Thursday, July 20, 2023

Book Cover Junkie Interviews Time Travel Author John R. York #TheFiveWatches


John R. York has been writing and publishing his stories since 2016, but he’s always been a storyteller, even as a kid in Central Ohio where he grew up. His life experiences provided him with a wealth of tales to share with others and resulted in his debut work, Wolf’s Tale. He has since published five more novels, including the award-winning Journey to Eden. A retired high-tech executive, he currently lives with his wife, Paula, in New Port Richey, Florida.



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Tell us about your book! What inspired you to write it?

The Five Watches: An Accident of Time is a time travel tale. The story begins with the beginning of creation and time itself. Five bits of matter are transformed into the very first

stars. Eons later those stars burn out to become powerful Star Stones, still bits of matter but imbued with infinite power. The stones eventually end up in human hands as a result of an impulsive stunt by a supernatural being, and that ultimately results in an accident of time.

A nineteenth-century scientist, Dr. Wilhelm Gussen, passionate about improving the welfare of mankind, begins a journey through time in a quest to learn about future advances in epidemiology. Physicist Emory Lynch, from the twenty-seventh century, studies an old pocket watch, said to be a time travel device, and accidently stumbles into the twenty-first century. In 2019, Jim Zimmerman, the neighborhood go-to guy, finds himself caught in the middle of a clandestine, future conspiracy. He becomes inextricably involved in future affairs that ultimately compel him to attempt to save humanity from itself—dragging his wife and a few neighbors along for the ride.

The violence and unrest reported in the nightly news over the last year, the generally poor reaction to the pandemic, all the vitriol churning around in social media, the concerns over climate, and our over reliance on technology keep me awake at night. It feels like humanity is on a course of self-destruction, and I wanted to write about this.

I enjoy reading and writing science fiction, and time travel seemed to me to be the ideal mechanism for examining human behavior over hundreds of years and to come up with a way to pull our proverbial fat out of the fire. I decided to use every day regular people for my protagonists. I wanted to emphasize that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things when put to the test.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it, or did it come later?

I have to laugh at that question. I’ve never had any problem coming up with a title for any of my novels, but this one really stumped me. It seemed like all the really good names for a time travel novel had already been used. I ended up with a list of 18 possible titles, and I wasn’t at all sure that any of them were right. I asked several family and friends to tell me which one they liked the best, but their choices were all over the map.

I finally settled on the very first one that I’d come up with, The Five Watches, but at the last minute decided to add a subtitle, An Accident of Time, which my wife, Paula, agreed was a good idea.

Tell us about the cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like? 

Once I completed the story outline, I had a very solid idea of how I wanted the cover to look. I spent a lot of time searching the Web for graphic art related to time travel. I found several images that combined a mystical sense of passing through time while using the abstract notion of an ancient clock as being the method of transference. 

The font selected for the cover is also important. I wanted something different and dramatic. My cover designer took my input and came up with our cover on the first try. I like the colors, the font, and the image. The lone man walking through the time fold perfectly represents the story’s theme of how each of us can make a difference if we have the courage to act.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find him/her?

My cover designer also happens to be my publisher, Ginger Marks, at DocUmeant Publishing. When we began this project, I told her I wasn’t comfortable working with the previous designer and she offered to take a shot at it herself. I knew she was a very talented graphic artist, so I went with it. I am pleased with the result.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?

Very few people have seen this cover. The book publishes on August 15 and I haven’t started a full-throttled promotion until now. Family and friends tell me they like it, but they would probably tell me that even if they didn’t like it – they’re family and friends. The cover is already on my website, but I haven’t received any specific feedback on it yet. I would really appreciate reactions from your followers.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?

I believe a book’s cover is very important, and that authors should be personally involved in the defining and designing process. Even if you’re not artistically inclined, you probably have some thoughts about what a cover should look like. It’s important to work closely with the cover designer. It’s very important to find a cover designer who is willing and has the patience to work with you.

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?

I wrote The Five Watches: An Accident of Time to be an entertaining story, but it is also a cautionary tale. I hope readers pick up on the messages woven throughout the novel. I think the most important message is that ordinary people often achieve extraordinary things when they put their minds to it. Time is precious, we should use it wisely.

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to connect with your readers.



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