05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Reality... What a Concept

by Angeline Fortin, Time Travel Romance Author

Reality… What a concept.

Robin Williams uttered those profound words as a part of one of his most memorable stand-up comedy routines. As I was just a preteen when it first came out, most of it was largely beyond my understanding but that quote has remained with me throughout the years since.


The notion really doesn’t seem to have much relevance in the genre of Romantic Fiction, does it? No matter what the sub-genre, be it contemporary, historical or paranormal, there is always an element of magic in a romance novel if only because the Hero is always a magnificent lover and true love always ensues. Not an exceedingly credible idea, is it? But we take it, accept it because it embodies the escape we are looking for and because the author’s finely woven tale manages to suspend our sense of reality and make their world as genuine as our own.

Time Travel Romance has a greater challenge in successfully suspending reality than many subgenres, I think. The concept of time travel itself is pure fiction. Even when logically presented and grounded in scientific probability, it is still only theory and therefore, as much fantasy as the witches, vampires and ghosts that are commonplace beings in paranormal romance.

That being said, I don’t believe Time Travel Romances are destined to fail in successfully engaging the reader’s imagination if there is an element of truth included in the tale. But too often they do fail when things seem too easy.

There is nothing that I find more improbable in Time Travel Romance than those tales where the time-traveler accepts the phenomenon without question. A Heroine who discovers that she traveled through time only to shrug prosaically and essentially say, “Yes, of course, I did. Why not?”

Even more incredible and unlikely, is the Heroine who inexplicably possesses extraordinary skills that help her fit seamlessly into her new environment. I’m not speaking of skillsets that are vital to the story line but those that provide her the ability to drop in at some random point in history without a stumble or two along the way.

More than likely, it wouldn’t happen that way, and as a writer, I believe it shouldn’t.

Where is the thrill for the reader if the Heroine travels back to the ancient city of Atlantis and just happens to be an expert at under-water basket weaving?

To me, the thrill would be found in a Heroine’s inability to swim.

I believe it is the conflict found in not knowing everything or sometimes anything that drives time travel plausibility. It shouldn’t be so much about the Heroine fitting in as it is about her standing out.

She should be confused, angry, or even afraid of the situation. Isn’t it more far-fetched that she wouldn’t be? Imagine yourself in such a situation. How do you think you would react? Nonchalantly? Completely unnerved?

Though I’ve penned four Time Travel Romances so far, I’ve never given this notion the consideration I think it deserves and will address it more fully in my upcoming novel, TAKEN.

In TAKEN, my Heroine denies, panics and rallies against her peculiar, bizarre circumstances. She defies her dazzling, rugged Scottish Laird, confounds him with her foreign words and outlandish ways.

She thoroughly leads him on a merry, passionate chase. There are moments of joy, friendship and adventure while she stumbles her way through the past, but she refuses to blindly accept the hand Fate has dealt her. Despite her efforts, she never truly fits in well enough for the Hero to divest himself all doubt… even while he divests himself of his clothes.

If the idea intrigues you as it does me, I hope you’ll take a chance on TAKEN, when it is released later this fall.


Judith Ashley said...

Angeline, thank you for a thoughtful post on Time Travel Romance. I've just finished reading Lynn Kurland's "Roses at Midnight" and really enjoyed it - and as I seldom read time travel that is saying something.

After reading your post, I think I know why I seldom read TT...even if I went back in time to one of those historical places I've fantasized about, I would stick out like - well, I'd not blend into the background.

I like running water and flush toilets too much to go very far back, that's for sure! I think your books are one's I'd enjoy because of the reality you instill into the situation.

So glad you could join us today and share your thoughts!

Diana McCollum said...

I totally agree with you on Time Travel books where the hero/heroine fits in too well and is too accepting of the situation. I will put your Time Travel, "Taken", on my list to buy when it comes out. Great post.

Christy Carlyle said...

Thanks so much for being at RTG today! I am definitely adding Taken to my TBR list. I have always loved time travel romance, and I am so excited that it's getting an injection of popularity from the television adaptation of Outlander.

I also agree about the crux of the issue being the "fish out of water" feel of being transported, and it doesn't sit well when that's too easily resolved.

Can't wait to read Taken!

Angeline Fortin said...

Thanks so much for having me! I've enjoyed the comments (thought I was leaving some back but they aren't showing!) and hope you will enjoy TAKEN!