Jeff Blue-the victim of a time-travel conspiracy-wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; a robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted?
J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff’s journey home, but it will require her to do something against her programming-something human.
During Jeff’s perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0’s origins, and solve the mystery behind how he wound up in 2095, in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny.
Armed with a one-way ticket to the moon, Jeff must race against the clock to seize what might be his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, or TeleSkins-a time over one hundred years ago.
“Are you okay?” Julie asked through the window.
I was surprised I could hear her.
“Yes! Can you let me out?”
I was expecting her to answer with something snide and sarcastic, but she didn’t say anything at all. She just disappeared from my view. I leaned forward in the chamber so I could see where she went. Julie was standing in front of one of the computers typing on the keyboard very quickly. After a few moments I heard a hiss, and the cover swung open. I felt like a rising vampire as I stood up and stepped out of the pod.
I almost fell backward into the chamber when she turned around. Julie was missing half of her face. Where the left side of her face should’ve been was only wires and metal.
“This isn’t a dream, is it?” I asked cautiously.
“No. I’m sorry, Jeff, and it only gets worse.”
“Who else?” J0 asked. She turned back to the computer and typed in some more commands. The hydraulics of another seclusion chamber hissed as its cover opened.
“Oh, no,” I said quietly and covered my mouth with my hand.
Bruce’s mouth and eyes were unnaturally stuck open.
I knew he was dead before I even asked. “Is he—?”
“I’m pretty sure. I already called the police. We’re going to meet them out front to let them in. They should be here in a few minutes.”
I took a step toward him.
“Don’t touch him!” she yelled.
I stopped in my tracks.
“Whoever did this was trying to kill both of you.”
Special Q&A With The Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did your background influence the genre you write in?
I was born in Salem, MA (where all the witch trials were, so I’m sure growing up with that history affected my writing in some way.) I went to private Catholic school for 13 years (K-12). I was an avid reader as soon as I was old enough to read chapter books. Horror has been my favorite movie genre since I saw Humanoids from the Deep for the first time when I was six years old. But it was really my love for music as a young child that influenced my writing. The first record I owned was Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon and I listened to that incessantly. My father was a drag racer and eventually opened up an auto mechanic garage, my mother has worked in a funeral home for the last 30 years. When I was eight, my parents got divorced and my mom, my new stepfather, and I moved into an apartment on the funeral home’s ground, so I spent a lot of time as a kid inside the funeral home hanging around the bodies while my mom worked. I think that can influence anyone! I graduated college with my degree in Criminal Justice, and got hired almost immediately by police department in MA. I worked there until I met my wife, who was joining the Navy, and we got stationed in FL. I transferred to a police department in GA, which is where I still work now. I have been working in law enforcement now for 13 years. The Navy sent us to Japan for 4 years however, and that experience helped me with my character development on my new book. I’m also a father to 3 little kids, and sometimes I get dialogue for my books from some of the funny things they say.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
In the 7th I wrote my first fictional short story called, “The Night is Long.” It wasn’t part of some homework assignment, or in-class exercise. I wrote the story over the weekend, purely because I loved to read and wanted to write something that was my own. After that, I never stopped writing. However I only wrote short stories from 1988 to 2005. It was then that I began work on my first novel. My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. My friend David, who was the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s, had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows. When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel, and recant all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction, and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time. I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006 and it was published in October, 2007—on the second anniversary of his death. The book sold above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and that’s how I stopped writing short stories and focused on writing novels.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I only have one favorite author, but many favorite books. Stephen King is my favorite author, and I would say that his influence is all over the place in my second novel, Welcome to Parkview. In fact, some reviews of the novel on Amazon have said things like, “a great combination of Stephen King and the Twilight Zone,” and stuff like that. So I guess, reading every single King novel and short story he has ever commercially published, had some effect on my writing when I wrote that book specifically, since it is a cerebral-horror novel. Some of my favorite books include The Bell Jar, The Great Gatsby, Les Miserables, Pillars of the Earth, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Virgin Suicides. I think the emotional breakdown that happens in The Bell Jar and the constant struggle of trying to find out where you actually belong in society that is prevalent in The Great Gatsby and Breakfast at Tiffany’s comes out in all of my writing. In my book, Yours Truly, 2095, the main character wakes up over a hundred years in the future, and has to figure out his place in that time, or he might never get back.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I’ve published 3 novels, and my typical day during the writing of each book was totally different from each other. When I was writing my first book, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, I was in the middle of moving from MA to GA, changing police departments, and recording an album with my band, Transpose. So a typical day would be: get everything done first for the move, switching jobs, the recording studio, and whatever time was left at night: work on the book. We also didn’t have any kids yet.
With my second novel, Welcome to Parkview, my wife had been deployed to Djibouti and I was working full time at the police department in GA, and we had 2 kids now. So I was alone without my wife, with 2 toddlers, and working full time. The My day would be: get the kids to day-care, go work fighting crime for 8 hours, pick the kids up and do whatever household chores I had to do (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping etc.), feed the kids dinner and put them to bed around 6:30, then I would work out for an hour, and then I would work on Welcome to Parkview after I showered until whenever I passed out at my laptop.
With Yours Truly. 2095, the Navy had sent us to Japan for the next 4 years. I had to take a leave of absence at the police department, and we moved the family there. I did not get a job right away, as my wife wanted me to be the stay at home parent during our time in Japan (I did eventually become a Criminal Justice professor for the college on base, but that’s irrelevant to the book.) We moved in November, 2011 and by January, 2012 I was itching to write. For the first time, I had the TIME to write, and not having to worry about a new job, moving, or wiping poopy diapers. So, in February, 2012, I started my outline, and writing the book was my full-time job for a while. We sent out 2 kids to Japanese Kindergarten (called a Yochien in Japan) and they were gone Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 4:00. I would bring them to the bus stop, wave goodbye, go back up into our apartment, and write until the bus brought them back. It was the first time I could write without distractions, and the first time I was writing not being dead-tired at night after putting in a full day.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book , “Yours Truly, 2095?”
One of my favorite albums of all time, is Electric Light Orchestra’s 1981 concept album, Time. Somewhere in my late teens / early twenties, I thought that the storyline of the Time album should be flushed out either as a novel or a movie. I knew, at the time, that I was nowhere NEAR talented enough yet to take on such a task as writing the adaptation of the album. After publishing two novels, one in 2007 and the other in 2010, I believed that I was ready to tackle turning the plotline and story-arc of ELO’s Time album into a full length novel. I began working on the outline in February 2012, and the first step was to take the lyrics of all 16 songs, and dissect their meaning (both literally and figuratively) and put together a cohesive linear storyline. I wanted to do what The Who’s Tommy, and Pink Floyd’s The Wall movies did for those albums… but just in novel format. The Time album has a very concrete characters and storyline (as does The Wall and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) but there is enough unsung moments in the progression of the story, that I knew I had to fill in the gaps of the lyrics with my own literary license. In the lyrics we are told, flat-out, that the main character (Jeff) is from the 1980’s and wakes up in 2095, with no idea or explanation how he got there, that there is a woman who is a perfect robotic replica of his wife (Julie) from the 80’s, he wants nothing more to return to his wife but there is some issued that need to be resolved in their marriage, that he takes a one way trip to the Moon to find his way back, and there are multiple new organizations controlling the world’s power. These are very specific lyrics that move the album forward. After pulling out the lyrics that could not be disputed, I then went through line by line and interpreted the lyrics that could be left up to the imagination of the listener of what the lyrics meant, and how I was going to make it a concrete part of my book. For instance, there is a lyric in the album that says: “Someone has broken out of Satellite Two, look very carefully it might be you!” That was pretty ambiguous inside the song, so I had to make a decision to what exactly Satellite Two even WAS, who the “someone” was, why it might be a clone of someone else… and then I had to try to make it work inside the storyline around it. The album is 16 tracks, and just shy of 50 minutes in length. The book took me almost 40 months to write because I wanted to stay as true to every single word on the album that I could.
6) What do you think sets your book apart from others current on the shelves?
It’s a time-travel story without the whirring machine and flashing lights. Time-travel is viable in my story through actual quantum physics and real laws of property that exist. Even in The Time Traveler’s Wife there wasn’t a machine, but we still never knew the “how.” My book, almost like a Michael Crichton novel, gives you the “how,” and it’s steeped in science-fact. Also, who doesn’t love a romance story involving a robot??
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
I have 2 answers for that. The character that, if were a real person, I would want to hang out with the most, is Bruce. He is the co-researcher who invented time-travel and is the only one in the book who really knows what’s going on with everyone and the truth behind all the time travel conspiracies. But on top of being an incredible genius, he is the “partyer.” He enjoys being in the lab just as much as he enjoys getting drunk at a concert. Bruce is kind of like a living version of a mullet haircut: business in the front and all party in the back. Now, as the author, the character I had the most enjoyment writing and developing, was Rael. She is a triple threat vixen that can seduce you in one minute and then crush you the very next. She’s sweet and sour at all the same time, and I had the most fun interjecting her into scenes and watching her light the place up. I think a lot of myself is reflected in almost every character, but mostly in the main character of Jeff—especially the scene when he reaches the city on the moon. I wrote this book while living in Japan, and I used how I felt when I landed in Tokyo as direct inspiration on how Jeff feels in Shard’s End (the city on the moon.) He has an experience on the Cosmic—which is the train system on the moon, and it mirrored by experience on the JR (Japan’s railway system.) I also gave the characters my own personal likes and dislikes when it comes to music, food, and technology.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I don’t want to post any spoilers, but the club scene on the moon. There is a club in the city on the moon called the Shangri-La where bands play. A major incident and turning point of the book happens inside that club during a concert. Making the scene feel claustrophobic, and moving my characters around the club to put them in the right position for the “hand over mouth” moment of the book, was a lot of fun for me to flush out. That scene, and the scene inside a hallway during a Fourth of July block party, where everything that happened prior in the book, comes to a head inside that hallway. That’s all I’m going to say.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
Everybody deserves second chance to redeem themselves. That is pretty much the running theme. Even the alcoholic who made some terrible decisions in his life. Even the robot who tried to ruin said alcoholics life… Again, that’s all I’m going to say.
10) What are your hopes for this book?
On a small scale: that I don’t get beat up by a slighted ELO fan in a dark alleyway that hated the book.
On a large scale: someone takes notice of the book in Hollywood and it opens in theatres everywhere during the summer blockbuster season.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I will begin outlining my 4th book in a few months. Tentatively untitled, it’s going to be a comedic-military novel, almost in the style of the film Mom with Michael Keaton. This will be about the true adventures I had when my wife, who is an Officer in the Navy, left me alone with our two toddlers when she got deployed for 8 months, and the learning curve and craziness that ensued during those months. I’m hoping to have a 2017 release schedule for that. I also have a short story coming out in October in an anthology of authors from all over the world called, A Matter of Words.
About The Author
Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. An award winning author, his love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost 20 years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a rock-star drug addict entitled, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, “Welcome to Parkview,” was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, “Yours Truly, 2095,” was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up one morning, trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy. Brian is married and has 3 children. Brian’s wife is an Officer in the US Navy. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange.