Today I am interviewing E. J. Swift, author of the new sci-fi, time-travel novel, Paris Adrift.
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DJ: Hey E.J.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
E. J. Swift: Thank you for asking me! I’m a writer of speculative fiction, and Paris Adrift is my fourth novel, following The Osiris Project trilogy (Osiris, Cataveiro and Tamaruq). I’ve also had a number of short stories published, including “The Spiders of Stockholm” which was longlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and most recently in anthologies The Djinn Falls in Love (“The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice”), Infinity Wars (“Weather Girl”) and 2084 (“The Endling Market”). In the non-writing part of my life I love gardening, nature, pole fitness, and of course, cats.
DJ: What is Paris Adrift about?
E.J.: It’s a tale of time travel, bartenders and the City of Light. Hallie is a young woman who moves to Paris to try and escape her past. Initially it’s all going well: she finds a bar job and a community of fellow drifters in the bohemian district of Montmartre, but gets more than she bargained for when she discovers a time portal in the keg room, meets the mysterious Chronometrist, and finds herself caught up in a mission to prevent the end of the world.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Paris Adrift?
E.J.: I lived in Paris for 18 months and fell in love with the city, particularly the area of Montmartre which is a hybrid of the picturesque – Sacre Coeur and the brasseries and boutique stores of Rue des Abbesses – and the grubbier, seedier side of Paris. I also adore the film Moulin Rouge, although I avoided that period of history in Paris Adrift as it’s been explored so well elsewhere.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
E.J.: Hallie, my narrator, is a young woman with little in common with her family and she has a complicated relationship with them as a result; in a bid to reinvent herself she has cut all ties with her life in England and run away to Paris. She also struggles with panic attacks.
Hallie’s dubious guide on her unasked-for mission is the Chronometrist: a disembodied consciousness who is tied to the timestream. The Chronometrist has a manipulative streak and a penchant for manifesting as birds.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Paris Adrift like?
E.J.: The story is rooted in present-day Paris, and centres on a community of bartenders, a group from different nationalities who are generally at transitional stages in their lives. But Hallie’s travels take her to different eras in the city’s sometimes turbulent past and possible futures.
DJ: I am a big fan of time-travel stories, and I have noticed that there are basically two types of stories: those that focus heavy on science and go in-depth into the mechanics and technology behind it; and those that use it a plot piece/tool that is major to the story or used to enhance the story. Which of these does Paris Adrift?
E.J.: I’d say Paris Adrift is firmly in the second camp, with the focus on Hallie and her emotional journey – how she deals with the consequences of time travel, and the impact of her actions, is an important part of that.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Paris Adrift?
E.J.: It’s difficult to choose one thing, but I’d probably have to say developing Hallie’s voice as a first person narrator. The Osiris Project books are mostly written in the third person, so Paris Adrift was an opportunity to do something quite different stylistically.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
E.J.: I’ve seen a couple of readers saying they were surprised by how the book finishes, so I think maybe the ending.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Paris Adrift? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
E.J.: When I started the book, it was very much a story about a young woman trying to find her place in the world. But over the course of writing, the current political climate both at home and abroad became ever more unavoidable, particularly the frightening reemergence of nationalist ideologies, and the book became more political as a result.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Paris Adrift that you can share with us?
E.J.: I had a lot of fun writing the Chronometrist, so I’ll go with, “A good day for preening” (when she is in the form of a falcon).
DJ: Now that Paris Adrift is released, what is next for you?
E.J.: I’m currently working on the first draft of a new novel, revisiting my interest in climate change with a focus on biodiversity and coral reefs. It’s set in Australia, and follows three women across three centuries who are connected by their love of the oceans.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/E.J.-Swift/e/B008ECYTCQ/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/E.J.-Swift/e/B008ECYTCQ/
DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?
E.J.: I’d like to give a huge shout of appreciation to Joey Hi-Fi who created the beautiful artwork for Paris Adrift. I couldn’t have hoped for anything more perfect.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
E.J.: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me!
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*** Paris Adrift is published by Solaris and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The Time Machine meets Midnight In Paris
Determined to escape her old life, misfit and student geologist Hallie packs up her life in England and heads to Paris. She falls in with the eclectic expat community as a bartender at the notorious Millie’s, located next to the Moulin Rouge.
Here she meets Gabriela, a bartender who guides her through this strange nocturnal world, and begins to find a new family. But Millie’s is not all that it seems: a bird warns Hallie to get her feathers in order, a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be a chronometrist, and Gabriela is inexplicably unable to leave Paris.
Then Hallie discovers a time portal located in the keg room. Over the next nine months, irate customers will be the least of her concerns, as she navigates time-faring through the city’s turbulent past and future, falling in love, and coming to terms with her own precarious sense of self.
E. J. Swift is the author of The Osiris Project trilogy, a speculative fiction series set in a world radically altered by climate change, comprising OSIRIS, CATAVEIRO and TAMARUQ. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Salt Publishing, NewCon Press and Jurassic London, including The Best British Fantasy (Salt Publishing, 2013 and 2014).
Swift was shortlisted for a 2013 BSFA Award in the Short Fiction category for her story “Saga’s Children” (The Lowest Heaven, Jurassic) and was longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for “The Spiders of Stockholm” (Irregularity, Jurassic).