We recently published Jo Withers’ stunning “Yesterday’s Tide.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) This is such a quiet, understated time travel story — the parent going back and back and back to this one moment to try again. Why this particular moment, do you think? What is the significance for the child and the parent?
This was one of my first questions, once the time machine was finished, where would the parent begin? I think that my most vivid childhood memories were formed around this age. We lived quite a distance from the coast and beach days were rare and magical. I believe the parent would start here as it’s a time of deep mutual love. They mean everything to one another at this moment and are entirely absorbed by their own world. Their biggest problem at this point is finding the best sand for their castle.
2) Despite going back in time to change things, the ending remains the same. Do you think this is an inevitable end for these characters’ story? Or do you think there is the chance — the hope — that one more time, one more time, and things will turn out differently?
This piece left a hole in my heart as it was written when a close friend was really struggling. It was born out of my almost obsessional need to try to help, to tweak even the slightest thing which would change her life for the better. It’s very difficult when we have no control over situations, part of me was trying to accept that there was only so much I could do (I couldn’t remove every sharp pebble) whilst the other part was constantly reflecting and plotting ways I could do more. For those we love, we will always try. I don’t know if there’s a way to make the story end differently but I do know that the parent will never give up.