One of the things that has always drawn readers to stories about time travel is the possibility of righting past wrongs. If we could go back in time at will, then perhaps we could eliminate the ache of regret. Maybe we could even prevent the evils of the world from happening. And what if we could stop ourselves from making mistakes?
Of course there are hundreds of versions of this in fiction, many of which turn out badly for the characters involved. And yet, we keep coming back for more. We yearn to see Marty McFly save the day after he disrupts his own timeline. We long for Claire to find her happy ending with Jamie.
Perhaps that’s why we are so invested in time travel romance. The idea that our heroes and heroines could find love in any time or that they could go back and reunite with an old love—that keeps us reading.
I couldn’t help but explore one of those themes in my new novel, In the Present Tense. In my story, the main character is torn between his future and his past. The main character Miles goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school.
Of course, when he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for the rare condition that causes him to time travel—but he’s also desperate to find Adam, his first love.
Through Miles’s time travels, he learns more about both relationships and his condition until he can no longer deny the truth. Will he choose Adam or Ana? Can he find a cure for his condition? Does he even want to?
My hope is that readers will immerse themselves in this book and root for Miles as he tries to sort out the puzzle pieces of his life.
Read on for an excerpt and links to buy In the Present Tense.
Miles sat there and tried to make out shapes and colors in the dark room as he searched his brain for a memory of anything.
Nothing looked familiar. His desk, his drum set, the sheets—all gone. Not one thing looked the way it had when he’d fallen asleep, and Ana certainly hadn’t been in his bed.
He tried to replay the previous day’s events, but everything seemed fuzzy, like a fogged bathroom mirror that he couldn’t wipe clean.
Why was everything so fuzzy?
Last night… What happened last night?
Adam had come over and they were watching TV together, and Adam had given him a small stuffed giraffe because Miles was scared about having surgery. He reached for his left arm, expecting to find the cast that had been there for the last two months, but it wasn’t there. His heart began to beat so loudly he glanced over at Ana to make sure she was still asleep.
Unable to determine what had happened to his cast, Miles resumed his tally of the previous evening’s chain of events. At around ten-thirty, his mom said Adam had to leave because they had to get up early to go to the hospital. He had taken his pain meds and gone to sleep with the phantom of Adam’s goodnight kiss on his cheek. He’d been happy.
He’d gotten a text from Ana earlier in the evening, but she was only wishing him luck with the surgery. She hadn’t come over. In fact, as far as Miles knew, Ana had been several hours away in her dorm room.
So how had she gotten into his bedroom? And who had changed his sheets?
He threw off the covers and stood up, noticing he was only wearing a tight-fitting pair of boxer briefs instead of his usual basketball shorts.
He looked around the room for anything familiar, but it was still dark out, and all he could see were shadows and vague shapes. On the dresser opposite the bed, he found a few framed photos. Squinting to see without turning on a light, Miles studied the images carefully.
As his eyes focused, he recognized a couple of the photos. One was from last year’s prom: Adam wearing that ridiculous corsage Miles had bought him, Ana being dipped by her date, David, as all four of them smiled widely in front of a cheesy faux tropical scene. One of the frames held a collage of photos of his and Ana’s friends. He recognized Adam, Lucky, Antonio, Dahlia and Brienne. But the last one, the largest of all the photos, was of him and Ana—her in a flowing white dress and him in a black suit, both wearing broad smiles and flanked by Miles’s parents and a woman Miles had only seen once: Julia Espinosa, Ana’s mother.
A loud clatter echoed through the bedroom as the frame hit the edge of the dresser and fell to the hardwood floor. This wasn’t his room, and he didn’t remember that photo being taken.
“Go back to sleep,” Ana mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow.
“Ana,” he whispered, risking her full anger, but unable to stop himself, “we’re married.”
“Thanks for the update. Now go back to sleep before I divorce your dumb ass.”
He dropped to the floor on his knees, barely even noticing the sharp pain of bare skin hitting the hard surface.
Married. To Ana?
What the hell had happened?
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