Brian Paone

Author // Musician

"Yours Truly, 2095" turns 1 year old

My third published novel, "Yours Truly, 2095," has its first birthday this month. I can't believe that it has been a full year now since its been out, especially since it took me three full years to research, outline, write, and edit.

Starting off as an idea to take one of my favorite albums of all time, Electric Light Orchestra's concept album "Time," and try to adapt it into a direct novelization was something I had been tossing around in my head since high school. The concept album, which follows a man who wakes up in the year 2095 with a robot for a wife, not knowing how he got there, and trying to get back to his real wife in 1981, had always intrigued me, not only as song lyrics, but as a stand alone storyline.

It took almost 9 months to dissect every single lyric so I could write an outline and find enough story arcs, plot lines, and character developments within the words to where I felt comfortable writing a 90k word novel based around a 16-track album that clocks in at around 55 minutes.

Writing the novel during the 4 years that I lived in Japan, I approached it initially as a Michael Crichton-style sci-fi story; I wanted the technology to be so steeped in science-fact, that there would never need to be a suspension of disbelief from the reader (even when the characters have to go to the moon.) I really wanted an organic feeling story, that didn't have whirling time machines, and technology that seemed far-fetched. What I never expected, was that I would wind up with a time-travel romance novel.

Staying true to every single lyric of the "Time" album (heck, even the front cover of the book is an adaptation of the front cover art of the album), I found that I had a lot of holes that needed to filled in with my own literary license. Even though it IS a concept album, it's not as concrete as, say, Pink Floyd's "The Wall," or The Who's "Tommy," where there is no mistaking what is happening, what everyone is thinking, and what everyone is saying.

I realized, after the book's final draft was approved, was that I had a novel (even though it IS a direct and perfect adaptation of a band's album) that anyone, and I mean ANYONE, could read this book. My biggest concern (and also some friends when I told them what I was working on) was that people who didn't know who Electric Light Orchestra was, wouldn't even TRY to read the book. Why should they? If its a novelization of an album they'd never heard of? But I was able to write a straight forward time-travel romance novel, that works twofold: 1) if you are an ELO fan, you will "see the storyline" of the "Time" album in every piece of action and dialogue ... or 2) if you have no idea who ELO is, this book is a stand-alone time-travel romance novel full mystery and action and suspense. You do not need to know ANYTHING about the source material to enjoy the book, or for it to make sense. In fact, most of the positive reviews I have received of the book, are from people that only found out AFTERWARD that the book is based on an album. And the positive reviews from Electric Light Orchestra fans, have applauded me for taking a revered album, and turning into a novel that stayed true to the tone and storyline of "Time."

And THAT, is how I know I accomplished what I set out to accomplish with this novel.

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