A conversation about superpowers inspired author Tamara Ireland Stone’s debut novel, Time Between Us, which features a teenager named Bennett who falls in love with Anna, a girl he meets when traveling to 1995.
Stone says writing the story was “completely illogical,” due to her fast-paced PR job and two children to care for. Not to mention the fact that she hadn’t had time to write “for fun” for years.
Despite the obstacles, her devotion to Anna and Bennett’s time travel story paid off. Time Between Us was released in October (read my review), and Tamara is busy working on her second novel.
The Daily Quirk: Writing about time travel seems very daunting, simply because it opens up a huge can of worms in terms of logic. How did you go about managing this challenge while writing Time Between Us?
Tamara Ireland Stone: Time travel is definitely a tricky subject. Trust me, as I was writing Time Between Us, there were many points when I sat there and asked myself, “Why did I decide to write my very first book about time travel?” I guess I like a good challenge.
I have lots of tools I use to keep track of research and information. I use Evernote to clip articles about things like the physics of time travel. I have Excel spreadsheets to track details, like Anna and Bennett’s ages at any particular point in time. And then I just scribble a lot. I spend a lot of time drawing timelines on Post-it’s, in scrapbooks, and on my whiteboard in my office to be sure my logic works.
This all makes it sound really complicated, but the idea is to get all of these moving parts clear in my head so it’s never confusing to the reader.That’s the main reason I set the story in 1995 and don’t jump around a lot. I want readers to disappear into Anna and Bennett’s story, not spend their time trying to figure out where they are in the space-time continuum.
TDQ: Is there a specific scene in Time Between Us that you particularly enjoyed writing?
TIS: I have always loved the rock-climbing scene. By the time I wrote it, I felt like I really knew both Anna and Bennett as individuals, and when I placed them in that setting together, they came to life for me even more.
I really like the way the two of them interact with each other throughout the scene. And I love that Anna is completely out of her element. She’s not used to being vulnerable or having to rely on someone else, but when you’re climbing, your safety is literally in someone else’s hands. I liked making her uncomfortable and seeing how she’d react.
But I love that scene most because it’s really all about the moment that Anna and Bennett start to trust each other completely.
TDQ: CBS Films has optioned film rights for Time Between Us. Who would you like to see playing Anna and Bennett in a film version of the book?
TIS: For me, Bennett has always been a bit of the sweet and swoon-worthy Steven McQueen (Jeremy Gilbert, The Vampire Diaries).
I’ve always found it tricky to match Anna with a perfect actress. It would have to be someone with an athletic build and Anna’s trademark curly hair. Most of my friends’ daughters are currently hitting me up for the role, even though I assure them that I have no say in the matter.
TDQ: On your website you describe yourself as “happily stuck in the mid-90s,” and I could definitely feel your appreciation for that era in the book. What’s your favorite piece of mid-90s nostalgia?
TIS: I like the 90’s, but it wasn’t as if I set out to write a book set in that decade or anything. I just knew I wanted Bennett to (1) be able to time travel, but only within his lifetime and (2) be 17-years-old in present day 2012. When I did the math, his birthday landed in 1995.
After I got done feeling really old, I realized how much fun it would be to write a story in a decade that I personally loved living in! In the early 90s, I was twenty-ish, just out of college, living in San Francisco with roommates, making new friends, and seeing a lot of live music. And, it was when I picked up running, which I found really empowering.
My favorite piece of nostalgia is the music. I loved reconnecting with bands I loved to run to back then, like Nirvana and Green Day and The Smashing Pumpkins. Running in San Francisco means running up a lot of hills, and those bands pushed me to the top more than once. In this decade, they pushed me to write and finish a book.
TDQ: Time Between Us was your first published novel. What’s next for you? Do you have plans to write more books?
TIS: Absolutely! I have more ideas for stories than I have time to write them.
My next book is coming out from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013. I can’t say much about it yet, but I’ll be able to talk about it soon. I can say that Anna & Bennett’s story continues, and that I absolutely love where their adventure is taking them next!
We would like to thank Tamara Ireland Stone for taking the time to chat with us! For more about Author Tamara Ireland Stone and Time Between Us, visit the author’s website, follow her on twitter, and like her page on facebook.
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