Happy Ruby On Tuesday, everyone!
I want to thank Ruby for inviting me to her wonderful blog today to discuss how I approach writing and how I came up with the time travel angle for my new best-selling book, ‘Whisper in the Wind’.
Each writer approaches their work in a different way. Some are fast writers and others work in a slow, methodical manner. Some plot their books in great detail while others (like me) begin with a concept and take it from there. I guess I could compare the way I write a book to making a homemade cake. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I love cake – so what better analogy? In a sense (work with me here), writing is like cooking an exotic recipe or baking a six-layer delicious cake with scrumptious fudge frosting. You are creating something from nothing but your imagination. You take some basic ingredients, add a pinch of this, a dash of that, and voilà – a book!
Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. There are no shortcuts or Betty Crocker cake mixes for a book. Granted, the recipe may seem easy in theory, but once you start the procedure it can get downright complicated and take longer than you ever anticipated. Since I write historical fiction, extensive research about the time period is necessary to paint an accurate visual picture that will transport the reader into the book. I’m detail oriented and love history. In fact, it’s easy for me to get lost doing research. However, I try not to be heavy-handed with historical data. Very much like measuring ingredients for a successful recipe, too much of one thing can weigh the product down. Ultimately, readers want to be entertained, not subjected to a history lesson. And don’t think just because the frosting (in this case, the book cover) may look delicious and enticing that people won’t care about the substance or quality of the cake itself.
Writing is a subjective process; what appeals to one person may not appeal to others. After all, there are people who don’t like chocolate either. And I strongly believe that if you don’t have a good story with characters the reader will personally care about, plot elements that are entertaining as well as compelling, and an understanding about the craft of writing, how good your book looks on the outside won’t matter.
Consequently, my goal is to write enjoyable, entertaining, heart-warming books that incorporate plot twists or intriguing elements from other genres. My base is historical romance; it’s what I write and what I read. However, I also love mystery and suspense, as well as paranormal elements, including time travel. I’m not a fan of the ‘formula’ romance with predictable plots. Granted, romance novels are expected to have that ‘happy ending’, but who says there cannot be twists and turns, and unexpected surprises along the way? As a reader, it’s that sense of “what will happen next” that keeps me in a story. So, I strive to write the kind of book I would like to read. Then I cross my fingers and hope the reader will feel the same way.
In my first novel, The Sense of Honor, set in Regency England, strong elements of mystery and suspense were incorporated into the historical romance. With Whisper in the Wind, I pursued another interest – the possibility of time travel. Incorporating an element like time travel is challenging. As a plot device, I didn’t want to be so abstract or far-fetched with the method that it pulled the reader out of the story. The process should be feasible to be believable. Time travel is simply the means to take a character forward or backward in time. In The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, spirits appeared to take Scrooge into the past and the future. For Molly Magee, the 21st century heroine in Whisper in the Wind, she finds herself at a specific place and time where nature and the unknown simultaneously combine to transport her physically back in time.
Here is a brief blurb about the book:
When Molly Magee is suddenly swept back in time, she finds herself in the Old West with gunslingers, high stakes gamblers, Victorian ideology toward women, and a Pinkerton detective named Jordan Blake. As she tries to understand what happened to her and find a way home, danger exists at every turn. Survival is a daily challenge, but it’s a hundred times worse when–to avoid answering questions from a persistent and seductive Pinkerton–she fakes amnesia. She soon realizes the biggest threat of all is the one Jordan Blake poses to her heart.
Jordan Blake has lost everyone he’s ever loved. As a Texas Ranger turned Pinkerton detective, Jordan has become a cynic about people and justice, and is ready to walk away from a life that has lost its meaning. He never knew that a prayer whispered in the wind would bring him an angel of mercy, and a love he’d never hoped to find.
From the open splendor of 1885 Texas to dark decadence and murder in New Orleans, Molly and Jordan learn that when fate takes a hand, finding the love of your life is often just a matter of…Time.
Whisper in the Wind, an Amazon best-selling sensuous Historical Time Travel Romance is the first book in the ‘Windswept Texas Romance’ series. The novel is available for Kindle at Amazon.com, as well as e-reader format for Apple iBook/iPad, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords. The print version of the book will be available on May17, 2013.
Ashley Kath-Bilsky is a best-selling, award-winning author of Historical Romance with Mystery, Suspense, and/or Paranormal elements. She also writes Historical Gothic Young Adult Fiction. For more information about Ashley and her books, please visit her website (www.ashleykathbilsky.com) , personal blog (www.ashleykathbilsky.blogspot.com ), Twitter (https://twitter.com/AKathBilsky), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashley-Kath-Bilsky/302554710513). Ashley is also a contributing member of the Sweethearts of the West blog at: www.sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com.
What keeps you in a story and reading to the very last page?