Time Traveler – The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender
With my new book out, it might be a fun to go to the root of how the ideas all came about.
It all started in 2015 when my friend and bartender at The Cork and Stogie, Mark Straiton, posted a new profile picture on Facebook. It was actually a very professional picture showing him in a jacket, tie, and neat haircut. Frankly, he looked like a college professor. So with that, my imagination started flowing and I made the following post:
"Time Magazine's Man of The Year, PhD. Mark Christopher Straiton, for his discoveries in the anthropological field of exploring and discovering little-known cultures through his expedient adventures in time traveling, to various hovels and bars. Doctor Straiton's intense research has enlightened the world of various previously unknown peoples in lost time periods, as has been well documented in his previous book, "Dirtbags, Sleazebags, and Vacuum Bags Encountered in Shit Holes 1800 - 1955". In his 2015 summer travel, Doctor Straiton ventured back to 1944 where he was a B17 bomber pilot based in Rattelsden Field, East Anglia, England. This was a chapter of his latest book, "Time Traveling to Historic Points and Places in Time." for which this award has been given. Other points of interest in his time traveling adventures in this latest work, Doctor Straiton lands as a Connecticut medical doctor in a Union regiment at the Battle of Shilo in1862, then seeks solitude in a Tennessee Tavern. On another adventure, this time in 1891, Doctor Straiton appears in San Francisco working as a brewmaster at the Anchor Brewing Company, where he managed to create what became known as Steam Beer, taking technology that he learned in the 2000 - 2010 era in brewing, and actually bringing it back in time creating America's only indigenous beer. When a keg's cork blew and erupted in a violent spray. Doctor Straiton named it Steam Beer "Because that mother fucker has some velocity!". Perhaps the most amazing story has Doctor Straiton going this time to Paris, France, in 1926 where this time he is a bartender at the Moulin Rouge and actually encounters himself from another time travel! The previous Time Traveling Dr. Straiton had been quite actively pursuing a Can Can floosie named Fanny, when a previous boyfriend of Mlle Fanny, Didier, disrupts the floor festivities and a physical altercation erupts involving the first Doctor Straiton, and Didier. The second Doctor Straiton comes to the aid of his previous self, by first throwing a glass of beer in Didier's face, then hosing him down with a bottle of highly carbonated club soda.Didier runs for his life. The two Doctor Straitons smile a smile that only a time traveler meeting one's self from another time travel, could understand, then retire to the bar where Doctor Straiton pours the other Doctor Straiton an elixir he doesn't have to ask if he wants or not. He knows. For Doctor Straiton's works, he is hereby named Time Magazine's Man Of The Year. The attached picture is one of Doctor Straiton's B17 1944 pictures."
That got me thinking and I was quite inspired by the concept of writing a book on time travel! The idea flourished for nearly a year and on October 12, 2016, I wrote the first chapter. Everyone, of course, knows that Mark Christopher Straiton is, in fact, a time traveler. This is not a well-kept secret and I must confess I did my share broadcasting it around The Cork and Stogie, if not around Key West, or the world, for that matter.
I recall when his mother was in town I said to her “You know Mark's a time traveler?” and without hesitation, she replied “Oh, yes! Of course!”
While Mark was the initial inspiration for the book, as it's being marketed as a science fiction book, the protagonist and his deeds would be fiction. After all, how would I, a mere non-time traveling writer/musician/songwriter know anything about a time traveler's adventures? It's not as though I'd get him completely zozzeled at the bar then pry him for time traveling anecdotes, would I?
So, therefore the protagonist's name is likewise fiction; Mark Straight.
In the beginning, when I was first pondering all of this, it dawned on me how much freedom there was writing about a time traveler. The possibilities were endless!
Consequently, I had the protagonist not only all over Key West but all over the world as well!
This is fun!
It must be stated that in writing the book, although fiction, I am a stickler for stating things accurately. So, if the protagonist went to a bar called, say, Freddy's Bar and Grill, Freddy's Bar and Grill actually existed in whatever time period the story takes place. It may be gone today, but in the time period, it did exist. In a case or two, I did have to improvise, as there really wasn't information available that suited the locale for the time period in question.
In contemporary times I take the writer's liberty and in some cases invent places that do not exist today at all, or I take contemporary places and change the names. Some I change their names. People who know Key West are already asking me if such and such a bar is actually a place they know! Others, such as the bar I co-own in real life, The Cork and Stogie, keep their real names.
Like the protagonist, whom I based on someone I know, many of those in the story are likewise based off characters I know in real life. I say based off of, as it's not a true assessment of the real-life individual. This, however, changes to suit the story. For instance, one character is very closely aligned to the real-life individual, while another shares their name only. The others fall in between, It goes without saying that some people in the book are purely fictional individuals. For some readers, this offers an intriguing quest to figure out which individuals fall into whatever of the aforementioned categories!
Likewise, many people in different time periods are often based on real people who lived in those time periods. These people have their real names and are noteworthy.
The book takes place in Key West, however, it is not exclusive to Key West. There are times the protagonist has to leave Key West, and again where and when he goes I've made a focus to be historically accurate to the time and place.
As it is assumed that none of the readers are Time Travelers, a large effort has been made to establish the how's and why things occur. Myself, when things are assumed and not addressed in a book, it leaves the reader with the question “Well, there's no answer, or reason explained”. Because of this, basic questions are answered, so the book is comfortable within itself. When writing, logistics were imperative for the sake of the book's integrity.
There is one fundamental question that does go unanswered. It is, however, addressed. Part of a said question being unanswered is an integral crux of the mystery of the book. Addressing the question was essential.
The book has already garnered requests for a follow-up story. I'm happy to say the follow up is underway!
On a funny/humorous note, back in March 2017, five months into writing the book, I learned that the 2017 Key West Fantasy Fest theme was based on... Time Traveling!
In conclusion, we have a bartender from Key West, time traveling to all sorts of wild, odd, crazy, funny, and fascinating adventures in time travel. He explores a Key West of decades past, as well as other places, which events and situations in the Key West of years past dictate him to do.
Available on Amazon as a download or paperback! The paperback includes a free digital download.