Q and A with Jilaine Tarisa

You originally wrote the story in A Moment of Time as a screenplay. Did the story change much when you wrote the novel?

The main characters are the same, but I learned more about them when I wrote the book. In the novel, for example, Caitlin questions some of the teachings of her religion, a theme that isn’t present in the screenplay, which focuses more on the development of her interest in music. Because the story is long (it spans four years), I divided it into two parts. A Moment of Time tells the first half of the story; the sequel will tell the rest. 

The time frame for A Moment of Time is June 1996 to March 1998. Why did you select those dates?

The sequel ends in July 2000, when a hearing was held before the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, so I worked backward in determining the sequence of events.

A key scene occurs at the summer solstice; that’s why the story opens in June.

The protagonist of A Moment of Time is an attorney for the Department of Justice who is assigned a case alleging that the use of thimerosal as a vaccine preservative is causing adverse effects in children. Do you oppose vaccinations?

I’m pro-choice and pro-education. In order to make an informed choice about any medical intervention, we need information about possible side effects, efficacy, cost, alternatives, and other considerations.

Controlling the spread of disease is a valid concern, but I don’t understand why people defend the use of thimerosal.

Sound healing is an important part of the story. Is that something you have experience with?

I studied sound healing with several teachers, including Fabien Maman and Don Campbell, who wrote widely on the topic and started the Institute for Music, Health, and Education.

In A Moment of Time, Caitlin discovers the healing power of music, sound, singing, toning and chanting. Music and singing, in particular, continue to be important to her in the sequel.

Is the story autobiographical?

The story is personal, but not autobiographical. I write about things that interest me; things I’ve witnessed or imagined or, in some instances, experienced. I research things I want to know more about, and the teacher in me wants to share my knowledge with the world.

What have you taught?

In a formal setting, I’ve taught in college psychology departments.

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