What inspired me to do this series?
Several seemingly quite unconnected things. I can’t deny that, occasional politics and iffy ending aside, I enjoyed Quantum Leap quite a bit and had been thinking about it when the first motes of dust for this project were scuffed up off the floor. The whole time travel thing being a popular but difficult genre to do correctly, I had already been working with it on both the still in-work sequel to Little Women with Big Guns as well as the completed and hopefully both coherent and chronologically consistent narrative of the Piper Gods series. So having stalled on Everybody’s Revenge: Little Women with Even Bigger Guns, and now considering doing LWWBG “Take Two” (thanks Dona Fox!) instead with a story that involves Ms. Alcott’s original characters rather than ones with similar names, I decided that maybe what I could do was do a time travel series where the time travel takes the form of messages only. Right about the time I was thinking about Quantum Leap and doing another series (maybe not as staggeringly ambitious as the Piper Gods), Roma and I were talking about what NSBS could do to be recognized as a dependable source for entertainment. I said steady output might help if we could get it, and I offered the Ghost Phone concept as something that I felt I could make into a fairly lengthy series of approximately novella-length stories. Roma had her “zombie-ghost” series idea as well, and that put me onto remembering NBC’s old “wheel” series The Sunday Mystery Movie—the one that featured four different series on an alternating/rotating basis such that one Sunday you’d see Columbo and the next you’d be watching Hec Ramsey and the one after that was Search. That’s probably not how the order went, and there were other series too, but you get the drift. I figured if we could find one or two other solid writers in the “horror and horror-adjacent” genre, NSBS could put out a story a month. Roma immediately thought of Scott (Essel Pratt) and Dona Fox and hey, here we are with what I feel will be a really fun endeavor.
What is the Ghost Phone series about?
As I said, “ghosts” of figures from history make contact with living people via phones that shouldn’t even be working—you know, that old relic booth near the gas station that’s been closed for years, to which the wires were cut and removed long ago? These messages come to the present via a time rift and courtesy of the rift-maker the mysterious link is meant to help humanity survive this critical time. But once the rift is opened, others who have existed in Earth’s past are also able to access it and make ghost-to-person phone calls as well—and these don’t necessarily want the nobly intentioned, such as rift opener Albert Einstein, to help humanity save itself from itself: What the darker “ghosts” are trying to achieve is as sinister as the other side is honorable. And because the rift has no directory, ghost-to-person hookups vary widely. In the first installment, protagonist Time Weathers is a decent person bizarrely tasked with achieving a critical feat despite having no real qualifications or experience…because that’s what the cosmos decides. And future tales will feature connections between serial killers and petty thieves, for example. Being a big fan of the cohesiveness and unity of TV shows like Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there is a larger overall struggle building and various survivors of the series installments will appear again in future episodes and even meet with one another on their way to the eventual showdown for the future of our modern day world. Note that if this series turns out to be popular, that showdown may take a little longer to arrive.