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Laurie Brown on Time Travel

wwjad-coverI loved reading the posts about the Read-A-Thon. What a great idea. I may have to copy you. My TBR pile has migrated from my desk to the floor. Then I had to split it into two stacks (because it kept falling over). It’s out of control. Mostly because I can’t read while I’m writing. Then when I’m on break, I just can’t get caught up. Add that my day job is at a library where I see all the new books, and I may have to buy another bookshelf. Let’s see. Will one fit in the hall?

Well, I’m supposed to be talking about my new book What Would Jane Austen Do? Here’s the blurb: Modern heroine Eleanor Pottinger goes back in time to the Regency where she prevents a duel, helps catch a spy, meets Jane Austen in person, and falls in love with hunky rake Lord Shermont.

Since I’m used to writing in a character’s POV rather than my own, I’m a bit out of my comfort zone.  But I’m willing to give it a shot.

I really like reading time travel books so when I starting writing I gravitated toward that sort of paranormal. The heroine can be modern and therefore easy to relate to. There’s a built in opportunity for humor as she struggles to cope with the differences in society. And I can still have the fab hero and can picture him on a horse or ballroom floor without the convoluted plot machinations that it would take to get a modern man in both such places within one book.

All that wonderfulness comes with a price. There are special considerations that writers of other genres don’t have to tackle.

  1. The device that facilitates the time travel – It should be never be too complicated, and should have the ring of truth, even though we all know it’s impossible. Basically readers are willing to suspend their disbelief and will follow your story just about anywhere unless you cause them to stop. If your device is too complicated, they’ll refuse to invest the interest/time needed to figure it out. The closer you get to simple, the better. (ie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) Do we buy that the children go through the back of an armoire into an alternate reality? Every time.
  1. The time traveler should not believe what’s happened to him/her too easily – Perversely, if your hero or heroine accepts the obvious right away, we don’t believe it. (After all we know it’s impossible, right?) But if they take too long to believe what’s happened, then they seem… well, not the sharpest quill on the writing desk. (Isn’t it obvious from the surroundings, etc.?)
  1. The ending – Time travel endings are the most difficult to write because we must not only make the reader believe the heroine and heroine belong together, we have to figure out a way for them to actually be together. Are they both going to stay back in time or both come forward? The reader has suspended their disbelief for the length of the book. The wrong ending not only disappoints readers, in the case of time travels, it seem to really piss them off.

I sincerely hope I did all of the above right in What Would Jane Austen Do? I’m sure you’ll let me know if I didn’t.

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You definitely did!  Thank you, Laurie, for a great guest post!  You’re very welcome to join our next Read-a-Thon, we’d very much love to have you, and it’s a great way to start going through that pile!

Laurie Brown teaches writing classes at the college level, has presented seminars at conferences all over the country, and has three published romance novels. She has been a Golden Heart finalist twice and has received the Service Award from the Chicago-North Chapter of RWA. She resides in Illinois.

Buy What Would Jane Austen Do? on Amazon, and don’t forget to come back on Friday for my review!

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