Welcome back to Irina Shapiro, author of time travel novels--17 and counting!

We left off yesterday talking about Irina's book The Hands of Time, in which an American teacher, Valerie Crane, while in a store in England, sets the hands of an old clock to 4:05--or 16:05--and finds herself in that year, just months before the Gunpowder Plot.

How did you become interested in 1605 and the Gunpowder Plot?

I always found it fascinating that to this day Brits celebrate Bonfire night and burn the effigy of Guy Fawkes. Few events that happened throughout history still resonate into modern times in such a real and tangible way, so this was something I wanted to explore. Guy Fawkes is the British Benedict Arnold, so I thought it would be interesting to use his treachery, and that of his cohorts, as the backdrop for my book.

time travel fiction, gunpowder plot, irina shapiro, Laura Vosika

Tell us about The Wonderland Series. How do your ideas come to you?

The idea for the Wonderland Series came to me quite suddenly. I wanted to write another time travel adventure but needed it to be different from The Hands of Time. I wanted to set it in a different time period, but for some reason my mind kept returning to the seventeenth century.

This time, I focused on the Monmouth Rebellion, which is not as frequently explored in literature as some other historical events, but still very important, since it would have utterly changed the landscape of British politics had it succeeded.

What is the mode of time travel in The Wonderland Series?

My character, Neve Ashley, comes across a hidden passage in the crypt of a church in Surrey, England. The passage leads to the seventeenth century.

What leads her to the church crypt?

Neve is a location scout for a film production company and she’s searching for the perfect setting for a series about Charles II. Charles’s brother, James, secretly married a Catholic in a church crypt, so Neve is evaluating this crypt as a possible location.

Tell us about the research you do for your novels. What have you learned about these eras that has surprised you?

I have a very good memory, so I can recall all kinds of historical events and incorporate them into my narrative before I even start my research. I compose a first draft, and then once I know where my story is going and how it’s going to end, I go back and research every event that takes place in the book and the period itself. I focus on social behavior, politics, food, fashion, religion, and anything else that might be relevant.

Yes!  These are the things that bring these stories, these people to life!

I want to paint a canvas on which every inch is filled with detail and color. And, I want the reader to understand exactly why something happened and what the reasons behind it were.

Yes to this, too!  History seems dry to many people, but when we really dig in, it's the story of people, of emotions, of human behavior, of wishes and hopes--good or bad--that end up shaping what we come to call history.

People don’t always enjoy reading about political maneuvering, but it’s imperative for them to know what was happening in order to comprehend the actions of the characters in the right context.

Yes.  This makes all the difference to understanding.  Because my series also contains modern and medieval counterparts, I'm interested in your counterparts--what is their connection? Why are they counterparts?

I don’t really have any counterparts in The Hands of Time Series. My character goes back to the seventeenth century and has no way to return since the clock hasn’t been invented yet. She’s essentially trapped. Eventually, her sister figures out what happened and follows Valerie to the seventeenth century. The rest of the books are all about their adventures, and those of their children. There are many twists and turns, and the family becomes split between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which is something I want to rectify in the final book of the series.

In the Wonderland Series my counterparts are Hugo and Max Everly. Hugo Everly was lord of Everly Manor in the seventeenth century, and Max Everly is his modern-day descendant. Hugo was believed to have been a fervent supporter of the Duke of Monmouth, but no one knows what actually befell him since he vanished without a trace in 1685. Hugo and Max share a physical resemblance, and they come across one another several times in the series. They have a complicated relationship since their desire for Neve makes them natural enemies, but familial bonds and sense of duty prevent them from giving in to their hatred, at least some of the time.

Thank you, Irina, and if readers would like to read more, where can they find you?

Drop by my website and facebook!

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