Short story format takes on new life with launch of "Once Upon a Timepiece"


January 9th, 2014: The “short story cycle” is a well-rehearsed literary form, but it takes on an exciting new flavour with the launch of a book today from author Starr Wood.

Once Upon a Timepiece is a collection of 12 short stories that fit together to create a longer novel. Each story can be read on its own, but the stories also connect together, creating a broader narrative that propels the book forward.

As a literary form, “short story cycles” always have a unifying theme linking the stories together, such as a common time or place, or a set of characters that appear in all the stories. Once Upon a Timepiece breaks new ground by introducing a new type of unifying theme.

In the book, the connection that joins the stories together is an antique gold watch. Each story has its own set of distinct characters, with the watch passing from the main character in one tale to the main character in the next, none of whom know each other. Each story is also heavily plot-driven, delivering an unexpected twist at the end.

The novel begins when Conrad Sands returns a vintage wristwatch to an old flame after 20 years apart, sparking a remarkable chain of events. The watch passes through the hands of a gold-digger, a journalist, an enchantress, and a professor. It touches the lives of a rogue art collector, a domestic helper, and an environmental campaigner. It influences a reverend’s apprentice, a kept wife, and a self-made man. All of them are strangers, yet all are intricately linked in ways that none of them see.

As the watch passes through each character’s hands, the book explores humanity’s relationship with time and the unseen threads of history that bind us together. It explores memory and regret, ambition and weakness, and the texture of time that lies behind all our lives.

Once Upon a Timepiece is the debut novel from Starr Wood, a British writer, journalist and economist, and is
published by Bo Tree Books.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the short story as a literary form, from its roots as an oral tradition around campfires, to early written works such as Boccaccio’s Decameron, to writers like Somerset Maugham, Roald Dahl, and Alice Munro,” says Starr. “With Once Upon a Timepiece, I wanted to write a set of short stories that each stand alone, and each surprise and delight the reader, but which also join up to form a novel that expresses bigger ideas.”

For more information:

About Starr Wood:

Starr Wood is a British journalist, writer and economist. He was born in England in 1970, but grew up in Nigeria, Ras Al Khaimah, South Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan. In 1992, Starr graduated from the London School of Economics and began his career as a journalist working for a variety of news media in London and the Middle East. Since 1999, he has worked at The Economist Group, first in London, and then in Asia. Today, he lives in Singapore with his wife and three children. Once Upon a Timepiece is his debut novel.

About Bo Tree Books:

Bo Tree Books is an independent British publisher that aims to nurture up-and-coming writers with fresh ideas.