your writing style matches?
I think this is my biggest strength and biggest drawback as a writer – my style isn’t like other authors, and agents find that fact off-putting. They seem to want books that look or sound like that of some bestselling author because those are easier to market. I tend to think cinematically while writing. It’s like I’m a film director laying out all the camera shots so the audience won’t be confused by what’s happening. Those who have read my books comment that they enjoy being able to visualize everything that’s happening on the page and have compared my books to “reading a movie.” But this style, as mentioned, is off-putting to agents and most publishers.
11. What other interests do you have besides writing?
I do tons of volunteer work with kids and teens and I like going to the movies when I have time.
12. If you invited us to dinner, what meal would you prepare?
I’d make something vegan or vegetarian, most likely, because that’s what I eat. Salad, of course, would be served, and I would probably make vegan lasagna as the main course, with ice cream or frozen yogurt for dessert. Vegan lasagna is the bomb! J
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Brought to You By:
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer