Spring, 2020: High school senior Gracie Ingraham hasn’t time travelled in ages.
Welcome to one of the November 21st stops on the blog tour for The After Times by Christine Potter with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
I always have major respect for authors who write about stuff that is totally remote from their own experiences—and pull it off. That’s totally not me. I have to put in stuff that I’ve actually lived, ‘cause making up stuff comes way easier to me that way.
I set my YA series The Bean Books in the Hudson River Valley, my home. Lots of reasons besides my familiarity with it for that: it’s beautiful there, and just a little spooky, and that’s what I want for my plot. I want it to be cozy and creepy at the same time. I have a fictional town, Stormkill. It’s kind of like my hometown, Dobbs Ferry, NY—except it isn’t. It’s also Nyack (another place I’ve lived) and about four or five other river towns on both sides of the Hudson I could name. So I can have the big spooky cemetery from Sleepy Hollow and attach it to a church in Irvington…and make up a place for my main character from The After Times, Grace, to live that’s a bit like places that actually exist, and a bit not.
One of the frustrating things about being an author is that friends assume you are writing exactly what happened when they were watching. Or they think a certain character has got to be them. But you can pull a book out of your heart and flesh it out with your experiences, and it will still be the opposite of autobiography!
See, I’m a pants-er, someone who plots by the seat of her pants. I don’t write from a plan. The story carries me along as I tell it. On good days, it’s like watching a movie in my brain, and I don’t even feel myself typing. So Bean Donohue, the central character in the series, isn’t me, even though she and I both play guitar and dulcimer. And even though she had a kind-of impossible (but wonderful) mother. Also like me. First of all, I can’t travel in time. Bean’s best friend in 1970 has a bedroom that’s a dead ringer for my best friend’s from then—but Suzanne (the BFF character) has about one eighth the common sense my bestie did. Because plot! Because keeping things lively!
As an older character (the series takes Bean from her teens into her grandma years), she’s much more together than me! Bean is kind of the ultimate cool auntie—O, read and see. (I really like her!)
Of course, there are exceptions. When I was drafting The After Times, a friend of mine, a concert cellist, told me he’d like to be in one of my books. I was a little jammed up about how I’d finish the novel then; I’d started it at the very beginning of lockdown, in 2020 (when the book is set), and then finished it this year, after I got time to write again. My pandemic pivot had been using my radio broadcasting skills (I can mix music and use a soundboard) to keep my husband’s choir going safely when we couldn’t sing together in person. It ate my life for a while. And then I picked up the book again.
So anyway, there I was, talking to the cellist-friend whose persona I went ahead and used for Caleb in the book. He said he wanted to be a villain. I already had enough of them, but I needed a random agent of complete chaos. My pal concertizes on a very fine instrument, but because fiction means you can have whatever you want, I gave him a Stradivarius. Did you know there were Strad cellos as well as violins? I sort of did, but I had to check. Anyway, I popped Caleb in and voila, the plot got moving along again, like magic! Another character related to him showed up and—no spoilers—my conclusion fell into place. I love it when that happens.
Was it autobiography? Nope. My pal does not have a career in three different centuries. He can’t travel in time. (Alas, as my character Zoey would say.) But it was what we authors aim for: a true lie.
So if you’ve read The Bean Books, you do know me well. You know the music I love (The Grateful Dead and Robyn Hitchcock as well as Bach and Mendelssohn). You know I can DJ a radio show (I can). You know that I love history and just might enjoy it if I could take a trip backwards into the past. Just remember: I make stuff up!
About the Book
The After Times
The Bean Books Book Five
by Christine Potter
Published 19 August 2022
Genre: YA Time Travel Fantasy
Page Count: 215
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Say you’re Gracie Ingraham, nerdy but happy high school senior. But you’re also a time-traveler from 1962 who got a bit lost and has been living in the 2000’s since 2018. That would be plenty without it now being 2020. Covid has just shut down the world. Your pandemic pod? Your BFF Zoey—and your ex-boyfriend, Dylan.
Dylan still lives to spin weird vinyl LP’s with your sort-of, kind-of Dad, Amp. So your quarantine hobby is going to have to be Being Mature About Stuff.
But then your time traveling kicks into high gear again. And your long-lost brother and mom mix it up with a creepy, pyromaniacal force that is most likely demonic. How can love save the day when you can’t even go downtown without wearing a mask?
I pulled out a note and opened it up. The crease in it seemed sharp and fresh, as if it had just been folded that afternoon. It was on old-school yellow legal paper, torn from a pad, written in unfaded black ink—big letters.
Grace—I’m okay. I really am. Don’t believe everything you see. Mom’s okay, too. By the way, Jesse is a major asshole. Gotta go— Jack.
“Zoey! Claire!” I folded the note back up, put it in my pocket, and ran downstairs.
“Whoa! Those look great on you!” Claire pushed herself up from her chair. “Turn around! Let’s see how they fit in the back.”
Oh yeah, the jeans.
“Right. They fit really well.” I spun around. “But this was in them. From my brother!” I pulled out the note and waved it in the air.
I shouldn’t have been as shocked as I was when the paper in my hand burst into flames. I mean, we did have a theme going with that.
I ran to the sink and flung it in. I was about to blast it with water when it turned into a bright blue ball of light, silently exploded, and disappeared without a smudge of ash left behind. It didn’t even smell like smoke. Jack’s note was there—and then totally not there. It might as well have never existed. I leaned against the sink and felt dizzy.
Claire was beside me with a hand over her mouth.
“Holy crap, Grace.” Zoey looked down into the empty sink and then back at me.
“Yeah.” I don’t know why, but I turned on the water and washed my hands then. I’m not sure if I did the whole twenty second thing you’re supposed to.
About the Author
Christine Potter is a writer and poet who lives in a (for-real) haunted house in New York’s Hudson River Valley, not that far from Sleepy Hollow. She is the author of Evernight Teen’s Bean Books, a five book series that travels through time—and two generations of characters. Christine is has also been a teacher, a bell ringer in the towers of old churches, a DJ, and a singer of all kinds of music. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines like Rattle and Kestrel, featured on ABC Radio News, and sold in gum ball machines. She lives with her organist husband Ken and two indulged kitties.
Christine Potter will be awarding $50 Amazon/ or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
|Sept 12||Andi’s Young Adult Books||Sept 12||Long and Short Reviews|
|Sept 19||Fabulous and Brunette||Sept 26||Viviana MacKade|
|Oct 3||Read Your Writes Book Reviews||Oct 10||Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews|
|Oct 17||Gina Rae Mitchell||Oct 24||All the Ups and Downs|
|Oct 31||Kit ‘N Kabookle||Nov 7||Sandra’s Book Club|
|Nov 14||The Avid Reader||Nov 14||Books in the Hall|
|Nov 21||Christine Young||Nov 21||Westveil Publishing|
|Nov 28||Hope. Dreams. Life… Love|
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