I wrote In the Present Tense for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, I’ve always wanted to write about time travel and I really thought I would simply craft my own take on the well-known trope and that would be that. But as I began to write, I realized that I was using the lens of time travel to work through some identity issues of my own.
As long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with errant feelings of attraction toward other women. I say “struggled” because those feelings were very confusing to me, a person who was so clearly attracted to boys at a very young age. The problem was, media/society only presented two identities for me. One, I was straight, which was easy to identify with because of my clear and “socially appropriate” attraction to boys. Or two, I was a lesbian, which didn’t feel right because I couldn’t quite picture myself dating a girl. So I pushed those feelings aside and went through life ignoring crushes on best friends and actresses. I dated boys and then men until I found the man I wanted to marry.
But an interesting thing happened when I set out to write my second LGBT romance. I decided to make my main character Miles bisexual. At the time, I wasn’t sure why. I thought maybe I had burned out on M/M romance, or maybe I just wanted to be different. I couldn’t really put it into words but it felt important. And then somewhere in the midst of my editing process, it became quite clear. I wrote Miles as bisexual because I am bisexual.
As I talked about the character with friends and beta readers, it became so obvious that I was giving Miles the options I had wanted for myself. He lives in a world where no one really questions that he dated Adam or married Ana. (Of course, they do have a lot of other stuff to worry about here.) Still, it was a safe way for me to deal with the feelings I had as an adolescent and had tamped down as an adult.
For In the Present Tense, teenaged Miles believes he is only attracted to guys. When he time travels to the future, though, he finds he is married to a woman, who tells him point blank that he is bisexual. Simple enough.
But what I found most surprising was that saying the word on the page had a cathartic effect for me as the writer. Suddenly it was no longer this abstract concept. It was a very real thing, and I could finally identify my own feelings and label them. I had a representation of my experience that made sense.
So while I didn’t set out to write In the Present Tense as a reflection of myself, it certainly became that along the way. Isn’t it funny how meta writing can become without us even realizing it? I got a do-over. I time traveled. And all I had to do was write a book about time travel to do it. Pretty neat, huh?
About In the Present Tense:
Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?
You Can buy In the Present Tense here:
Carrie is the author of two novels—Designs On You and In the Present Tense—and a part-time college professor. She recently left her job in marketing to actively pursue her writing career. Her early career focused on advertising, journalism, and public relations while she also did freelance writing for businesses in the nonprofit sector. Carrie lives in Florida, which she fondly calls America’s Wang, with her husband and four cats.
Carrie, thank you so much for stopping by to share your story. I’m wondering, dear visitors, have you ever discovered things about yourself from reading or writing a novel?
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