📙 A Bookish Word or Two with John R. York, Author THE FIVE WATCHES: AN ACCIDENT OF TIME #abookishword


On A Bookish Word or Two, we have a guest post from John R. York, author of The Five Watches: An Accident of Time. Enjoy!

The Inspiration Behind The Five Watches: An Accident of Time

By John R. York


During my life, I’ve tried my hand at more things than most people. Even as a kid, my mother often told me that I was flighty, that I should take the time to focus on doing something well. “Jack of all trades, master of none,” she often told me. She assured me, however, that I had potential, I only needed to apply myself. But I grew up in the rural farm country of central Ohio, an ideal setting for pursuing a Tom Sawyer lifestyle. My focus was primarily on adventure and trying new things.

I’ve always been a daydreamer. In my reveries, I could conjure up wild scenarios where anything was possible. This characteristic remains with me today and continues to motivate me to attempt things I think are worth doing—a philosophy that has served me well over the years.
This trait is what drove me to write my first novel, A Wolf’s Tale: Memoir of a Man Named Wolf. The book began as my own non-fictional memoir, but I eventually decided to fictionalize the events to give myself more freedom in telling the stories that defined this man’s (my) life. I think of it as elaboration in the interest of entertainment.
I’ve always loved to tell stories. Even as a child, I would make up stories to entertain my siblings, neighbors, and cousins. I frequently came up with elaborate ideas for having fun, like starting a zoo, treasure hunts in the nearby woods, or floating down Blacklick Creek on a log pretending we were explorers. When I grew older, I used the stories of my life as a means of driving home a particular point when delivering a lecture on leadership during my career in the high-tech industry.
I really love writing stories. After my first book was published, the ideas for more stories just kept pouring out of my brain. I would typically come up with the plot lines and individual scenes in the early morning hours, as I lay in my bed in a half-dream state. The rest of the day would be spent capturing all the ideas on my computer while they were still fresh.
I self-published my first five novels, but connected with an indie publisher, DocUmeant Publishing, just as I finished the sixth. I discovered that what I didn’t know about publishing and marketing was a lot. My publisher helped me through the process and I became a better writer for it.
In keeping with my ‘flighty’ personality, the genre of my novels is all over the map. After my fictional memoir, I wrote two science fiction books, an award-winning historical fiction novel, a paranormal murder mystery, and a modern western, native-American fantasy.
I realize that this practice is not an ideal business or marketing strategy, making it very difficult to accurately identify my target readers, but I don’t want to limit myself to one genre. I will confess that science fiction and fantasy are my favorite categories for reading and writing. And regardless of which one of my books you might read, you’ll find those influences in every story.
When I was preparing to write The Five Watches: An Accident of Time, I began with the determination that it was time to do something within the realm of science fiction. I love reading space operas and science fantasy, but I don’t think that’s within my bailiwick as a writer. The two science fiction books I wrote involved parallel worlds, which I still find quite fascinating, but the persistent urge to do something with time travel kept me awake at night.
I’ve read many time travel novels, beginning with H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, which I’ve read more than once. Frankly, I’ve been disappointed with some of these books because so many of them are essentially romance novels or going back in time to change something in the present, which every time traveler knows is impossible due to the consistency paradox. Of course, most are very well written and popular sellers.
But I wanted to come up with something different, something appealing yet provocative. I mean, I know everybody likes those other typical plot lines, including the quintessential romance novels, but I couldn’t see the point of rewriting stories like: This is How You Lose the Time War, or Kindred, or The Time Traveler’s Wife, or Outlander (all excellent books).
I believe time travel is an inherently interesting sub-genre. The challenge is to devise a story that uses that intrinsic allure effectively. I came up with the idea of focusing the novel on four days of one man’s life in 2019, although the events in my story stretch over 700 years. I wanted the present-day characters in the story to be just ordinary, everyday people who, when confronted with extraordinary events, step up to the challenge and achieve extraordinary things. I also devised the concept of a future of the future to avoid the consistency paradoxes. Beginning with that premise, I let my imagination take over.
Well, okay, there was another thing that I wanted to address. The tension and turmoil in today’s society, coupled with humankind’s propensity to destroy itself and the world we all live in, are things that I often think about. Most authors of fiction write novels that reflect their experiences, attitudes, and concerns, and I’m no exception.
I didn’t want to make a political statement, but I did want to weave a social comment into the story by styling it as a precautionary tale illustrating what we, as human beings, are libel to do to ourselves if something doesn’t change—you know, the apocalyptic-dystopian stuff of many science fiction novels. I also wanted to emphasize our ability to achieve amazing things when we put our minds to it.
The “accident of time” in my story provides humanity with one last chance to change the future of the future. As is the case with all my books, I like to end with a ray of hope that we will eventually figure out how to get along with each other. Hopefully readers will decide that now is always a good time to begin making changes.

About John R. York

John R. York has been writing and publishing his stories since 2016, but he’s always been a storyteller, even as a kid in Central Ohio where he grew up. His life experiences provided him with a wealth of tales to share with others and resulted in his debut work, Wolf’s Tale. He has since published five more novels, including the award-winning Journey to Eden. A retired high-tech executive, he currently lives with his wife, Paula, in New Port Richey, Florida.

Website: www.johnryork.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.york.9277

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@johnryork and www.tiktok.com/@dreamwriter

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/John-York/author/B0771RCZJ2?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21571052.John_York

About The Five Watches: An Accident of Time

What might happen if a handful of people living in different eras became entangled in time, some intentionally and some accidentally? The nineteenth-century scientist, Dr. Wilhelm Gussen, is passionate about improving the welfare of mankind, and so he begins a journey through time in a quest to learn about future advances in epidemiology. Physicist Emory Lynch, from the twenty-seventh century, studies an old pocket watch, said to be a time travel device, and accidently stumbles into the twenty-first century. In 2019, Jim Zimmerman, the de facto neighborhood go-to guy, finds himself caught in the middle of a clandestine, future conspiracy. True to his character, he becomes inextricably involved in future affairs that involve saving humanity from itself—dragging his wife and a few neighbors along for the ride. Thus, begins a time travel adventure that examines the stubborn predictability of human behavior and how some things, even over time, never seem to change.


The Five Watches is filled with interesting characters and enchanting tapestries woven into the fabric of time itself. John explores not only the ravages of time but more importantly the impact of individual kindness, caring, and selflessness towards others that is heartwarming. I enjoyed this suspenseful page turner, the connection to everyday people and to imaginable heroes that we can all strive to become. Uplifting! – Jim Richards, Beta Reader

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/46fjjp6f