A Dream for Fast Backward

I’d just climbed aboard a Stairmaster at the Y a few days ago when an older guy—I’m guessing eighties but unbent and wiry—got on the next one over. I opened up my Kindle and began reading, but I sneaked a sideways glance in his direction and noticed him firing up his Kindle, too. Great minds think alike or something. My book—a British novel with memorable characters and an engaging story—quickly got me involved, but I managed to peek over at my step-mate, and he was really cruising, climbing those artificial stairs like there was a steak dinner and a glass of red waiting for him at the top. This guy was no plodder. He was fast.

He was also intent on his book; he was reading, by God, and all that climbing stuff was gonna take a backseat. Which made me wonder, even as I read my own book, what was keeping him so focused, what was causing an occasional smile. In other words, what are you reading, pops?

Not my business. I had business of my own. I didn’t ask. But I guessed: mystery; suspense; gangster; espionage; western; sci-fi, maritime; inspirational; biography; the latest Grisham or Patterson or Sandford. Romance??? Would anything from that list prompt a smile?

I refocused. My protagonist—a young woman on her own in the Scottish highlands for the first time in her life—was headed for a quandary: gruff guy, sensitive guy, or her beloved books? But still I wondered, and finally, annoyed by the distraction, I asked: “Good book?”

“Better than good. A classic. I wore out my paper copy.”


Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut. Know him?”

“’So it goes.’”

The smile came back, brighter. “You must be a real reader.”

The temptation was there. I could tell him I’m not just a real reader, I’m a real writer, and my newest book, Fast Backward, is just about a week away from its publication date, and maybe someday it’ll be a classic too.

I resisted. “It’s in my blood,” I said instead. “And Vonnegut was a genius.”

“Amen,” he said.

He went back to Breakfast of Champions, I went back to The Bookshop on the Corner and my thoughts or dreams or something beyond dreams: What if someday soon (June 1 or later, because that’s the official date for the unveiling) I asked a guy on the neighboring Stairmaster what he was reading, and he said, “Fast Backward. Patneaude. Know him?”

Here are some real comments from real readers (and authors) who have read a preview copy of the book:

Roland Smith:

 “David Patneaude has done it again with this explosive anti-war book to end all anti-war books. It is a terrific read from the first word to the last.”

 Kirby Larson:

“Fast Backward is not only a page-turning, heart-stopping glimpse into an alternate outcome to WWII, it is a thought-provoking take on choices being made in contemporary times. Cocoa is an unforgettable character, fighting hard against the current of history.”

David Harrison:

“David Patneaude’s fast moving story involves a striking cast of characters, events, and surprises that keep the pages turning. Don’t start Fast Backward until you have plenty of time. You won’t want to put it down.”

 Christopher Bowron:

 “Patneaude is a gifted storyteller. Fast Backward is an intriguing story filed with first love and heartbreak, war and peace, time travel, and the odd atomic bomb for good measure.  Highly recommended!

 Mike Mullin:

“Fast Backward is a high stakes thrill ride! I’ve long thought that we need more World War 2 stories and alternate history in young adult fiction, and this is both. Fans of The Man in the High Castle or Michael Grant’s Front Lines series will love Fast Backward!”

Dori Jones Yang:

“Imaginative, thought-provoking, and compelling, Fast Backward draws you in to a fascinating what-if: What might have happened if the Nazis got the bomb in time to win the war? And what if a traveler from the future gave us the chance to avert that disaster? Hurtling head-first into this challenge are lively, likeable Bobby and Cocoa, the intriguing girl who materializes out of thin desert air. But why should anyone believe two teenagers?”

Carl Deuker:

“David Patneaude’s frightening ‘What if?’ alternative history will have young readers turning pages to find out what happens next and also turning to history books to educate themselves about the horrors of World War II.  What an accomplishment!”

 Conrad Wesselhoeft:

 “Past, present, and future collide in David Patneaude’s soaring new novel of courage set at the dawn of the Atomic Age. One early morning in rural New Mexico, a pedaling paperboy named Bobby encounters a lost girl named Cocoa, and his fate—and the world’s—are changed forever. Patneaude peels back the layers of history to glimpse the future—but is it bright or dark? A superb, enduring book, with lots of timely reverb.”

 Dori Hillestad Butler:

 “Riveting! One of the best time travel stories I’ve read in a long time.”


Now’s the time to order your copy of Fast Backward and see what all the buzz is about.










2 Responses to “A Dream for Fast Backward

  • Big HECK YEAH! to FAST BACKWARD. Loved it. And Vonnegut . . . I met him in a post office in New York City back in the 1980s. He couldn’t have been wittier or nicer.

  • Thanks for checking in, Conrad, and for the nice comment (again). If I ever get to live my life over, I’m gonna find a way to sign up for one of Vonnegut’s Iowa workshops. I’d sit in the front row and hope some of that wit would rub off on me.