ELF: What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?
DM: The hardest thing to overcome in getting my novel done and published was succumbing to distractions. Hunger, sleepiness, restlessness, frustration, an urge to keep on researching past a reasonable stopping point, an urge to stop editing before a reasonable stopping point. I think it all comes down to anxiety. To whatever degree I did overcome the anxiety, and I did enough so as to finish a two hundred forty thousand word novel, I think it was through developing a strong urge to keep on, always coming back to the work. My mantra was, “I can always start.” Writing a few words or editing another paragraph could be enough, and could be enough to get me going again. When I just couldn’t get going, I found a catnap, a form of calming meditation, actually, worked wonders.
I got in a state of mind where the novel pretty much always came up on my short list of things to do. Sometimes I’d bounce from one part of the work to another to keep going. I decided if I didn’t have the energy for a scene, I might well drop it or put in “an explosion”.The same distractions got in the way of the other part of getting the novel out, the marketing of it. In both parts, I’d do just a bit more before stopping, and then a bit more than that, until I often found I’d been working for hours, finding satisfaction in what I could see developing. There are passages that still choke me up when I read them, with what’s said and how it’s said. I wrote exactly what I wanted to write, in just the way I wanted to write it. L'état, c'est moi: The state, it is I. self-publishing.
You wake back in early adolescence, adult memories intact, including ones that could make you very wealthy now. Your birth family is here, alive again, but your later families are gone, perhaps forever. What has happened, what should you do about coming problems like violence, ignorance, pollution, and global warming? You realize one key connects most, the fundamentalist strains of all the major religions, disdaining science, equality, and social welfare. You see that there are some things you can change, some you can’t, and one you don’t dare to.
Fellow idealists help you spend your growing fortune well--such as an artistic Zoroastrian prince in the Iranian oil industry, a rising officer in the Soviet army working to find a way to destroy his corrupt government, a Bahai woman struggling against Islamic brutality, a Peruvian leader working for a liberal future, and a snake-handling Christian minister, grappling with doubts, sexuality, and destiny. They are supported by an ally who develops essential psychic powers. The group faces familiar-looking corrupt politicians, religious leaders, and corporate czars, but there is an ancient force in the background, promoting greed, violence, hate, and fear.
This exciting, emotional, thoughtful, humorous, and even romantic sci-fi novel weaves progressivism, music, movies, and literature into a struggle spanning the globe. Vivid characters propel the action back up through an alternative history toward an uncertain destination. Experience the unique story and its novel telling.
When she gets home from school, Mom surprises me with a borrowed newspaper, El Mundo: “I thought you might want to catch up on Latin American news. You can read this OK, can’t you?”
Ah, a test. Thank goodness I’ve been brushing up scanning her upper-level texts. I take in her sly, wolfish grin, restrain one of my own, and say,” Oh, good here’s an article on the coming Venezuelan election, Mom. Have you read it?”
“Um, no, not yet.”
I proceed to summarize the article and mention that the junta had called the elections confident of solidifying their mandate. I go on to add they would lose—and turn power back over to the military. Who’d have thought that my Latin American studies focus would come in so handy, so long before I pursued it!
Mom slinks off to putter in the kitchen, but soon our doorbell rings. She seems to run to answer it.
“David, there’s a man here, Mr. Walker, I’d like you to talk with.” Looks like trouble.
“Oh, about what?” I ask.
“Well, just to get acquainted, for now,” Mom says. “Um, we’re thinking you might be able to use a special teacher.”
Walker is a serious-looking tall man of middle age, conservatively suited.
“Are you a math teacher? I’d love to learn advanced stuff, like algebra.”
“Oh, do you already know about it?
“No, not past the name. Can you teach me algebra?”
Mom puts in, “Maybe history, David?”
“That’d be nice. I don’t know much, except some about the Second World War. I was amazed a friend of mine didn’t know who General Rommel was, though.”
“Mrs. McCracken, is there something in particular you have in mind?”
“Well, he says he came back from the future.”
“Mom, if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have been so surprised by this. You’re worrying me. You don’t want to do electroshock again, I know. You were really confused after the last time.”
“This is nonsense! I’ve never had electroshock.”
“Oh, Mom, are you back in that state? Don’t you remember? You denied it then, but . . . well, you know you wet your pants whenever you’d think about it. She was doing so well, Doctor . . ..”
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AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David McCracken was born in Louisville, KY, in 1940. Raised mostly in Winchester, KY, he now lives in Northern Virginia, with his third and final wife. He has three children, two stepchildren, and six grandchildren.
After three years in the U.S. Navy following a lackluster academic start, he graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1963, in Diplomacy and International Commerce. He then worked as a Latin American country desk officer in the U.S. Department of Commerce until he returned to school to earn an M.A. in Elementary Education in 1970 from Murray State University, having always been intending to teach. Eventually realizing his children qualified for reduced-price lunches based on his own teaching salary, he studied computer programming at Northern Virginia Community College and worked as a programmer until shifting back into elementary teaching.
He began working on what became Fly Twice Backward in 1983 and finally finished it in 2019! At 79, David strongly doubts he'll be doing another novel of such scope and complexity, but is preparing to work on a children's science fiction novel with a progressive bent, being a devout progressive in politics and religion, as well as a lover of learning.
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