Janet B. Taylor knows the truth: time travel is in. Her new book Into the Dim follows sixteen-year-old Hope, who is trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and has only seventy-two hours to rescue her time-travelling mother and get back to their own time.
Taylor stopped by today to answer a few questions, including what exactly readers can expect from Hope Walton and what we should read while we anticipate the sequel.
What should readers know about Hope Walton?
Oh man, Hope is really unique in that she’s the polar opposite of so many of today’s (wonderful, strong, kickass) YA heroines. She’s got problems, Hope does. She’s timid and socially backward, after being isolated from other kids her entire life. She’s clumsy and entirely un-athletic. She’s plagued with crippling claustrophobia and close to being agoraphobic as well, when the book opens. Hope is as far from badass as is possible to get. But even with all that going against her, the most important thing to Hope is getting her mom back, so she forces herself to face those fears and uses the only ‘gift’ she possesses. Her incredible eidetic (photographic) memory.
Hope travels back in time to the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine to rescue her mother, but what sort of problems does she face along the way? Monsters? Evil men? Lack of modern electricity and showers?
A little bit of all that, actually. Except the monsters. OR ARE THERE?? Mwahahaaa.
Actually, Hope has studied the past all her life. So she’s more than aware of what she will face in the backwards world of the Middle Ages, where women were literal possessions of the men in their lives. Okay, so the smell might have taken her aback. And a few of the famed historical people she meets along the way turn out to be a lot less decent than history proclaimed them to be.
How does time travel work in Into the Dim? Magic? Science? A little of both?
Aren’t the best things in life always a bit science and a bit magic? The ‘Dim’ the vehicle by which the characters travel into the past is one part magic (actually the natural, powerful ley lines that intersect by the hundreds, deep inside a Scottish mountain) and two parts science (by way of a machine, created by Nikola Tesla, that reacts with the ley lines to carry the user into the past).
What sort of research did you do to drop us into the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine?
I’ve been a fan of Eleanor since I first saw ‘The Lion In Winter’ years and years ago. If you’ve never seen it, and you like Eleanor or even that era, TRUST ME…you HAVE to watch!!
I’ve studied this astounding woman forever, so when it came time to write about her and that time period, I was already ahead of the curve. The most intensive research, however, came during my travels to Europe and Great Britain. I visited so many of the places where Eleanor had lived. I even got to spend the night at Fontevrauld Abbey in the Loire Valley, where she, Henry II, and their son, Richard the Lionheart, are buried.
Anything you wanted to include that didn’t make it?
Hmm…There was a scene in Westminster Square, when Hope and the gang first arrive, where a trained bear is tormented, breaks free, and rampages through the market. I loved it, but I have to admit, it was a bit gruesome!
This is the first in a series! What else can we look forward to?
The ‘Viators’ will be travelling to a brand-new (old) era in Book II. I can’t tell you when or where, yet. But I will say that it glitters and it’s a bit…SHOCKING!
What else do you want readers to know about Into the Dim?
My hope is that the series will get teens (and post-teens) interested in history, by introducing them to real and fascinating historical characters. And that people will feel a connection to Hope. I want readers who believe they aren’t tough or brave to see that—like Hope—there’s a well of strength deep inside each of us. We only have to reach for it.
What books would you recommend to readers to whet their appetite while they wait for the sequel?
Well, first and foremost… if you haven’t read the queen of time travel, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series….then you have NOT lived, my friend.
Also, there are several great recent time travel books that are either out now, or coming soon.
- The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker
- Passenger by Alex Bracken
- Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
- The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Hapgood
- The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
- The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry
And, though this isn’t exactly time travel, I loveloveloved, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.