Interview with Deborah HealHOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF VIRTUAL TIME TRAVEL? I’ve wanted to time travel ever since I read my first time travel book, Parcifal Rides the Time Wave, when I was eight. When the Peabody and Mr. Sherman cartoon show came out I desperately wanted my own WABAC Machine. I always wanted to go back in time, never forward, which to me would be entirely too scary. My interest in the past stems from living in an old, old house when I grew up. I loved to daydream about what it must have been like in the olden days. I thought it would be kind to allow my characters to do what I had always longed to do.
THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY DIFFERENT TAKES ON TIME TRAVEL. WHAT IN PARTICULAR ABOUT THIS METHOD APPEALED TO YOU? As for why I chose virtual time travel, well, I’m not smart enough to figure out all the physics of ordinary time travel. I sure didn’t want to mess up the future. (I saw what happened to Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future.) I figured virtual time travel (I call it time-surfing) would be almost as awesome as the real thing. Abby tells John that it’s like being there only no one sees or hears you. Merri explains that it’s like reading a good book, when you know what the characters think and feel.
THIS BOOK SEEMS TO DEAL WITH SOME POTENTIALLY HEAVY ISSUES—BIGOTRY, DOMESTIC ABUSE. DO YOU LIKE TO TOUCH ON ISSUES IN YOUR WRITING FOR A PARTICULAR REASON? IF SO WHAT IS YOUR REASONING BEHIND THIS?
I think young people want to read about important issues. They’re way too smart for me to be talking down to them. Maybe that’s why so many adults tell me they like the books. Bigotry and domestic abuse (especially the type founded on misuse of Scripture) are issues I find horrifying. So when I needed bad guys for my stories…well, that’s what my brain came up with.
WHAT IS THE HSTORICAL ACCURACY OF TIME AND AGAIN AND UNCLAMED LEGACY? I’m glad you asked. I did a lot of research for both Time and Again and Unclaimed Legacy. Charlotte and her father Jonathan Miles are based on actual people who once lived down the road from where I grew up. Sergeant Ordway and the three young privates were actual members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Miles Station, Shake Rag Corner, and Camp Dubois are all real places. I tried to weave in as many historical tidbits as I could. Sometimes, of course, I had to do a little fictional hocus pocus to get the story to come out right, but I tried to be as accurate as possible.
AS A WRITER WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF WRITING—RESEARCH, DEVELOPING THE PLOT AND/OR CHARACTERS, OR PUTTING WORD TO PAPER? I’m having a hard time answering this question. I enjoy all three aspects. There are times the sentences, paragraphs and pages seem to flow effortlessly, but other times the composing can be difficult. You didn’t mention editing/revising, but unlike some writers, I actually enjoy that part of the process.
CAN WE EXPECT A THIRD BOOK WITH FURTHER TIME-SURFING ADVENTURES? Yes! I just finished the research portion of book three of the series, which I enjoyed tremendously. And am now hard at work composing. (I’m on chapter six today.) There’s a lot left to do—including coming up with a title—but it’s coming along. I hope to have it ready for publication by next summer.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE:
About Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station
The History behind Miles Station
About Unclaimed Legacy, the second book in the series
The History behind Unclaimed Legacy
About the Author:
Deborah Heal is the author of the young adult novel Time and Again: Charlotte of Miles Station. She lives in Waterloo, Illinois, where she enjoys reading, gardening, and learning about southern Illinois history. She is married and has three grown children, three grandchildren, and a canine buddy named Scout (a.k.a. Dr. Bob). Currently, she is working on book three in the Time and Again series, in which Abby’s college roommate Kate enlists her help solving a family mystery.
Where to buy the books
Barnes & Noble