Monday, June 29, 2020

Interview With YA Time Travel Author JB Yanni

New Series Explores: Would You Change Events From The Past If You 
Could Time Travel?


Novelist JB Yanni takes us on a journey with a pair of captivating books (Time Benders series) that challenge us to confront the moral and practical implications of time travel. These heartwarming books pack a punch of history, faith, and science that explore the “what-ifs” of life’s most significant moments.

“The three underlying messages of the Time Benders series are the closeness of family and how that makes the individuals stronger; the importance of faith in our lives; and that young people are empowered to accomplish great things,” says Yanni. “The books convey this through the characters, the events of their lives, and lessons learned from their time travel. The books have appeal for girls and boys and adults by being set in the 1970’s, having elements of history, math, and science, and are both reliable and believable.”

Whereas the books begins in 1974, the time travel takes us on trips to Dallas in the 1960’s and visits Las Vegas in the 1950’s. Both books help give us a perspective not only on those times but on all of time.

Kirkus Reviews on Time Benders: The Machine:
“A breezy, straightforward approach to time travel featuring unforgettable characters.”

Kirkus Reviews on Time Benders: And The Two Promises, Book II:
“Appealing siblings fortify a time-bending tale that offers plenty of drama.”

Yanni, who is a client of the public relations firm that I work for, is interviewed below:

1.       What inspired you to pen a series of books that involve faith, science, and family? I was inspired to write the Time Benders series by my belief in the importance of family to build strong individuals, and as the best support system; my faith in the Lord as a guiding light in my life through good and bad; and my desire to provide fiction that is relatable and realistic while being adventurous for young people through characters that can be seen as friends, people they grew up with and knew, or maybe even themselves as a teen, and a nostalgic but fun tale for adults.

2.       The time Benders series zeroes in on some challenging questions, such as: If one has the ability to time travel, should they? So, should they? I think we all wonder at some point in our lives, if we had the ability to go back and change something, would we or should we.  Especially as we get older, we look back on some of our actions or words and wish we could take them back or change them. I think that’s a normal part of life.  The question of whether we should do it, if we could, gets addressed in Time Benders and the Machine, through the many discussions between the characters as they contemplate their time travel.  I think, when you read how the Fitzgerald kids handled it, and what they learned, you realize maybe you shouldn’t. The consequences are sometimes more drastic than you plan.

3.       You also raise a concern over the consequences or rewards of seeking to redefine the present by changing the past. Is it a good idea to tinker with trying to stop or remove even awful events from our history? There is a paradox in the scientific studies of time travel known as the Hitler Murder Paradox.  It basically says that changing something major, like killing Hitler before he came to power, although intended to prevent some great evil, has a ripple effect that might be much worse than the original event.  The risk is pretty great that if you change something major, you will cause an even greater catastrophe.  You can read all about this paradox and several others on by clicking on the link for Time Travel.

4.       How did you research the science behind the time travel theories out there? Anyone who knows me well will know that science isn’t really in my wheelhouse.  It was, in fact, my least favorite subject in school and the challenge to writing the Time Benders series.  I, like one of the characters, know how to do research, however, so I read, and googled and thankfully, one of my kids knows way more physics than I do. He was a great resource, but also a great critic, as he hates movies that take leaps with physics, and he kept me on track to make the science seem as realistic as possible. And, now I know a whole lot more about physics and the space-time continuum than I did two years ago.

5.       Why is our literature filled with time travel themes? Its fascinating isn’t it? Time travel seems like one of the last great unknowns, and so I think the literature goes there to consider this last big question.  The time travel fiction really picked up steam in the eighteen hundred’s, which was also a time of great technological advancement and when we humans contemplated travel by air, and space for the first time in a real sense, so of course the contemporary literature would pick up steam then as well.  As we’ve advanced our understanding of space, from Einstein onward, the literature I think has kept pace, and become less fantastical and more realistic.  A certain aspect of literature always keeps pace with what’s important in its contemporary culture.

6.       What trends do you see for science fiction literature? The young adult trend seems to me to be more geared toward fantasy, and dystopian worlds and magicians than time travel or even space travel right now. There has been an increase in adult fiction with time travel elements in the last year or two, especially from the independent authors.   And there have been some television shows, like Timeless that have sparked some renewed interest in time travel.  I for one hope that pushes the trend forward so there’s more material soon. I really like to see what other authors come up with for solving the paradoxes.

7.       Why are YA books, like yours, so important for the newest generation to read? I struggled as a parent to find reading material for my kids that was age appropriate and interesting to appeal to them, but something I was comfortable with them reading. That’s one reason I wrote Time Benders. I also think a wider variety of material is always better for kids to find a subject and storyline that interests them enough to sit and read.  Plus, with the setting in the 70’s, the Time Benders series gives kids today a look at a real world they would otherwise never experience.   

8.       How can we get more women to write science fiction – and to appeal to the needs and desires of today’s reader? I come from a family full of educators, so I have always understood the value of education.  I think to get more women involved in writing science fiction it has to start with the availability of interesting material to read, like the Time Benders series of books, and being exposed to subject matter at an early age so the interest gets sparked.  I read a lot when I was a kid, so I would say, supporting and encouraging young people to read as much different kinds of material as possible would help men and women be better writers and try different genres. 


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo 

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