The Story Behind The Story

As I’ve said before, I’m a better writer than I am a marketer.  That’s not to say I’m necessarily a brilliant writer, just that one skill outshines the other.

On the Timely Persuasion website, I periodically play around with “The Story” section at the top in an attempt to get the best mix of marketing bang plus factual synopsis.  At one point a few months ago I had a late night inspiration and tried a long, rambly, semi in-character and semi as-author version.  Days later I took it down and revised in a simpler direction.

In the interest of a complete permanent record, here’s that longer aborted version:

One early reviewer hit the nail on the head when they said the story of Timely Persuasion has “a premise that is very difficult to summarize in a review.”  That said, I’ll give it a shot below:

Timely Persuasion follows an anonymous music critic on a quest to save his sister from the relationship that ended her life. After a chance encounter at a bowling alley leaves him with the ability to travel in time, our hero uses his musical knowledge to “blink” through the years attempting to keep the couple apart by any means necessary. But is her husband Nelson really to blame?

Along the way he accidentally restructures his family tree, kick-starts his sagging love life, launches a new rock star, and crosses paths with the likes of Huey Lewis, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel. Reliving past events through the eyes of his younger selves, he soon finds that correlation and causation are not always what they seem.

This story of death, life, love, and rock and roll defies genre conventions while paying tribute to the classic time travel tales that came before it. Fans of Quantum Leap or Back To The Future will love Timely Persuasion.

Another reviewer read a version of the above synopsis and had this to say:

“To be blunt, Timely Persuasion‘s misleading plot blurb makes a fun novel sound absolutely cheesy. Happily, Timely Persuasion absolutely does not go down this road [and] ends up being much more enjoyable than the the above description had led me to expect.”

So we’ve learned that I’m a better author than I am a marketer.  Let’s try this synopsis thing again:

Theorizing that his sister’s death was the fault of her husband, an anonymous music critic drank too much at a bowling alley….and vanished.

He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that omit him and driven by a guilty conscience to change history for the better.

His only guides on this journey are song lyrics, cryptic messages linking past and future that only he can see and hear.

And so our hero finds himself blinking from year to year, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next blink will find his sister safe at home.

Ok. That wasn’t much better since I just parodied the intro to Quantum Leap.  But it is a decent summary, and both QL and Back To the Future were heavy influences that the story pays respectful homage to.  One more try:

On the simplest level, this book is about music and bowling and beer and regrets and relationships and time travel.  It’s a love letter to a misspent youth, peppered with a soundtrack for the ages.  Contained in these pages you’ll find references and allusions to the music of (in rough order of appearance): Huey Lewis, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Harry Chapin, The Beatles, Blur, Carter USM, Cast, Supergrass, Black Grape, Oasis, James, Kula Shaker, The Wonder Stuff, Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, Possum Dixon, Pearl Jam, The Offspring, Rodan, Hole, Beck, Reverend Horton Heat, Butthole Surfers, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, 311, Jonathan Edwards, Soul Coughing, Metallica, G. Love & Special Sauce, Paul McCartney, Anthrax, Mary’s Danish, The Mr. T Experience, Bryan Adams, John Waite, Dinosaur Jr., The Moody Blues, Billy Idol, Paula Abdul, Britney Spears, Afghan Whigs, Guns N Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Don McLean, Pantera, Megadeth, Janice Joplin, Jim Morrison, Wilco and more.

Better?  Summarizing seems almost harder than writing the book was.  It’ll make a heck of a lot more sense once you’ve read it.  Let’s finish up by going back to something else that first reviewer said:

“Think Back to the Future.  Think The Butterfly Effect.  Think…oh just read the book already.  It’s pretty good.”

Sounds more like a blog post than a proper story synopsis, eh?

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