+Author Guest Post+ Enquiring about time slips and their unique style of story-telling on behalf of ChocLit author Christina Courtenay!

Posted Saturday, 10 May, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Christina Courtenay

Proposed Topic: Having visited with you on The Word Wenches in February, I am aware of the fact that time slips are your favourite stories to become wrapped up inside. How do you approach writing a time slip and allowing the reader to alight inside a story which is half hinged in two separate time settings? What do you feel is the greatest challenge in presenting both eras with a visceral presence for the reader?

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The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

 Book Synopsis: 

What will it take to put the past to rest? Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.

Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?

A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.

The Secret Kiss of Darkness by Christina Courtenay

Book Synopsis: 

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, innkeeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but, when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a gypsy’s spell.

Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?

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Q. How do you approach writing a time slip and allowing the reader to alight inside a story which is half hinged in two separate time settings?

A. First of all you have to have something that connects the two time periods, and authors use a lot of different devices to achieve that. It can be that the heroine in the present finds the diary of an ancestor, for example, or stumbles across an ancient family secret – perhaps told to her by an older relative. Or the heroine in the present can see (and hear) a ghost or somehow become connected to an ancestor or someone in the past via dreams, past life regression (usually done with hypnotherapy) or some other paranormal manner. I’ve read stories where the connection was through an object, like a mirror or a piece of jewellery. And in my novel The Silent Touch of Shadows I used the fact that the heroine was a genealogist in order for her to piece together the life on an ancestor through the old documents she finds. There is also a ghost, but he doesn’t actually tell her anything about the past, he is just the catalyst that sets her off on her quest to find out what happened to him.

As he’s been a ghost for over 600 years, the heroine wonders (as would I!) why his soul would stay in the same place for so long and she figures it’s because he has unfinished business, which can be the case in these stories as well. Often, it is something evil (or an evil person’s soul) which has lived on because it is still seeking revenge or wanting to continue to do horrible things, and that can work very well as a plot device too. In the case of my book, it’s not the spirit who is evil, but what was done to him that prevents him from finding eternal rest.

Once you have the connection with the past, you can start to write the two stories and try to weave them together. I don’t usually find this all that difficult really because I have both plot strands in my mind at the same time and I know how I want them to intertwine. The only problem lies in making the transition between the two as smooth as possible each time so that the reader can follow them easily and not be jolted out of the story.

Q. What do you feel is the greatest challenge in presenting both eras with a visceral presence for the reader?

A. It is a challenge to keep the reader engaged in both stories without losing interest or forgetting what was happening. I try to alternate the sections so that they are not too long, and thereby hopefully the plot strands will be fresh in the readers’ mind. As the author, you have to remember which section you’re working on and make sure that you get the language absolutely right – you can’t use writing with a more historical ‘feel’ in the scenes set in the present and vice versa. For the historical parts you have to remember not to use words that hadn’t been invented at that time, whereas for the scenes in the present you have to be careful not to sound too old-fashioned. One way of doing that would be to write each story separately and combine them afterwards, but that doesn’t work for me so I just have to try and switch mindset for each section.

I do love the time slip format because I’m fascinated by the idea that our souls might live on somehow after we pass away, and although I’m terrified of ghosts, at the same time it is a comforting thought that life could go on in some form. Part of the fun of this genre is that anything goes – the author can invent ways of showing the reader (and the hero/heroine too) that there is life after death. I always like stories where good triumphs over evil, so I’m sure that’s part of every novel I write.

I also like time slips because you get the best of two (or even three!) genres – historical and contemporary, sometimes with the paranormal added. That makes them less likely to feel identical to something else you’ve read recently and most time slip authors have their own take on the genre so they vary a lot.

Some authors, like Susanna Kearsley, weave in lots of history in a truly effortless way so that you are learning along with the heroine in the present. That, for me, is wonderful! And others, like Barbara Erskine, add seriously chilling aspects, making them more akin to ghost stories or even horror, so yet again this is different. Although she has also taught me a lot about history, especially the Romans and the Celts in Britain.

In my latest time slip novel, The Secret Kiss of Darkness, I took a more light-hearted approach and created a hero whose soul is trapped in a painting by means of a gypsy’s curse. I would love to know if readers find it as easy to suspend disbelief with a story line like that rather than a more traditional ghost story? Personally, I don’t mind and am happy to go along with whatever an author comes up with – I just love the time slip genre whichever way it’s done!

Many thanks for having me as your guest!

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Author Connections:

Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Converse via: #TheSilentTouchOfShadows & #TheSecretKissOfDarkness

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As you were relaying the keystone characteristics of ‘time slips’ used in fictional stories as a method of telling one particular story with elements of the paranormal as much as parapsychology, I found myself rather bemused by the fact that despite knowing the ‘tricks of the trade’ to insert the dialogue and story into a reader’s mind — I am never found in want or need to be tricked nor entertained. The writers I have been blessed to read and/or watch if on the level I am watching a motion picture with the same story threads as the novels; convey their stories in such a way as to distort reality with a gentle hand. They have a way of allowing us to believe the intangible and improbable as to give us a footing on solid ground when there should be nothing but air! I love how we can take that leap of faith with the writer and peer into their world in which their characters are set to explore! It is quite a heap of fun truly, to go between two distinct time periods and see how true the writer kept to each whilst never deterring from the heart of the story they are telling at the same time.

You mentioned one bit that was most curious and I tend to agree with you: most hauntings are not about ghosts bent towards evil but rather there are circumstances in their lives which took an evil tilt. I oft wonder if a lot of the lost souls who are still wandering and seeking are truly lost or if they are hoping to find someone who can unravell the missing bits of truth needed to find peace? I loved in your Acknowledgements for In The Silent Touch of Shadows,you had relayed visiting a haunted house but were ever so blessed the ghost gave you a wide birth! I tend to agree with you again in this regard, as although I am open to the fact there is much we have little understanding of between the veils of the worlds, I too, believe I might be pushed a bit past my envelope of what I could accept if a ghost simply walked up to me, sat down, and asked to chat over tea! Oy.

So much of our lives are lived on faith and the hope of what has yet to become revealed to us, and in that, we are left with not only unanswered questions and curiosities, but a lot of theories about what will come next and where we shall find ourselves. I think part of the joy in being a writer is not only exploring what keeps our curiosity healthy whilst we are alive, but to impart a bit of what implores us to remain open to ideas and situations that take us outside our zones of familiarity and comfort. Reading opens the horizons to uncharted realms of plausibility but writing endeavours us to encompass everything we understand and everything we have yet to conceive possible. I love the ability to create everything from nothing and to explore how far nothingness can take us if we are willing to make the connection from our heart to our imagination. Imagination is truly the key which unlocks the mysteries of where our pen wants to lead us.

I commend you for being able to write in both a modern vernacular and in a historical one, as I tend to be a hybrid of both on a regular basis out of my pure zest for Old English expressions and words in which are not always as relevant today as they were in yesteryear. Susanna Kearsley is on my TBR List, as I spotlighted one of her novels in my Autumn Top Ten Tuesday Lists of books which whet an interest to delve into whereas with Barbara Erskine I am in need of researching her books! I love the recommendation, as I can never run out of possible next reads!

I shall be able to answer your last question in regards to The Secret Kiss of Darkness, after I have had the pleasure of soaking into its covers! I have elected to read it last from my latest ChocLit offerings to savour the fact I enjoyed winning it from my visit with the Wenches! It was quite a delightful keepsake from such a lovely afternoon of conversation and sharing about a mutual love of time slips! I tend to be a bird of the same feather as you though, as no matter how a writer chooses to tell their tale, if I can make a connection to the characters and story, I am seriously in love with the experience they give me through their choices!

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I’d like to thank Ms. Courtenay for providing such a wonderful explanation of how she approaches time slip fiction and what motivates her to continue to explore the thematic as she pens her stories! What a wonderful discovery to find an author who is as in tune with this curious branch of literature as much as I am attempting to become myself! The full scope of this Guest Post was in part due to my visit with The Word Wenches whereupon I learnt a bit more about their individual attachments to the time slip phenom as much as how Ms. Courtenay appreciated it herself. I wanted to expand a bit on that lovely experience and give a bit more insight to my readers who might be curious about time slips and find themselves wanting to explore authors & stories set inside this unique setting!

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This Author Guest Post is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Previously I have had the honour of

reviewing & showcasing guest posts by ChocLit Authors!

My book review of “The Silent Touch of Shadows” & “Flight to Coorah Creek” post before Saturday, 17th! And, “The Secret Kiss of Darkness” shall round out this batch of ChocLit novels which have alighted in my reading life on 7th of June! I do apologise for the absence I have given on behalf of my book reviews & archives of #ChocLitSaturdays chats as I was dealing with personal stress which took me away from my blog life for a short bit of time.

#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

Don’t forget : #ChocLitSaturdays has expanded to include a weekly chat via http://twubs.com/choclitsaturdays! Stay around at 11am EST | 8am PST | 4pm UK | 1am Australia for a lovely spontaneous conversation about ‘time slips’ & “The Silent Touch of Shadows”! All romance booklovers are welcome to join in on the joy of our conversations! Remember to login via Twubs with your regular Twitter account! Do not look like a ‘penguin’ as tweets will not go to Twitter! I look forward to seeing you in convo on Twubs OR in these comment threads!

{NOTE: Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.}

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsises, Book Covers, and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Jorie requested an Author Guest Post from Christina Courtenay through ChocLitUK of which she received a reply. She wanted to expand her knowledge of how one writer approaches the art of writing stories with time slips. Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in FotoFlexer. #ChocLitSaturdays collage was created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 10 May, 2014 by jorielov in 15th Century, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Paranormal Romance, Parapsychological Suspense, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Romance Fiction, Time Slip, Time Travel Romance

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2 responses to “+Author Guest Post+ Enquiring about time slips and their unique style of story-telling on behalf of ChocLit author Christina Courtenay!

  1. sarahtranter12

    What a fascinating interview and post – thank you! I love time slips and think Christina is a master at them. Great to get two stories unfolding for the price of one :)

    • Hallo Ms. Tranter! :)

      I am a bit behind in answering my comments but I wanted to let you know that I think Ms. Courtenay did a great job at mastering not only the art of writing convincing time slip narratives but has eloquently explained what ‘time slips’ are and how a writer can use them to elevate a story! I am so happy you dropped by & enjoyed reading this Guest Post! I love hosting authors on my blog as they give such wonderful insight into the writer’s craft as well as their individual voice as an author!

      And, yes I was quite chuffed that not only did her post encompass two separate time slips but I am blessed to be in a position to read the two stories she is showcasing! As well as your story “Romancing the Soul”! I am one happy ChocLit girl!!

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