Please welcome Carrie Pack and
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?
Miles sat there and tried to make out shapes and colors in the dark room as he searched his brain for a memory of anything.
Nothing looked familiar. His desk, his drum set, the sheets—all gone. Not one thing looked the way it had when he'd fallen asleep, and Ana certainly hadn't been in his bed.
He tried to replay the previous day's events, but everything seemed fuzzy, like a fogged bathroom mirror that he couldn't wipe clean.
Why was everything so fuzzy?
Last night... What happened last night?
Adam had come over and they were watching TV together, and Adam had given him a small stuffed giraffe because Miles was scared about having surgery. He reached for his left arm, expecting to find the cast that had been there for the last two months, but it wasn't there. His heart began to beat so loudly he glanced over at Ana to make sure she was still asleep.
Unable to determine what had happened to his cast, Miles resumed his tally of the previous evening's chain of events. At around ten-thirty, his mom said Adam had to leave because they had to get up early to go to the hospital. He had taken his pain meds and gone to sleep with the phantom of Adam's goodnight kiss on his cheek. He'd been happy.
He'd gotten a text from Ana earlier in the evening, but she was only wishing him luck with the surgery. She hadn't come over. In fact, as far as Miles knew, Ana had been several hours away in her dorm room.
So how had she gotten into his bedroom? And who had changed his sheets?
He threw off the covers and stood up, noticing he was only wearing a tight-fitting pair of boxer briefs instead of his usual basketball shorts.
He looked around the room for anything familiar, but it was still dark out, and all he could see were shadows and vague shapes. On the dresser opposite the bed, he found a few framed photos. Squinting to see without turning on a light, Miles studied the images carefully.
As his eyes focused, he recognized a couple of the photos. One was from last year's prom: Adam wearing that ridiculous corsage Miles had bought him, Ana being dipped by her date, David, as all four of them smiled widely in front of a cheesy faux tropical scene. One of the frames held a collage of photos of his and Ana's friends. He recognized Adam, Lucky, Antonio, Dahlia and Brienne. But the last one, the largest of all the photos, was of him and Ana—her in a flowing white dress and him in a black suit, both wearing broad smiles and flanked by Miles's parents and a woman Miles had only seen once: Julia Espinosa, Ana's mother.
A loud clatter echoed through the bedroom as the frame hit the edge of the dresser and fell to the hardwood floor. This wasn't his room, and he didn't remember that photo being taken.
"Go back to sleep," Ana mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow.
"Ana," he whispered, risking her full anger, but unable to stop himself, "we're married."
"Thanks for the update. Now go back to sleep before I divorce your dumb ass."
He dropped to the floor on his knees, barely even noticing the sharp pain of bare skin hitting the hard surface.
Married. To Ana?
What the hell had happened?
Get the book:
Hi Carrie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks for asking me to visit your blog! My latest release, In the Present Tense, is the story of a young man named Miles whose has a bit of a problem with his personal timeline. He’s been diagnosed with a dissociative disorder that causes him to time travel. When his younger self shows up and begins to wreak havoc in his life, Miles realizes there is much more to his condition than he originally thought and he struggles to find a way to assemble the puzzle of his life.
- What book do you wish you could have written?
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In my mind, that book is the apex of good time-travel fiction. The story loops back on itself and still makes sense. There’s an ongoing narrative from the other books that doesn’t suffer at the hands of the time travel trope. Plus it’s a Harry Potter book. I’d like to have J.K. Rowling’s sales. Who wouldn’t?
- How important are names to you (in your books)? Do you choose names based on liking the way it sounds or meaning? How do you choose your names?
I completely choose names based on the way they sound. Sometimes I’ll look up meaning after the fact, but for me, a name should make the character feel real and evoke a personality. Scott, for example, from my first novel Designs On You, needed a name that sounded average and run-of-the-mill. The story wouldn’t have worked if his name had been something less common. He was an average guy, living an average life. On the other hand, Ana Espinosa-Lawson from In the Present Tense was a name I looked up because I wanted her name to be something from a specific country. Her family is Colombian, so I wanted a Colombian name. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Anna Espinosa was Gina Torres’ character from Alias.
- Were you already a great writer? Have you always enjoyed writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it’s hard to say if I’ve always been “great” at it. I think it takes a lot of work and I’m constantly improving. The wonderful thing about writing is it’s something you can work at your entire life and you’re constantly learning new things about yourself.
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing professionally since college. I majored in journalism and public relations, so I’ve been published since I was a teenager. Having your name in print is a bit addictive, but I only got serious about writing fiction in the last five years. Fiction seemed really overwhelming to me for a long time, but I’m lucky enough to have friends who encouraged me to write and who gave me feedback. That really gave me the push to become a published author.
- What hobbies do you enjoy?
My favorite thing to do is read. If I didn’t need to pay bills, I’d probably spend most of my time reading. I’m also a certified yoga instructor and my husband and I love to travel.
Meet the author:
Carrie Pack is the author of Designs On You and a part-time college professor who recently left her job in marketing to actively pursue her writing career. Carrie lives in Florida, which she fondly calls America’s Wang, with her husband and four cats.
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