Five Favorite Things About Writing Time Travel Romance by Gwyn Cready – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Gwyn Cready whose newest book Every Time with a Highlander, the third book in the Sirens of the Scottish series releases tomorrow. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a print copy of the book (US only please)

Five Favorite Things about Writing Time Travel Romance
It’s an exciting time for time travel romances. Angela Quarles’ Must Love Kilts just won the RITA for Best Paranormal Romance, the first time travel to win in that category since my time travel, Seducing Mr. Darcy, won the RITA in 2009. I remember that one of the many reasons I was proud about winning that year was that the publishing world was LITERALLY AWASH in vampires and werewolves—I mean, you could barely get editors to look at a book that didn’t include bite marks or sparkling skin in some dark, gloom-filled world. So for my book, which was a laugh-out-loud love letter to Jane Austen, to win against seven or eight other dark, dystopian creature stories felt like a huge validation not only for time travel, but for pleasure, lightness, and fun. Which, in my opinion, is what romance should be about.

“What do you like about time travel romance?” is a question I get asked most frequently after, “What made you decide to write romance?” (Answer: “There’s something else to write?”) The answer to the former question is trickier. But I’m going to try:

1. Time travel is funny. It’s the classic “fish out of water” scenario, which offers endless opportunities for humor. I’m a funny person, and my heroine and hero always have a well-defined sense of humor. I couldn’t possibly be attracted to a man who didn’t have a sense of humor. Earnestness is yawn-inducing, in my opinion. I just finished judging every nominee in one of the RITA categories (I won’t say which one except that it wasn’t Paranormal), and I am extremely distressed to report I didn’t laugh once. Seriously? Not one laugh? Honey, if you’re not laughing while you’re falling in love, you’re not doing it the right way.

2. Time travel makes creating the clash between your hero and heroine easy. He wants to protect her, she wants her freedom. She wants to decide on her own if she’ll accept his proposal. He wants to get her father to weigh in. Or she wants to go to bed with him after their first kiss, and he—Well, let’s face it, he wants to go to bed with her, too. Some things never change.

3. Time travel means less research. If your heroine is the character from present day, and you’re in her head, you don’t need to know the name of the knife with the odd-looking blade your hero is carrying. It’s a knife!

4. Time travel makes dialogue more natural. One of your protagonist’s might be all “thees” and “thous,” but the other one is going to think like you and sound like you, and that’s a lot easier to write.

But the best thing about writing romance is this:

5. Time travel adds an instant and seemingly unsolvable layer of dramatic tension to the story. If you’re reading a romance, you know the hero and heroine are going to end up together, right? The world’s going to throw hurdles in front of them—she’s still in love with her dead husband, his family requires him to marry for money, she’s promised her dying sister she’ll take care of her sister’s husband after her sister’s gone—and you’ll be biting your nails as you try to figure out how the hero and heroine are going to solve the problems. But in time travel romances, even if they manage to overcome every other challenge, one challenge remains: How can the two be together if each belongs to a different time? That’s the most fun challenge to work out if you write time travel.

In my Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands trilogy, I chose to have the heroes be the ones who travel to the past. I liked the idea of taking men who were very successful in the business world of the twenty-first century and sticking them into a time and place where their skills (bond trading, advertising executive, etc.) had little value. Why? Because the best heroes can reinvent themselves in order to earn the love of the women who’ve captured their hearts. And that’s the best kind of romance, time travel or not.

8_1 cready book coverShe can work her magic on any man
In a quest to bring peace to her beloved Scottish borderlands, fortune-teller and spy Undine Douglas agrees to marry a savage English colonel. Desperate to delay the wedding long enough to undermine the army’s plans, Undine casts a spell to summon help and unexpectedly finds herself under the imperious gaze of the handsome and talented Michael Kent, twenty-first century British theater director.

But in this production, he commands the action
Though he abandoned acting years ago, Michael will play whatever part it takes to guard Undine’s safety—he’s used to managing London’s egocentric actors and high-handed patrons, after all. But not even Shakespeare could have foreseen the sparks that fly when the colonel’s plans force Undine and Michael into the roles of their lifetimes.

About the Author: Gwyn Cready is a writer of contemporary, Scottish, and time travel romance. She’s been called “the master of time travel romance” and is the winner of the RITA Award, the most prestigious award given in romance writing. She has been profiled in Real Simple and USA Today, among others. Before becoming a novelist, she spent 25 years in brand management. She has two grown children and lives with her husband on a hill overlooking the magical kingdom of Pittsburgh.

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  1. Ashley F says:

    ooh I like the twist there and sounds very interesting. Did you have a fave thing to either write or research while writing?

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