Please welcome Kate Mascarenhas to The Qwillery as part of the 2019 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Psychology of Time Travel was published on February 12, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece that you remember writing?
Kate: I remember stapling together my own books about ponies when I was a little girl.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
Kate: Pantser, at least for the first draft. Usually when I start I have a few characters in mind, and a predicament that they’re in, but I work out everything else as I go.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Kate: Sending it out into the world. I enjoy all stages of researching and drafting and editing. But once it’s published, it belongs to everybody else.
TQ: What has influenced / influences your writing?
Kate: In general, my favourite writers—Shirley Jackson; Muriel Spark; Josephine Hart. For this book specifically, I’d add Doctor Who, the books of Diana Wynne Jones, and the movie Peggy Sue Got married.
TQ: Describe The Psychology of Time Travel using only 5 words.
Kate: Queer, time-travelling murder mystery.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Psychology of Time Travel? What appeals to you about writing Science Fiction?
Kate: I’d been reading about the involvement of psychologists in recruiting astronauts, and wondered what qualities they’d be looking for if time travel had been invented in the sixties instead of the space race. My academic background is in psychology, and science fiction is a great genre for exploring psychological questions.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Psychology of Time Travel?
Kate: Mainly desk-based research; I read lots of physics papers to develop my world-building rules, particularly the work of a physicist called Igor Novikov. I also spent time reading old psychiatric manuals to understand how mental health categories have changed over time.
TQ: Please tell us about the cover for The Psychology of Time Travel.
Kate: One of the time travellers in the story modifies an embroidery sampler to include both her birth, and death dates. The designer Helen Crawford-White used that concept to create a cover based on embroidery art.
TQ: In The Psychology of Time Travel who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Kate: Grace was the easiest—she grew up near my own home town so I had a very intuitive sense of her background. She’s quite eccentric, and that can be fun to write. Margaret, who assumes leadership of the time travellers, was probably the character who went through most rewrites. It took a while to pin down her motivation.
TQ: Does The Psychology of Time Travel touch on any social issues?
Kate: Yes – the stigmatisation of people with psychiatric diagnoses is an important issue in the novel.
TQ: Which question about The Psychology of Time Travel do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
Kate: Timelines are fixed in the novel—it’s impossible to change the past or the future. I’d quite like someone to ask me if the characters have free will. The answer is, they might do—but they don’t feel like they do. I really wanted to explore the impact that has on the characters’ outlook.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Psychology of Time Travel.
Kate: Time travellers have their own slang, collected in a small phrase book. “Many of the words describe living a life out of sequence. To live an incident you’ve already read about is called completion. Returning to an incident you’ve already experienced is called echoing. Feeling angry with someone for things they won’t do wrong for years is called zeitigzorn.”
TQ: What's next?
Kate: I’m currently working with my UK editor on my next novel, The Thief on the Winged Horse, which is about the theft of a doll with magical properties. It’s set in Oxford, England in the present day.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
The Psychology of Time Travel
Crooked Lane Books, February 12, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.
Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?
Traversing the decades and told from alternating perspectives, The Psychology of Time Travel introduces a fabulous new voice in fiction and a new must-read for fans of speculative fiction and women’s fiction alike.
Kate Mascarenhas is a half-Irish, half-Seychellois midlander. Since 2017, Kate has been a chartered psychologist. Before that she worked as a copywriter, a dollhouse maker, and a bookbinder. She lives with her husband in a small terraced house which she is slowly filling with Sindy dolls.