Monday, March 10, 2008

Travel Across Time with Linda Kay Silva

Joining us today is author Linda K. Silva whose paranormal/urban fantasy novel Across Time was recently released by Spinsters Ink Books. Linda has a Masters in English and has been a teacher for twenty years. She is a multi-published author in a variety of genres. We’ll talk about some of this today and also how her fascination with past lives and soul mates plays a part in Across Time.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Linda. It’s great to have you with us.

It’s great to be here…and so much fun!

Let’s get started by finding out more about you. What came first, the teaching or the writing? What’s the first story you remember writing and what did you do with it?

The writing. I started writing when I was 21, and I wrote 4 horrid novels, wasting paper along the way. I was a cop for two years, until I decided that I really liked living, so I quit and went into teaching…which I love.

Do any of your teaching experiences or other interests work their way into your novels?

My first 6 novels were the Delta Stevens Mystery series. Delta was a cop who had a very colorful group of women friends who helped her in and out of trouble, so I’d say, “Yes, that work experience created my first series.” The only difference is that Delta was a much better cop than I was. I was not suited to that role at all, so I preferred writing about it instead of living it.

For my latest, Across Time, I had my past lives read twice, and the readings were too close to be considered coincidental. I knew that some day, I would write a book about time travel, but not in the physical sense. I taught history for 15 years and just love dabbling in it!

You’ve written novels in several genres. Do you prefer one over the other?

That’s like asking which kid do you love most! Still...the truth is, I am torn between Jessie, in the Across Time series, and Echo, who is the protagonist is a paranormal series I’m already 4 books deep in. I love the supernatural…and those two characters allow me to play in their worlds.

Where did the idea for Across Time come from?

I have always been fascinated by past lives. Past lives fascinate me. Love at first sight, five year olds who can play Beethoven, people who come out of comas fluent in a foreign language…past lives at work. What other explanation is there when we meet someone for the first time, yet they feel so familiar, so comfortable to us? Where do our phobias come from? How is it we know some of the things we know, yet have never learned?

I pondered these questions as I delved deeper into Druidry and the mystical arts, and the deeper I dug, the more I could hear Cate, a Druid Priestess from the first century, calling.

She wasn’t calling me. She was calling Jessie. And so, hearing this, I knew the novel needed to be written…that it was time to create a series and a character who manages to find herself only when she steps through the portal and into a hostile world where Druids are being hunted, their way of life destroyed. Jessie (and the rest of us) can only know where we’re going when we know and understand where we have been.

Cate needs her to save the Druids from annihilation, Jessie needs Cate to help her on her true path, and I needed them both to tell their story.

Tell us about Jessie Ferguson. How will readers relate to her? Why will they care what happens to her?

Great questions! Women readers will relate on so many levels because we all hear that inner voice from time to time. Call it instinct, call it women’s intuition, the fact is, we’ve all heard it. Some of us truly listen to it, while others don’t at all. This voice comes from our past…our past knowledge and wisdom returns to us through residual memories. Readers will want to see how revisiting her own past saves her present life; a life that has no goal, no ambition, nothing but a great big void. Many of us of feel or have felt that void and have no idea where it comes from. I believe it comes from not understanding our purpose here in this life. We think love will fill it, or a career, or children…and then we are disappointed when, even with full lives, that dull ache still exists. That ache means we are not living according to our purpose, and that purpose can be found by understanding what our purpose was in the past. What did we DO in our other lives to make an impact on the world? Once Jessie discovers that purpose, it changes EVERYTHING about her life.

You’ve drawn on the emotions of loneliness and emptiness in this novel. How difficult is that to write? Did you ever find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the emotions your character was experiencing?

Oh my…yes. I seldom feel lonely or empty…my head is too busy working on the next book for me to really take a breath, but I could really relate to Jessie’s feeling of “Why in the hell am I here?”

I killed a major character in Tory’s Tuesday, and I couldn’t write for three days. I just grieved. I know it sounds silly, but I care about my characters and their emotional well-being. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have experienced many different kinds of successes; athletic, academic, career, and now writing, so it discombobulates me when I have to write about someone being to incredibly lost. Let’s just say, I sighed with relief when Jessie finally realizes her calling.

When Jessie moves into a Victorian Bed and Breakfast her life takes an interesting change. She gets a call from her life two thousand years in the past. What do you believe about past lives?

We cannot understand where we’re going until we know, and remember where we’ve been. There’s a reason why a 10 year old child prodigy has the ability to grasp courses as difficult as med school courses and it has nothing to do with miracles or genetics; it has to do with memory…soul memories…residual memories. These memories account for things like déjà vu, love at first sight, and unexplainable phobias. Ask almost anyone you know if they have a phobia they don’t know the origin of, and 9 times out 10, they will tell you about something that frightens them and they have no idea why.

How can a ten year old who is not developmentally ready for anything greater than long division go to med school? She isn’t just brilliant. She remembers more about past knowledge that the rest of us do. She is capable of accessing past knowledge, experience, and memories that enable her to do things far outside the realm of other children. We all have those memories, but we pass them off as something else for fear of being labeled crazy. We can’t explain how it is we know something. We can’t explain away the time we met someone for the first time and after ten minutes, felt like we’d known them our whole lives. We can’t even explain why some of our dreams just feel so real.

They feel real because once upon a time, they were.

I know I might sound like a loon, but I had my past lives read twice by two different women in two different states and their readings were too close to be coincidental. One said I had lived 83 lives, the other said 82. One commented on feeling some sort of warrior spirit from my past, and I have a large women warrior tattoo on my back. Apparently, I spent many of those lives (by BOTH accounts) in Germany…which is so strange considering I was taking college German as a sophomore in high school because it came so easily to me. (And don’t ask me why I hate the circus, even though I have never been!)

What type of research did you perform to create the life that Jessie lived many years ago?

I taught history for 15 years, so I already had the textbooks necessary for the verisimilitude of the ages Jessie travels in. I read up on Einstein’s and Hawkings’ concepts of time, before realizing that time is the final frontier and I can play in that playground any way I want. I have almost every book on Druidry imaginable, and so I read through those to see where the wiggle room was. Jessie cannot change the future…she can only become a part of the past that actually created the future in the first place. We must remember one thing about history…and Jessie learns this down the road: History is written by the victors, not the vanquished…those “eyewitness accounts” are subjective, and often, erroneous. There are also gaping holes in history, and it’s those hole I get to manipulate. It was written that Queen Boudicca turned her chariot around for some inexplicable reason. Why can’t Jessie be that reason?

See? How much fun is that? And trust me…it becomes even more fun when she becomes a 16th century pirate facing off against Queen Elizabeth, an Egyptian priestess facing the pharaoh Akhenaten, and a soldier facing hourly death in the Viet Nam War.

Let’s talk about soul mates. Soul mates play a significant role in Across Time. How deeply do you believe in the power of soul mates? Do you believe a person can have more than one soul mate in their lifetime?

I believe soul mates exist, but the idea of there being only one doesn’t set well with me. We travel through our lifetimes with many others…sometimes, our soul mate is our lover in one life, our best friend in the next, our brother of sister after that. What Cate and Maeve attempt to do is stay connected throughout the ages by remembering, for, “It is by remembering the past that we create a better future.” A soul mate doesn’t have anything to do with sex or gender. It’s someone who knows us and understands us in a way unlike anyone else. We are drawn to these people for reasons we might not understand. Many of us are friends with people who are so different from us, so polar opposites, and yet, they are in our inner circle. Why? What’s the draw to be so close to someone who is the antithesis of ourselves unless there is a deeper connection?

This novel is the first in a series of books about Jessie’s travels across time. Can you tell us a little bit about your plans for the next book or books?

In a nutshell….here’s where Jessie is going after Across Time

Second Time Around

Jessie goes back to Elizabethan England as pirate Captain Spencer Morgan. Spencer is trolling the seas looking for a box that Francis Drake is also after. This box, as we discover later in the book, was once buried by Lachlan and contains the recipe for the transmutation of lead into gold. Jessie deals with Queen Elizabeth, Francis Drake, and we see Cate and Maeve again.

Third Time’s a Charm

Jessie is called to the past where it all began…ancient Egypt, when pharaoh Akhenaten ruled and tried to change the religion in Egypt. There, Jessie is Sakura, a priestess of Isis, who is trying to save the religion. Jessie’s attentions are split because Daniel, her little brother is being haunted by spirits living in the Inn. These ghosts in Daniel’s room are from a family that was killed in the Inn long ago…a family whose father was an Egyptologist. Jessie must uncover the mystery of the ghosts before she can help Sakura save the life of Queen Nefertiti.

Just Killing Time

Jessie is called back to the 16th century and finds that it’s 15 years since she last saw Spencer. He has called her because Duncan’s son has gone to help Mary, Queen of Scots escape from prison and Queen Elizabeth has put a warrant out for his arrest. On the open seas, Spencer /Jessie run afoul of one of the most famous female pirates in history, Grace O’Malley. With Grace’s help, they are able to find Barclay, and help ease the pain of the death of one of history’s greatest Queens.

In the Nick of Time

As the Guardian of the Gate, it’s Jessie’s job to protect the portal, but the one person she did not expect to use it, gets lost in time: her brother, Daniel. To save him, Jessie must deal with the Sidhe of the Otherworld and make a deal with them. They want her to protect Merlin’s daughter from Queen Mab, and if she does that, they will tell her where in time Daniel is: Viet Nam during the Viet Nam War. Jessie must find a way to save Daniel before he is killed in Viet Nam, and she must save Merlin’s daughter or lose more than just her brother.

I just finished In the Nick of Time and am now going back over the last four in order to tie things together and make sure the Easter eggs pay off from one novel to the next. It’s my understanding that you want to bring Second Time Around out in 2009, so I’ll need to know who to send the latest revision to. I am having a book launch party next weekend, and people from all over the country are flying in for it. I am so fortunate to have that kind of support…so hopefully, they’ll do all they can to help sell the book as well.

Where can readers purchase Across Time? make more money if you order from the publisher!)
You can also order it from Borders.

What’s up next for you? Will you be concentrating on anything other than continuing this series?

I have a second series I am working on involving the paranormal community of empaths, telepaths, and telekinetics living and training out in the bayous of Louisiana. I just finished the 4th of that series and will be sending that manuscript off to see if I can’t procure an agent.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes. Whether or not readers believe in past lives or time travel won’t play a role in their enjoyment of the book. The characters really carry this story and I believe that most of us have been in Jessie’s shoes at one time or another in our lives. She tries everything from drugs and alcohol, to sex in an effort to fill that yawning chasm in her spirit. Most of us have felt that throbbing, dark void in our hearts, and so we’ll root for Jessie as she discovers that there is so much more to her than just being alive. There is so much more to every one of us…if only we could dig deep enough (or far enough in time) to find it.

Thanks for sharing so much of your time and talents with us today, Linda. I look forward to hearing more about this series as it progresses. Best of luck in all you do.

Thank you so much. I have really enjoyed these questions and hope your readers will feel free to come by my blog and say hi or ask any questions I haven’t answered here.

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