Interview with Vincent deDiego Metzo, Author of The New Rules of Time Travel: 1938 The Deceiver

26 Jun 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The New Rules of Time Travel: 1938 The Deceiver?

Many of my ideas come from dreams. I have an active dream life. The dream that sparked the New Rules of Time Travel series had to do with a New Year’s Eve party in a Chelsea loft. There was an EZ Bake oven, and we were eating half-cooked cookies from it. A virus tainted those cookies, mutated the telomeres, and caused kids to travel back in time.

The party happened back in the 80s. A friend’s little sister had an EZ Bake oven too. Riotous parties at lofts, that was a thing. This dream took a different turn though and got me thinking: what if you could only travel backwards in time? What would Gen Xers do if they woke up naked in the past?

The first book 1933: The Detective gave us a look at the perils of time travel. 1938 The Deceiver looks deeper into the personal cost of time travel and what it means to find your tribe.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The New Rules of Time Travel: 1938 The Deceiver, what would they be?

I always write with music on. I like to listen to the radio. Sometimes, I listen to a specific playlist, genre, record, or artist. Each character has at least one song that helps me tap into their rhythm. Maybe it’s a throwback to the David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf album from 1978, or maybe even before that when we learned in music class that each character had an instrument and a theme in the piece.

The love interests in 1938 The Deceiver are Douglas Mico and Sarah Williams. Douglas Mico, a commuter from the 1980s, has a few songs that follow him around in 1938. “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” is one. Not the original Louis Prima or the Benny Goodman versions, those rock, but the Brian Setzer version because Doug is a little more electric. Regarding the time Doug grew up in, as opposed to the time he phased back to, “Blank Generation” by Richard Hell suits Doug. If Sarah was in the 80s, Blondie’s “Rip Her to Shreds” would be her song. In 1938, Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” symbolizes her exotic personality.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I like mysteries and adventures. Hard-boiled, capable, do-it-yourself protagonists with issues. I dig the classic noir detective books (Hammett, Chandler, etc.) My scifi has to have mystery and adventure in it. I loved the Expanse series because it blended these genres. The things I gravitate toward have a common darkness, or noir quality to them. With my writing, I look to combine genres and view them through a black and white lens with stark contrasts of shadow and light and as much irreverence as possible.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’ve been on a non-fiction tear, finishing Scott Galloway’s new book-The Algebra of Wealth and Laura Belgray’s-Tough Titties. I’m half-way through Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life and Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen. Next on my list (if I don’t get distracted) is Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Writing is like time travel and each scene allows me to be someplace else, in another time, which I love. If I had to choose, it would be between the dance hall scene where Doug learns to swing dance and meets Sarah the second time and the scene where Doug, Sarah, Almondine and Jimmy hear the War of the Worlds radio broadcast and Jimmy thinks it’s real. It was great being in both those places and seeing what unfolds.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I wouldn’t call my habits quirky. Compared to other writers, I’m quite tame. I pretty much always listen to music when I write, and I often wear a hat. Oh, and then there’re the electrodes I place on my skull to stimulate the imagination, but everyone does that… Right?

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

My grandfather, Julio deDiego, was an artist. A one-man corporation, he used to say. When he was dying of cancer, I went to Florida to visit him. I was around twelve. “In this life, Vicente, you have to have cojones,” he told me. Every time I have doubt, insecurity, or wonder why I should bother, I think of that.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I hope the readers have fun! But after that, I hope they reflect on choices. The choices Doug and Sarah make, the choices Lopez and Father Michael have made. Imagine if you traveled back in time. Would you make the best of it? Could you build a life and choose a family?


Vincent deDiego Metzo is the author of the new book The New Rules of Time Travel: 1938 The Deceiver

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