Reality Skimming

Continuing Characters #6: Talie Tappler

Continuing Characters: A series of interviews featuring continuing characters and the authors who know them best.

The Tomorrow News NetworkThe Tomorrow News Network is the only news agency run by time travelers. Their reporters venture across the known universe, covering the biggest stories of all time. Their broadcasts bring viewers the news before it happens, except those viewers who could change it. Those viewers only see static.

The Tomorrow News Network web series by James S. Pailly is a collection of original short stories. Each month, from January to October, 2012, will feature a new adventure with Tomorrow News Network reporter Talie Tappler and her cameraman, Mr. Cognis. Join them as they cover the Roswell crisis, the assassination of Earth’s first president, a holy war in the Orion Nebula, and much, much more.

The first TNN story, The Medusa Effect was posted January 9th, 2012. February's installment is coming February 6th.

Talie Tappler

The Encyclopedia Galactica lists Talie Tappler as a professional time traveler, but where others would make time travel a profession she makes it an art form. Using only a battered, old pocket watch, she can go to any point in space or time. Her knowledge of chronotheory, the science of time travel, is absolute, almost instinctive. In her career with the Tomorrow News Network, she’s earned a reputation as the greatest reporter in all of time and space. She’s covered the biggest stories of every era, from the deaths of galactic leaders to the destruction of planets and entire star systems.

"Look, there’s nothing wrong with emotions. I have a whole bunch every day, but you have to use them responsibly!” --from The Medusa Effect

Questions for Talie Tappler

Q. I'm sure everyone would love to know when and where in time and space you were actually born--but this seems to be one of your closely guarded secrets. Won't you give us a little hint?

To be honest, I don’t know. It was on Earth, but my parents were time travelers, and we time travelers have a hard time keeping track of dates in our own lives. I’m pretty sure it was a Tuesday, though.

Q. You are known to be at the very top of your field: time travel reporting. Do you feel that this is your true calling?

My true calling… I hadn’t thought of it that way. You see, I’ve always known my future, and I’ve always known I would become a journalist. I couldn’t have changed that even if I tried. Every decision point in my life brought me inevitably closer to this career path. Time forced me into it. With that being said, I love my job. The Tomorrow News Network is a great organization, and I’m proud of the work I do for them.

Q. How do you remain professional and objective in the face of some of the greatest disasters that will ever strike humankind?

Even in the darkest hour, there is always a flicker of hope. I know that. I can see it even as disaster occurs around me. In my reporting, I try to make the viewer see it too. So many people, both time travelers and otherwise, want to change history, but they don’t realize how valuable those flickers of hope are or how easily they can be stamped out. Those are the moments that make history, not conscious decisions or well thought out plans. Understanding that, I can remain professional. I can even be enthusiastic, despite the death and destruction, because I know where hope is and how it will play out.

James Pailly

Author/illustrator James Pailly has no first hand experience with time travel, but he does have experience in the TV news business. He’s been a cameraman, video editor, and writer, and he currently works at an independent news station in Pennsylvania. He specializes in science journalism.

Visit his blog, Planet Pailly, for a look at the latest science and technology news from a Sci-Fi perspective.

You can friend James on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. You can also find him on Goodreads and DeviantArt.

Questions for James Pailly

Q. In Talie Tappler's biographical information, it's hinted that she has a few secrets and personal demons, yet in The Medusa Effect we see a very polished surface image of her. As the stories go on, are we going to learn more about Talie and the depth of her character?

Talie is so complex with so many secrets I doubt we’ll ever get through them all. But as the series progresses, we’ll see more and more of the woman inside. She adamantly insists she wouldn’t change history, but at times she manipulates events in subtle ways. In the final story of the year, scheduled for October, someone will outsmart her and change history in a way she didn’t intend. You can bet her inner demons will come out when that happens.

Q. According to the TNN website, readers can expect one short story every month from January to October. Do you already have ten stories planned out, and what are your plans for when they are all published?

All ten stories are in various stages of development, and at the time of this interview the stories for February and March are nearing completion. After they’re all published, I plan to release an ebook version which will include ten flash fiction sequels. If all goes well, Talie will be back in 2013 for a second short story series.

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