Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Time Travel At Its Most Charming Caroline Mather's Time Series #giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 3 comments

I asked Caroline to do a blog post afterI read The Time Table last year,  She wanted to wait till book two was out. And today I’ve got her. And I have a giveaway at the end of the post.

My review of The Time Table

I love time travel (and write time travel), and this sounded like an interesting read. The Time Table exceeded my expectations. A series of short tales with one connection. A pool table fashioned in the 1600’s from a standing stone that occasionally creates time pockets. Caroline Mather deftly weaves four charming stories together, leaving room for more. I’m following her because I really want to read the sequel. Surely there will be a sequel? Five stars.

Please welcome Caroline Mather

Susan asked me about “time travel gone wild.” 
            The initial unifying image was the Table itself. There isn’t a single story line, or a single era. A former work colleague was a competitive pool player: a random comment made me wonder what might happen if you fell towards, or onto, a pool table, and went through.     
            As the stories progressed, there came the standing stone.  How do you travel back in time before billiard tables came to be, some time in the 1600s?  Except that we have a character in The Time Table who both went forward in time and emerged from a stone circle. I don’t know if slate is a good material for standing stones:  geologically, slate is like petrified mud.  However, it’s a good material for a billiard table slab. 
            As the series evolves, we have several moments when characters travel, or communicate, other than through the Table/stone circle.   There are other fantasy series which use more than one means of travel:  two classic examples would be J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.  The challenge with world building is simply to keep your world coherent.
            The third volume will have a longer range in time than the first two: after that, we’ll see.

Publishing first
            I met Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate at the New Jersey RWA conference in the fall of 2016.  I had just finished The Time Table, and I knew it was a bit quirky.  It is time-travel romance, but it’s a novella-length group of interlinked short stories, and it’s right on the edge of sci-fi/fantasy.  And…a billiard table? I’d pitched the book once or twice and gotten really strange looks.  Debby just looked a little thoughtful and said, “Send it to me.”  No promises, of course.  I don’t think we talked for more than a few minutes.
            When she emailed me a few weeks later to green-light it, I was both thrilled and stunned.  I’ve had non-fiction work published (mostly articles in reference books, different name, nothing to do with time travel), and a little self-published fiction (three parts of The Time Table first appeared under a pseudonym), but this series is now the first fiction with a serious publisher.

Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser”?  
            It’s a combination.  I don’t have everything plotted in detail:  if a character’s action surprises me and the plot takes a different turn, I’ll go with it.  It does mean that there are some questions left unanswered until a later installment.  There’s an unanswered question in the first section of The Time Line.  However, several sections of this volume are answering questions set up in The Time Table.  That said – if a story arc carries over more than one book, the author does have some responsibility to make sure that the pieces will fit together.
            One of the things I love about the Time Table series is that I get to read up not only on British history but also on contemporary theories of physics, time travel, precognition, and so on – and then to throw it all aside if necessary. Even if the details aren’t in the stories, the world I’m building really is founded on what may or may not be possible.  A good example would be the restoration of the Table in The Time Line: my partner and I spent an afternoon touring a truly amazing facility where billiard tables are made and restored – and then I had to work around those practicalities because the Time Table has a vortex! 

Current WIP is part 3 of the series:  Time Pieces, due out late in 2019.  There are some challenges in that volume:  one character is seriously annoyed because he’s in love with a someone who keeps going into the past and spending time with his forebears.  (Teaser: that plot line is first introduced in The Time Line.)   Several characters also travel without going through the Table – that also occurs in The Time Line – but, given where/when they’re each traveling in Time Pieces, it may be a bit more difficult to get them back again.

Advice for new writers just starting out:
            Just. Do. It.  The story only you can tell may or may not be one that propels you to the best-seller lists the first time out, but it’s your story.  Read a lot, write a lot, and just keep showing up.  If you wait for inspiration before you sit down at the keyboard, it may not come. The Muse needs to know where to find you, and you need to keep honing your skills while you’re waiting. 
            That said – there are times when you’ll find your inspiration somewhere else, and some of it may simply be in your memory or some unrelated comment.  Celebrate those memories and discoveries:  the sources of creativity are endless and enlivening.

My favorite pastime other than writing is one I can’t do at the moment: I love the experience of flying a small plane, even in the bumpy air of summertime over the northern New Jersey hills. I became interested in learning to fly because of a non-fiction project I was working on some time ago. I managed to log about fifteen hours, although I never soloed because life kept getting in the way. Even if I never get back there, I’ll always have that flight time.

And…when you’re not in the air or at the computer? 
            I’m hanging out in northern New Jersey, in an old apartment building on a busy main street, with far too many books, a great coffee maker, and a traveling Hero.  If you move back to your childhood town, be prepared for the possibility that it, too, has changed:  as the late, great Stephen Hawking said, “We are all time travelers, traveling together into the future.” 

Where can we find you?
            The Time Table series is published by Soul Mate Publishing and is available on Amazon Kindle.  The Facebook page “Writer Caroline Mather” is under construction: if you get over there and it’s still got pots of paint on the floor and sheets over the furniture, please be patient!  

The Time Table blurb and excerpt:
Jeremy Finch loses billiard balls. One stormy night, his billiard table disgorges a person known to the house’s future owner.  What?

Tony Finch disappears while playing billiards in the 1850s. He reappears in the early 21st century through an ancient stone circle. What?

Is it the billiard table? The standing stones?  Are the Finches just prone to time-travel, or is this about true love? These intertwined stories explore the future-and-past of The Time Table

The clock struck midnight as Jeremy Finch lined up his shot and sighted carefully along the billiard cue. Outside, a chill spring rain lashed against the windows.
            He choked back an exclamation.
            A young man’s crumpled figure in a pale shirt and dark trousers materialized on the billiard table as if he had come out of the felt. Without disturbing the balls scattered across the surface, he rolled over and tumbled onto the floor then crouched on his knees. Sheet-white and dazed, he met Jeremy’s eyes across the shadowed room.

The Time Line blurb and excerpt:
Returning to her own time via the Finches’ billiard-table, Cara McCrae came up short. She must find another way to travel the last five years. Now she finds herself in the middle of a casino floor, faced with a possessive man, and possessing experience that makes her a “conductor.”

Why did the “time table” fail? Can it be restored? What of the man who made that final “jump” with Cara? These intertwined stories follow the future-and-past of the next generation from the Time Table.

            Dane laughed. “Cara, when we met in Halkin Street before we jumped – you said that you had dreamed me. Did it happen often?”
            Cara shook her head. “Not often. Yet I knew there was someone out there, someone challenging and vibrant, and that I would not be a plaything.” She ran one finger over the patterned stone countertop.
            “Correct. You’re not.” Dane watched her, his voice quiet and grave.
            “Thank you.”
            “You’re welcome.” Dane drained his coffee cup. “What is it that interests you?”
            Cara blinked again.
            “Since you refuse to be kept, or a trophy,” Dane prodded. “Yet traveling time distances – years, centuries – does not faze you.”
            “I didn’t do it on purpose,” Cara demurred, “and clearly I wasn’t dressed for it.”
            Dane’s eyes danced with mischief. “Please tell me that you were not out comparison shopping.” At her incredulous look, he added, “Well–Edgar, Gareth, me—”
            Cara blushed. “I wasn’t shopping.

 Caroline, thank you so much for this post.
My review of The Time Line

I continue to be charmed by Caroline Mather’s writing, BUT you really need to read the Time Table first. Part of the story is a continuation of characters introduced in the first book. Some of the characters are new. And the door to the sequel is wide open. When I finish a Time Table book, I feel as if I had a cup of Earl Grey and a cucumber sandwich served with the very best butter. Read The Time Table and then sample part two, The Time Line.Caroline Mather: The Time Table series

            The Time Table (vol. 1, May 2017)
            Time Pieces       (vol. 3, late 2019)

Caroline is giving away two copies each of the ARC's for The Time Table and The Time Line. The ARCs are PDFs which can be read on any reader. I suggested this because I would love to see her have more reviews of these delightful books. Both books are novella-length. If you are interested and would be willing to review one or both, please enter below.
 Happy reading.


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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What a fascinating slant on the time travel idea. Sounds interesting.

  3. Thank you for introducing me to some new reads authors.


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