Benson: “My Troubles With Time” is a lighthearted science fiction book about an inept physics professor. With no friends and no career future, still a virgin although in his mid-thirties, he seeks to become a national hero by going back to December 1941 in a time machine he has invented. His plan is to destroy the Japanese fleet which attacked Pearl Harbor. Overcoming great obstacles he seizes command of the battleship Nevada and achieves his goal. Rather than being hailed as a hero, he is arrested and sentenced to death by a U.S. Navy Court Martial for mistakenly sinking the Japanese vessels before they launched their attack. Thanks to the vagaries of time travel he escapes and returns home, no longer a virgin and a greatly improved individual.
Ana: That was careless of him -- if there's one thing fiction has taught me, it's that sex + time travel = becoming your own grandfather. What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Benson: The book is primarily intended to give the reader a happy experience. However, it is based in part on an actual incident, the gallant effort of the few junior officers on board the Nevada to get the giant battleship to sea in the midst of the Japanese attack. They managed to start the engines and leave the anchorage. Unfortunate their effort came to naught. Under heavy attack from Japanese aircraft, the Nevada was ordered beached to avoid its being sunk at a spot which would have blocked the main channel. This incident always brings tears to my eyes, when I think of the outstanding courage displayed by the Nevada’s junior officers and crew.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Benson: The book was actually composed in my mind while walking. Normally I listen to audio books when I take my frequent walks, usually books on history. When I can find none of interest, I entertain myself by composing plots in my head. “My Troubles With Time” originated during my long walks. Only when I had the entire plot completed in my head did I write it down. I then carefully researched it to make certain it stuck as close to historical facts as possible.
Ana: I've done some writing-while-walking myself, come to think on it -- very cool that you finished the novel and wrote it all down! If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Benson: I have always loved to read science fiction, particularly those few humorous science fiction stories I have found. However, I know of no humorous science fiction book to rival mine.
Ana: I like your confidence. Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Benson: This is my first novel. I am the author of seven previously published non-fiction works, all on history and foreign affairs. My favorite of these is a history of the administration of President Millard Fillmore. I enjoyed researching that because I realized, as I was teaching my young daughter about the American Presidents as I drove her to day care that I knew virtually nothing about Millard Fillmore, myself.
Ana: That's one way to master a subject! Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Benson: “My Troubles With Time” is available on Kindle, IPAD, B&N, and Smashwords for $2.99. I would invite any potential reader to ask me about it via email at email@example.com.
Ana: Thank you, Benson. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Benson: Sample sections are available free of charge on the Kindle and Smashwords sites.