First Comics News: How did you originally come up with the idea for the Chronos Files world series?
Rysa Walker: First, thanks for the invitation to chat! The CHRONOS Files world–or at least the time travel elements– was probably inevitable given my background. I’ve been a science fiction fan since I was a little kid watching my first Star Trek episode and my previous career was history professor, and that’s a pretty direct path to time travel fiction. But I’ve also considered the ramifications of time travel and it occurred to me that one of the most effective ways for someone to create massive change in a society would be to fabricate a religion and support it with a few “miracle” cures from the future, a little bit of prophecy assisted by time travel, and so forth. It might be possible to change history for the better in that way…but it would also be possible for someone with ill-intent to basically set himself up as a demi-god. That’s the basic premise behind The CHRONOS Files as a series — Saul Rand created the Cyrist religion to subvert history for his own purposes and now it’s up to his granddaughter to stop him.
1st: How did the idea for “Time Trial: The Chronos Files” and Clio Dunne’s adventures in time get made into comic book form?
Rysa: Jet City Comics approached me with the possibility of a comic spin-off a year or so back and I pitched them several ideas, including the story for Time Trial. We finally managed to sync up our schedules and Jet City put together an incredible team to get the series launched this summer..
1st: Who is Clio Dunne?
Rysa: Clio Dunne is the daughter of two CHRONOS offspring who are both able to use the medallion (or CHRONOS key) that allows them to time travel. Unfortunately, Clio’s mom isn’t native to the timeline in which she exists, and Clio was conceived in the original timeline, so they both need to be under the protection of a CHRONOS key at all times. Otherwise, they’d cease to exist. Clio hasn’t been trained to time travel, because her parents are concerned about disrupting the history that they’ve worked very hard to repair. But an old nemesis stumbles into Clio’s path and he has very different plans for Clio.
1st: What famous characters can we expect to see in “Time Trial: The Chronos Files”?
Rysa: I don’t want to spill everything, but Al Capone, Clark Gable, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer very familiar to readers of the original series, will all make appearances.
1st: Heather Nuhfer writes this comic; do you get to work with her?
Rysa: Heather and I worked very closely. I was probably more involved in the actual writing than most authors who have their work converted to comic form, by sheer necessity. Certain rules of time travel were established in the original book series that couldn’t be violated, there were specifics on how the equipment worked, and things that characters couldn’t do without unraveling the timeline. Plus I’m kind of a stickler about the history, given my background teaching history. So I wrote the story, Heather adapted it to comic form, and then I went back and tweaked anything that needed fixing to keep the larger context of the CHRONOS universe intact. It was very much a collaborative and enjoyable process.
1st: What do you think of Agustin Padilla’s art illustrating your characters?
Rysa: I am a HUGE Agustin Padilla fangirl. It was wonderful to watch the story go from text to full illustration, and I looked forward to the weekly emails from the series editor, Paul Morrissey, with new sketches and inks. We also had an incredible colorist, Chris Summers. I couldn’t be happier with the way the artwork turned out.
1st: Will Clio Dunne be appearing in more graphic novels and comics?
Rysa: There are no current plans, partly because I’m in the middle of launching a new book series and I’m sure Agustin and Heather are on other projects as well. But I’d definitely be willing to take a break at some point and work with them on some new adventures for Clio.
1st: Do you think using books as a basis for comic books is a good idea?
Rysa: I do, even though it can be more challenging. I think the best option is the one that we’ve taken, making the graphic novel a spin-off rather than a reiteration of the original series. Hopefully there will be enough in the Time Trial comics to lure in readers who are new to the series and also introduce CHRONOS fans who aren’t huge fans of comics to a new medium.
1st: What do you have planned next in your career?
Rysa: The Delphi Effect, which is the first book in my new Delphi Trilogy, launches on October 11th. It’s sort of X-Files meets X-Men, with a hefty dash of Veronica Mars. In between promo travel for the new book, I’m writing the second in the series. I’m really excited about the upcoming launch, and hope readers will follow me over to a story that’s not time travel–and maybe we’ll pull in a few mystery and thriller readers for the CHRONOS books, as well. And I’m hoping to put out a bundle of CHRONOS novellas and short stories in early 2017.
1st: Of all the many books you have written do any hold a special meaning more than others?
Rysa: That’s like asking a mom to pick her favorite kid, you know. 😉 But if forced to pick, I’d have to say Timebound. We went through about six months together on the indie market before the book won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. The prize money allowed me to quit the day job and Timebound led to everything that has followed. So as much as I love all my books, Timebound will always have a special place in my heart.
1st: What is the difference between a novella and a novel and do you work on them differently?
Rysa: One huge difference for me is that the novels are published by Skyscape and the novellas are self-published. I also do my own covers for the novellas, since novella covers are generally a simpler design, and I have some graphic design background. But the writing process is pretty much the same for both, with a few exceptions. The key difference there is that I’m really telling only a slice of the story, from another character’s point of view, so the story is not as complex. The entire series is first-person, so the novellas add a lot of detail and depth to the story, explaining some things that the main character in the series couldn’t see. But I try to be sure that readers can understand the entire story without reading the novellas, since they’re currently only in e-book and audio.
1st: What is the most enjoyable thing about writing?
Rysa: I’m one of those writers who totally flies by the seat of her pants. While I generally know where the story is headed, I often have no idea how we’ll get there. So the best part of writing for me is that feeling when I’m so into the story that it’s almost like I’m the reader, waiting to find out what happens next.
1st: Would you like to be transported for real to the CHRONOS Files world for a visit there?
Rysa: I’d definitely love to travel in time, so yes. Although I would hope that there’d be a few more safeguards if we ever reach the point where that’s possible. There were some gaping holes in CHRONOS security.
1st: What would you like to say to all your fans?
Rysa: I think that writing is a two-person enterprise in many ways. I write the book, but it doesn’t really come to life until the reader adds his or her interpretation. So, thanks for working with me. 🙂 Also, I love interacting with readers via email, and on Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter. (I’ve tried some of the others, but there’s just too little time to keep up with every social media site!) And finally, I really hope you enjoy Time Trial and The Delphi Effect.