From the Author
What inspired you to write the two books in the Khronos Chronicles series (The Alternate Universe and The Escape)?
There was talk after President Obama was elected that we'd entered a post-racial society, but that was ridiculous. The scars of history run too deep. We build our identities around lots of different things -- politics, religion, culture, place of origin, family of origin, talents, personal interests, and, yes, our appearance, including the color of our skin. And maybe that's not intrinsically bad. What's bad is prejudice. And one way to eliminate prejudice is to imagine a world without it. So in Carolien and Claude's friendship, race is a non-issue. Claude's gayness is a non-issue too. Of course, creating an alternate world where race and sexual orientation are non-issues was just a beginning, the initial inspiration for the universe in which I based their adventures.
What about the ideas of time travel and multiple universes--where did they come from?
I didn't invent those ideas--they're familiar subjects of science fiction.But the reason they're common subjects of science fiction is because they're fascinating and flexible concepts.
The classic argument against the possibility of time travel is the time paradox, which goes: if you travel to the past, you might kill your parents and thus never be born--which means it's impossible to travel to the past.
In Khronos Chronicles, I explore the idea of endlessly branching alternate universes as a solution to the time paradox. If time travel means you travel to an alternate past, then you can do whatever you want--i.e., you could kill your parents because they're not your actual parents but alternate parents. Your alternate self might not be born but you (who was born in a different universe entirely) can continue on your merry, patricidal, time-traveling way.
The only problem I foresee in that scenario is that, in deference to the time paradox, you might never be allowed to return to your original reality. Once you jump to another time/universe, returning to the universe you came from might be impossible.
Did you change The Alternate Universe and The Escape much as you wrote them?Initially they were one book. I wrote the first draft in about six months. Then I spent another six months re-writing it. After that, an agent sent it to publishers.At the time, it was a story about Claude and another boy, both straight. But two editors didn't find the other boy adequately developed.After 10 rejections, I decided to re-write it further. Over time, I changed the other boy so completely that he became a girl, Carolien. I wanted her to be creative, athletic, and, like Claude's dad, good with gadgets and numbers.But I didn't want their relationship to be romantic. It was always going to be a book about friends, a fact that became clearer when I decided that Claude was gay. Claude wasn't gay from the beginning?No. I initially shied away from gay characters, figuring a gay young adult character might be controversial and turn some readers off. But as I kept writing and re-writing, I realized I didn't care whether I offended some readers, particularly those who don't like gay characters.Besides, I don't think there's much controversy anymore, especially among young readers. We've come a long way in a short time.
With a day job, when do you find time to write?
Before I go to work. After I go to work. On the weekends. I sometimes dream about being able to write all day, but the truth is that I can only write productively for an hour or two at a time. So time isn't the problem--I can always find an hour most days to write. The problem is having enough energy to write. After dinner, I sometimes feel too tired to think creatively. Fortunately, a short nap and a cup of coffee works wonders.
Do you think time travel is possible and do you believe in alternate universes?
Maybe and yes.
Can you say more?
I think many physicists agree that other universes -- where duplicates of ourselves lead different but parallel lives--probably exist.Brian Greene, the astrophysicist at Columbia University who's written wonderful books about symmetry, string theory, and black holes, makes a persuasive case that if our universe is infinite, everything (including people) must exist in endless repetition. And the same idea of endless repetition applies even if our universe is finite but one of an endless number of separate universes.(See his book The Hidden Universe and his interview with NPR (npr.org/2011/01/24/132932268/a-physicist-explains-why-parallel-universes-may-exist)
What do you like to read and who are your favorite authors?
I like to read everything. Wait. Not true. I'm not personally super interested in romances although I respect all genres. I grew up reading a lot of science fiction, including classics by authors like Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert. And there are tons of contemporary authors I love. When it comes to science fiction and fantasy, Dave Hutchinson, Ramez Nam, Katherine Addison, James L. Cambias and Meg Elison are a few of the many authors I admire.
From the Back Cover
--JENNIFER BELLE, bestselling author of GOING DOWN, HIGH MAINTENANCE, and LITTLE STALKER
"Reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey in its bold concepts."
--ARTHUR NERSESIAN, author of GLAYDYSS OF THE HUNT, DOGRUN, and CHINESE TAKEOUT
"Wolf brings us into the lives of his characters with genuine empathy andattention to the details that preoccupy teens in any universe."
--THADDEUS RUTKOWSKI, author of HAYWIRE