We are spotlighting time travel all week long and as you learned yesterday one of the web team's favorite time travel authors is Jude Deveraux. Although Whitney and Morgan can't decide which is a their number one travel tale, A Knight in Shining Armor and Remembrance top both of their lists for the must-read that they always suggest to readers looking to test the time travel waters. So it only makes sense to start our round of author interviews with the talent who got us hooked on this type of novel. Today we host an author interview with the incomparable Jude Deveraux!
A Knight in Shining Armor was first published in 1990 and has been in print ever since. What do you think it is about this story that continues to capture readers' imaginations?
I think readers can identify with the problems Dougless had. Who hasn’t had a boyfriend/husband who has made her feel less than what she is? Nicholas made my heroine believe in herself and I think readers like that. And isn’t it a lovely fantasy to think of having a gorgeous man appear and sort out our lives?
I think readers like the research details in the book. Most time travel novels I’ve read spend most of the time on the politics of the time period, on wars and kings. My interest has always been social history. Wrapping the babies up and hanging them from a peg, with a bucket underneath, interested me more than the anger between England and France.
And too, there are the tears in the book. People can feel Dougless’s pain, especially at the end when she was pulled from Nicholas.
In a way, what time travel is saying to readers is, "people are people and want the same things whether they grow up in today's society or hundreds of years ago." Do you feel like this is an underlying message in your story?
Yes! I decided to write a time travel novel because I was sick of reading ones that set the modern person up as enlightened and educated and knowing the best way to do everything. The modern characters were superior beings in every way, while the person from the past was backward and needed to be taught about everything. I was bored with reading of some woman going back in time and lecturing against corsets. It was ridiculous! I wanted to show that there are good and bad things from every era. Nicholas knew things Dougless didn’t and vice versa.
After A Knight in Shining Armor, you have used unique ways of dealing with the concept of time in several other books. For example, in Sweet Liar, you have two narratives happening at the same time — one in contemporary time and the other in the 1920s. Then in Remembrance your hero and heroine literally follow each other through time as they are reincarnated over and over again, never quite making their lives work out until the end. What is it about playing with time that appeals to you? I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with another theme of yours — second chances.
The idea of being able to change time fascinates me, as does the question of why things happened. You look at the result of something and wonder how it came about. It’s like looking at the plot of a book to go back through your own life and see what led up to something that happened. What makes us like one person and not another? Could it have something to do with a past life? If there’s someone bad in your life, what if you could go back in time and not go to the party where you met that person? And if you didn’t meet that person, maybe a past life experience would send you to someone who was just like him. Those ideas make my writer’s brain start working.
For your own time travel adventure, where would you want to go?
That’s a toss up between the Elizabethan time — if I could go to court and meet HER, that is — and 18th century America when this country was forming. I have a mad passion for Thomas Jefferson, so if I found myself back then (and young and slim, of course) I’d head directly for him. I swoon at even thinking of meeting that man.
As historical figures turned romantic heroes go we think Thomas Jefferson is an excellent pick. Topping Morgan's list is Alexander the Great; a choice she says probably has something to do with his power (and his supposed good looks). Whitney can't get enough of Leif Ericson, the Viking who supposedly discovered America. RT's Stephanie Klose rounds out our in-house poll, with her choice of the famous inventor Nickola Tessla.
We want to know which historical figure would you love to go on a date with? And to find a list of our top 25 time travel stories and follow all of the action as we spotlight time travel tales (and their authors) click here!