Please help me welcome author Mike Chen on the blog today to chat about his upcoming debut, Here and Now and Then!
Author Name: Mike Chen
Book: Here and Now and Then
Book Genre: Speculative or literary sci-fi or literary with speculative elements depending on what my publisher wants. 🙂
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Mira Books
Please tell us about your book.
After getting separated from his daughter by a century, a time-traveler must find a way to raise his daughter across time — then rescue her before she’s erased from history.
That’s such an exciting concept! What sparked the idea?
I tend to get inspired by whatever media I’m consuming at the time. For this, I’ve always found the idea of how time affects relationships interesting. I happened to see Star Trek: TNG’s The Inner Light and Doctor Who’s School Reunion in the same day and both play on this theme, particularly the aspect of relationships out of sync. It sparked this basic idea of a parent trying to raise a child from the future, and after my critique partner approved, I ran with the concept.
By the way, I’ve had two Goodreads reviewers reference The Inner Light, which is basically the best thing you can say to me.
How long did it take for you to write the book? What kind of research did you have to do?
This book took about 1.5 years to get from initial concept to query stage. Research was fairly minimal as much of the worldbuilding detail came in later when I identified gaps to fill in. The entire first half was completely rebuilt after a disaster first draft, and even while querying I had to R&R the first act again.
Did your occupation (or hobby) influence your book at all?
Watching a LOT of Doctor Who and Torchwood at the time got my head in the right place for time travel. My day job, which is a combination of project management and technical writing, doesn’t really appear in my work, though I find that tech writing is actually really helpful for the writer’s brain. Tech writing is generally about efficiency and organization, and for some things like white papers or case studies, you need to tell a story. My analogy for this is that if writing fiction is like playing a sport, then tech writing is like doing cardio to condition your body.
I love that analogy! How did you celebrate when you learned Here and Now and Then was going to be published?
Honestly, I was in disbelief. I had been on sub for close to two years and went to acquisitions multiple times; each time, the creative people loved it and the business people couldn’t be sold on it. With Mira, we knew they were enthusiastic but I had been burned so many times that it was difficult for me to not be cynical about it. So when my agent (Eric Smith) called with the results — and we knew the date/time of the acquisition meeting — I think I said “I don’t believe it” for at least a few minutes.
One piece of advice I give all my friends when they achieve major milestones — whether it’s signing with an agent or getting a book deal — is to make sure you set aside a few minutes for yourself to really absorb what has happened. I did that, laying in bed late at night and just letting the realization sink in.
What are your favorite genres to read? What’s on your TBR list right now?
First off, I don’t read nearly enough. I set a goal for 2018 to read 12 books and I actually exceeded it, even while having constant writing duties to attend to. I tend to read what I write, so a lot of SFF but with a greater emphasis on character rather than technical elements or magic systems. So from the past year, things like Kat Howard’s AN UNKINDNESS OF MAGICIANS and Peng Shepherd’s THE BOOK OF M, those are right up my alley.
My TBR is massive and neverending. Some things slotted in there are Rowena Miller’s TORN, Cass Morris’ FROM UNSEEN FIRE, and Michael Moreci’s WE ARE MAYHEM (the sequel to the wonderful BLACK STAR RENEGADES).
What’s next? Are you writing anything new?
My second book will be released basically one year after my debut. It’s called THE PAUSE and it is a post-apocalyptic story about a wedding planner, ex-pop star, widower, and his young daughter as their lives intertwine among a post-pandemic society. The pitch we literally used was Station Eleven meets About a Boy.
That sounds right up my alley! Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
My website is www.mikechenbooks.com, though I don’t update that as much as I should! The best place to find me is Twitter; my handle is @mikechenwriter and I’m happy to discuss Doctor Who, video games, hockey, burritos, indie rock, and other similar bits of awesomeness. And coffee too, talk to me about coffee.
I also am on Instagram @mikechenwriter, where you can go if you want to see many pictures of my pets.
Thank you, Mike! Here and Now and Then is available for preorder now and out on January 29!
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
Their mission: return Kin to 2142, where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.
Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.
A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter