Today, I have a guest post from Dan Alatorre, the author behind The Navigators. I asked him to talk about the inspiration for his latest release and he did not disappoint. Enjoy the post and have fun in the comments.
It’s funny how story ideas come to you. There’s a saying that everyone walks by 1000 good ideas for a book every day, and a writer sees a dozen of them.
That’s pretty much how it was in my case, with The Navigators, my new sci fi thriller. I was just reading on Facebook one morning and a friend of mine asked a question to try to engage his friends. We’ve all done that at times. So he asked if you had a time machine, that could go forward or backward in time, who would you go see?
And I thought that was interesting because the question is part fantasy and part science fiction, but it’s almost a dream, too. You could go see a dinosaur and have Jurassic Park. You could go to colonial times and see Barry Lyndon. Or Roman times and visit Caesar. Jesus. Napoleon. Or your unborn grandchildren. Everything’s on the table.
I immediately thought, everybody would want to do a different kind of trip. Some people would want to go forward and some want to go backwards, or who knows what. So the story idea was, if a bunch of people had a time machine they would immediately fight over where to go. And then maybe they would fight over who got to go first. Also, what if there was only enough “gas” for one trip? If you had five friends, how would you decide who gets to go on the trip?
If you discover some time machine, how would you even figure out how to work it?
So all that was in my head, plus I had been reading about elements of characters. For my daughter, I wanted to portray a young woman who is a strong character, who steps up into a leadership role. But she does not start out that way.
I wanted to portray friends who enjoy each other’s company, like the friends I had in college, but also a rivalry between the group’s leaders.
I also had to figure out who should discover such machine.
How would they come to find it? Since you can go to the beach here in Florida and find fossilized sharks teeth from millions of years ago, it seemed like archaeology or paleontology students could accidentally discover such a thing, hidden away or buried so no one could find it.
Now you have the genesis of the story. College students out on a paleontologist will dig in a new, remote location, discover a time machine. They have to figure out how to use it, and there’s only enough gas for one trip so they have to figure out who goes first. But right away, they are in conflict with each other.
Who goes first, where are we going, what types of things should we go try to see? Should we go make money or should we try to figure out what religion is the right one if we can? Things like that. Things each type of reader might want to explore.
As many different ways a reader might approach that question, I tried to have a character in the book do it. And one of them said his daughter never got to meet her grandmother, and what a shame it is that the person who had so much influence over his own life would have virtually none over his daughter’s. With a time machine, he can rectify that and let them spend some time together. Someone else may wish to go make money; go back in time and pick the winning stocks – but others want to spend time with family that are no longer here. So it becomes: what do you treasure most? And of course, a few of the characters treasure adventure. And they get one.
The element that makes any story interesting is to create sympathetic characters and then put them up a tree and throw rocks at them. Overcoming hurdles is what makes the story interesting. Before they know it, the time machine gets stolen from our college students and then they find themselves fleeing for their lives from outside forces who want the machine’s power capabilities.
Of course, they decide not to go quietly and they push back.
The Navigators is thought-provoking, it talks about how plausible it is to even consider time travel – Einstein considered it, after all – and the morality of what should you do if you were given such a unique opportunity.
Readers have been extremely positive about the book! I think my first two dozen reviews have an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of five on Amazon, so we are really doing well. You can’t please anybody everybody but if you’re pleasing 95% of them, you’re doing something right!
The Navigators has something for everyone. There is a romance, there’s adventure, and challenges of what should you do in a certain situation. And of course, since it’s one of my stories, I try to tie everything up with happy ending – but one that you absolutely will not see coming. My readers loved it.
I hope yours do too!
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