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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Do You Believe in Time Travel?

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You're standing in front of a time travel machine that will take you into the past. Your heart is pounding; your hand shaking as you reach forward. All you have to do is push the button for why you want to go.
      * a sense of adventure
      * a love of history
      * to find romance
Would you do it??

If you ever find that time machine, let me know. I would love to go back in time for all the reasons above. But since I haven't come across such a wonderful device, I content myself with writing just such stories.

Writing time travel combines the best of both worlds. I can have a modern, independent, free loving heroine and still have an alpha type hero who’s possessive, self-made, and believes women should be protected and revered. Being thrown back in time will take you out of your comfort zone. There were no modern conveniences such as microwaves, cell phones, cars and expressways. Horsepower in the 1800’s was literal! None of your job skills or your MA in computer technology or Political Science will help you as you try to find your place in a world long forgotten.

In the time travels I’ve written, the heroine travels back in time, taking with her the knowledge of the future, but not the ability to change history except perhaps on a personal level. Think of this – In HOLD ON TO THE PAST, Brianna is helping with the excavation of the steamboat Arabia when she accidentally goes back to be on board the steamboat on its last fateful voyage. If she prevented the steamboat from sinking, thereby changing history, she wouldn’t have been at the excavation site to begin with.

Even without being able to change history, the fact that the heroine knows things the hero doesn’t can lead to some interesting conversations. For example, in SPINNING THROUGH TIME, Jaci makes Nicholas and his niece a pizza, which they eat with their hands. Nicholas comments that it’s not bad tasting, but it will never catch on as a dinner dish.

Things that haven’t been invented yet, or have particular significance in one century or the other, are always fun to incorporate into a story. Ellie, in PROSPECTING FOR LOVE is discovered with nail polish on her toes, which only the “working girls” at the saloon would do. She finds “real junk food” in the form of potato chips and Van Camp’s Pork and Beans in the general store in 1850, believing things like that had only been invented in her lifetime. The opposite side of the coin is that she doesn’t know how to cook without a microwave or start a fire in the stove.

Some of the challenges inherent to writing time travel are: (1) the methods I use to get the heroine back in time, (2) what can or can’t be transported with her when she goes, and (3) how and when she has an opportunity to return to her own time. The “rules” have to be established before I start writing and then they cannot be broken. I can’t decide half way through the book that Brianna needs her cell phone to convince Jake she’s from the future, so she miraculously finds it under a rock somewhere (HOLD ON TO THE PAST).

Now that being said, I can have different rules for different books. For example, the methods of taking the heroine back in time are very different in each of my books. I didn’t  just have them fall and bump their heads. That would be far too easy. Also, in some, whatever they have on their person goes back with them, but in one if what they have (plastic buttons on a shirt; a zipper) had not been invented yet, it doesn’t travel back in time.

The real climax for a time travel isn’t finding the treasure or solving the mystery. It’s whether the heroine and hero can stay together. Since my heroine didn’t have a choice when she accidentally went through time, I do give her a choice as to whether she stays. There has to be a point when either the opportunity or the threat of “transportation” exists, so my heroine has a free choice in her future. Whether she takes it, or whether the hero can stay with her, either in his time or hers, would be giving away the endings! I hope, instead, that you grab a time travel and stay up late finding out.

You can find HOLD ON TO THE PAST, as well as my other time travel, historical and contemporary romances at http://bookswelove.net/authors/baldwin-barbara-romance/. If you enjoy a time travel or two, please leave a review at your purchase site. It helps both my publisher and me as we look at marketing.

And while you are reading, I am currently writing my next time travel, which doesn’t have a name yet and is listed on my computer as “new story idea.” But it will have a bit of a twist that I haven’t tried before so I'm excited to see where it will go.

Happy New Year!
Barbara Baldwin




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