I adore the whole Timekeeper series from Timekeeper to Chainbreaker all the way to Firestarter and I am so happy that Tara agreed to answer some of my questions! I know you hear from me all the time, so I’ll stop talking and let you read Tara’s answers to my questions.
The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus‘s cause or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan–to bring back the lost god of time.
As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes–Prague, Austria, India–nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.
I love the character of Daphne specifically for her navigation of her
biracial identity. In Firestarter there are a few conversations that
bring this issue up due to the tensions in India. Could you talk a
little bit more about what it was like to write Daphne’s characters and
to choose when and how to have these conversations?
Writing Daphne’s character was difficult at times, because it was the first time I’d ever written a character with my specific representation. It was also liberating because I could talk freely about my experiences through Daphne’s, although hers took a different form than mine. It was important to me to have a scene with her and the other Indian characters in FIRESTARTER, specifically to show the reader just how different being Indian can be from one person to the next.
The world building in all of these books has been absolutely fabulous,
and I feel like in Firestarter it just comes to a complete new level.
Can you talk a little bit more about your writing process in regards to
world building? Did you always know of the plot’s trajectory in regards
to the twists and turns we find out about the world?
When I first wrote TIMEKEEPER I actually didn’t know a whole lot about the world, and it wasn’t until I edited the book with my editor that I fully unlocked the rest of the details. There were just so many questions that needed to be answered that it took a while to answer them all. I knew how the trilogy would end while I was writing CHAINBREAKER, so it was easy in some way to build up to it, but pacing all the twists and turns took a while to get just right.
I am so excited for your next upcoming project, Scavenge the Stars, how
was it different to write a book that is re-telling versus the
Timekeeper trilogy? What was the motivation for this project and why The Count of Monte Christo?
I really enjoyed writing SCAVENGE because it brought me back to what I love to write most: high fantasy. There’s also a lot of story components I love, like revenge, betrayal, and forbidden romance. I don’t typically think of it as a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, but rather a reimagining of the story if the main character were a girl. I was
grateful to not have to do as much historical research for this project as I did with the Timekeeper trilogy!
I’d love to find out how the Timekeeper Trilogy came about. Did it
begin with a line, a character, a scene? And what guided you throughout
the entire trilogy?
It began with an image–specifically, the image of a boy in a clock tower, before a glowing clock face. I wanted to know who he was and why he was there, and why the clock was glowing, and everything just spiraled from there. True to form, I think Colton guided me the most throughout the trilogy–it felt like his story, although Danny is the
main character, and I felt compelled to tell it right.
What books, tv shows, movies, music have you been loving?
Right now I’m really loving THE WICKED KING, the Spider-Man PS4 game, Into the Spider-Verse, and Schitt’s Creek.
In Firestarter the idea of sacrifice is huge. Whether it be our own
sacrifice, or if we are willing to sacrifice our loved ones. Is there
anything that inspired you to turn in this direction? Can you think of a
pop culture reference where the characters struggle with this similar
question? I loved how this theme really developed in this book as we are
asked where the agency lies in protecting the ones we love.
This theme was huge for me not only in FIRESTARTER, but in the entire trilogy. Danny is constantly struggling between what he wants and what’s right, which culminates dramatically in the third book, and the other
characters all realize they’ll have to give up something if they want to make the world a better place. I think this is a theme that we as a society struggle with right now, particularly the millennial generation. We have to sacrifice a lot in order to get things that are necessary, or the things that we want. I can only hope that these sacrifices will pay
off, in the end.