A Matter of Time


Book Cover



    Core Theme














    Peter Collins disappeared on September 5, 2001. six days before 9/11 On September 5, 2016, a man came through a secret NSA vortex; Peter Collins had resurfaced. His family had moved on and his twin boys died at the twin towers. Peter's quest is to get back to 2001 and save his family.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+,13-17

    Target Gender: Universal


    New York

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Austin Macauley

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Peter Collins was living the American dream. Then he disappeared without a trace leaving everyone devastated, The date was September 5, 2001. On September 5, 2016, a man came through a secret NSA vortex; Peter Collins had resurfaced fifteen years later having been declared legally dead by his wife.

    Ending Description

    The NSA’s special agent Doug McClean wants to send him back through the vortex to 2001, but the CIA wants to take Peter out and anyone he has come in contact with throughout his time in 2016. Peter's quest is to get back to 2001 and save his family from the trauma of 9/11

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available



    ISBN 9781528994651 - ISBN 9781528915304 - ISBN 9781528994668

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Peter Collins

    Age: 41

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Leader,Masculine,Sexy,Skillful,Selfless,Engaging,Honorable,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Heather Lombard

    Age: 42

    Gender: Female

    Role: Tempter

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Sexy,Funny,Selfless,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Gracious,Sophisticated,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Doug McClean

    Age: 45

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Charming,Decisive,Empathetic,Skillful,Outspoken,Selfless,Patriotic,Masculine,Adventurous

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jerry Martin

    Age: 41

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Confident,Crazy,Criminal,Villainous,Masculine,Blunt,Skillful

    Development Pitch

    I.P.D. Watts’ ‘A Matter of Time: The Future Is Not Set’ is a fast-paced, engrossing sci-fi thriller, as one man resurfaces in 2016, fifteen years after he vanished just days before the 9/11 catastrophe. His family were victims, and now the CIA has a contract on him and everyone he has come into contact with. But why? Can he escape back in time to stop everything in its tracks, and re-live the fifteen years he has lost? The narrative is highly cinematic, vivid – and compels readers to rethink all they know about time, fate and consequence. All existing footage of the disaster could be used. A screenplay is also available. Quote:- But it’s entirely deliberate because IPD Watts has pieced together a science fiction and time-travel novel unlike anything else on the market.




    A New Yorker accidentally slips into an NSA time travel vortex and winds up in 2016. Learning about 9/11, he must evade both NSA and CIA agents to get back to his own time and save his twin sons who will be in the towers on a field trip.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The logline gives too much away in revealing the lead's sons' deaths in 9/11. An edited logline emphasizing the mystery element of the story will be more effective.

    Draw of Story

    Compelling concept of having forewarned knowledge of 9/11 and a chance to change events. The intrigue of the future NSA having successfully developed a time-travel machine.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The author giving lead Peter a 'fantasy' girlfriend in beautiful, wealthy Heather, doesn't ring true. He's still married to a wife he loves, he wouldn't fall for Heather so fast, if at all. There's no need for Heather to be so super wealthy, hire a Michelin chef (at $12,000 a night) to cook them dinner in her penthouse, etc. It's too over the top and not relevant to the story. Additionally, the author overlooks an obvious need to have Peter set off fire alarms in both towers to try and save people. This is an easy fix.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    Emotional hook of a man with knowledge of the future desperate to go back in time to save his sons' lives. High tech sci-fi thriller based around a compelling true life event.

    Fanbase Potential

    Yes. Very commercial idea for a tent-pole feature film and the possibility for a streaming time travel series spin off.

    Awards Potential

    No. It's commercial, not artistic.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    High concept time travel based around a true life event. Lead Peter needs to try harder to stop the attacks and/or save workers in the WTC towers.

    Lead Characters

    Peter is a classic tall, fit, handsome lead with excellent combat skills as a former Marine. He's direct and resourceful, always staying one step ahead of the bad guys.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No. It's a great concept but it's one that has been seen before. For what it is, it's done pretty well.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation



    Very commercial idea that should have strong audience and talent appeal as well as solid financial returns.


    Just before 9/11, a New Yorker accidentally slips through an NSA time travel vortex to 2016. When he learns about the terrorist attack, he must do everything he can to get back to his own time to save his twin sons visiting the towers on a school field trip.

    What We Liked

    Great concept, taking a well-known tragic event and giving the hero a chance to change the results. The material boasts a great concept for a tent-pole action thriller. It has all the classic elements to entertain, a rugged, resourceful hero adept at combat, a compelling plot and ticking clock, gripping chase scenes and a (mostly) happy ending.

    Key points: Great concept utilizing one of the great tragedies of our time. Rugged hero perfect for A-list casting. Emotionally engagement in Peter's fight to save his sons. Plenty of tense action scenes. A nail-biting climax and a happy ending.


    Manhattan, September 5, 2001. PETER COLLINS (42, fit) is a former Marine who has a successful high-level security firm worth millions. He’s married to beautiful MARIE (40, a nurse) and they have a daughter, ASHLEY (13) and adorable twin sons, TOM and JAKE (10). They live in a plush home in Oyster Bay, an hour outside the city. Peter works in a high-rise office downtown, quite near the World Trade Center towers, which his kids are visiting in a few days’ time on a school field trip. Peter’s corporate partner and fellow former Marine, LARRY (50s), is currently out of commission, having recently survived a heart attack. Having arranged to meet another friend for a game of golf, Peter heads down to the parking garage – and bumps into a man wearing Arab clothing who seems to have appeared from nowhere. Suddenly, Peter’s in a strange void and his current surroundings disappear. When he comes to, he’s in the same location but it’s a completely different design. His business is no longer upstairs – but have been turned into sleek offices belonging to the NSA. When Peter causes a scene, security escort him out. Not really understanding what’s going on, Peter stumbles to a nearby park and sits on a bench. He strikes up a conversation with pretty HEATHER (42, blond), who has a cute small dog. To his utter shock, she tells him that it’s 2016 and that Barack Obama is president. Peter tries calling Marie or his assistant SHEILA (50s, elegant) on his Blackberry but both numbers are defunct, even when he tries Marie’s landline on Heather’s smart phone. Ironically, Heather tells him she used to temp at his company. Heather invites him to have coffee and listens to his story, a bit skeptical about his time-traveling theory. She also fills him in on some major historic events like the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 – the very day Peter’s sons are supposed to go there on their field trip. Three thousand people died. Peter must figure out how to get back to his own time and save them!

    Meanwhile, NSA techs, who have solved the question of time travel with their top-secret Mag-Tron that uses a massive vortex of lasers to transport matter, have noticed Peter appearing in their underground laboratory just as their agent, JED RYMAN (26), the man in Arab clothing, vanished back to 2001. They have to track him down before he exposes the new technology. They take video footage to the CIA for facial recognition identification and learn that Peter has been missing since September 6, 2001. Nobody knows what happened to him. CIA Deputy Director APRIL HAYNES (40s) suspects Peter might be an undercover agent for the NSA and puts out a hit on him, using one of Peter’s former Marine pals, JERRY MARTIN (40s), who works as a rogue hitman for big bucks. Peter buys a smart phone and calls his old partner, Larry – whose aging widow tells him he passed eleven years before.

    Unable to get his credit cards to work, Peter calls Heather for a ride and she turns up in her convertible Mercedes looking like a movie star. Truth is, Heather, who works as a high-end model agent, comes from a very wealthy family. She drives Peter out to his family house which has been made over and occupied by new owner MIRA (40s) for the last eight years. Marie moved to West Hampton and has remarried DAVID REECE (53), the NYPD Deputy Commissioner. Mira met them, and Marie’s daughter Ashley, but not the twins. Peter calls another of his former Marine buddies, JIM WATTS (50s) who gives him Marie’s new address. He’s stunned to hear from him, everyone thought he was dead. Marie waited over a decade before remarrying.

    Peter borrows Heather’s car and drives out to Marie’s spacious new house. Daughter Ashley, now 28, spots him in the driveway and walks towards him in shock! Marie, now 56, but just as beautiful, is also agog, but they come together in a tight embrace. She now breaks the tragic news that their twin boys died in the attack on the WTC towers. Marie is pretty skeptical about Peter’s time traveling story. She gives him a credit card for his expenses, and a thousand dollars in cash. Peter goes to the golf club to meet Jim Watts – but he’s a no show. He spots two federal agent types tailing him. Peter drives back to the city and dines with Heather who lives in a stunning Park Avenue penthouse her late father owns the whole building. She’s hired a four-star Michelin chef for $12,000 a night to prepare a delicious dinner for them. Next day, Peter meets daughter Ashley in lower Manhattan and they go to the 9/11 Memorial where he sees his sons’ names on the marble wall. He’s shocked when he sees a news report that Jim Watts and his wife have been found murdered in an apparent home invasion. Peter visits Marie’s new husband, David, but doesn’t ask him about Jim’s death, but only relates his version of his time-traveling story. David is clearly very skeptical. However, David knows DOUG McCLEAN (40s, fit), an NSA agent, and calls to ask a few questions. McClean denies the existence of the Mag-Tron. Heather arrives to pick Peter up and they find themselves being tailed by two federal agents. In a tense car chase, Peter loses them – but the agents track them down again as they’re having coffee at a café. They chase Peter and Heather into a crowded mall where he lures them into the back of a boutique and takes out two agents with phenomenal fighting skills. Amped up by their narrow escape, Peter and Heather tear each other’s clothes off back at her penthouse. Next morning, Peter is leaving in Heather’s car when his former colleague, Jerry Martin, now a rogue CIA hitman, blocks his way. He opens fire but Peter steps on the gas and runs him down. Peter quickly calls Heather and tells her to grab a few things and meet him: they have to get out of the apartment. They ditch the shot-up car and their phones, buy burner replacements and rent a vehicle to drive to Heather’s mother, OLIVE (70s), in Queens. Peter calls Sheila, now late 60s, who is very shocked to see him. She agrees to dig into the NSA offices to find out how he could have been transported from 2001. When she fails to call him back, he goes to her house and finds her shot dead in a bath tub of water. She has left him a hidden note about the CIA wanting to take him out, and to contact McClean at the NSA. Peter calls Heather and tells her and her mother to leave – he meets them at her aunt’s house a block away.

    Peter confronts wounded Jerry in hospital. He shows no remorse, he’s just doing a job. He tells him that Deputy Director April Haynes is behind the hit contract. Peter’s aghast when he sees a news story about a ‘gas explosion’ in West Hampton that has destroyed Marie’s house. David has been killed and Marie and Ashley have been rushed to hospital. Ashley’s fiancé has also died. Peter tries calling McClean for help but an assistant denies anyone working there of that name. Then he and Heather notice a tiny drone hovering around them and suddenly, a half-dozen NSA agents grab them and hustle them into a black SUV. They take them back to the NSA building for ‘safety’. McClean shows him the Mag-Tron and explains how they have come up with time travel technology. He gives Peter a sheaf of documents with the location of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda agents. He wants Peter to go back in time and give them to himself, a younger Doug McClean! Peter will also have a chance to save his boys. Peter bids farewell to Heather, both of them having fallen in love. They make an agreement to meet in thirty minutes – her time, fifteen years his time. Then Peter steps into the whirring Mag-Tron and is transported back to 2001. He arrives back in his parking garage and goes up to the office to find his assistant Sheila. She tells him he’s been missing for five days and everyone has been frantic. It’s the day before 9/11, and Peter calls Marie, warning her they must stop their sons going on their school field trip. Marie is pretty skeptical about his time traveling story: was he having an affair? Peter calls his sons’ teacher and offers to have the class meet with a foreign ambassador at the top of the Empire State Building before the 9/11 visit – hoping that the attack will have happened by then. Peter heads to the old NSA office and delivers the documents to a younger and very bemused Doug McClean who simply doesn’t believe Peter’s outlandish story of time travel and an impending attack on the Towers. Yet, the documents, a detailed account of the terrorist attack, are signed by him. Peter begs him to evacuate the towers but McClean knows his intel won’t be taken seriously, given its source and, after a futile meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he is right. The military won’t do anything to prevent the attack. It’s the morning of September the 11th and Peter is aghast when he calls the twins to learn that their field trip is going to the WTC first. He speaks to the teacher and begs her not to go – but the phone reception cuts out! Peter frantically calls Marie and tells her to keep trying the twins on her phone, and that the towers will be bombed. Peter races to the towers and parks haphazardly on the street as he takes the elevator up, searching for the boys’ field trip, who are expected at the restaurant for breakfast. Too late, it’s 8.46 am and the first plane hits the South Tower. Peter begs everyone to evacuate but security guards are telling everyone to stay calm and in place. Peter can’t believe that the NSA have done nothing to clear the buildings of people. Still unable to find his sons, Peter hurries downstairs with thousands of others as the second plane hits and just after they all escape, both towers collapse. Peter’s car is crushed so he hitches a ride home to a worried Marie and Ashley. They are very relieved when the twins turn up, covered in dust but okay. They got Peter’s frantic text to get out of the building – but they didn’t tell their teacher or their classmates! ‘How did you know?’ Marie asks Peter. We cut forward to 2016 and Peter, now having aged normally to 57, is downtown for the anniversary of 9/11. He is now divorced and Marie married David, who is still alive and well. Ashley (28) is married and working as a veterinarian. Peter’s twin sons made a fortune in smartphones, Peter having brought one back with him from the future! Peter arrives at a café to meet Heather and renew their relationship after 15 years!

    About The Author

    Ian Watts is a self-taught British writer who thrills with his strongly written debut novel, a time-traveling thriller set around the tragedy of 9/11. Watts has nailed a high concept actioner right out of the gate. His natural talent shows great potential for future works. Outside of a support job, Watts enjoys playing music professionally and taking apart and rebuilding cars.