After reading Of Time and Place, a person may conclude that I’m a pessimist. The main characters don’t fully succeed in what they’re trying to accomplish. Life in the middle of the twenty-first century is constricted by a reduced supply of petroleum energy and an economy that never fires on all cylinders. This “new normal”, which some economists now postulate, appears to be entrenched in the nation’s psyche.
I hope the reader can look past these first impressions. A better lesson to draw from the book is that government cannot remain adrift and avoid the larger, long-term issues. I’m not advocating big government or small government, but rather effective government. Infrastructure improvements, a rational energy policy, and an overall balance between revenue and spending need to be agreed upon and adopted. People of goodwill must come together, not forced apart.
Therefore, I would prefer that Of Time and Place not be an accurate prognostication of the future but rather a lesson in what course must not be followed. Government somnambulism and “kicking the can down the road” will not enable the nation to succeed and prosper.
Early in the novel, James Lendeman, the narrator/protagonist responds to a question from his prospective boss, Kate Hastings. He states that the time for a comprehensive energy policy solution has long since passed. Kate and James’s conversation takes place in the year 2053. James suggests the time for action had been early in the century. In other words, that time is now.
Please tell us about your current release.
Of Time and Place is set in the middle of the 21st century. At that point most countries, including the United States, are continuing to experience a strained economic climate, in good part due to a restricted supply of petroleum energy. In these circumstances success for the individual is difficult to achieve. Kate Hastings, an iconoclastic and enigmatic rising star in the Federal Energy Department recruits James Lendeman, a capable technician, to aid her campaign to improve the energy picture for the country, but they find that results are not easily achieved.
Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book, Of Time and Place?
In the 1980s—shortly after the second gasoline supply crisis of 1979—I came to realize that energy supply and cost problems would place an ever-increasing burden on the country. I completed a novel bases on this theme in the 1990s. I then put the work aside. Early in this century, I realized that the petroleum energy problem was growing more acute as developing countries, such as China and India, were placing an increased strain on supplies. Added to the mix was the perpetual instability in the Mideast and other petroleum producing countries. I went back to my old, unpublished novel and completely rewrote it. The result is: Of Time and Place.
Can you tell us about the story behind your book cover?
The title of the book—Of Time and Place—refers to the various locales where the action takes place over a number of years. The cover—with fluttering calendar pages and icons of cities critical to the plot—complements the title. I suggested the overall concept to the cover designer, and she developed a wonderful cover.
Marketing is occurring on two fronts—via the Internet and through traditional modes. There is both a website (www.royaloaklit.com) along with a Face book page (OfTimeandPlace) for the book. I am seeking interviews and reviews from book bloggers. Media interviews and book reviews, and book signings are being planned.
What book on the market does yours compare to? How is your book different?
I’m unaware of any book on the market that’s similar to mine.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I sometimes work on multiple projects concurrently, writing a number of chapters of a book and then switching off to write an essay or short story. Perhaps that’s why it took me nearly ten years to write Of Time and Place—and that’s after having written the first version a decade earlier.
Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
Once upon a time, a cow, coming down a road, met a little boy. The boy was called baby tuckoo. Oops. Sorry. I opened the wrong book. My Freudian slip probably reflects my reluctance to summarize and/or dissect an isolated page of text. I’ve written each page—and indeed the entire novel—to the best of my ability. I would commend the work in its entirety to the reader.
Do you plan any subsequent books?
Yes. Now that Of Time and Place is published, I’ll get back to some of the other projects I’ve been working on.
Tell us what you’re reading at the moment and what you think of it.
I’m reading Majesty by C. J. Sansom. It’s an historical mystery set in the reign of Henry VIII. Having majored in history, I enjoy this genre. The author’s understanding of this period is quickly evident. He combines knowledge of the big events of the 16th century with an appreciation of the details of everyday life. Mix in an intriguing plot and you have a lively, readable work. A prospective reader should start with Dissolution, the first book in the series.
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Of Time and Place Book Summary
Working in the Federal Energy Department for the iconoclastic and enigmatic Kate Hastings, James is at the center of a world of political intrigue and personal conflicts. Unsure of whether he can go along with Kate’s plans for the country (and for him), he is forced to steer his own way through a maze of personal and professional problems.
When we meet James a few years later (through an ingenious weaving of dual timelines), he is in Savannah, working as a contractor for the government and debating the merits of a flirtatious college student who lives in his boarding house.
Nimbly moving forward and backward through James’s personal timeline, Of Time and Place leads its readers on a journey through the twists and turns of life in a kind of historical novel of the future. From a tumultuous romance and marriage to a romantic spring in Florence and the adversities along the way, James finds himself debating both his own life and the feasibility of maintaining a viable US economy in the mid-21st century.
Drawn from very real issues of global import, and playing out in some of the most storied cities in the world, Of Time and Place will leave every reader pondering the future – and the present.
B.K. Freemont Bio:
Over the years, his interests have included: astronomy, domestic and foreign travel, dog breed club administration, wine tasting, and avidly reading both fiction and non-fiction.
He is married and has a son and two daughters.
I was returning from one of my distasteful, although fortunately infrequent, visits to Washington. In order to justify the payments I received, I needed to perform a bit of consulting work, and from time to time be in contact with a continually changing nonentity in the Federal Energy Department. I had taken the train to save money. As usual, it was running late, taking nine hours to make a six-hour trip. We did encounter a one-hour power-down in North Carolina, but, still, a three-hour delay is a three-hour delay.
Elsewhere, trains could travel at four hundred kilometers an hour. In this country, even on the faster intercity routes, two hundred was a top speed. Our trips tended to be longer; all the more reason for trains to be faster. Why had we not invested in the necessary infrastructure? Worst of all, through our outmoded rail system we were wasting energy—and this particularly bothered me.
In Savannah, the train station was located a few kilometers from downtown in a rundown area of scrub brush and litter. A poorly maintained bus carted passengers from the inter-city train station to downtown locations. I got off at Drayton Street where I needed another vehicle—a street tram—to take me south, out of the historic district.
Paperback & ebook
Price: $16.95 paperback, $7.99 ebook
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Release: August 17, 2012
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