Monday, September 1, 2014
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TIME TRAVEL (and of the author who writes about it) by Shirley Martin
In doing research about Pittsburgh history, I found what an important part the city played in the French and Indian War. (mid 1750s-early 1760s.) I read about Pontiac's Rebellion, an offshoot of the French and Indian War, and how if affected Fort Pitt (present-day Pittsburgh.) And here, I thought, was a story in the making, "Dream Weaver," a time travel romance.
Gwen Emrys has been having recurring dreams of an isolated cabin in the woods and a tall, dark stranger who lives there. She wonders what is causing these dreams. On a hunch, she visits a restored village near her home. And there, she is flung back in time, back to this same isolated cabin. . . and to the tall, dark stranger.
Christian is as shocked as Gwen when she appears at his doorstep. Where did this oddly-dressed woman come from? When he questions her, she tells him she's from the year 2014. She must be crazy, Christian figures; she's got maggots in her head. Or--she's a spy for the French. He doesn't know which, but he intends to find out.
Soon, Gwen realizes that she is stuck here in the 18th century for the rest of her life. And soon, she realizes why she was sent back in time--she must save Christian's life in the coming Indian Rebellion. She failed him once before. She can't fail him again. So, "Dream Weaver" also deals with reincarnation.
It's not easy for a contemporary woman to adjust to life in the 18th century, a hard life on the frontier. But Gwen realizes she has no choice, for by now, she is deeply in love with Christian and can't imagine life without him.
Much research went into writing "Dream Weaver," especially Pontiac's Rebellion and how it affected Fort Pitt. There are also all the aspects that comprise a historical novel--dress, food, life on the frontier.
Since Christian is a doctor, I read as much as possible about medicine in the 18th century. In my research, I found that the doctor at Fort Pitt died shortly before the Rebellion,and I found no mention of what doctor replaced him. With much soul-searching and upon the advice of other writers, most notably best-selling author Jo Beverly, I gave the role to Christian.
While the Indian tribes attacked Fort Pitt, a smallpox epidemic raged there. This is a historical fact that demanded more research. And here I came upon another historical fact--the commandant at Fort Pitt purposely gave the Indians blankets infected with smallpox. Germ warfare in the eighteenth century.
Despite all the research, "Dream Weaver" was fun to write. I came to care for Gwen and Christian as I have for my other heroines and heroes.
"Dream Weaver" is available in both ebook and print. Unfortunately, time travel romances are not as popular as they were during their heyday about fifteen years ago. Let's hope their popularity returns.