The Fog of War: If time-travel were real…
Thank you so much to Elizabeth for having me here today to talk about my new release, The Fog of War! The book is the first of a new trilogy in my Border Magic Universe. It’s a sapphic, historical, paranormal, romantic mystery set in rural England in 1920. I’m doing a bit of a blog-tour talking about the characters, settings and the history behind it and Elizabeth’s place is one of the stops. You’ll be able to find the other posts listed on my website as they come out this week.
In my paranormal universe, time-travel is a thing. I started the series by wanting to contrast the experiences of a man born in the 1980s with someone born in the 1880s and time-travel was the coolest way to do that. So it’s become a part of the lexicon, although not every book contains it.
So…today my question is. Where would you go if time-travel were possible?
To me this is one of those impossible-to-answer questions. I’m a bit of a coward really and I don’t like change. I think I’ll like new situations and then I end up having an anxiety attack when I become immersed in them. So realistically, I don’t think I’d want to go anywhere at all permanently. I like having vaccinations and antibiotics and my own bed that smells right and enough fresh fruit to eat whenever I want to eat it. Oh, and clean water.
But…if I knew I could get back to all those things whenever I wanted with no penalties? And not get stabbed by accident or hung as a witch? I still don’t know, because there are so many different times and places to choose from.
It’s not the big, sweeping events in history that interest me, really. It’s how the ordinary people lived. What did the sempstress who did the embroidery on all those wonderful eighteenth century waistcoats and dresses have for her supper? The man who made my Great Grandfather’s wire-rimmed spectacles, still in a box on my mother’s dressing table…did he have a family in a little house in London? Or did he live alone in a room in a boarding house? Was it really that big-a deal to the Briton-in-the-street when the last of the Roman legions left the province in 418AD, or did they just shrug and get on with planting their grain and tending their sheep?
There are so many fantastic time-travel books out there that explore this kind of thing. One of my favourites is the St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor. A university history department dedicated to finding out what really happened in history? Yes please! If you haven’t come across it I give it a hard recommend, they’re funny books and as an ex-history/archaeology student they resonated very heavily with me. They explore the ‘what happens if you change stuff’ paradox quite neatly and travelling isn’t as easy as just zipping through a stone circle to a different time with no penalties at all.
I also really liked a book I read years ago that I cannot remember the name or author of, which is horribly annoying of me…but perhaps you can help me. Some sort of experiment causing a huge electrical surge pulls a Roman solider through time to the present. By chance, he meets a professor of Latin who is able to speak to him and helps him.
The twist is that he is from Judea in about 30AD. And the professor knows that the chap is in danger, because of his potential knowledge about the origins of Christianity, so they go on the lam. One faction want to talk to him to find out what was really going on and how widespread talk of Jesus was. And one faction want to silence him because they think that facts will interfere with faith.
Unfortunately I lost the book in one of my chaotic house moves—so if you have the title or author on the tip of your tongue I’d be really grateful of a tipoff!
Anyway…that’s my bit on time-travel! What are your thoughts? And here’s my bit on The Fog of War, which may…or may not…have time-travel in it!
The Fog of WarPublisher: JMS Books LLC
Editor: Lourenza Adlem
Release date: 14 Aug 2014
Word Count: 50,000 words
Genre: Sapphic, found-family, historical, paranormal romantic mystery set in 1920s England.
Content Warning: Mention of domestic violence.
The quiet village of Bradfield should offer Dr Sylvia Marks the refuge she seeks when she returns home from her time in a field hospital in France in 1918. However, she is still haunted by the disappearance of her ambulance-driver lover two years previously ,and settling down as a village doctor is more difficult than she realised it would be after the excitement of front-line medicine. Then curious events at a local farm, mysterious lights and a hallucinating patient’s strange illness make her revisit her assessment of Anna’s death on the battlefield.
Lucille Hall-Bridges is at a loose end now her nursing work is finished. She felt useful as a nurse and now she really doesn’t know what to do with her life. She hopes going to stay with her friend Sylvia for a while will help her find a way forward. And if that involves staying at Bradfield with Sylvia…then that’s fine with her.
Will the arrival of Lucy at Bradfield be the catalyst that allows both women to lay their wartime stresses to rest? Can Sylvia move on from her love affair with Anna and find happiness with Lucy, or is she still too entwined in the unresolved endings of the past?
The first in the Bradfield trilogy, set in the Border Magic universe.
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Excerpt:It was a beautiful late August day when Sylvia motored down to Taunton to collect Lucy from the railway station. The sun shone through the trees as she followed the lane down the hill from the village and the sky above was a beautiful summer blue. She had left the all-weather hood of the Austin down and wore a scarf and gloves against the wind, topping her trouser outfit off with her new hat, which she pinned firmly to the neat coil of her long hair.
Walter had watched her fussing with her appearance in the hall mirror, stuffing his pipe. “Are you sweet on her?” he asked, somewhat acerbically.
“It’ll be cold with the hood down,” she said, crushingly.
“Yes, yes, so it will be.” He turned his attention back to his tobacco, face straight. “Be careful on the bends.”
“I will,” she said. “She’s a beast to drive, smooth on the straights and handles well on the corners, but I’ve no desire to end up in the ditch.”
She’d bought the big Austin coupe late last winter when she’d got fed up riding her motorcycle out to some of the more remote houses she was called to in the dreadful weather. It was huge, far bigger than she needed really, although the back seat was useful to transport a patient if she had to. She still preferred her ‘cycle, but it wasn’t exactly suitable as a doctor’s vehicle. Not very staid at all. The Austin wasn’t very staid either, in that it was huge and expensive; but one of the benefits of a private income was that she could afford it; and so why not be comfortable?
She pondered all this and more on the drive down to Taunton, mind floating along with no real purpose. She loved to drive and for some reason it calmed her thoughts and allowed them to drift.
It would be lovely to see Lucy again. As Walt had said, she was a sweet little thing. Although Sylvia didn’t want to revisit the grim minutiae of some of the worst times at Royaumont, it would be lovely to reminisce about some of their happier moments of camaraderie. It had been four years of extreme stress and grim terror lightened with moments of laughter and fun. Working with a team of competent women all pulling together for one purpose had been extraordinary. She’d never experienced anything like it before and she doubted she would again. She was delighted some of the staff had set up a regular newsletter so they could all stay connected.
And so what if Lucy was sweet on her. Sylvia wasn’t interested in that kind of complication anymore. She didn’t want to cause gossip in the village for a start…although she supposed people wouldn’t make any assumptions about two women living together these days after so many men hadn’t come home from France. But anyway, even if it wouldn’t cause gossip, she didn’t think about Lucy like that. And she doubted Lucy thought about Sylvia like that, despite Walter’s teasing. He was stirring the pot a little to see what bubbled up, that was all.
Those musings took her to the station.
The train was on time and was just pulling in as she got out of the car. She walked out onto the platform as the smoke was clearing and through the clouds, she made out Lucy.
She was beside the guard’s van, directing the guard and porters to what seemed like an unnecessarily large pile of luggage. Despite the clement August weather, she was wearing an extremely smart velvet coat with a fur collar over a beautiful travelling suit that hung to mid calf, topped with an extraordinary confection of a hat.
She looked competent and sophisticated and exceptionally beautiful. Not at all the slightly scapegrace young person of 1916 who had persuaded the hospital powers-that-be she was a suitable candidate for France, although she’d been only twenty-one and inexperienced as a nurse.
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All About A.L. Lester
Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, some hens and the duckettes. Likes gardening but doesn't really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn't much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.
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