Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of Bridgebuilders by Marlene Dotterer

The Time Travel Journals: Bridgebuilders
Marlene Dotterer
244 pages
Nook Edition

In the second book of The Time Travel Journals, we meet Sarah Andrews, Casey Wilson’s granddaughter, and the Sam Altair of the second universe are working to find a way to bridge to the first universe. Before she died, Casey made Sam promise to return to the first universe and then go back in time to visit her parents so that they should know what happened to their daughter. However, when Sam and Sarah bridge to the first universe, they find a dystopian Earth where climate change has devastated large parts of the planet, causing extensive flooding, drought, and famine.

In the first universe on dystopian Earth, we meet Andy and Moira, who are for me the main characters of the book. Andy is a graduate student who is teaching physics in an exclusive school for girls. Moira is a brilliant student on scholarship who is assigned to Andy. We learn that Moira is from a fundamentalist enclave and is desperate to escape. I found myself really caring about Andy and Moira—they came alive for me. Dotterer cleverly weaves the characters from both universes together for a gripping conclusion. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say, I had a hard time putting the book down, even when good sense told me that it would be there the next day and that I should get some sleep.

Although the book starts with Sarah and Sam as major characters, the larger part of the book focuses on Andy and Moira. This, for me, was an issue. Because the book started with Sarah and Sam, I fully expected to become invested in them and follow them for most of the book. However, for a fair part of the book, Sarah and Sam were supporting roles for Andy and Moira, and once I met Andy and Moira, I didn’t want to leave them.

Bridgebuilders is a worthy sequel to Shipbuilder. If you enjoyed Shipbuilder, I think you’ll like the sequel. It’s not necessary to have read first book to understand the sequel, but it is worth reading in or out of sequence.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Deck Us All...

Every year at this time I grow nostalgic for the comic strip Pogo by Walt Kelly and his wonderful Deck the Halls parody--Deck Us All with Boston Charlie. Through the magic of YouTube I'd love to share this bit of holiday magic with you.

Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last week, CLR Dougherty—sailor and author extraordinairetagged me and four others for The Next Big Thing. The way it works is for an author to answer  ten questions on their blog and then tags five authors to do so the week after. This presumes said author has been sociable enough ito know five others who authors and who are willing to participate in this experiment. 

On to the Q & A:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
     Strange Times—it’s the third book in the series about Richard III in the 21st-century.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
    Since this is the third book in the series, I need to first talk about why I chose to write about Richard III and to employ time travel to bring him into the 21st-century. I read “The Sunne in Splendour” by Sharon Kay Penman that showed me a human Richard III, one very different from the Shakespearean arch-villain. I had to learn more about Richard, and in doing so, became compelled to write about the real medieval monarch. The result was This Time followed by Loyalty Binds Me. The idea for the third book came from what is probably an apocryphal story about Francis Lovel, one of Richard’s most loyal supporters and close 15th-century friends. The legend is that two years after the Battle of Bosworth where Henry VII defeated Richard III, Lovel joined up with a rebellion to restore the yorkists to the throne. They were defeated at Stoke. Most rebels were killed, but Lovel’s fate was unknown. One story was that he returned to Minster Lovel, his estate just outside Witney where he became trapped in an underground storage chamber and starved to death. Richard reads this tale and can’t get it out of his mind, even though it’s probably not true. He becomes obsessed with this story and tries to come up with a plan to save his friend from such a horrible end.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
    These three books aren’t represented by single genre, although the unifying thread is historical fiction. In addition to science fiction and adventure elements, the other main focus is character. As a reader, I want to become invested in the characters, so as a writer I tried to create characters that people would want to know.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
    I really like Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill Campbell in “True Blood”) for Richard. He resembles the National Portrait Gallery painting of Richard III.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    How much will Richard risk in order to save a friend from starving to death 500 years in the past?
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    Self or indie.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
    I’m still writing it. I’ve been working on it off and on for the past five years, but have been interrupted with trying to market the first two books (This Time and Loyalty Binds Me) and life in general. I do have the book planned out, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Because my books aren’t straight historical fiction, they are somewhat unique, not quite matching up to other books in the genres, including historical fiction that uses time travel as a device, because historical fiction that uses time travel usually has their protagonists go back in time to their chosen historical period instead of bringing a historical figure forward in time as I’ve done. I think the second book, “Loyalty Binds Me” can be compared somewhat to “Daughter of Time” by Josephine Tey, in that they both examine the mystery about the princes in the Tower in some depth, but in very different ways.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
    As I previously mentioned, I was inspired first by “The Sunne in Splendour” Penman’s wonderful novel about Richard III, and then by what I learned about Richard in my research. One of the first things that got to me about Richard III was that he was only 32 when he was killed in battle. I felt his story was unfinished.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
    Personally, I hope that those who read my books will become interested in the life of Richard III and will want to learn more about him and possibly join the Richard III Society to connect with others who are interested in Richard’s life, the Wars of the Roses, and 15th-century England and its culture.

The following authors have graciously agreed to participate in The Next Big Thing. Their post will be available December 12th. Please visit them to whet your reading appetite.
Brian Wainwright at Greyhounds and Fetterlocks
Kris Jackson at Kris Jackson Design
Lloyd Lofthouse at Anything Goes—a blog
Peter St John at Jenno’s Blog