Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's All About the Book w/ Christine Potter and Time Runs Away With Her

It’s All About the Book…

 Please tell us about your current or upcoming release. 

Title: Time Runs Away With Her
Blurb: It’s not easy being Bean. Bean Donohue lives for her guitar, but her mom threw her out of the house during a snowstorm for singing. No way she’s going to get permission to go see The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East. Zak, her almost-boyfriend, will get drafted if he doesn’t get into art school. Pot makes Bean paranoid and her best friend can’t stop talking about sex. 1970’s not for wimps--but neither was 1885...or 1945. So why does Bean keep sliding backwards in time?

What is this book’s genre?  Is this the genre you usually write in?  Are there any genres you haven’t written that you’d like to try?

Time Runs Away With Her is paranormal romance, a time travel story.  It’s far from my usual genre: I’m a poet.  Dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.  I’m loving writing this genre.  Who doesn’t love love?  And I’ve been into the paranormal since I discovered my mom’s old Ouija board when I was in sixth grade.  Plus my favorite fantasy is being able to time travel.  Some day I might want to try a straightforward YA coming-of-age book, but the fantastic elements are such fun to write that I don’t know when I’ll get to it.  

What inspired you to write this book?

A book totally like and totally UNLIKE this book inspired it.  I was on Prince Edward Island, and I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time—as an adult. That got me got thinking about how much I’d loved another YA classic: A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. So, I wanted to write time travel, and I wanted to have the main time-setting in my book be the one of my own high school days: 1970.  And like Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne books, I wanted my book to really feel like where it was as well as when it was.  My main character has red hair as a shout-out to Anne. Except there’s a Grateful Dead concert.  And a peace demonstration.  And, like I said, time travel.

How did you pick its title?  Did it come first or did you have to write the story first?

I wrote the story first.  For a long time, I just referred to what I was writing as The Bean Book, after Bean Donohue, my main character.  But as I got deeper into the book and into the way Bean time travels, the title popped into mind.  Time really does “run away with her.”

How did you create your characters?  Did you use any real life people in their making?

Time Runs Away With Her is fiction.  Sure, I started with a grid of people who were important to me in high school: my mom, my best friend, my first real boyfriend.  That said, once I got the story rolling, the characters turned into who they are in the book.  Drafting fiction is kind of magical that way; characters show up and tell you who they want to be. So no one is really my old friend or my mom.  Or me. My real high school best friend was WAY tougher and smarter than the boy-crazy best friend in this book. My high school boyfriends were cool guys, but not noble Old Souls.  I used my best friend’s canopy bed and her white furniture, not who she was—at all! 

Who is your favorite character of this book and why?

Tough question.  I like ‘em all, even my terrible bad guy.  Zak Grant, the boyfriend, is close to my heart.  He’s an absurdist, and I like that.  Kind of a Bugs Bunny type. He’s also got a huge, loyal heart. And he’s very striking physically: long, white-blond hair, tall, army jacket and jeans.  I’m very fond of my radical priest, Father Tollman.  He’s a shout-out to my old inspirer Madeleine L’Engle, and a minor character, but very fun to write. I love Janis Joplin wanna-be Samantha, despite her recklessness and her shoplifting peanut butter cups. 

What is your favorite part of this book?  Can you share an excerpt from that part?

Hard to do that without spoilers!  It was fun writing the time travel sequences, but I want you to experience them as Bean does—as a total surprise. I managed to get my parents mad enough to throw me out in the snow once when I was in high school, and I used that to write the opening of the book.  I like rereading that:

Snowflakes spangled the long red hair spilling over Bean’s collar.  Only three blocks to Zak’s house, she told herself––but that was nuts.  She was also well on the way to Suzanne’s if she kept going. In one house she passed, a couple sat, facing away from their picture window, watching a woman in a sparkly red gown singing into a microphone on TV. Blue light from the screen flickered out into the night. Zak probably gives drawings to everyone, Bean thought.  Mine’s only a doodle.  Doesn’t mean anything.  There was almost no traffic, just the occasional car driving by slowly and almost silently in the snow.
        Then she was at the corner of Route 8E and Sickles Avenue.  Zak’s house was two doors down, on Sickles. Bean had seen the school bus drop him off there back when they were in junior high, before everyone was way too cool to ride it: The Loser Cruiser.  She looked down Sickles.  Snow falling under the streetlights made the night a little less dark. 
        What was it Mr. Kaminsky had said about frostbite in Health?  She couldn’t actually have frostbite, could she?  Bean slipped one hand out of its glove and felt the tip of her nose just to make sure.  How could you tell, really?  Maybe you could have creeping frostbite. Stealth frostbite.
       “Oh, HELL,” she said out loud to nobody, and turned left. This really was a special situation.  
       The windows of Zak’s house were mostly dark, but upstairs were some orange paisley curtains with lights on behind them. It looked like someone was maybe watching TV downstairs, too. 
       But there was no car in Zak’s driveway. Probably only Zak’s mom was out.  That would be a good thing, right?  Bean knew Zak was like her in one way: his parents were divorced.  What would he think if she knocked on his door?  Were girls even supposed to do that? She shuffled through the snow and stood for a moment in front of the house, stomping the stadium boots to warm her feet.
       A shadow passed behind the paisley curtains, and Bean’s stomach lurched.  Was that Zak?  She thought of how far it was to Suzanne’s house, of the walk back to her own house, of her mom closing the drapes.   Then, she stumbled up Zak’s slippery front steps, and rang the bell.

What was the hardest part of this book to write? Can you share an excerpt from that part?

Making my bad guy bad enough and conflicted enough to do what he finally does was very hard.  I’m a gentle soul.  I had to come from real anger and pain to write him--and remember hurtful things that had been done to me and use those feelings.  And I had to build his bullying confusion early on in the book, so that meant going back and rewriting and adding stuff like this: 

Bean leaned against the wall next to the library door as Zak kissed her. Classes were changing, and the hall seemed extra-noisy with her eyes closed: laughter, footsteps … locker doors.  She felt someone bump into Zak, hard.
             “Ear Wax,” said Don. She opened her eyes.  Don and Blair stood beside Zak.  “Eaaarrr Wax,” Don said again. 
              That is so totally moronic, thought Bean.  
             “Ya know...” Zak said.  Don snickered.
             “I got tickets for Friday,” said Blair, although it was hard to say whom he was talking to.  His eyes were always all over the place.  He was wearing the black and red paisley shirt Bean had helped Suzanne pick out for his last birthday. They’d gotten it in Constant Karma, and it was much hipper than the madras button-downs he usually wore.  “I can’t believe you’re going!” he said, his eyes finally settling on Bean.
              Oh. That was meant for me, she thought. He’s actually talking to me.  Blair hadn’t said more than a handful of sentences to Bean in all the time he’d been going out with Suzanne.
              “Well, I am,” she said.  “I’ve been into the Dead a lot lately.” She glanced up at Zak, again, and he cleared his throat loudly.
               “As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted,” Zak said. He turned away from Don and Blair, and pulled Bean up into another kiss, lifting her almost off her feet. “My house after school, when you and Suzanne get done playing tunes?” he said.
               “Like four-thirty, quarter of five,” she said. Zak grinned a huge, silly grin.  But then he grabbed Blair by the chin and leaned in about an inch from his nose. Bean sucked in her breath, and watched as Blair’s face went red.
                Blair is going to hit him, she thought.  He is totally going to...
               “Turn On Your Love Light!” Zak sang out. Then he turned back to Bean and Don.  “An R&B classic written by Bobby Blue Bland,” he said in a fake radio-announcer voice, “and performed by The Grateful Dead on their latest hit album, Live Dead.”
             “Jesus Christ, Grant.” Blair unclenched the hand he’d made into a fist.  Five seconds later, his eyes were as unreadable as ever. 
             “Au revoir, amigos!” Zak said, pecked Bean on the cheek, and ran for the stairs to the third floor and math.  Bean watched him disappear into the crowd of kids heading for class.   
              She started down the hall to Social Studies, and Blair fell in step beside her. Ugh, thought Bean, but there was nothing she could do about it.  Suzanne’s boyfriend, after all.  She wondered if he really would have punched Zak.  Was Blair the one who’d shoved her and Zak or was it Don? Don had peeled off in the direction of the cafeteria. First Lunch started at 10:54.  How anyone could face cafeteria Sloppy Joes at that hour was beyond Bean, but everyone knew Don would eat anything, anytime.
             “So, I never see you at track meets,” Blair was saying to her. 
              Oh! He’s actually talking to me again. “Yeah, I guess not,” said Bean.  This was weird. 
              “Seriously. I didn’t know you liked The Dead,” he said. 
              “I do.  I mean, I like them better now that Zak turned me on to their early stuff, but...”
              “You and Grant.” Blair made an odd, snorting noise in the back of his throat.

Did you have any special rhythm or quirks while writing this?

I wrote a bunch of it on a long-distance train coming back to New York from Hedgebrook, a writing retreat for women on an island off Washington State. I’d gotten stuck in Seattle after Hurricane Sandy.  And then I just pounded on it until it was done.  About a zillion drafts.  It was a first novel.    

Is this a stand-alone book or is it part of a series?  If so, we want to hear about it and what’s next in the series.  If not a series, what comes next to be released?

I’m beginning to work on a sequel: same characters, same main time setting: the year 1970.  Bean will travel in time again, and her understanding of why she gets to do it will change pretty dramatically.  There’s also a little FM radio station that’s central to the new book.  I did college radio and a wee bit of FM back then, and it’s been fun writing that! Bean, Zack, Samantha, and Suzanne are still telling me what’s going to happen.

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Time Runs Away with Her
Christine Potter
Time Travel Romantic Suspense, 74k

It’s not easy being Bean. Bean Donohue lives for her guitar, but her mom threw her out of the house during a snowstorm for singing. No way she’s going to get permission to go see The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East. 

Zak, her almost-boyfriend, will get drafted if he doesn’t get into art school, pot makes Bean paranoid, and her best friend can’t stop talking about sex. 1970’s not for wimps—but neither was 1885...or 1945. So why does Bean keep sliding backwards in time?

Buy Links:   Evernight Teen    Amazon

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Author Bio:
Christine Potter lives in a small town not far from the setting of Time Runs Away With Her, near the mighty Hudson River, in a very old (1740) house with two ghosts.  According to a local ghost investigator, the ghosts are harmless, “just very old spirits who don’t want to leave.” She doesn’t want them to.

Christine’s house contains two pipe organs (her husband is a choir director/organist), two spoiled tom cats, and too many books.  She’s also a poet, and the author of two collections of verse, Zero Degrees at First Light, and Sheltering in Place.  Christine taught English and Creative Writing for years in the Clarkstown Schools.  She DJ’s free form rock and roll weekly on Area24radio.com, and plays guitar, dulcimer, and tower chimes. 

Facebook book page for Time Runs Away: * https://www.facebook.com/beanstravels?fref=ts
Twitter: @chrispygal


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