We are focusing on time travel romances all week long on the RT site and we knew that our spotlight would not be complete without author Lynn Kurland. She has been writing these stories in different incarnations for the past fifteen years, and has moved from historical romance to the fantasy genre and back with her tales of characters that transcend both space and time. So today we caught up with Lynn Kurland to pick her brain about what it really means to write time travel tales!
Why a time travel romance? What is it about your characters being out of time and place that appeals to you?
For me, time travels are the ultimate fish-out-of-water stories. I think having characters completely out of their comfort zone forces them to confront things they might not otherwise, which hopefully makes for a good story.
After so many well-known authors have written iconic time travel romances (i.e. Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, etc) did you feel at all intimidated before even beginning? Were any of these authors (or others) inspirations for your books?
The very first time-travel romances I read were Constance O'Day-Flannery's early stories--I was hooked on the genre! By the time I realized other time travels out there (like Outlander and A Knight in Shining Armor) I'd already written A Dance Through Time and was trying to sell it. I guess you could say I'd already jumped into the pond before I knew there were such amazing writers were already swimming there--fortunately, or I might not have dared!
Are there any inherent problems that you face when you are writing a time travel series?
The most daunting thing is really just trying to keep everyone straight and not miss any pertinent details. The rest of it is just the joy of getting a bird's-eye view of families as they work their way through the centuries.
Sometimes your historical characters travel to modern times, and sometimes your contemporary characters go back to medieval times. Do you have any preference for where you like to send your heroes and heroines?
It all depends on the characters, really, and where I think they're most likely to find love.
In a way, what time travel is saying to readers is that people are people and want the same things whether they grow up in today's society or 800 years ago. Do you feel like this is an underlying message in your stories?
That's definitely one of them. The other thing that appeals to me so much about getting to time travel with my characters--especially with the ones going back to the past--is the chance to live a simpler life. Not a necessarily more secure one, but a simpler one. I know I'm ignoring the very real issues of food, security, and shelter, but there's something very appealing about a life with no cell phones or computers or the ease--and distraction!--of endless Google searches. The thought of just gathering as family in the evenings with only conversation as entertainment, time to actually just sit and read or stitch or spin, the absolute pleasure of music performed for you that you might not be able to manage yourself . . . it seems dreamy!
For historical romance readers that might not read books with paranormal or supernatural elements, what would you say to get them to try a time travel tale?
I would tell them that if they're comfortable either with historical or contemporary romances, they will feel comfortable with my stories. The time-travel element is the vehicle, but not the focus. I don't delve into magic or shapechanging or other otherwordly things--outside of a few ghosts--in my romances. I save all that for the fantasies!
As far as time-travels in general go, the bottom line is they’re just wonderful love stories with a few extra sparkly things added. How can you go wrong with that?
For your own time travel adventure, where would you want to go?
That is such a difficult decision! Medieval England is of course very tempting, but I think I'd have to go with a decent amount of money and a secret stash of chocolate. The thought of trying to get along as a peasant is not one I entertain very often.
I'm also a big fan of American history, so as long as I could get away with dressing sans corset, I would love to see a place like Williamsburg around the time of the American Revolution, or set up shop in the following century as Laura Ingalls' neighbor. Ah, for a simpler life!
Then again, I'm not sure I could live without my computer!
Inspired by Lynn Kurland's preferred historical destinations, we took a quick poll to see where RT staffers would want to head if they were traveling through time.
Whitney was the first to answer, saying, "because I love all things Regency era, it can't be a surprise to know that that's where I'd head the moment I got a chance to time travel. Oh those beautiful dresses and the gorgeous balls, I'd be in historical romance reader heaven!"
Next up, Morgan replied that her destination of choice would be the future, and says, "To infinity and beyond! I can't wait to see what the world will look like."
RT's Elisa came to her choice quickly. "It's a case of go big or go home, so I'd be heading back to Mesopotamia to check out the beginnings of modern civilization."
We want to know when in time would you like to go? To find out the results of yesterday's "historical figure you'd like to go on a date with" poll, and add your own thoughts, click here. And for a list of our top 25 time travel stories and to follow all of the action as we spotlight time travel tales (and their authors) click here!