Interview with CD Haun, Author of In A Time Before

22 Jun 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, In A Time Before?

The book is a time travel story about Ancient Rome  that follows the protagonist after college. He uses money his grandmother planned to go to a charity, but he doesn’t care. During his visit to 21st Century Rome, he meets a young woman who offers to show him around her city. However, each night, when he falls asleep, he awakens in 1st Century Rome.

During his six days touring modern Rome, he experiences an increasing number of exciting adventures in Ancient Rome, which total nine days in that ancient time. The combination of the contemporary man and the ancient patrician modify many of his selfish attitudes. These changes lead him to take dramatic steps in the first century and open his eyes to the meaning of his life in the 21st.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

As a kid in sixth grade, I caught the writing bug. From that moment on, I wrote every chance I had. First came English classes during which I mainly wrote sci-fi stories even when the teacher suggested other prompts. Then in high school, because of Latin classes, I began to create stories of battles between the legionnaires and barbarians.

Years passed, and after two kids arrived, I decided to write a novel. My first attempt was a knock-off of the Mouse That Roared and earned a stack of rejection slips for my lack of effort. For the next twenty years, I reverted to reading my original loves of sci-fi and Ancient Rome. Finally, after retiring from my third or fourth job, I wrote a sci-fi story. My librarian wife informed me that book might be a reasonable high school novel. My problem was I hoped she would call it “the great American sci-fi story.”

Then my wife suggested, “Why don’t you write a story about your true love…Ancient Rome.” So I did, and A TIME BEFORE turned out the book she described as “This is good.”

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Probably not surprising for me, my top books are about ancient Rome. First on the list would be Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove’s book title HOUSEHOLD GODS. Also, a time travel vision of a woman who can’t stand her life and ends up as a bar owner in those bygone days.

The second would be any book by Steven Saylor concerning his ancient Rome characters. Then, at the same level, any book by Lindsey Davis. I own or have read everything she’s published in the genre.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would have no difficulty in making a choice for this interview.  Lindsey Davis would be my first guest. She wrote me a nice email wishing me well with the publication of my book. The first question I’d ask would be why she didn’t offer to read my book. Because I love her books so much, I wouldn’t even need her answer. I wouldn’t want her to stop writing more novels to take time to read mine.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The short answer is where the books take me. I begin with a brief idea and then write a two-page outline which expands to ten or twelve. After that, I do my research before I start. The problem is that the characters take on a life of their own. As a result, what is written bears little comparison to my original outline. That’s fun!

What is a typical day like for you?

My days now revolve around writing, reading books about writing, and researching for my next book. It also seems that every time I turn around, I stumble over an idea for another story. My future book idea file contains so many one-page outlines that I’ll need to live to one-hundred and fifty to finish them all. For example, we were in Venice, Italy, during the hundred-year flood. During our stay, I wrote three short outlines of stories concerning that amazing city.

What scene from In A Time Before was your favorite to write?

I guess this would have to be the final chapter where he bids goodbye to Melissa. The book wasn’t originally planned to end this way. However, somewhere during the writing, the characters took off on their own, and the direction changed. What happened in the story was a complete surprise to me.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Love one another and follow your passion.

CD Haun is the author of the new book In A Time Before

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rebecca