February 10, 2021: This Week We're Wild About... John E. Stith
There is nothing I love more than a great story about time travel. I can recommend you movies (The Terminator, Back to the Future, Peggy Sue Got Married) TV shows (Misfits, 12 Monkeys, Dark, Doctor Who) and books (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Kindred). I'm beyond excited to have a new entry in this genre to read, John E Stith's Tiny Time Machine. Read his interview below and then pick up a copy of the book from the Library (or buy it from his favorite bookstore online)!
And let me know if I left out your favorite time travel story...
-Natalie McCall (Head of Youth Services)
What's the title of your upcoming book?
Tiny Time Machine
What book should readers go to for an escape from reality?
One of my favorite escapes is Watership Down by Richard Adams. It transported me to a place where rabbits must flee a development project that's about to destroy their habitat. It has all the drama, the pathos, the character growth, the tension, the narrow escapes, and the triumphs of other great fiction. But with rabbits.
What book should readers go to when they want to face reality?
One great place to look is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head by Dan Harris. It's part self-help, part autobiography, a good demonstration that we're never too old to learn new tricks or to find new ways to enrich our life.
What was your reading life like before the pandemic?
I grew up as a voracious reader, focused mostly on science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries. Love of reading is what enticed me into writing. But one of the unhappy ironies of writing, for me, is the result that I have less time for reading. At most, I now read two or three books a month, sometimes less. The technological change since I was young is that now I read more ebooks than print books. I love the feel of books, but I also acknowledge the ebook advantage of being able to always have the current book with me no matter where I am. Especially if it's a large book.
What has your reading life been like since the pandemic?
Paradoxically I'm reading less, now that it seems like I should have more free time. Instead, I'm consuming more news and spending more time communicating with friends, with some of that communication taking place during MMORPG gaming.
Why should people read for pleasure? Is that any different now?
Reading provides sheer enjoyment. Story-telling is as old as we are. In stories, we can share vicariously in the struggles and triumphs of others. We learn empathy by being dropped into the point of view of someone experiencing hardship or disappointment. We get the cathartic satisfaction of seeing someone overcome terrible odds and say to ourselves, "Maybe I could do that." We learn to dream and to dream big.
What do you hope your book gives to readers?
Most of all, enjoyment. I hope they grow to love my characters as much as I do, that they can laugh with them, commiserate with them, see themselves or see their own potential in them. Along the way, I hope readers find some food for thought, to maybe see some aspect of our world in a new light. I hope they laugh, they gasp, and they come back to the bookshelf saying, "More, please."
Should book lovers worry about the future of publishing during the pandemic? If so, how can they help?
Our independent bookstores are the weakest link in the chain. Love of books often outweighs the raw need to maximize income. Their margins are thinned by the growth of so many alternatives competing for our free time. Readers can help by patronizing their favorite independent bookstores, buying books for themselves, gifts for others, and gift cards for the future.
If you could imagine your dream virtual library, what would it be like?
It would be complete, containing all my favorite books, not just the ones I've located so far. It would have room for growth-my growth-by including books that I haven't been ready for yet, but may be ready for next year. And inside every volume, like a bookplate, would be a handy insert listing all the books that author has produced, telling me all the author's pen names, collaborations, and listing all the books and magazines they have contributed to.
Where can readers find you online?
My website and blog are at http://www.neverend.com. I'm most active on Facebook where I have a professional page in addition to a personal page. The personal page is where I share my favorite photos of wildlife and tame life and recommendations for books, movies, and TV.
Do you have a favorite bookstore? Where would you like readers to buy your book (we also have it at the Library, of course!)?
Hooked on Books is my favorite independent bookstore here in Colorado Springs. Friendly, knowledgeable staff, wonderful owners. Just the thing for the plague years. Or zombies. Or princesses, starships, self-sacrifice, laughter, robots, trolls, and mad scientists.