Sunday, May 14, 2017

Interview with Greta Cribbs Author of Road to Yesterday

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I have loved paranormal stories my entire life. I was a kid in the eighties, and I thought the Nightmare on Elm Street movies were just about the best thing to ever grace the silver screen. I made frequent visits to the library to look for collections of short ghost stories. I’ve branched out since then, and actually haven’t published anything that fits the ghost or the slasher genres, but I do like to add some sort of paranormal element to everything I write.
What inspired you to write this book?
This might take a little while to explain.
First off, I’m a huge Supernatural fan. Now, Supernatural fans usually fall into one of two categories. There are those who prefer seasons 1 and 2 of the show, and there are those who like seasons 4 and 5 the best. I’m a seasons 1 and 2 girl. The show’s origins were rooted in the horror genre, and since that is my favorite genre, the creepy atmosphere of the show hooked me immediately. I can recognize the great story telling of seasons 4 and 5, but with the focus being on the great cosmic battle between good and evil, those two seasons feel more like fantasy than horror, so a part of me will always be nostalgic for the early days when everything was spooky and mysterious.
So how does that relate to my book? Well, it started with a dream. In the dream, my husband and I were driving through some unnamed small town. We knew, the way you know things in dreams, that we were in the Supernatural universe. Sam and Dean were real and everything that had ever happened to them was real. We also knew that we were in the current season (I think they’re on number 12 now). We parked our car and got out. I glanced across the street and saw Sam Winchester. But he did not look the way Sam looks now. He was Sam from season 1. I excitedly tapped my husband on the shoulder to get his attention, saying, “Look! Look! It’s Sam! But it’s not the current Sam. It’s Sam from the first season!” Then I woke up.
Three days later I still could not stop thinking about this dream, so I knew I had to turn it into a book. But I don’t write fanfiction, so I had to change the characters names, give them new personality traits, and come up with completely new backstories. But the scene in the first chapter of Road to Yesterday where Kim and Vi are sitting in the restaurant eating breakfast and they see their brother Alex walk in, looking exactly like he did ten years ago, was taken directly from my dream.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
I often name characters after people from my favorite movies or TV shows, but I do it in a sort of convoluted way. Sometimes the name will start with the same letter as a movie or TV character. Sometimes I’ll reference someone from a movie by using the name of another, usually minor, character from the same movie. The most twisted route I’ve ever taken to naming a character was in my first book, Amelia’s Children. There’s a character in there who was based largely on Sheriff Harry Truman from Twin Peaks. I didn’t want it to be obvious that I was referencing Twin Peaks, so I did not want to name him Harry. So I thought, okay, who are some famous Harry’s that everyone knows? The first one who came to mind was Prince Harry, who, of course, has a brother named William. So I named the character Will.
It took me forever to name the oldest brother in my newest book. Nothing seemed to fit. So I finally decided I wasn’t going to honor a specific character or a specific actor with his name. Since Road to Yesterday is about time travel, I decided to pay tribute to the time travel genre as a whole. So I named him Kyle after the character who travels back in time in The Terminator.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

Male leads in my books are usually based on some TV character who I happen to find attractive. The female leads are usually some variation of me. But then, once I start writing, the characters begin to develop their own personalities beyond those identities I initially borrowed from other sources. I never plan this out. I’m so goal oriented, if I wrote out an outline of what kind of character arc my stories had to have, I would end up feeling trapped by it and would likely never finish writing a book. So I start writing, and I let the characters tell me how they want to be written. I know that sounds like the weirdest thing ever to someone who has never written a book, but those who have been on that journey will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Of course I’ve experienced writer’s block. Who doesn’t? As I said above, the inspiration for my characters often comes from my favorite movies or TV shows. To be more specific, I base my male characters on whatever TV character or actor I happen to be fangirling at the moment. So if I find myself losing the drive to write a certain story, I just spend some time watching the TV show or movie that provided the initial spark, and suddenly I’m rolling again.

Do you write in different genres?
I try to incorporate a paranormal element into all of my books. It’s all part of that branding thing that’s so important when you’re trying to get your name out there into the world. But there are many choices within the paranormal genre. My first book, Amelia’s Children, is a murder mystery in which one character happens to have psychic abilities. My second book, Primog√©nito is a dark urban fantasy involving blood magic. Road to Yesterday is more or less a family drama in which one family member happens to have traveled through time. So my books are all paranormal, but they are all very different from each other.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
Not at all. In fact, I have a good many ideas for some non-paranormal books I’d like to write, but I don’t plan to do so any time soon because of the branding thing I mentioned above.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I am interested in so many things. I have a degree in Music Education, and I love to sing and play piano. I take dance lessons. I’ve dabbled in photography and even tried my hand a filmmaking (something I’d like to develop a bit more in the future, maybe even turning my own books into movies!) I also love reading, which I probably have in common with all other writers.
Where can readers find you on the web?
I have pages on Facebook and Twitter. I also have a website at
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
“So, wait...” I could almost see Alex’s mind working to process what I’d just told him. “You think when I go back to my own time I’m going to do something to save Kyle’s life?”
“So then I’m out how to save him?”
“No. Well...I guess...I mean, I hadn’t really thought about that part, so maybe. But no, I’m thinking you’re here to do for...for you...whatever you did for Kyle back then.”
“But I haven’t done anything for Kyle yet.”
“Right. But you will. When you go back.”
“And what exactly am I going to do?”
“I don’t know. You never told us.”
“Then how the hell am I supposed to do it?”
“I guess you’ll know when the time comes.”
Vi cleared her throat. Her arms were crossed over her chest and she was tapping her foot impatiently. “That’s a great theory, Kim. In fact, let’s go with that. Let’s assume that’s why Alex is here. In which case we need to go so we can get him to Georgia in time to save...himself.” She turned and marched off toward the far end of the lot where her car was parked.
“So I’m going with you?”
Vi glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t see how you have any other choice. Unless you brought your car with you from 2007.”
Alex looked around. “No. I don’t guess I did.”
“Then it’s either stay here or come with us.”
“But I was supposed to meet someone here.”
“You’re ten years late for that appointment, Alex. Whoever it was, I think they’ve left by now.”
Vi continued walking toward her car and Alex and I followed close behind.
“Isn’t that Kyle’s car?” Alex asked when he saw where we were going.
“It was,” Vi said, “but he gave it to me when I turned eighteen.”
“So it wasn’t totaled in the accident?”
“It was pretty banged up, but Kyle’s a mechanic. Fixing cars is kind of his thing.”
“So he fixed it up, then just gave it to you?”
Vi shrugged. “Yeah. Well...after he bought the motorcycle.”
Alex laughed. “Kyle has a motorcycle? Who does he think he is, The Fonz?”
“Kyle’s always wanted to be The Fonz,” Vi said. “Remember his leather jacket phase?”
You remember that? You were, what, like seven?”
“He’s my brother as much as yours. And he had that thing for a...really...long time.”
“You don’t have to tell me that. I’m the one who had to live with him remember? He never took it off. Even in the summer. In Georgia. A hundred degrees outside for weeks at a time and he’s walking around in that stupid jacket. And we had to share a bedroom! I swear, Violet, there were nights I couldn’t fall asleep because it was like the whole world smelled like Kyle’s armpits.”
“Yeah. Thank God I lived all the way across the country.”
We reached the car and Vi fumbled in her purse for her keys. Alex stood near the trunk looking quizzically at her bumper sticker.
“Why do you have a huge bird sticker on the back of your car?”
“It’s a chickadee,” she said, as though that explained everything.
“A chickadee?”
“From Twin Peaks.” The inflection of her voice made it impossible to tell if she meant it as a statement or a question.
“I don’t remember...”
“Dodge Dart...Chickadee. Get it?”
Alex just stared at her and shook his head.
Vi laughed. “When we get to the hotel tonight, remind me to let you borrow my iPad so you can binge-watch.”
“Your what?”
“My iPad.”
“Maybe they didn’t have iPads in 2007,” I said.
Vi stared at Alex with eyes narrowed. “They didn’t have iPads in 2007?”
Alex shrugged. “I have an iPod.”
“An old-ass iPod from ten years ago?”
“Well, I bought it last year, so...eleven years ago?”
“Yeah, not the same thing.” She finally excavated her car keys from the cavernous interior of her purse, opened the driver’s side door, and slid in behind the steering wheel.

Road to Yesterday
Greta Cribbs

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Would you travel through time to save your brother’s life? How much would you be willing to sacrifice for the good of your family?

Two brothers fight for their lives in two hospitals, one in 2007 and the other in 2017. Meanwhile their younger sisters, Kim and Violet, find themselves traveling a road where time is no longer constant. The four of them are hurtling toward an unknown future, or an unknown past. Determined to save the lives of both their brothers, Kim and Violet seek the help of a mysterious man who seems to hold the key to everything. Can they find the answers they need before time runs out?

Available at Amazon

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