William Haynes was the type of guy that everyone either wanted, or wanted to be. He was an honor roll student and captain of his middle school football team. He was dating the most popular girl in the school and had dozens of friends. Yes, life was perfect for Will…that is until a strange man shows up and forces his parents to reveal a secret they have kept hidden since he was born. He is told that he has been given a scholarship to a prestigious private school that his parents attended, a private school that happens to be in space. Will must choose between a life many would die for and a life none could imagine. A life where he is no longer perfect, where he must make new friends, and where he must survive a school rivalry like no other.
Travis McBee is the younger of two children. He wrote Bridgeworld during his sophomore year of college at North Georgia College and State University where he studies history. In his spare time he enjoys playing rugby, watching football, and backpacking. Bridgeworld is his first novel.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Bridgeworld was inspired by three books. The first is obvious to anyone who has even read the back of the book: Harry Potter. The second book that started the ball rolling was much more important and I was musing about it when I came up for the idea for Bridgeworld. The name of the book is The Dark Side of Nowhere. It’s a middle grade book about a boy who is part of a community of aliens, but he thinks he is human. It was when I was wondering about what it would be like if he had been forced to reintegrate into his parents lost world by himself that I came up with the idea and over the course of several months of musing, the full story came into place.
How did you come up with the title?
The title was one of the hardest things for me to create, believe it or not. I knew from an early stage in the planning process that I wanted it to be the name of the school. The problem was that I didn’t know what the school should be called. When I came to the part of the book where the school was mentioned by name for the first time, I had to stop for several hours and tackle it.
I eventually managed to create a mutated version of my old high school’s name. I attended Brookwood High School. All I did was take two words, hopefully intergalactic in nature, and replace the B and W words that made up the word. “World” came quickly but I couldn’t come up with a B word. Then—like so many ideas do—the word just popped into my head. I thought ‘Bridge’ was perfect because that’s exactly what Will was doing, bridging two worlds.
(as a trivial aside that I can’t leave out: Our rival school was Parkview, Hence Bridgeworld’s rival was Starview)
How much of the book is realistic?
The endearing part of my book—in my own opinion of course—is the fact that my book is completely unrealistic while being perfectly realistic.
What I mean by that is simple: Bridgeworld takes place in two worlds; one is equipped with rooms that the gravity can be switched off as easily as the lights and flying saucers for daily commuting; while the other is the same world that you and I live in.
This conglomeration of worlds lets the reader “believe in disbelief” as I like to say. The reader knows that it’s fake, that it can’t be true, yet the book explains how it just might exist just out of sight.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Although I don’t know many writers on a personal level—and none of which I could claim as a mentor—there are several well known authors that influence me as a writer.
The first and most prominent of these is Stephen King. He is what I consider a Writer’s writer. The passion for writing is so completely evident in every book he writes that I feel myself filled with an unquenchable desire to get to writing whenever I read him. His book On Writing is pretty much the bible for fiction writers and I would recommend every writer to read it.
Another author that really jumpstarted me from wanting to write a novel to actually writing is
Conn Iggulden. He writes historical fiction (emphasis on fiction) and is one of the few authors that I go by their books in hardcover the moment they come out. He is extremely active with his fan base via an online forum and started a great guide for writers that really pushed me into gear and got me started writing.
What book are you reading now?
At the moment I am reading Relentless by Dean Koontz.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read a Anon by Peter Giglio. He’s published through the same house as I am –Hydra Publications—and he premise of his book really interested me. It was a good read and I’ll defiantly pick up his next book as well.
What are your current projects?
At the moment I’m working on the sequel to Bridgeworld. It’s entitled Bridgeworld: Encounter at Atlantis. I finished the first draft a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of polishing it up. I’ll be sending it out for publication by the end of the year so keep your eyes out for it.
I’m also working with my editor on the first two books in a new series called Triton. The first of these is scheduled to be released in March.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members:
When I was working on Bridgeworld I had a great deal of support from my best friend, Mitchell Woodward. We would go to the gym everyday and I would bore him with what was going on in the book at the moment. The great thing was that he wasn’t just bored and do the oh-that’s-interesting-head-nod like so many others would do. He actually helped me work through plot holes, figure out different problems a whole new world would pose and how to solve them. He even traveled to Kentucky with me for the book launch—although he might have been more motivated by the prospect of finally going to Whitecastle. He was an enormous source of help and support for me and I am extremely grateful for having a friend like him.
Do you see writing as a career?
I would defiantly like it to be and I’ll continue to put in the work for it to become that. I’m only twenty-one and have already secured contracts on three novels so I think I’m on the “write” track.
10. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Well my latest book is still with the editor so at the moment I can’t say yes to that since I still have the power to change it, ask me again right after it’s released and I’ll be able to tell you something though. The thing for me is that I’ll always want to change something, to tweak it here or there, make it better. If you never want to publish you can always work on it but if you want others to read it you have to act like a mother and just let it go sometimes, knowing you did the best you could.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
When I was nine I went into a bookstore with my mom. While she was browsing through her romance novels I noticed a little book with Taz on the front. I opened it up and was surprised to see that it only had blank lines in it. What magic is this? I thought to myself I could be the one to write the story in it!
I took it to my mother, telling her I wanted to buy it, and she explained to me that it wasn’t a magic blank book, it was a journal. Well that kind of ruined the magic for me of course, but from that moment on I had a goal in the back of my head, I wanted to write a book.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current work, like I stated earlier, is the sequel to Bridgeworld. This book has one theme. Collision. Will’s two worlds are on a crash course for each other and he will find himself stuck between them.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s?
I live in the mountains of North Georgia so traveling is a must unless I become a hermit. I went to the launch of Bridgeworld in Louisville, Kentucky in July and I go to numerous other conventions every chance I get. I plan on going to a writing convention in Savannah in February. I also travel all around the state and to sit in book stores and sign copies of my books. If anyone owns a store and wants me to come in for a signing let me know, I love doing it!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Keep at it. Whenever I’m doing a signing or just talking to people about writing, I get one or two people that tell me that they’ve been writing a book and then go on to say that they’ve been writing it for five or more years. Every time someone says this to me I think one of two things: “Wow that’s a big book!” or “You’re not serious about it then”.
Writing is something you do for fun, believe everyone when they say there’s no money in it. So let loose and have fun. Take an hour each night and write. You’d be amazed at how fast the pages pile up if you just work at it. Don’t say you don’t have enough time, I wrote Bridgeworld when I was a fulltime student with a part time job. If you have enough time to watch a television show you have enough time to write a book. Remember when you’re doing it that you’re doing it for one reason, fun, otherwise it’ll start to feel like a job.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Not really. I do experience something I call Writer’s Laziness, where I just don’t feel like typing out the story. Even then I’m consumed by the story and see it flickering through my head whenever I close my eyes.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
My first two books I defiantly did. I planned so far in advance that you could have told me all about the book just from reading the notes. As I got more experienced I just started writing without much of any material preparation. The difference is that I know the feel of how the book is forming and I don’t really need a map for it anymore, I know the roads now and know when to turn.