Sandy: The possibility-the fantasy--of time travel fascinates me and I often find myself wondering how I'd react if thrown back or forward in time.
Would I-or a particular character--be intimidated by the lack of modern conveniences or become inventive in an effort to reestablish creature comforts? (I.e. try to make toilet paper.) Would I be brave enough to confront injustice or those displaying prejudices we now find appalling? If my hero knew from a modern perspective that something terrible was about to happen would he dare try to change history, knowing there'd be a domino effect, that everything-good and bad--from that point forward would also change? If throw forward in time how would I cope with learning everyone I held dear had died in some horrible fashion? These are the things I find myself thinking about when staring at the ceiling at 3:00AM.
Suz: Are there any unique challenges to time travel romances?
Sandy: Yes. The first challenge is crafting a fresh situation in which the possibility of time-travel is in some way believable. (Standing stones and fairy rings have been done repeatedly.)
The second challenge depends on where the protagonist (s) is heading-whether back in time, forward to the present, or into the future. The author may have to "world build" or do in-depth research into a particular time period (s) and in some cases, do both.
The last hurdle is making a protagonist's reactions to a "new reality" ring true for the reader, which often requires some soul searching on the author's part.
Suz: MAC DUFF'S SECRET is also your second novella. I think you do these very well. What do you like about writing for anthologies? And what do you see as the unique challenges to writing them?
Sandy: Thank you for the compliment. To be truthful I must admit to having an ambivalent relationship with anthologies. I love getting "the call." There's no rejection. The editor has come to me. Yahoo! Better yet, I don't have to come up with a High Concept. The editor has given it to me. Yahoo x 2! Riding high on these thoughts, I always say, "Yes! I'd love to do a novella for this anthology."
The minute I hang up the phone that's when the hate part-the panic--kicks in. My mind starts screeching, "They only want how many pages?!? How can anyone write a story worth reading using so few words? You can't even say hello in under 50, you idiot! And you promised to deliver in 90 days?! What were you thinking? What?!"
A few glasses of wine later I've usually settled down, have a Universal theme and "What if?" scenario in mind, am ready to bounce these off my trusty Cp (Bless you!) and get down to the hard work of making these characters empathetic/believable. And somehow it all comes together on time.
Suz: So, give us a quick peek at MAC DUFF'S SECRET without giving away too much, since it is a novella.
Sandy: Would love to.
"How bad could it be?" That's all Sarah Colbert thought when she agreed to chaperone her private school's sixth grade field trip through Edinburgh. She's about to find out when she and her students find themselves trapped in a Highland glen that time forgot with a battle-scarred warrior they'll never forget.
Suz: Are you working on anything new that we can look forward to reading?
Sandy: I currently working on three novels; two light-hearted Scotland-set historical Romances and my first historical (biographical) fiction, which is generating loads of personal angst and anticipation. After that, who knows? I may start working on the Gothic Romance I've had simmering on the back burner for two years. (He's delicious...in a dark and brooding sort of way.
Okay...so weigh in readers...Do you like time travels? What is your favorite part of them? And do you like big anthology books like the Mamoth books?
Sandy will be giving away a copy of her anthology MAC DUFF'S SECERET in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF TIME TRAVEL ROMANCES to one lucky commentor.