Friday, March 20, 2009

Time Boundaries

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

Not long ago, I was guesting at an online readers community. One of the commenters said that she felt The Wild Sight, in addition to being a contemporary romantic suspense, had a very distinctive historical flavor, particularly in the scenes where the hero interacts with Bronze Age Celts in his 'visions.'

I loved reading this comment because that was exactly what I was trying to achieve in those scenes! Some reviewers have gone so far as to label The Wild Sight as a time-travel novel. While I don't think this is exactly accurate (especially in comparison to traditional time-travel romances like Diana Gabaldon's Outlander or Jude Deveraux's Knight In Shining Armor), I did purposely set out to stretch the time boundaries within my story.

The shadowy world that Donovan inhabits in his 'visions' is called 'between' by one of his childhood compatriots who happens to be a Celtic Druid. Spirits and visions that inhabit this 'between' world can be decades or centuries old, or completely present day. That was my way of stretching the boundaries of time to fit the constructs of my story.

In my September release, The Treasures of Venice, I go one step farther. In this book, I actually have dual story lines that take place in Venice. The contemporary romantic suspense story features a couple who may or may not be reincarnated 15th century Venetian lovers. And then there are actual scenes in 1485 Venice of the star-crossed Renaissance pair. The two story lines parallel each other in terms of the characters' relationships and some of the things that happen to them.

Talk about pushing those boundaries! And yes, I did set quite a task for myself, but as it turned out, a lot of the parallelism just happened without much conscious effort from me. I'm only the writer after all! (wink) Gotta love when the characters and story 'take over.'

What about you? What do you think about books that stretch time boundaries? Have you done any boundary pushing lately? Please share!


  1. Cindy~

    Great post.

    I haven't stretched time bounderies. I tend to stretch other bounderies all the time. With Too Hot To Handle, I wrote a sex scene I thought was too hot. I took it out but mentioned it to Deb, our dear editor who said, "Put it back in." I thought for sure she'd come back with revisions on it, but when I asked her about the amount of heat in that scene, she said it wasn't a problem. After all, I was just living up to the title. LOL

  2. Intereting post, Cindy.

    Someday I'd love to change hats and write an out-and-out paranormal/sci-fi/romance. Superstring theory requires spacetime to have 10,11 or 26 dimensions.I've written several short stories about what those dimensions might be composed of--from a human point of view.

    Until then, I push the boundaries by inserting paranormal elements into stories that are emphatically NOT paranormals. Caleb, for instance, has intuitive/pre-cognitive flashes.

  3. I think as writers we each have a 'gift', a way that we see the world and our work a little differently from other writers.

    Sounds like you've found your 'different'! Great post!

  4. I haven't read many time travel stories. You know me--rooted firmly in reality. :-) So I'm looking forward to seeing how you executed the dual story lines. Sounds like a big challenge, but I like how you said it sort of took care of itself. That's the magic at work.

  5. My favorite time travel novel is Up the Line by Robert Silverberg. It's hilarious and I loved it all, especially the ending.
    I haven't written anything that involves time travel, just space travel, which is impossible enough, according to most theories.;-)

  6. Cindy-

    I totally agree that TWS had a very historical feel to it! I think when you travel to parts of the world that are sooooooo much older than the States (whether in books or in real life), there's that sense of overwhelming history, establishment and rooted culture that you can almost touch.

    I haven't read it yet, but I've seen quite a few reviews around the blogosphere for Seducing Mr. Darcy--a woman gets to go back in time and seduce one of the most recognized romantic heroes of all time! yes please :)


  7. Oh, I love time travels! Those were some of the earliest romances I fell in love with.

    I stretch boundaries in my books, but more with fantasy worlds than time travel. I heartily approve of pulling characters out of their here and now" and dropping them elsewhere, whenever or wherever that might be!

  8. Cindy, I agree you did a fabulous job giving us that historical flare. I can't wait to see how you did it in Venice. One of my first projects that I started, I wanted to do this, but I thought it was too out there. I'm not even sure where it would be genre wise. But it is one very close to my heart.

    Thank you for sharing you gift with the world.


  9. Hey Robin,
    I hear ya, girlfriend! Time isn't the only boundary I stretch either. ;-) Can't wait to read THTH and see how you live up to that title!

  10. MM,
    I'm afraid superstring theory might be a little too far out there for my feeble lil brain to push. :-) But I'll bet you could pull it off with aplomb!

    I love those bits of paranormal elements worked into a story like you did in SWAK, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with Caleb in SWAP.

    Mary Stewart, one of my all time favorite authors, used to put a few unusual (if not quite paranormal) elements into her books. She definitely served an inspiration for my own stories.

  11. Hey Donna, sounds like you 'found your different' too! Can't wait to read your "Lady Anne..." and see if there really are werewolves in Georgian Yorkshire (hope I got that time period right!)

    I always love hearing/reading how my CasaSisters' writing process works. If you gave us all a single idea, we'd all come up with wildly different stories!

  12. Hi Marie,
    Yes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE when the writing just comes together without a lot of extra OOMPH from me! That's what happened with the dual story lines. Once I really got "into the groove" with putting the 1485 scenes at the end of every chapter, it really started to flow together! I could see where something in the contemporary storyline was going to echo the 1485 and vice versa.


  13. Renee,
    Thank you for your lovely compliments! I wasn't too sure about the dual story line in TToV when I wrote it, but I just decided to GO FOR IT and write the book *I* wanted to read. I hope you and other readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

    As for your own writing, I'd definitely urge you to not worry about genre or sub-genre and GO FOR IT! ;-)

  14. Kendra,
    I DEVOURED dozens of time-travels back in the mid-90s when they were so popular. I think I've mentioned before that reading "Outlander" was what first inspired me to try writing my own romance novel (yes, that first fumbling effort was a time-travel)!

  15. Cheryl,
    What's a little impossible space travel or time travel among friends?!?! :-)

    I heard Robert Silverberg speak at a writing conference once many many years ago. He was quite an interesting man and would make a GREAT character in his own right.

  16. Danielle,
    I've seen some reviews for Seducing Mr. Darcy and it looks like a TON O FUN!

    You are so right about visiting places with loooong histories and feeling overwhelmed by it. That's the way I felt on my recent trip to Turkey and very much the way I felt in China. I'm happy to think I've managed to convey some of that historical presence in my books.

  17. Cindy ~
    I love the boundary pushing notion in general, whether it's time travel/fantasy/paranormal, or sensual heat, as Robin said, :-) or in any way that feels organic to the story.

    And I appreciate when it's done smoothly, without fanfare, as if 'Yea, so?"

    Your stories are so original in that way, and not afraid of being cross-breeds. :-)

  18. Thanx for popping by Kris!

    Yes, I'm afraid I'd never let some silly little things like sub-genre boundaries keep me from putting in whatever my characters and story demand. :-)


  19. I don't mind how the author stretches the boundries as long as the story gets me in after all I am, for me anyway reading an adventure that will take me to places I have not been to.

    The Wild Sight did all of this for me it is an awesome story.

    Have Fun

  20. Big THANX for chiming in, Helen!

    I know that your first love in reading is historicals, so I'm ultra-complimented that you enjoyed TWS so much!