Interview about sci-fi Yours Truly, 2095 by Brian Paone

Today’s
feature is an interview with Brian Paone about his sci-fi novel, Yours Truly, 2095.

During
his virtual book tour, Brian will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble
(winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops
and enter there, too.

A little bit 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.
Welcome Brian. Please
tell us about your current release.
The
book is billed as a time-travel romance mystery, because on the surface, that’s
what it is. But what you don’t know, until you start reading, is that the main
character isn’t who you thought it was during the first 150 pages. Its only in
the last 200 pages that you realize that the main character is someone else,
and the book is less about time-travel and more about artificial intelligence
being able to develop a soul and free will. We all love the M. Knight Shyamalan
plot-twist as much as the next guy, but my plot twist happens so slowly, that
you don’t realize that I’ve pulled a classic plot twist on you until you reach
the end of the book. That was the hardest part of writing the book… trying to
get that just right for the reader, so the shift in focus felt natural and the
reader didn’t realize that they were actually empathizing with the wrong
character right from the beginning.

What inspired you to write this book?
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.
Also, and this is the most important part, you do NOT need
to have ever heard a single song by Electric Light Orchestra to enjoy the book
or follow along with the plotline. In fact, I have sold the book to more
non-ELO fans than I have fans of the band. So I don’t want that the book is
based on a concept that you may have never heard, to scare you away. It is a
stand-alone story about time travel, robot AI, and redeeming a love through the
years.
Excerpt from Yours Truly, 2095:
 “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.”
“J0?”
“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.”
What exciting story
are you working on next?

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 Mr. 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.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
In
the 7th grade. 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.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
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.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

I
have to listen to music when I write. But I’m very specific. I have to pick a
single band on my iPod, click Shuffle All of all their songs, and have that
playing. I can’t have a playlist of random bands. It has to be one specific
band during that writing session. And most of the time, the band’s music will
help mold the tone and atmosphere of the scene I am writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

Keifer Sutherland in Flatliners….

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Yours Truly, 2095 might be inspired
and based on a concept album from the 80s, but it is every bit my own creation
as it is developed from those lyrics. Even though it is a time-travel story on
the surface, I believe that it is a romance novel about a couple’s redemption
at its core. The book may take place in the distance future, but all the
conflicts are struggles that we deal with in our relationships in our everyday
lives in the here and now. I believe that this book can be enjoyed just as
equally by fans of straight up science-fiction time-travel stories, as well as
fans of romance mysteries. The science-fiction jargon is not crammed in your
face, nor is the romance angle shoved down your throat either. It’s a nice
blend of both, allowing the story to ebb and flow on its own, as Jeff slowly
figures out what is truth and what is a lie.


Links:
Thanks for being here today, Brian!

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9 thoughts on “Interview about sci-fi Yours Truly, 2095 by Brian Paone

  1. Ally Swanson says:

    Excellent interview! This book sounds very interesting! I have added it to my TBR list and look forward to checking it out!

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