heard that present tense can work and that past or present tense is only matter of stylistic choice. but also heard past tense the safer one.
A skilled writer can use present tense, but the significant majority use past. I find reading in the present tense exhausting.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.