The question that is always asked—what inspired you to write Linked Through Time, and Lost Through Time?
I grew up with a large family. My Dad was one of eleven children, so I have endless tales of cousins and extended family. My Dad’s stories always stuck with me because he grew up with nothing. Absolutely nothing! He did not have indoor plumbing until high school- in Northern Minnesota! I admire him and wanted to keep his stories alive. A lot of what happens to Kate in “Linked” are true events from my dad’s childhood. Lost Through Time mentions a disaster that actually occurred in my home town in 1910. I guess I just really like to keep the stories of our ancestors from dying out. They were true, hard core Americans fighting just to make a living.
Your take on time travel is unique did you do any research to help you form the idea?
I love the idea of using something that had to do with the region. Of course, northern lights are not often seen as brilliantly as in Alaska or Canada, but they are amazing and kind of mysterious, so I thought they could be a believable reason!
What challenges have you overcome in having such a unique take on time travel?
As with any book, I had to keep going back and forth to remember my rules and events to make things happen. Since I change the rules in the second book, I had to really sketch out why and how Kate could travel differently than other characters.
You create a very realistic picture of farm life in the 1960’s—did you do research? If not, how did you create such a realistic picture without research?
I actually lived on the farm I am describing. For a few short months, I had to live with my grandparents in the very house my Dad grew up in. They were still doing the same chores and living the same kind of lifestyle - except with indoor plumbing of course! The chores were endless and I absolutely hate haying.
Who is your favorite character and why?
I love Kate. She reminds me of myself. I was the snotty city girl that was taken out of the city and moved to a small northern MN town when I was fifteen. I thought my life was over! I learned a lot about myself as a person and learned how to work outside. I appreciate my Dad more, and am so glad to have been raised closer to his family. I love Kate’s growth and life lessons about boys. There are good boyfriends out there and bad…definitely something we have to learn!
In book one you create sympathy for the character of Sarah, but in book two she’s quite evil. Was making a character that was originally likable into a bad character hard?
Yes. It was actually my husband’s idea to make a villain. He basically said that the story will go nowhere without a villain, so we decided Sarah had the most to be angry and vengeful for. Once I started, it was really fun to write the villain part because I never get to act that way. It was a peek into the dark side.
Kate matures a lot through book one, did you always plan this, or did she mature as you wrote the novel?
Kate was really a mirror of myself. I think I wanted to show that from day one - how she can go from a judgmental teenager focusing on her own needs, to learning about serving others. I think everyone makes this same transition at some point in their lives; it’s just a question of when.
In Linked Through Time keeping track of so many brothers and sisters was hard for Sarah, how did you do it as an author?
I literally took my Dad’s family and just changed the names! He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters, and I just kept picturing them in my mind.
How did you evolve the story of Linked Through Time into Lost Through Time?
I didn’t want Kate’s story to be over. I knew I wanted to write about Baudette’s historic fire, so once I decided to bring Sarah back into the picture it all fell into place. I love history and am trying to decide how to connect with the final chapter in Kate’s and Sarah’s life in book three.
We saw a very little bit of Travis’ son—will we see more of him?
T.J. will make an appearance in book three. I think we will see a bit more develop with him. I want Kate’s story to have something good in it for her. Though it is a little Jerry Springer, I think Kate deserves a good man and some closure in all the chaos she lives in.
When did you start writing?
I didn’t really start writing books until a few years ago, but I have always loved writing and reading. They go hand in hand, I think.
As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
Finding time to write. I have three kids and it is a constant tornado in the house. I try to take some time once a week to nail down some outline ideas.
You are with an independent publisher, Solstice Publishing, how did you find them?
I submitted my work based on a newsletter I received called Children’s Writer. They give contact names and emails and it just happened to work out that Nik Morton liked the manuscript.
What do you like best about being with a smaller press?
I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction on line. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.
What is the biggest challenge of being with a smaller press?
Marketing. There just isn’t enough time or money to get the word out. It has to be done over time, mostly on your own doing. But Solstice is trying hard to work with everyone and do what they can with their resources. I was just voted Solstice’s Author of the Year, so that was very exciting and proof that I do have fans out there that love the books.
For budding authors out there, how much say do you think you have in the final product, from cover to the insides, to the marketing?
Depending on the publisher, you can have a lot of say in your product. I wouldn’t let someone change my work completely, especially if it was something I didn’t believe in. Stay true to your style and someone will come along that likes it!
Author Bio, Links, and Contact
Jessica was recently voted Solstice Publishing’s 2012 Author of the Year!
Jessica Tornese’s debut novel, Linked Through Time, was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University – Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She spent several years coaching in the Junior Olympic volleyball program in Minnesota as well as the junior varsity team for Lake of the Woods High School in 2010.
Her favorite hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, playing volleyball, and extreme outdoor sports like caving, ziplining, and white water rafting. Jessica is also active in her church and has run several Vacation Bible School programs and Sunday school programs. She enjoys working with kids of all ages!
She hopes to finish her Linked trilogy soon, and continue writing. Recently, she self-published her first juvenile fiction book for kids online. (see M&M Twins)
Again, thanks for joining us Jessica. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Let's support Jessica by leaving her a comment about this great interview. She'd love to hear from you and so would I! :)
All my best,