"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
September 2000 Issue
TIME.........For a Good Romance!
After playing hooky from school one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, I knew I wanted to be a writer or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, I grew up to pursue a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University.
The only writing I did in those years following college were personal letters and my annual Christmas letter that was becoming rather popular with people I didn't even know. It seems my recipients were sharing them with their neighbors and extended families. I enjoyed the popularity, but I still felt somewhere that I was missing my calling.
And then came two babies and I found I had precious little time to brush my teeth each day, let alone read or write. I missed my books-until the day I bought and read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. That same giddy feeling I had when I first read Gone With the Wind came over me, and I knew I was in the hands of a gifted storyteller. I quickly devoured the entire series in the space of a few weeks and then read them again.
The odd thing is that about a year before, I had had the most vivid dream-and the dream was a scene from one of the books. I knew it could mean only one thing. So I sat down at my computer and started to write. Believe me, a calling is one thing, but trying to write a novel with one child banging on your keyboard and another one spinning your chair around is another thing entirely.
Thankfully, due to a husband with the patience of Job (and an endless supply of duct tape and Benadryl), I finished my first novel in less than two years. It has been revised several times since its first inception, but I have been very blessed to be able to say that I have sold the first novel I ever wrote. When not writing, I spend my time reading, singing, playing the piano, carpooling children and avoiding cooking.
Barb S: The bulk of the story takes place in a very turbulent time, late civil war Georgia. Because of the secrets she must keep the hero has doubts about the heroine's loyalty. How does this complicate the romance?
Karen W: His distrust, and her unwillingness to tell him the truth about where she's from, is the main external conflict in the book. He's torn--he's drawn to her, and he's beholden to her because she's saved the lives of his two nephews. But on the other hand, it's wartime, and she can't account for where she's from.
The town of Roswell, Georgia, where the story takes place, was a strategic place on the map for General Sherman in his campaign to reach Atlanta. Stuart knows this, and it heightens his suspicions of Laura--but he can't deny the feelings he has for her. Laura is also drawn to Stuart--but she's experienced so much loss in her life, her one goal is to find her daughter and return home without any emotional complications. She has no idea where to even look for Annie, nor does she have even an inkling about how the time travel mechanism works, but the love she feels for Stuart--and his family--cannot be easily pushed aside. In the end, she sacrifices everything for them--finally proving her love to Stuart when it looks like all is lost between them.
Barb S: The heroine is not alone in her ability to time travel, the villain of the story is also a time traveler, correct? Is this a coincidence, or is it contrived?
Karen W: Stuart's grandfather, Zeke, tells Laura the story of the Shadow Warriors--people known since the beginning of time and identified by the crescent-shaped birthmark. There is usually only one per generation or so- and very few of those are even aware of their special abilities. Some, like Laura, become aware of it by accident. Others, like Pamela, have studied and perfected it. But all who come for evil are hunted down and killed. I wanted to imply that there were others--in the distant past and in the future. I wanted it to seem as much a part of history as the dinosaurs and I don't find their story contrived at all.
from the future obviously have foreknowledge of certain events. How
do you handle this situation, particularly since the south is devastated?
The people she cares about will be affected by this defeat. Is the heroine
tempted to interfere with history?
Karen W: Laura's desire not to interfere with history is one of the reasons why she doesn't tell Stuart the truth. She knows the course of the War, and the ensuing devastation, but doesn't feel it's her place to change the course of history. There is a point in the book when she discusses the future, and the people she is talking with aren't very impressed--except for the idea of washing machines and air conditioners. But she is driven to help those she loves withstand the devastation of Reconstruction. She tells Stuart's family to get out of cotton and go into peanut and peanut butter production. She also tells them to invest in 20 years in Asa Candler's new venture-Coca Cola.
Barb S: There is another aspect to consider, the heroine is in the past knowing what the future will hold not only for the immediate time but also her own past life in the future. She had the opportunity to warn herself about the events that leading up to her personal tragedies - the loss of her first husband and her daughter, yet she chooses to insure that events occur just they way they had. Is she the fatalistic sort or is there something rare about her second chance at love that makes her accept the loss of her first.
always ask authors if there's anything in a character that they took
from themselves. In this case I plead guilty. I wouldn't call her a
fatalist--one who believes in the whims of fate to set the course of
their lives--but she does believe that everything that happens happens
for a reason. She also has a strong conviction that it is not her purpose
to change the course of events. And yes, perhaps she does realize that
preventing the tragedies of her life with foreknowledge might preclude
ever meeting Stuart and experiencing their love for each other. If this
weren't the case, I'm sure we would have seen Mrs. Cudahy in the beginning
handing Laura a letter of warning instead of just a picture. And you'll
probably have to read the book to figure out what that means!
Barb S: Does the heroine have the ability to return to the future (our present)?
Karen W: Without giving the plot away--yes. There's an explanation in the book on how the whole mechanism works--how two separate years, more than a century apart, can be connected by a single comet's set orbital time period, and how a Shadow Warrior can travel between the two.
Barb S: What's next for Karen White?
Karen W: I've recently contracted to write a gothic (ala Victoria Holt) for Dorchester's new Candleglow line. While not a strict paranormal, there will certainly be spooky elements in this book. I'm also finishing up a contemporary mainstream--with no paranormal elements--but I think my next book after that will be a spine-tingling contemporary gothic. I love to write what I love to read--so that's why you see a variety.
A lunar eclipse. a twentieth-century comet. And suddenly, thoroughly modern Laura Truitt is swept off mysterious Moon Mountain, away from her enchanting Southern home -- and over one hundred years into the past...
Dashing Confederate soldier Stuart Elliott whisks her to his eerily
familiar plantation, and his powerful masculinity evokes impossible
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