Today's Tuesday Toolbox is a guest post by Sharon Ledwith. Thank you Sharon!
The Care and Creation of a Time Travel Series
by Sharon Ledwith
My journey to publication started in the mid-90s. One evening while I was reading, I thought how simple the structure and dialogue was in this particular novel. You can write, you can do this, a voice urged inside my head. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair. But those words rang true for me. So, I decided to act on this truth, and took a writing course—Writing your Novel—where I met a great couple of like-minded would-be writer gals. Together we started a writing support group, and I wrote my first novel—a paranormal romance. This manuscript caught the eye of an agent, but I was hardly ready, and I see that now. What I needed to do was to hone my craft and get better and better with the process of writing. And that takes making many mistakes at the expense of your ego. In other words: lots of rejection, rejection, rejection! Ouch!
Then one night, during my writer’s group, one of my friends said something that floored me. She mentioned that I hit my twelve-year-old character’s voice bang on. So, this got me to thinking—how hard would it be to write a young adult novel? It was a stupid question. Of course it was hard! After thinking about what my friend had said to me, I decided I’d challenge myself and write not just a novel—but a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. Since I’ve always loved the time travel genre, it was a no-brainer for me.
The idea for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis came to me in a dream I had around 1998. In this dream, I saw seven arches, and there were seven people (five kids, two adults) with crystals in their hands, walking up to these arches. It definitely had an Indiana Jones feel to it. I wanted to create a book series for adolescents that had a different slant to the time travel genre. I love history. I also love myths and legends. There’s a few time travel series out there, but nothing that has roots leading back to Atlantis—at least what I know about or have read. Since there’s no concrete evidence that Atlantis did exist, then that left the door wide open to possibilities. I had to do a lot of digging into the legend of Atlantis, reading many books—especially Edgar Cayce’s psychic readings—and surfing the internet, until I had a fixed idea on how to present this in story form, and into a series of books.
The whole idea of the series is based on not changing our past, because it’s been written—a huge challenge for my time traveling characters who must keep time safe from an evil Atlantean force released back into the world. In the first book of the series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, the Timekeepers time travel to Nottingham, England in 1214 where they must find an adolescent Robin Hood and his band of merry teens before history is turned upside-down.
FYI—originally I had called the series The Timeliners, because their prime directive was to keep time in line. Then, it became The Timekeepers, and finally The Last Timekeepers, as the series became more evolved and developed.
It took 15 years of writing in the trenches—querying publishers and agents, writing more books, getting rejected again and again—before I finally signed a publishing contract with Musa Publishing for The Last Timekeepers series. And after all this time there was still one catch—I had to rewrite the entire manuscript in the point of view of only one of the characters. Originally, I had written the series with each kid having their own chapter throughout the book. My newly assigned editor Kathy Teel found this confusing and suggested I write the first book in only one of the character’s voices, starting with Amanda Sault. That way, the next book would feature another character’s point of view. However daunting a task this sounds, it was sage advice, and made the book stronger and fresher.
Now a year has passed, and under the tutelage of another fine editor by the name of Tricia Schwaab, the prequel of my series Legend of the Timekeepers is set to make its debut this August 30th. So get your time portals ready and put on your Babel necklaces! It’s going to be another thrilling, crazy ride into the past!
When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.
Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.
To read an excerpt of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, please click HERE.
Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page.
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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, The Last Timekeepers, available through Musa Publishing. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, kayaking, time with family and friends, and single malt scotch. Sharon lives in the wilds of Muskoka in Central Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, a water-logged yellow Labrador and moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.