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It Wouldn’t Let Me Go – Why I Wrote OUT OF TIME

My then-agent told me not to write this book...

Out of Time by Pauline Baird Jones

It sounds kind of crazy now, but the germ of the idea for Out of Time got planted while I was watching The Last of the Mohicans. I can’t quite connect the dots between the movie and the finished book. See my blog post about my mental real estate for possible explanations why. I do know I kind of liked the idea of a modern woman meeting a man from the past. But when I dreamed up Mel, she wouldn’t go to a past that didn’t have decent plumbing.

Since I wouldn’t either…we settled on World War II. But I get ahead of myself (is that even possible? I mean, I’m slow…but I’m slow…[shakes head]) Okay. I’m going to take a slightly different path this week and start with why I shouldn’t have written Out of Time.

•    My then-agent told me not to. That I needed to focus on one genre.
•    I’d never written a book set in the past. One requiring historical research. Historical accuracy.
•    It was yet another genre change. Traditional wisdom said, “Don’t do it.”
•    At the time, I wasn’t sure I had the experience and writing skill to craft the story I felt it could be.

So I put it aside. Several times. But Mel wouldn’t let me give up on her or her story. She kept nagging and nagging. So I’d do some research, do some planning and plotting. When you consider that The Last of the Mohicans released in 1992 and Out of Time released in 2005—yeah, it was a long and torturous path from germ of idea to finished book.

So, my short list of why I finally wrote Out of Time:

•    My agent and I parted ways.
•    Mel made me do it. So did Jack.
•    I realized I’d kind of been writing action adventure for several books.
•    I wanted to.

At the end of my long, tortured path is a book that I’m very proud to have written, and not just because it was the book that finally earned me an Eppie (now called the Epic Book Award). I’m proud of this book because it honors the men and women who fought for our freedom in World War II. It gave me a chance to fictionally rub shoulders with the Greatest Generation. And it gave me a chance to email with the people who fought and sacrificed in WWII while researching this book. I will freely admit there were times when I had to take some fictional liberties with history, but I feel that the story is true to the spirit and people of that time and place.

I’m so very glad I pressed forward and finished the journey that was Out of Time. Also thrilled that it is also available in audio! Have you completed your own torturous journey? Read or written a book that has/had special meaning for you? All comments are appreciated.

Perilously yours,