When would you vacation?

2 min read

The anthology Timeshares [Amazon | B&N | BooksAMillion | Penguin ] comes out today, and it includes my short story “Memories of Light and Sound.” And how cool is that?

The concept behind Timeshares is simple: If you could not only go anywhere, but anywhen on vacation, what would you do? It’s a diverse bunch of stories from a diverse bunch of storytellers. I thought I’d talk a little bit about my story; this is pretty spoiler-free.

I can’t tell you what Jean Rabe was wearing when she called me up during the break of the critique session. I can’t remember what I was wearing. I can, however, remember the racing thrum of my heart. I remember the sounds of other participants, their voices becoming a background chorus of white noise as Jean asked me how fast I could write. I remember her asking me if I could have a short story for Timeshares ready in less than a week.

I had some broad outlines of the other stories. Avoid this time period, avoid that event. I enjoy time-travel stories, so I’m also (painfully) aware of all the tropes, so that limited me even more. As much as I’d love to write a story about going back to the Cretaceous, I’ve seen enough other examples that I’d hesitate to try. What could I possibly do that was different?

The idea came to me in a flash. I left the meeting, found the nearest bar (thankfully I had my laptop), and had a rough draft in two hours. Five drafts and three days later, the story was finished.

Like so many stories, it has elements of truth. For example, my great-grandfather emigrated in the 1920’s, and passed through Ellis Island. I’d recently had to find his signature to apply for a particular scholarship, and looked up old census records, seeing as he anglicized his name over the next two decades.

I barely knew him or my great-grandmother. I met them several times – but I was a young child. My memory is crappy to begin with; I tend to remember themes illustrated by flashes of vision or dialogue. As an adult, I suspect they wanted to be nice to me. I was their first great-grandchild, a bratty selfish thoroughly American kid. I was always bored when I visited them, and I’m certain I disappointed them.

And the story flowed from there.

Timeshares [Amazon | B&N | BooksAMillion | Penguin ] features 19 stories from awesome authors including Robert Vardeman, Mike Stackpole, Kelly Swails, Chris Pearson, and Don Bingle and tons more. Pick a copy up!

[Edit: Thanks to Jim Hines, I just found out that you can also enter to win a copy over at SciFiChick’s website!]

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