It seems many people are interested in the romantic idea of traveling to another time. Of leaving our own world behind to experience another that is more interesting, perhaps has better manners, a simpler and slower pace, and the chance to mingle with people of the past or, the future if that’s what you prefer.
From Back to the Future to Lost in Austen; from Harry Potter to Outlander, it would indicate many of us are interested if the many novels and films on the subject are anything to judge by. These low-fantasy works (those which start and generally end in the real world) add the aspect of reality that is missing in the high-fantasy ones where the whole world is strange and different.We can imagine what it would be like to be the character suddenly thrust into a very different environment; a little bit in each of us likes to think there is an escape – just beyond our reach – to some kind of fantasy land. Rather like walking through the gates of Disneyland but without the annoying music and long lines. A place where we will recognize lives and people and situations and feel wise because we have already read about or watched them and now, here it is, real and in front of us, waiting for us to discover and make a difference with our superior intellect, or a mess with our lack of same.
Ever since I was little and tried to get into Narnia via my mother’s large wardrobe, I have loved the idea of other worlds just beyond my sight and grasp; the idea of other people living their lives in parallel right next to me. It keeps the wonder and hope alive that perhaps, one day, the barrier will fail and I will be able to climb through for a visit.
A visit; that’s all I would want. I wouldn’t want to stay forever, that’s certain. Common sense tells me that after the initial excitement, shock and adjustment has occurred, life in another time period would not be better than this one: without a doubt, it would be far worse without family, friends or a means to support oneself.
Of course, very few people who have the romantic notion about living in a past era consider being anything other than rich and successful; not many dream of travelling through time to become a servant or a laborer or a slave. And why? Because we already know that having money and influence and power in any era is always better. We know our history and we don’t want to deal with the unpleasant bits.
So when things like annual conferences for lovers of Jane Austen and the Regency period are held, everyone dresses as middle to upper class – not a servant to be seen. Probably the same with war re-enactments – more upper class officers than lower class cannon fodder; or bayonet fodder, depending.
Which brings me to my point. Locket in Time is my version and imagining of time travel into the Regency. It is a lighthearted but also down-to-earth read as the modern heroine, Jas, learns to navigate her way in and out of, and, inevitably, adjust the outcomes of various people’s lives as she interferes with the ‘space-time continuum’ that Doc likes to warn against in Back to the Future. Jas grapples with what I imagine would be ‘real-life’ problems in such a situation, such as ignorance or misunderstanding of situations and current norms and ideas, and the loss of her independence and support network – all the while learning about herself as she experiences momentary love which she must decide to accept or leave behind.
Perhaps that’s what drove me to write this novel: to respond to the endings of so many other time-travel novels or films which are just not realistic – not that time-travel itself is realistic; I understand that! – but within the premise there have to be some consequences, some realization, some realistic decisions made. It can’t always be ‘and they lived happily ever after’ leaving lots of unanswered questions. I had many questions about just how a 21st century woman would manage in a 19th century situation and, for myself, I have answered them successfully. I hope I have done so for my readers, too.
Locket in Time is available for pre-order on Amazon now.