Never having read any of Jack Finney’s work before, I decided to give Time and Again a go after reading a review by the great Stephen King; who stated that this was ‘THE Great Time Travel Story’. I wasn’t disappointed and I agree 100% with Stephen King (I bet he’s pleased about that!). Jack Finney wrote Time and Again in 1970 but apart from the lack of any mobile phones or computers in the story, it didn’t feel dated in any way. I was hooked from the first page. The story involves our time traveller – Simon Morley – switching backwards and forwards in time between 1970s New York and 1880s New York. Jack Finney describes New York of the 1880s so well you’d think he must have been there himself. He makes use of many illustrations from the time which really added to the atmosphere and brought the story to life for me.
I was so hooked on the story I had to rush straight out and buy the sequel which was published in 1995, the year of Jack Finney’s death. I always worry when I’ve enjoyed a book so much that I will be disappointed by the sequel. I needn’t have worried; From Time To Time, which starts out with our hero Simon Morley back in New York in 1911 and ends dramatically on the Titanic in 1912 again captures perfectly the atmosphere of the time, and Jack Finney’s clever use of photo images from the time puts you right in the scene.
Of course, these books are both old classics now, but if you are into the time travel genre they are an absolute must-read.
Lexi Smith is an orphan; 14 years old, unconventional and definitely a bit wacky. She doesn’t see the world as most people do. For as long as she can remember Lexi has seen colourful magnetic lines floating in the sky and she senses things that no one else does. Lexi is also a bit of a loner and as a consequence she has been regularly put-down, tormented and bullied ever since she started school. But one day she’s pushed too far by her most recent tormentor – Tina and her gang of ‘populars’ – and finally Lexi snaps. That’s when she finds out she has hidden powers; earth changing powers in fact. Not only does Lexi find out she’s a wizard, she soon discovers that she’s one of the most powerful wizards on earth. However, the discovery also uncovers a dark and sinister secret about her past.
Join Lexi in her adventures as she befriends another young wizard – Gregor MacGregor – and is helped by a mysterious old man who lives in a remote Scottish castle. Together they explore their new magical world, battle with ghostly sea serpents, travel in time to witness the death of President Kennedy, rescue Gregor’s mother from a sinister, zombie inhabited castle in Svalbard and finally face a chilling death at the bottom of an icy sea.
Along the way Lexi discovers that she is linked to legendary figures from the past and is the subject of an ancient prophecy. But there are others who want Lexi’s new powers and they will stop at nothing to get them.
Lexi Smith and the Search For Excalibur is the second novel from author Michael Stewart and will be available in paperback and on Kindle from the end of March.
I was interviewed about my new novel – The Angel of Time on the Radio Dacorum – Sarah Lowther show on Sunday 9th November at 7.00pm. What a great show and what a superb presenter. It was especially poignant for me given that it was Armistice Sunday. Click below for a listen in.
Mike Stewart on his debut novel 'The Angel of Time' with Radio Dacorum's Sarah Lowther (9/11/2014) by Sarah Lowther on Mixcloud
I am delighted to have been invited to appear on the Sarah Lowther show on Radio Dacorum on Sunday 9th November at 7.00 – 8.00pm. I will be discussing my new book – The Angel of Time. Given that it will be Armistice Sunday and 100 years since the start of the First World War it will certainly be a very topical discussion. I will be discussing the exploits of my great grandfather, William James Puttnam, who served throughout that war and who was the inspiration for my novel.
Sarah will also be asking me to disclose my favourite literature, tunes and whatever else that inspires me. It should prove to be a very interesting discussion. Please tune in.
Today I felt that I had to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard to be exact) and write to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 just to say a big thank you for the inspiration he sent my way during one of his shows. Back in March this year Jeremy Vine had Michael Morpurgo read out a letter from another of his listeners. It concerned an elderly lady who was in a hospice, dying. The gentleman who wrote the account was I believe working in the hospice and met the lady. The lady opened up to the listener and was telling him the stories from her youth, during the First World War. I recall it being an extremely moving tale of the loss of her love and it was very well read by Michael Morpurgo. I recall at the time that I was really quite moved and just couldn’t get the story out of my mind.
I just knew there was a real story there. Jeremy Vine’s show inspired me to write my debut novel which is based loosely around the life of an elderly woman who is dying in a hospice and recounts the tale of the loss of her one and only love during the First World War to a hospice helper. I then managed to weave that story into a wider story of one soldier’s evacuation from the western front in 1918, which was based around the real events of my own Great Grandfather’s exploits at that time.
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my first novel, which is now on sale in Kindle format on Amazon and will be available in paperback from next week. To achieve this I have had to learn absolutely everything from proofreading to publishing. It has been an amazing journey for me and has changed my whole life and career; taking me out of the business world I have been in for the past 35 years and thrown me into a whole new world of books and publishing. I am also now a third of my way into my second book.
So, I just felt that today I just had to say a big thank you to Jeremy Vine for the inspiration I received from him and Michael Morpurgo on that day.
The Angel of Time, my debut novel is now available on Amazon. The story is dedicated to my Great Grandfather, William Puttnam who served in the Royal Field Artillery through all of the great battles on the Western Front from August 1915 to March 1918 when he was eventually wounded on the Somme. And also to his hard working and loving wife, my great grandmother, Amy Louise, who single-handedly managed to bring up their six children during the war, including my Grandmother Violet.
The story of our own hero George, from his wounding at the Somme, his long and arduous evacuation across France, England and then onto Scotland before his eventual return home is based upon the true events as experienced by my Great Grandfather in 1918. Without the efforts of these good, honest, hard working people, and many others like them, I would not be here and this story would not have been told, so I owe them a great deal!
My debut novel The Angel of Time will be available on Amazon on the 24th October!
The novel is based around George Putnam who is the most unlikely First World War hero ever, especially as he was born in 1960. After George’s encounter with Violet – a sweet old lady dying with cancer – and the sinister ghostly soldier who accompanied her, he suddenly finds himself thrown back to war torn France in 1918, fighting for his life.
Wounded, but finally escaping the horrors of Flanders, he discovers that he is in fact married to the younger Violet and falls madly in love with her, only to find their whole existence is threatened again by a sinister figure intent on killing them both.
Who is the ghostly figure following George? Who wants him dead and why?
A romantic, time travelling, historical drama with a twist.