I’d like to welcome Rysa Walker to the blog today! Ms. Walker is the author of the Chronos Files books: “Timebound” (my review can be found here), “Time’s Echo” (a novella), and “Time’s Edge” (my review can be found here), which is being released next week (10/21). I am a big fan of her time-hopping heroine Kate, so I’m very excited to host her here today.
1) Kate Pierce-Keller’s time travelling story is captivating: she’s part super hero, part regular teenaged girl, torn between Katherine, Trey, Kiernan, her parents, and doing what she thinks is right. What were your inspirations for Kate’s story? Movies, books, tv? Something in your own life?
I’m glad that Kate’s story pulled you in! I wanted her to be someone with whom readers could identify. The characters I’ve always enjoyed reading about—or watching in movies or TV—are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances that make them go beyond their usual limits.
Kate isn’t really based on anyone, at least not consciously. My characters just seem to pop into my head in most cases. A key motivation for her story, however, was pulling real history into an interesting plot. I’m an unrepentant history geek. There are thousands of fascinating stories out there that people never learn about, partly because history texts can be so deadly dull.
2) The Cyrists mean business, but Kate is more than up to the job. What do you hope your female YA readers will take away from Kate’s story?
I hope readers will come away with the realization that they’re capable of anything they set their minds toward, but also with the understanding that much more gets accomplished through teamwork. Kate is tough, but she’s not a comic-book heroine who can save the day on her own. She has to rely on others to help her, and a key part of her growth in the series is learning when to go it alone and when to realize that asking for help isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
3) I’m always interested in what draws writers to certain eras when they begin a book, and with Kate’s time hopping abilities, you get to choose quite a wide range. What drew you to the 1893 World’s Fair, 1905 Boston, the JFK Assassination, and 1930s Georgia as spots for Kate to land?
I’ve been fascinated with Chicago World’s Fair for several decades now. Before I started writing full-time, I was a professor of history and government. My specialty was the Progressive Era, which was a period of dramatic social and technological change, and the 1893 World’s Fair was, in many ways, the beginning of that era. The year 1905 followed naturally, based on the age of one of my key characters in 1893, and I’ve always loved Boston.
Georgia in 1938 is due both to growing up in the South and hearing stories about the Depression from my grandmother, and also to the fact that it was the time period when the Federal Writers Project operated in the state. That program, which gave jobs to teachers, secretaries and so forth, was a natural cover for time traveling historians, because the FWP personnel were hired to go around asking average people to tell their life stories. You couldn’t ask for a better training ground for my CHRONOS historians.
As for the Kennedy assassination, you’re not allowed to write about time travel without touching on that event. I’m joking, although you might not know it if you picked a few time travel books at random, since everyone seems drawn to it. I’m pretty sure that time traveling historians would descend on Dallas like a horde of locusts, hoping to solve the mystery.
4) The love triangle between Kate, Trey, and Kiernan is really gripping. (I’m Team Kiernan, by the way. Really hoping that relationship works out!) In my mind, the two men seem to represent different aspects of Kate’s character, the woman she’s called to be and the “normal” life she yearns to have. How did those relationships evolve as you began writing?
Kiernan has taken on a bigger role after Timebound, but that was always my intention. He’s something of a cipher to Kate and to the reader at the end of the first book, but we come to better understand his motivations in Time’s Echo. Then in Time’s Edge, Kate is in a situation where Kiernan is really the only person equipped to help her. She can either go it alone, or she can work with him. I was drawn to having that relationship be an echo of her relationship with Trey—a situation where one person remembers a connection that the other doesn’t.
In terms of Trey and Kiernan, I think that the point you bring up is a good one. The relationship Other-Kate had with Kiernan was a bond between two adults, while her romance with Trey is very much the first-love, high-school variety. That may be why most adult YA readers who’ve stated a preference tend to claim “Team Kiernan,” while a majority of teen readers are pulling for “Team Trey.”
5) In this book, we get to experience situations in which Kate informs certain time travelers that they are now forever trapped in a new time, that their current trajectory in life will never be. Grant’s reaction really struck me – what helped you get into his shoes in order to write it? It’s a very different feeling than most of us will ever experience.
Grant’s reaction was intended, more than anything else, to pull Delia and Abel’s situation into a modern context. Without going into spoiler-level detail, I think a lot of readers, especially younger ones, can’t really fathom the level of animosity that an interracial marriage would have triggered, especially in the Deep South in the 1930s. It would have been exceedingly difficult for them to have the life they anticipated sharing in 2305, or even that they might have had if they were stranded in 2014.
Please stop by tomorrow for the rest of my interview with Ms. Walker, and…
GIVEAWAY: Don’t forget! Ms. Walker is giving away five copies of her books here on the blog. If you put your name and email address into the comments section below (one entry per email address, please, and both U.S. and international residents are eligible), you could win one of these fantastic books. Entries close at 10pm EDT on Sunday the 19th and winners will be announced and contacted on Monday the 20th!
RYSA WALKER grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where she read every chance she got. On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light. Timebound, the first book in the CHRONOS Files series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Amazon link to “Time’s Edge” is here.