TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim
I met Tara Sim during the release of V.E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light, and saw her again last weekend at YallWest. TIMEKEEPER takes a look at how time can twist fates, and is great for those looking for a page-turning mind bender.
Two o’clock was missing.
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.
What is something people would not expect to learn about you?
This is something a lot of people probably know already, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m half-Indian, though I don’t look like it. It tends to cause double takes and follow up questions. Since I grew up very close to that culture, it’s definitely inspired my writing and what sort of characters/settings I like to write about.
I’ll bet it has. And I love the idea that hours can go missing. How does this drive TIMEKEEPER’s story, and in what ways does it affect the characters’ relationships with time?
Time, obviously, is the central theme of the trilogy–how it moves us forward, how finicky it can be, and what might happen if forces beyond our ken mess with it. TIMEKEEPER opens up with a scene where two o’clock is literally missing, and that’s because I wanted to throw the reader into the world asking questions that gradually get answered as the book goes on. Time is already a strange concept to us IRL, and it’s even more so for my characters, who perceive it as a sort of magic that only a few can tap into. Danny’s relationship with time, for example, is complicated; he loves being a clock mechanic, but a recent accident in a clock tower makes it difficult for him to be completely at ease anymore. Then he meets Colton, who is basically time personified, and it gets even more complicated when he starts to fall for him. Essentially, I wanted to write a story that kinda taps into our fascination with time and give it a magical twist.
You’ve definitely woven together a fantastic plot, heightened by beautifully written prose. The beginning of TIMEKEEPER also has a quote from William Blake. Why did you choose this quote, and what do you hope readers will glean from it?
I chose this quote because it felt right for the story. Time is a rather poetic theory to me, so using Blake’s poetry to kickstart the book seemed fitting. I hope readers will see the connection between Blake’s words–“infinity in the palm of your hand” and “eternity in an hour”–and how Danny personally relates to the time magic used in TIMEKEEPER.
If only we could all have “eternity in an hour.” What are some of your current projects?
Right now I’m working on a couple of short stories, which is odd for me, since I tend to avoid them! But I also have a WIP that I like to say is Avatar: the Last Airbender meets Pirates of the Caribbean, and I’m brainstorming another WIP that’s THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA meets A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC.