I’m rather new to the writing game, though I’ve always put pen to paper in some form or another: poetry, essays, journaling, etc. The Time Baroness came upon me as a surprise, because I never intended to write a novel, but as an avid reader of 19th century English literature, I started fantasizing about what it would be like to live in the time-period of some of my favorite authors, especially Jane Austen.
I didn’t want to be the heroines in their novels; I wanted to be me, a woman from the 21st century, visiting that time period, having interesting experiences and perhaps meeting some dashing chap. So one night as I lay in bed waiting to drift off, probably after reading a Jane Austen novel, I started to tell myself the story of a beautiful red-headed woman, a brilliant scientist and virtuoso pianist who time travels to the early 19th century, rents a mansion in County Hampshire, and begins to insinuate herself into the neighborhood. She meets a handsome violinist and they have an affair. (Cassandra, as I call my protagonist. is a much more attractive and talented version of myself.)
It was just a silly fantasy at first, but then I started to think about the logistics: how would the time-travel happen? How would she manage to just appear there in the past? What might happen to complicate things? What would throw a monkey-wrench into her plan? I developed the story night after night, lying there in bed, and when eventually it got so interesting that I couldn’t sleep, I knew I had to write it down. It took me four years to get from that fantasy to my published e-book, my first draft hand-written in a series of notebooks, then many, many subsequent computer drafts, reader critiques, agent rejections and one acceptance, and finally several months working with a professional editor who taught me some things I really needed to know about writing a novel.
Originally, I didn’t think about The Time Baroness belonging to a particular genre, though obviously it lends itself to Romance. Ultimately, I realized that its category is: "Time-travel fiction with a romantic/scifi theme." The scifi is a natural result of the time-travel, but I also put a lot of thought into the logistics of the science, and since the heroine comes from the future, and I describe that future to some extent, it has more of a scifi lean than other time-travel romances I’ve read. All in all, I’m not a big romance reader because when I’m not reading classic literature, I will delve into some pretty hard-core science fiction. Thus my novel was written for a reader like me: basically a woman who likes a dose of romance and/or sex in her reading but also likes a smart story. It’s a book for "nerd-girls" as I like to say, those of us who love everything from Jane Austen to Neil Gaiman.
Since I’m also an actress, and my husband is a film-maker, we had an idea to do a You-tube series of me reading Pride and Prejudice, in anticipation of reading my own book. Well, I’ve only made it about 16 chapters into Pride and Prejudice; I do intend to finish it and then get started on reading The Time Baroness, and then also make it into an audio book since my husband is just the tech guy that could make that happen. But of course, all these projects can get in the way of the actual writing, as does all the promotion. But I am a disciplined writer who will set aside everything to get down to the writing. Between blogs, newspaper articles, theatre and movie reviews and the development of my second novel, The Time Goddess, a sequel to The Time Baroness, I try to put in an hour or two of writing every day, sometimes more. And I teach English as a Second Language (ESL). So it does take determination to get on that computer and make it happen.
Finally I just want to give a shout out to the designers of my cover, which I think is so incredibly beautiful, sensual and elegant. Mostly it was my dad’s concept, Bill Josh Young: www.fundingbydesign.org. But since his health wasn’t great at the time he was designing it, my husband Jonathan Ellis stepped in and put on the finishing touches. My husband wears many hats, media guru that he is, and here’s the link to his website: www.ltbprod.com. He and I have a philosophy: make art. It’s as simple as that.