Interview with Dan Garmen

Some readers have complained that the story of “Time Flying” is incomplete. Is there more?
Yes, there is. The last words of the book are “The End of Part One,” and I am working on part two. The book’s ending is definitely a cliff-hanger, but I know that some people read the final chapter as a ridiculously sped-up finishing up of the story, but it’s really a connector to the sequel, tentatively titled “Passed Lives.”
Time Travel fans have also complained that the ending makes no sense. How is it Richard suddenly ends up in the 1950s?
I can say without spoiling, that the story that begins with “Time Flying” is a tale of two different kinds of time travel, consciousness and bodily. Readers of “The Time Traveler Blog,” from which the book is derived, know that Richard travels bodily to 1933, a trip documented by the letter, written by his grandfather, that is given to Richard. How his experience in his own past relates to his time travel to 1933, and how those two types of travel are connected is the subject of Passed Lives.
Where did the idea for two types of time travel come from?
I’ve read Time Travel stories that involve only consciousness, and of course, many more that use bodily travel, but have never seen the two used together. So I did it.
Since “Time Flying” is told in the first person, it’s natural to wonder how much of the book comes from your own life?
Every writer I know uses (hopefully well-disguised) people from his or her own life, in addition to situations, places and experiences. I look back at things I wrote when I was in my 20s, and am amazed (and not a little embarrassed) at how naive and one dimensional they are. It usually takes a writer years to build an inventory of building blocks that are at all compelling. I had a very well-known and successful author as a professor for a 400 level Fiction course in college who, in critiquing a short story I’d written for his class, told me to write my next story about a subject I knew very well. I was trying to write about things I didn’t really understand and hadn’t researched very well, and so the work wasn’t very good. But that’s how you learn. My next effort was a huge improvement. I’m in my 50s now, and so have a very complete collection of experiences from which to draw inspiration, ideas and execution.
Who was the well-known professor?
Tobias Wolff, who still teaches, currently at Stanford. He’s an award winning short storyist, novelist and autobiographer. In fact, his autobiography, This Boy’s Life was made into a major motion picture, starring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCapprio. Leo (who, I have never met, even though I’m using his name as though I have) is the only major actor to play someone I’ve known. I know a lot of famous people from my time in Radio and Television, but Toby is the only one who has had a movie made about their life! Well, check that. There may have been a cable movie about Donnie Osmond, so that may not be entirely true.
How did your background and life help you write Time Flying?
I think we all, at one time or another, have wanted a time machine that we could use to go back and get a second chance with something. Sometimes it’s to avoid pain, other times to take advantage of something you were afraid to commit to at the time. I have both of those things going on in my life. I played high school basketball, and for some reason that I can’t fully explain today, sat out my senior year, even though I had worked very hard preparing for it, and let my coach down by not showing up for that first day of practice. I’d suffered an injury a few years before, but it had nothing to do with my sitting out. Nor did I get hooked on pain meds. In truth, though I’ve never had anyone complain, opioid addiction wasn’t really a huge problem in the late 70s and early 80s. It wasn’t until a few years later than Vicodin and Oxycodone came onto the scene. Oxycontin came even later. Using the addiction problem in that way involved taking some artistic license.
What about Richard’s lost love. Is there really an Amanda?
I’ll admit my wife is a pretty good model for Richard’s wife Molly, but there specifically is no single “Amanda” in my past. As I said before, writers use events and experiences from their own lives all the time, and yes, there are a couple events in the book that are similar to things that really happened to me. The character reminds me of one person I knew in high school who wore a particular perfume I can still identify today, and another who I did a few musicals with – I played in the orchestra and she was an actress, but no, there’s no Amanda. I had a good friend from high school, who I’m close to now, even though we didn’t really run in the same circles back then, read a draft of the book with the assignment of trying to identify anyone we knew. In every case, she was wrong about who she thought was being portrayed, so I felt okay with it. A couple other friends who have read it have had their own ideas about who might be who, but I’m confident that nobody from those days have snuck into the story. My high school basketball coach did pass away in the locker room at halftime of a game a couple years after I graduated, and I’ve always had a sharp regret for letting him down by not playing that last year. I wouldn’t have made a difference in the performance of the team that season had I played, but he had been so supportive and encouraging when I told him I wanted to play my senior year. He worked with me, coached me (quietly and unknown to most of the rest of the team) and I knew wanted me on the team that year. One day, a few weeks after practice started, I ran into him in the gym, and though he wasn’t mad, I could tell I had disappointed him, and was so sick about that. Then, when he passed away, I knew I’d always carry that regret with me. Which I do.
Your description of Naval Flight Operations are quite realistic, and more than a couple readers have commented that you, obviously, have been a Naval Aviator. Were you?
What I can tell you is: A: I’m a pilot, B: I have set foot on a number of Naval vessels, including the now retired USS Ranger (which is an important setting in the book), and C: During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, I had very short hair, a mustache and wore brown Navy Oxfords a lot. But, I can tell you that I was NEVER a member of Navy VA-145, known as “The Swordsmen.” During Desert Storm the squadron DID carry their share (and then some) of the Naval Air Operations that were carried out, but didn’t lose a single (let alone two) aircraft in action. My love affair with the A6E Intruder started while in college. I’d always wanted to fly, but wore glasses and couldn’t be a military pilot. My father saw an ad in the newspaper that said something like “Wear glasses but want to Fly Navy?” which was a recruiting advertisement for the NFO (Naval Flight Officer) program. NFOs were RIOs (Radar Intercept Officers) in F14 Tomcats and BNs (Bombardier/Navigators) in Intruders. The Tomcat crews got all the girls, and according to the movie Top Gun, played a lot of shirtless volleyball, but the first time I saw a picture of an Intruder, I knew I was in love. Later came the book Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts, and my “girl” got a little more famous.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Daniel Silva’s work. His Gabriel Alon novels are tight, and Mr. Silva has created a wonderfully complex and compelling character in the Israeli assassin. Richard Bach influenced me greatly. Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah was life-changing for me, as was The Bridge Across Forever. I really enjoy Scotland’s top crime writer, Ian Rankin’s work, especially the Inspector Rebus books. I’ve met Ian as well and like him very much. I adolized Robert Ludlum and was lucky enough to interview him before he passed away. A great writer, the most imaginative spy thriller author of his age. I liked Eric Van Lustbader’s Ninja books, too, but haven’t been a fan of his work in the Ludlum universe. I know having him take over the Ludlum franchise makes sense commercially, but it’s a different artist’s world, and doesn’t do either of them justice. I’ve always loved heroic fantasy, especially the work of Michael Moorcock, whose Eternal Champion cycle instilled in me a deep love of serial fiction. Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni books had powerful effect on me as well. Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series is thrilling, as is Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander saga. Both could have college level history courses based on them.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
I’m not sure I feel comfortable giving a lot of advice yet, so I’d prefer to point to advice already given by those who have earned the right to advise! If you want to write fiction, you have to read (and preferably memorize) Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules. I violated 5 of the 10 rules in Time Flying, but hope to get that down to no more than 2 in my next book. Any successful author (and most unsuccessful ones, too) will tell you to write as much as possible, even if what you are writing isn’t very good. Talking or thinking about writing doesn’t count, though most of us do way too much of both. Although I don’t really have any experience with this one, Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying one should “write drunk, and edit sober.” Apparently, he didn’t really say this, although it would be hard to argue he didn’t follow that advice. The idea comes from a book by Peter De Vries, who wrote a character based on Dylan Thomas. And finally, never, ever try and show people how smart you are by correcting misattribution in print!
Published 2019-05-07.
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Books by This Author

Time Flying: A Time Traveler's Memoir
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,110. Language: English. Published: May 7, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Rich Girrard is a time traveler, but has no idea how such a thing is possible, let alone how he managed to do it. Stuck in his own past, he realizes his best bet is to play it out, avoiding his previous mistakes, and doing the things he was afraid to do the first time. Rich begins to realize, though, that fixing mistakes comes at a cost.