John Heldt is the self-published author of The Mine, The Journey and now, The Show, which is the third of five books in his Northwest Passage series dealing with time travel. His books don’t go into detail about how the time travel occurs, but that’s not the point! Read on to see John and I discuss self-publishing, time travel and future projects.
1. Your new book, The Show, is coming out the week of February 17. Is it separate from the previous two books in the Northwest Passage series?
The Show is the sequel to The Mine and will likely be the only true sequel in the five-part series. Each of the Northwest Passage books will have similar themes and settings and have at least one common character – Joel Smith – but only The Show will be directly tied to another book. I decided to write The Show because many readers who enjoyed The Mine wanted a sequel and wanted that sequel to answer specific questions, such as how Grace found Joel, what became of the couple after they reunited, and whether Ginny ever learned that she would become Joel’s grandmother. All three questions are answered. I should also note that The Show is very much Grace’s story. She is the one constant in a
roller-coaster ride that spans three distinct eras.
2. What made you decide to focus on the characters and the history rather than the technical aspects of time travel?
Great question. I decided to focus on the former because it is what I know and what interests me. I cared less about gadgets and the technical considerations of time travel than how ordinary people would react if suddenly thrown back to the past – and specifically the past of ancestors they’ve known.
3. Who has been your favourite character in the series so far? Why?
That answer to that question seems to change with each book. Joel was my favorite in The Mine because I could identify with him. I knew people like him growing up. Then I favored Michelle in The Journey because I could relate to a person at middle age, one who had experienced a full life but who still had regrets. She is also a very appealing human being, a person who makes the most of a rare opportunity to remake her past. But if I had to pick one character from the series, it would have to be Grace. She was a joy to draw in The Mine and even more fun in The Show. She is intelligent, beautiful, kind, and incredibly resourceful, a woman who never loses sight of who she is or what she wants.
4. Do you have any projects planned after the Northwest Passage series?
I haven’t given it much thought. I still have two more novels to go in the series. In the fourth book, Kevin Johnson, son of Brian and Shelly Johnson of The Journey, will travel as a 22-year-old in 2013 back to 1910 Wallace, Idaho, the time and focal point of the largest wildfire in U.S. history. The series finale will return to Seattle, this time in the early 1960s, and include a popular character from The Mine. After that, I will probably give time travel a rest and consider a historical fiction series.
5. What made you decide to self-publish? Would you recommend it to other aspiring authors?
I decided to self-publish because it was the most attractive option available to me when I finished The Mine in February 2012. I did not want to let my work languish for a year or two while agents and publishers mulled it over. I’m glad now that I didn’t wait. I’ve been able to accomplish most of my goals as an author and build a significant following in less than a year. There is no way I could have done that taking the traditional route. I would recommend self-publishing to writers facing similar circumstances. Novelist Jessica Park
wrote a great post for Indie Reader last year that spoke for many. I recommend that as well.
6. Can you give us any more hints about The Show?
I can’t say much without giving the story away, but I can tell you that Grace’s pursuit of a happy life with Joel hits a major snag when she accidentally enters a twenty-first century time portal. She travels back to 1918, just as World War I is ending and the Spanish flu is sweeping through Seattle. She meets her mother, father, and aunt as young, unmarried adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army officer just back from the war. The Show is both a prequel and a sequel to The Mine.
7. Do you have any other advice for the aspiring writers out there?
Yes. Don’t wait to write. Produce your best work and get it out there. Doors are opening for writers willing to put in the effort.