Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: A Moment In Time by Martin Dukes @MartinDukes5 @GoddessFish

A Moment In Time

by Martin Dukes

GENRE: YA Fantasy


Alex Trueman has just turned fifteen. He's a typical teenager, a bit spotty, a bit nerdy and he's not exactly popular at school, not being one of the 'cool' kids. His tendency to day-dream doesn't exactly help him to be cool. either! But being cool isn't as good as the talent Alex discovers he has - stopping time.

Yes that's right. Stopping time!

Well, for everyone except Alex, that is, who finds that whilst everyone else is caught in a moment in time, he is able to carry on as normal. Maybe not quite 'normal', after all, he's able to stop time, and whilst that's not exactly as good as a certain 'boy wizard', it's pretty close!

The only trouble is that reality for Alex isn't always what is seems, and being plunged into an alternative can be a bit tricky, not to mention the fact that he makes an enemy almost as soon as he arrives, which tends to cause a problem.

Will Alex Trueman, nerdy daydreamer, be able to return to reality or will he be stuck forever in his alternative? Is a moment in time enough for Alex to discover the superhero he needs is probably himself?

A Moment in Time is the debut novel of author Martin Dukes, and is the first in a series of Alex Trueman Chronicles, which take the reader, along with Alex, into a bedazzling world of time travel, alternative reality and flying sea creatures. His further adventures include the past, possibly the future and definitely a fight to save reality itself.


Alex returned home to find a most unwelcome development, which had arrived through the letterbox in the superficially innocent form of a brown envelope. It might as well have been a letter bomb for its explosive impact on Alex’s day. It contained his school report. His mother’s set jaw and the glint of steel in her eyes when Alex walked into the kitchen signalled danger ahead. Alarm bells were dinning away insistently by the time the brown envelope was brandished in his face.

This,” she said, tapping him on the head with it for emphasis, “Is your report.” She paused to let Alex dwell on this prospect. “It does not make good reading. Let me see,” she pondered as she snatched up her glasses and whipped the report out to read. “Mathematics… 3C... English… 2C… Design Technology, get this… 4D.” She read through the whole list in a voice trembling with outrage. “And here’s the grand finale,” she said, shaking the page. “The considered opinion of your form teacher. Do you want to hear what Mr Burbage has to say about you?”

Alex had absolutely no desire to hear this now, or indeed ever, but he recognised there was no point in saying so. A display of submissive behaviour seemed in order. He hung his head. “Alex is undoubtedly an intelligent pupil with a bright future, should he choose to exert himself,” she read. “Get that? Should he choose to exert himself.

Her face came worryingly close to Alex’s as she stressed this last part. He was conscious of a little drop of her saliva on his chin, at first warm, now suddenly cold.

Interview with Martin Dukes

What made you want to become a writer?

I think reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. A great many prolific readers also aspire to be writers and express themselves in that manner, whether the results of their efforts be blogs and reviews or full-length novels. I was always very ready to immerse myself in the worlds that writers created for me and, in turn, began making up worlds of my own, in which to enact the stories that occurred to me. My first attempts at writing were when I was a very small child and involved telling stories about my teddy bears, written out in ill-formed childish script, on folded paper and stapled together. Over time, and with advancing maturity, I graduated to completing a longer tale, this one entitled ‘The adventures of George and his friends’, carefully hand-written in a hard-backed notebook and lavishly illustrated throughout using felt-tipped pen. My eighteenth birthday present consisted of an electric typewriter, which was cutting edge technology in those days, when computers still occupied entire buildings, served by hushed white-coated technicians in polythene overshoes like the attendants in some ancient temple. Naturally, when most of my friends were getting motor scooters or their first cars, this did not excite much envy. My head was always full of stories, and getting them down on paper was a major preoccupation of mine at that age. I was rarely satisfied with my output, however, and it was some years before I was able to bring a full-length novel to completion. You need to have a certain amount of self-belief to succeed as a writer. You have to believe that you are capable of producing something that meets your own criteria for good writing, and you have to believe that others will also enjoy reading it. The desire to have others read your work, and to enjoy reading it, is undoubtedly a powerful motivation. I’d like to think that I’ve brought something of value into the world, and that if the world is even the tiniest bit richer for it, well, that is also a source of satisfaction.

What inspired you to write ‘A Moment in Time’?

This was my first self-conscious attempt to create something entirely original, after many years of largely inconclusive projects. Although I wanted to write what was essentially a fantasy book, I did not wish to draw upon the folklore of dragons, fairies and vampires that other writers have explored so brilliantly and successfully over the years. I am very interested in science, and although my understanding of the subject is limited (as my school teachers would confirm!) I know enough to see the implications and the possibilities for story-telling that might emerge from it. I’m particularly interested in time, and it was this that led me to lay the intellectual groundwork for this book. I imagined a world that existed trapped between the moments of ordinary time, interstices, from where the whole world appeared to frozen into immobility. I imagined that access to this world could be gained through daydreaming. This world, ‘Intersticia’, was inhabited by a small population of those who inadvertently fallen into the place, most of them through daydreaming. These outcasts were trapped here until the universe tidied things up (and not in a nice way!). Alex Trueman is my teenage daydreamer. He finds himself in a race against time to save some of the people he meets in this world, trapped in a moment. I like to think that this is an entirely original premise for a novel but others, more widely read, may tell me otherwise.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in A Moment in Time’?

The MC is Alex Trueman, a fifteen-year old boy who is a little lacking in confidence and a little physically immature for his age. For these reasons he is rather prone to bullying from the larger boys in his year group at school. He is an intelligent boy but very prone to daydreaming, experiencing a regular disassociation from the world around him. This results eventually in his actual disassociation from our world, when he falls into the strange world of Intersticia. Whilst here, he finds himself subject to the bullying and tyranny of Ganymede, the person in charge of the sector he finds himself in. Ganymede presents the rather terrifying appearance of a wild-eyed vagrant and sets his subjects perverse tasks, in return for providing them with food. Alex quickly falls foul of Ganymede, when the latter finds that Alex has some extraordinary powers, powers almost unheard of in Intersticia, powers that give him unique potential to disrupt life there. Alex is singled out for Ganymede’s disapproval, but the man reserves most of his ire for Paulo, a cheeky and irreverent lad, a few years older than Alex age, who rebels against authority and hides out in the woods. Alex soon finds that he doesn’t much like Paulo either but comes to realize that gaining Paulo’s trust is essential to his own plans. One of Alex’s reasons for resenting Paulo, is Paulo’s relationship with Kelly, a girl of Alex’s age who he quickly falls for. Kelly is pretty, sharp-witted and engaging, showing an interest in Alex that his previous, very limited, contact with the opposite sex, has left him wholly unprepared for.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

I have a deep affection for Jane Austen, and for the writer of nautical yarns, Patrick O’Brien; but my favorite writer is Philip Pullman, whose ‘Dark Materials’ trilogy has been inspirational for me. I aspire to be able to write books as absorbing and compelling as his, but to achieve even a fraction of his success would be wonderful. He combines superlative mastery of language, with a depth and richness of world building that I have yet to encounter elsewhere within books intended for that demographic. He also has a most original mind and creates some highly engaging characters. Who else had previously conceived of people having animal daemons that are reflective of their personalities and are their everyday companions? Wonderful stuff!

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

There are a whole series of books about Alex Trueman, in various stages of publication, in which he gradually discovers the amazing powers and the extraordinary future that destiny has ordained for him. I shall soon begin work on another of these. For the present, I am editing an adult fantasy novel that I have been writing, set in an imaginary world I invented more than thirty years ago, Toxandria. Only now have I begun to tell stories about this place. The continent of Toxandria is divided into four realms, and I intend to write a novel set in each of them. If you want to find out about Toxandria you can check it out on my website ( When I’ve finished it, I shall submit it to my publisher, the wonderful Jane Murray of Provoco Publishing and see what she thinks of it.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I’m hopelessly addicted to ‘what if’ scenarios, (What if the Romans had crossed the Atlantic? What if everyone could read everyone else’s thoughts? etc.) so trying to imagine how people would behave if placed in hypothetical scenarios is one of the great joys of writing. As writers, we create characters and test them by placing them in scenarios of our own invention. The weirder the scenario the better, some would argue. If you’re trying to engage with teenage readers, it’s certainly a valid approach. I like to think that the basic premise of my book would make the reader imagine themselves into that situation and enjoy the possibilities available to them. What would you do if you could stop time, for example? Wouldn’t that be amazing!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I’ve always been a writer. It’s not a choice. It’s a compulsion, and I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Lots of childish scribbles in notebooks, lots of rejection slips from publishers and agents testify to a craft long in the making. In addition, it has proved necessary to earn a living by other means whilst those vital skills mature. For thirty-eight years I taught Art and Graphic Design, thirty-seven of them in a wonderful independent girls’ school in Birmingham, UK. For much of the latter part of this career I was Head of Department, which gave me the opportunity to place my own stamp on Art education there, sharing with the pupils there my own love of Art and the History of Art. Over a decade I was able to lead annual visits to Florence, Venice and Rome (some of my favourite places on the planet) as destinations on my Renaissance Tour. These visits created memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

I love history in general, reading history as much as I read fiction. I have a particular interest in the ancient world but I am also fascinated with medieval times and with European history in general. This interest informs my own writing to the extent that human relationships and motivations are a constant throughout the millennia, and there is scarcely a story that could be conceived of that has not already played itself out in some historical context. There is much to learn from observing and understanding such things, much that can be usefully applied to my own work.

Teaching tends to be a rather time-consuming activity. Since retiring, I have been able to devote much more of my time to writing, and being taken on by the brilliant Jane Murray of Provoco Publishing has meant that I am finally able to bring my work to the reading public’s attention. I like to think that my ideas are original and that they do not readily fall into existing tropes and categories.

I am not a particularly physical being. I was always terrible at sport and have rather poor physical coordination (as though my body were organised by a committee rather than a single guiding intelligence!). I tend to treat my body as a conveyance for my head, which is where I really dwell. My writing typically derives from dreams. There is a sweet spot between sleeping and waking which is where my ideas originate. I always develop my stories there. When I am writing it feels as though the content of my dreams becomes real through the agency of my fingers on the keyboard. I love the English language, the rich majesty of its vocabulary and its rhythmic possibilities. My arrival at this stage could hardly be describes as precocious. However, at the age of sixty-two, I feel that I have arrived at a place where I can create work of value that others may appreciate and enjoy.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Provoco Publishing


$25 Amazon/BN GC

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Martin Dukes said...

Hi, thanks for hosting me today! Martin :)

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Sherry said...

Sounds like a good book.

Martin Dukes said...

Hi Sherry, thanks for your comment and your support! Martin :)

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