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"Will Entrekin always has something special to say and unique ways in which to say it. His writing captures lightning in a bottle." ~Shelly Lowenkopf
Will Entrekin is a Pittsburgh-based writer. Born and raised in New Jersey, Entrekin studied fiction and screenwriting at the University of Southern California's Master's in Professional Writing program with best-selling authors Rachel Resnick, John Rechy, and Janet Fitch and filmmakers including Irvin Kershner, Syd Field, and Coleman Hough. He wrote The Prodigal Hour with the guidance of Shelly Lowenkopf and Sid Stebel, an author Ray Bradbury called "The greatest writing teacher ever," and received the 2007 Ruth Cohen Fellowship, as well as a 2008 lectureship position teaching composition. After graduating from USC, Entrekin earned an MBA in marketing from Regis University.
Entrekin has worked as a commercial production assistant at Young & Rubicam NY, an editor for the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, and a personal trainer for Bally Total Fitness.
Entrekin studied literature and science at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, where he won the Stephen J. Rosen Memorial Writing award and earned membership into the national Biological, Literary, and Jesuit Honor societies. He graduated cum laude as a Gerard Manley Hopkins scholar with degrees in both science and literature, and studied theology with Father Robert Kennedy, S.J., roshi, a Jesuit priest and Zen master in the White Plum lineage. Entrekin is also an Eagle scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow in the Boy Scouts of America.
If you were given a time travel machine just moments after your father was killed, what would you do? Go back in time, right? Fix it? Save him? Of course. And that's exactly what happens to Chance Sowin in The Prodigal Hour. At the beginning of the book, Chance Sowin returns home to his father in New Jersey after 9/11 has startled him and made living in New York uncomfortable. But upon his arrival, his father -- a brilliant scientist -- is murdered. He quickly learns that one of his father's inventions has something to do with it. He and his longtime neighbor -- and childhood crush -- Cassie Lackesis unravel the truth behind his father's research.
His father had developed a time machine. Despite the consequences, the two go back in time to save Chance's dad. When they do so, his father tells them about the dangers and beauty of time travel. And off they go -- back to the time of Jesus and Hitler. With hopes to watch history happen, they instead become involved, and it changes everything.
But The Prodigal Hour uses dual narration. Besides Chance, we also learn about Leonard Kensington, another scientist and time traveler. But as we read the chapters he narrates, we realize he has a distorted sense of reality...or rather it's different from our reality. It leaves us to wonder how Leonard is related to Chance and Cassie and when and where they will meet.
Many novels nowadays tend to use 9/11 as a way to entice readers. It's a depressing, relatively recent event to which we can all relate, remember, and grieve over. Often times, I feel 9/11 is abused in books and movies. While September 11th is the starting point of The Prodigal Hour, it's not the focus of the story, and I like that.Read more ›
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I have never read a book on time travel that faced paradoxes as unflinchingly as The Prodigal Hour. Most books choose to ignore them, implying that time will somehow take care of itself, or that time is immutable and cannot be changed. Entrekin's book plants itself firmly in theoretical physics and tackles paradoxes head-on, presenting the reader with a terrifying what-if scenario.
Nor does the book shrink from topics charged with extreme emotion. Love, death, guilt, and responsibility are superimposed over backdrops of the 9/11 tragedy, rise of the Nazis, and Christ's crucifixion. Entrekin doesn't pull punches with his characters, forcing impossible choices at every turn. I can often tell how a story will end, but with this one I couldn't imagine. The twists kept coming to the very last chapter.
The style of the novel reminded me of Michael Crichton or Dean Koontz, filled with unbounded imaginings rooted in science. The prose is fluid and easy to read, with experimental elements that emphasize movement in the novel. Point of view and verb tense shift seamlessly throughout the story. As an editor, I am sensitive to such things, but it was so well done I often didn't realize it had shifted until several pages later.
My only complaint: I was unclear how the episode with Christ advanced the plot. It helped develop the main character and it was definitely interesting to read, but I thought the story would have proceeded the same without it. In addition, I was disappointed that a book which was so uncompromising with every other subject balked at the big theological question raised in the incident: was Christ resurrected?Read more ›
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I enjoy time travel novels and the author has delivered an interesting story but there are a number of shortcomings. As with most time travel stories the reader is drawn to the effects of going back in time, in which the smallest of changes can lead to drastic and frequently catastrophic changes to the future. In this case it seems that, rather than build the story, the author relies on detailing change after change and these events are a bit cliched. We see the same people in the future (JFK, RFK, MLK Jr., Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, etc....) but they hold different offices and their actions lead the world in drastically different directions. As a comparison, read Stephen King's "11/22/63". In that story we know that the ultimate storyline will be what happens when and if the main character can prevent JFK's assassination but King provides a solid story leading up to the ending. That novel, unlike this one, incorporates the paradox of time travel but it doesn't rely on it to keep the reader's attention.
Credit is due to the author for incorporating an alternate (simultaneous) reality into the tale but this story then also falls back on the standard time travel incentive: go back in time to stop a murder, kill Hitler, prevent the 9/11 attacks, etc.... And of course there is the protagonist who doesn't believe that any changes to the past will have great effects on the world as we know it. We can argue the effects of stepping on a blade of grass or even killing an unknown in the past but to think that killing Hitler and preventing the Holocaust would NOT have severe effects on the future is an unreasonable assumption.Read more ›