Phoebe Fortune and the Pre-destination Paradox, Author Interview

Phoebe Fortunelooks like a great science fiction/time travel book. Do you plan for this to be part of a series?
Yes. The plan is for this to be the first of three Phoebe Fortune adventures. This first book leaves Phoebe in what I hope is a very intriguing place for readers. I have a clear outline for book 2 which I intend to start writing soon. It’s currently titled “Phoebe Fortune and the Cardiac Conundrum” but that could change! Book 3 will be guided a lot by where Book 2 takes me. After that? Well, we’ll see at that point but I think there could be more. I might do something else first though.

What do you think makes a great story?
It needs to be fun, a bit scary and have at least one really good twist (ideally a few). I like adventure stories and for those, the plot guides everything else. I’m not that keen on stories that tackle “issues” head on as they have a tendency to preach instead of encouraging intelligent, reasoned thought. That said, it’s important for a good story to have an overarching theme which the plot can hang off and the characters can really react to.

What inspired you when writing Phoebe Fortune?
Three words. Railways. Geocaching. Disney. The first two came together, the third came a bit later. I live in the UK where the construction of a new high speed rail line (HS2) is a controversial topic right now. While out with the family a couple of years ago doing our family hobby (Geocaching – a high tech treasure hunt) we visited a historic site that will be destroyed by HS2. It was a creepy abandoned church in woodland. That’s where thoughts of a story about technological progress emerged. Later that year we went to Disneyland Paris. That got me thinking about visionaries like Walt Disney and what a creative mind can accomplish. This evolved into the story of Phoebe Fortune and our responsibilities to the past when building the future.

What are your ambitions for your writing career? Full time? Part time?
Who knows!? It’s a hobby right now. It has to be! I’m definitely going to keep writing (there’s at least two more Phoebe Fortune novels) and I enjoy the process. I think I’d love to do it full time but that will depend on success. For now, it’s something I do as often as I can.

When did you decide to become a writer?
Like many people, it’s been a thought at the back of my mind for a very long time. What really got me started was a desire to write something for my two kids that we could read together before they grew up! They like it. So in a way, that’s mission accomplished. If I find a wider audience, that’s great. If not, I’ll keep writing for them!

When writing Phoebe Fortunedid anything stand out as particularly challenging?
Two things. Firstly, choosing to write about time travel for my first novel was perhaps ambitious. There’s a whole heap of additional considerations when you’re writing non-linear narrative and cause doesn’t always come before effect. Secondly, is the editing process. It’s really really hard to take a first draft of around 70k words and remove over 30k of them. Phoebe had a sister in the first draft. It was hard saying goodbye to Imogen (amongst others). Heartbreaking!

How did you come up with the story of Phoebe Fortune?
This is a hard question to answer. When I started over two years ago I was not very structured. I made the mistake of taking my very broad ideas and just started writing. I soon realised that I needed to spend a good amount of time plotting the various elements. As I did so the pieces fell into place. Eventually the time travel element provided some necessary restrictions that, I think, actually assisted the plot. Sorry, this is a vague answer but, even today, I’m not really sure where the story came from. As least I haven’t attributed it all to my muse!

What do you like to do when not writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a very keen Geocacher. I love the outdoors and a good puzzle. Geocaching scratches those itches for me. Wondering through the woods looking for treasure might not be the actions of a ‘normal’ grown up but, hey, that’s probably why I’ve written a children’s novel! I like both finding and hiding them. Hiding provides a great chance to further exercise the creative part of my mind. I’m also a life-long massive Doctor Who fan. Now, why did I write a book about time travel!?

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
You can follow me on my Amazon Author page at on Twitter at


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