Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A convergence of realities

I had planned to write about my first book, Brownies, Bodies, and Breaking the Code, which is out in print now. I was all prepared to do a light-hearted little essay about writing the book, etc., but I got my first copy of the book on the day the bridge came down here in the Cities.

I'm from Minneapolis and I've driven over that bridge hundreds of times. I don't even think of it as 'a bridge over the Mississippi', since we've got a bunch of those. It's just a piece of the Interstate and it happens to have lots of water under it. I used to drive over more bridges when I lived in Pittsburgh. Every day there were two bridges I crossed, oftentimes sitting on the bridge in traffic and staring at the water underneath us.

Anyway ...

This kind of event always makes people stop and think. It truly is a random accident that reaches out and makes us say, "What would have happened if ..."

That's what made me write my History Patrol series. I started thinking about 'do-overs'. What would you do if you died suddenly, and had a lot of unresolved issues. And, worse yet, what would you do if you'd caused the death of someone you loved and had to live with that?

That led me to think, what about reincarnation? What if you could return and somehow make amends. But to make amends you'd need to return to the right time period. So time travel would be needed. So ..

I created the History Patrol, an organization that pairs people and sends them back through time, traveling together to different historical events until they find themselves in that place where the one person was betrayed. One person in the pair is always a shapeshifter, unable to be in human form until forgiveness is obtained -- but they can communicate telepathically, sometimes with unforseen results.

I've had such a great time writing these stories. The first one releases in September with Cerridwen and I hope that they'll buy the other ones I've written. Isn't it fun when you can work on a series that really makes you stretch as a writer? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy crafting my mysteries and find those challenging to write, but they're nothing like my time travel books. I get to do research on different time periods, I get to craft a past for my characters as well as a present, and I have to figure out if redemption and forgiveness will be given.

I'm so lucky to be doing something that I really enjoy. Yeah, I work at a "real job", too, but it doesn't interfer with the other writing I do (other than suck up some of my time).

I think tragedies like the bridge collapse need to be used as a wakeup call for everyone, not about safety (although I think that's a useful byproduct of this, believe me). But it's a chance to look at your own life and think ... "what if?"

Oh, and for info about the Brownie book ... check out my web site (http://www.jayellwilson.com/). I've got all the links there and some excerpts. It is a light, fun book. Perfect for summertime reading since it takes place in the dead of winter.

But that's another blog post ....


nascarandbeans said...

the book looks really good, i will be sure to check it out.. i live about 3 hours south of you near Mason City Iowa.. i have a niece that lives up there and it took hours for my sister to get through to her on her cell to make sure she was safe.. she had already crossed and had just gotten home when the bridge went down...
what a tragedy, but it sure does make a person do alot of what ifs in life..

Denise A. Agnew said...

History Patrol sounds fantastic. Good luck to you with this story and all of the others. You're absolutely right about the stop and think factor. Makes me grateful every day for the wonderful life I have.

Denise A. Agnew