The eBook for MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS is now available via Google eBooks for a mere $9.99. You can find it here.
This version can work on any eBook reader from Kindle to your iPad or iPhone.
If you would rather have a paperback copy of the book, it is still available via amazon.com (here) for $15.95.
There are a few samples from the work available out there if you would like to check it out first. You can find a sample from the work via the official Google eBook page for it (here) as well as a sample on my own website (here) of one of my favorite scenes in the work.
If you have read the book and liked it, please consider sharing it with a friend. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will check out this unique and surprising novel. I am very proud of it. A new introduction to the creation of the work is included below.
I have always loved a good time travel adventure, and the idea of writing one has always been in my bucket list of things I want to do as an author ever since I can remember. (Is there a real bucket list in my mind? Yes there is, and I can check it off for you sometime if you are ever curious.) The thing is that as much as I desired to write one, I needed a spark of originality.
See, I just couldn’t create another boring pop adventure time travel adventure with some dashing hero saving some random day and possible princess while hanging out with Einstein or some other famous individual. That is not how I roll as a writer. That ain’t me. I needed something that would make my story standout and say something about life and maybe even break some ground on the literary front. But before all that, I needed an original time travel hook.
That hook came in the form of a nightmare…
So in the dream I was in my apartment in Los Angeles, a normal day, and I stepped through a door into my room… but when I entered my room and the door shut behind me, I was no longer in my bedroom…
I was gone.
I was someplace else completely, in a different time. This was not one of those fun time travel moments, this was horrific because I quickly realized I had no idea where I was and I had no idea how to get home! I was lost from everything I knew, everyone I loved.
I woke up with sweat on my forehead, and only after some deep breaths was I then able to say “Eureka,” my expression of horror changing to a satisfied smirk.
This may seem wrong to some, but in the early months of writing it, historical accuracy was not at the forefront of my creative process. No, that was all secondary to the story of Jacob.
See, MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS is the story of Jacob first, a man in his thirties who has been lost in time ever since he was a toddler and first stepped through a door and was lost. It was that feeling of horror that inspired me and I wondered what such a lifestyle would do to a person.
- How would they develop?
- How would they see the world and other people?
- Would things mean the same to them?
- What would they desire?
- What would give them meaning and/or satisfaction?
I love to discuss Joseph Campbell and his theory on the hero’s journey (I’ve done it on a few writing editorials on this site), but never before have I so latched on to that philosophy in one of my creations. The table of contents, in many ways, is my variation on the steps a person takes as they mature into an individual. This, philosophically, helped me to figure out what I needed Jacob to experience and learn through the book. But, of course, since Jacob’s reality is not OUR reality since we are all stuck in time, it is in the variations of his development where things got really interesting for me.
Right from page 1, it is obvious how foreign in some ways Jacob’s perspective is to us. It’s one of the ways I wrote the book in the style I did, because his reality would be disjointed and fragmented. In many ways, embracing this part about Jacob freed me as an author. Yes, I was free to do whatever I wanted on the page.
I have to be honest, this book, as compared to all of my other writings, was the most fun to write. Since I knew this was the only time travel novel I would probably write so I was able to throw every idea and possibility at it. I actually wrote so much for the book that the original book was over a hundred pages longer. No, there is no “director’s cut” coming in the future. Those cuts were made for a good reason (typically, they were too cute and included some random historical great… like, for example, Jacob being drunk and dressing up like Queen Victoria in Buckingham Palace. I’m not joking, that was an edited scene).
It was only after creating the first draft that the historical accuracy question came into play. This created some conflicts for me (and especially with my wonderful and tortured editor later who always investigated, and sometimes debated, my references with me), and there are times where I made the call to choose character development over accuracy. Some may question this decision, but in mind this is a novel first, and only a historical fiction second.
One of the tricks I used in writing this book, to capture that feel of Jacob, was to write in different locations. College libraries, restaurants, coffee shops, etc., I never wrote at a place more than once or twice. The vibe of a location can affect my writing and I wanted the change to be felt. This is a subtle thing, but I always consider things like this when I am writing (It’s one of the reasons why MEGAN had to be written in a drab office cubicle, see my introduction on that book here). Music also played a large part for me since I wanted a voice for Jacob in his narration and one CD gave it to me more than any other, creating the perfect mood for his pace and style. That CD is Damien Rice’s “O.”
Wow, did I play that CD a lot during the years I spent on this book! My wife, at one point, even asked me to stop playing it. I don’t remember if she actually threatened to break the CD but the threat was definitely implied.
Without ruining the book for the new readers, I need to talk about the ending. If you have not read the book and wish to remain unspoiled, I would recommend leaving the introduction here and coming back after reading the book.
Are you still there?
So I have experienced some pushback from people about the ending, but the thing is this book is structured like a circle. I needed to have the end of it return to the beginning for the narration to make sense. And while I wish I could give everyone the ending that they wish for Jacob (and since this is a time travel work we are all programmed to want a certain ending for those kind of adventures), I needed to be true to the story.
For the more focused readers, there is hope there if you know where to look. For example, you are reading the book (which means something in the context of the story), and there is a note about the original manuscript at the end which implies that the box was found as well. If it could be found, doesn’t that mean someone might be able to help him someday?
And yet… Of all of my work, I would love to return to Jacob someday. Yes, I know it would clash with the ending and the structure of the enterprise, but I have a bunch of unused ideas around him and I loved working on the novel. That kind of creative freedom was just so liberating! The fact is though, for me to do it, I would need a good reason and my own interest is hardly enough. I have other projects that are more inspiring right now. But the interest is there, honestly, and if the book finds more success in the future and the demand is there, who knows?
For now and the time being with me, the door is shut on this story.
Thanks for reading!