The Art of Time is a speculative fiction novel set in a starkly-divided world where the most valuable currency is time itself. 

Drawing of Hatch City by my fabulous friend Roisin.

Drawing of Hatch City by my fabulous friend Roisin.

Exiled by the Cadre, Malar is barely surviving in the notorious prison enclave of Hatch City. Seduced into the thieves-in-law of The Amaranthine House via the enigmatic Ledoc, she learns that survival is not enough … but to escape means revolution.

Ambitious bureaucrat Kajin works for the Cadre in golden Elchior, climbing higher up the ladder through exiling a young member of the aristocracy. When the only person he cares for disappears in similar circumstances, he realises that power may not be the ultimate prize after all.

Leaving his tribe in the Cholomon Forest, nomadic woodsman Dafik risks everything to save his indentured brothers from the temporal mines. Once trapped within the vice-like grip of the Cadre, it becomes clear that the only person he may be able to save is himself … but every choice is a death.

What remains when you have lost everything? How deeply would you claw within to find freedom? 

Drawing of Malar by the wonderful  Stephen Roantree .

Drawing of Malar by the wonderful Stephen Roantree.

I started writing my book over two years ago. It began one Sunday afternoon with the glimmer of an idea. Not even an idea really, just an image of a girl exiled in a drowning city. Feeling hemmed in by the world, I sat in tears and wrote about the image for an hour. Over the following weeks the image grew into a character, the character into a story, and the story into a whole other world I wanted to explore. 

That other world drew me like a riptide until I could no longer ignore it. I left my job at Facebook with the intent of finishing my book and returning to the working world. "I'll give it three really good months," I told myself, "that'll be enough." Two years later here I am, still nursing my messy first draft but living in a different world, no longer drowning. The draft gets a little less messy every week. Every now and then I think I can maybe even see something precious shining through. We'll see.

I know the characters. I know the story. A writing mentor I trust told me I need to "take the brakes off, catch rabies and embrace the grotesque" - I believe him, and believe me I'm trying. I promise to post an excerpt here as soon as I muster the courage. Soon.

"Since the time of the old gods, legends have whispered of those who could manipulate the forces of time..."

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