Monday, May 5, 2014

On Writing the Portals of Time trilogy

I’ve been a science fiction fan since I was a child. I remember watching The Twilight Zone episodes with awe. I thought Rod Serling was a genius. As I got older, I started to watch science fiction movies and I remember being terrified of The Thing and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Later on in life, my favorite books and movies became 1984, Brave New World, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Time Machine, Somewhere in Time, Soylent Green, Blade Runner, The Handmaid’s Tale and of the Star Wars series. Of course, now we have The Hunger Games Trilogy and Divergent which I thought were wonderful. 
The stories I came to like most were those about the future and time travel. I discovered a lot of these plotlines on television, particularly in The Outer Limits and Star Trek. I remember watching all of the old episodes, over and over, and still catch them once in while on TV. I was fascinated by the future and what it might hold. Some were grim, showing the post-apocalyptic view—a barren world deprived of resources and often their humanity. But the future world in Star Trek showed a benevolent, advanced society, still with its problems, but professing the same values as we do today, only on a higher level. I eventually taught a science fiction class as a high school teacher where I expanded my knowledge of the shorter fiction on these issues.

With that foundation, and when I became a published author, I always wanted to write some science fiction. But since my first love is romance, there never seemed to be an opportunity to combine the two genres until now. I came up with the original concept for the series years ago, but while shopping it around, I sold another book to Harlequin and they weren’t doing paranormal then. So I let the project go while I busily wrote what turned out to be 49 contemporary romances (so far). However, about 8 years ago, I went back to the time travel story. But so much had changed in society today. Many things I’d had as futuristic in the books were in place now, like the electric car needed for the plot of the first one, and much of the technological progress, especially in the Internet and Social Media world.

In any work of fiction, every writer has to create his or her world, but in science fiction and fantasy all of that world has to be explained, whereas I don’t have to tell you what a cell phone is in modern romances. It was great fun to create the world my women come from: the sad parts of living in a dome, the inability to bear children, a world that had to be torn apart before it could heal. But I also appreciated the peaceful nature of future centuries, the lack of any kind of materialism, and the interesting progress that was made in technology. Creating a society with corrupted language--a dog is a drog because there are no animals, supplements for food (think world hunger), clothing, how people read, exercise, what jobs they do was a real challenge. Most of the planning was done before I started this new version, but as I wrote, I found myself stopping to think, “Oh, that’s right, there wouldn’t have been day and night in the domes because the out of inside was covered with pollution.” Then I’d have to go back and interlace those elements into the books. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, I did have themes in mind: we are wasting our earth, we are too violent, we make drugs common, even when we have no idea their side effects, if we corrupt religion we will lose it. We must keep our interpersonal relationships as most important and if not, the result can be the sexual dysfunction of the future.

The humor in the books was a total surprise: my forte has always been making people cry. I didn’t really think the metaphors would be as funny as they were, nor the women discovering the true meaning of intimacy in sex as delightful. That was a plus.

The entire writing of these books was a labor of love, done in twelve months. I don’t think I’d ever expand the trilogy or even write another futuristic, but as all writers have leaned, “Never say never.” Who knows what will evolve in my own personal future?


  1. Exciting, Kathryn! Thanks for taking us behind the scenes of your time travel trilogy.

  2. You're welcome. Hope your readers enjoy the story.