What’s In A Time-Slip Novel?

The Old Belfry, Lexington, rang out the alarm that first Patriots’ Day.

Freedom’s Ring is a time-slip novel, which is a storytelling method that might be new to readers. When I tell potential readers that I write time-slip stories, many think time travel, but in the case of the stories I write, there is no time travel. It is not a fantasy or sci-fi thing—it is two stories—one contemporary, one historical—told alongside each other with an important means of connections throughout.

 

I’ve always been fascinated by Boston’s Revolutionary history and knew a story was waiting there for me. When the Boston Marathon bombing hit so close to home, it really shook me up. I realized around that time how much I was living in fear. So what does a writer do to work out her problems? She writes a book about them! I combined my love for a good historical story, grounded in another Boston tragedy almost 250 years earlier, and dove in with my characters, exploring the answer to my question, “How can I conquer fear?”

 

Along the way, I unearthed two characters, Annie and Liberty, who, though they live centuries apart, struggle with fear stemming from two different Boston tragedies. As I further explored the story, and even well into the writing, more and more similarities and connections came about. Here are two major ones in the story:

 

1) The first Boston Marathon was run on April 19, 1897, setting the precedent that the oldest continuously running marathon in America would be run on Patriots’ Day, a holiday commemorating the start of the American Revolution, recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. While Liberty’s story begins at the Boston Massacre, she is involved at the original Patriots’ Day at Lexington, 1775. Bound by this event, this place, and their struggle to cast out fear and find true freedom in the midst of tragic events that, though far apart in time, share the thread of threatening our country, Annie and Liberty’s stories become entwined.

 

2) I was in the midst of a particularly rough writing day, struggling to make the two stories connect when my husband came home and said, “Hey, did you see that they uncovered a time capsule in the State House buried by Sam Adams and Paul Revere?”

 

What?!

 

It was too perfect. This was real life. Sam Adams and Paul Revere REALLY had left a time capsule for the future to find and it was REALLY uncovered now, in 2014. I knew it had to be part of the story. So while I fictionalized the poem found in the capsule, the capsule itself was real, and put on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston early 2015.

 

If you’d like to learn more about the Boston State House Time Capsule, click here.

 

For me, there’s something special about writing a time slip story. A part of the journey is faith—trusting that the real and imagined will come together while I work to make it so. And when a reader tells me they are touched by the journey of the characters, that it echoed with their own experiences, I feel the story continues, the story grows, taking on a new dimension and living on in this period of time.

 

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