Inspired by common threads of the human experience which unite us to one another, as well as the passions of her own heart, Amalie Jahn enjoys writing young adult fiction as a way to share her vision of the world with others. She lives in the United States with her husband, two children, and three extremely well-fed cats. She is also glad time travel does not yet exist.
What is the most difficult part with regard to writing about time travel?
I began writing the book with only a skeleton idea of how the time travel portion of the story was going to work out. About a third of the way through the original manuscript, I realized that how I envisioned the time travel working would be impossible for Brooke to do in real life. I had planned on her family and everyone around her remembering what had happened to her before her first trip, but as I continued writing, I determined that it would be impossible for them to remember if her timeline was reset to account for the changes she was making. It would have to be reset over the origin of the trip, thereby erasing the memories of everyone but the traveler, in this case, Brooke.
Another issue I encountered with the time travel was whether or not the travelers were gone in the present for the same amount of time they were spending in the past. For example, during her first trip, Brooke traveled into the past for six months. In the original manuscript, Brooke returned to the present having missed six months of her own life because of the trip. Knowing that Brooke would be traveling several times throughout the course of the novel, I knew that this was going to be an impossibility, not only because it would have taken years of her life away, but also because than every traveler would end up with large spans of time within their lives that they would not be present for. This would be a huge problem for many travelers, so it was something I needed to rectify. I finally decided that in the present day, no time would be lost for the traveler. You leave and return in the same day, effectively missing nothing of your present life.
Both of these issues, along with several others, required a significant amount of editing and revisions as I wrote. There were many days (and nights) that I was unable to write any of the storyline because I was bogged down in the intricacies of the time travel. Strangely, most of my inspiration was given to me in the middle of the night and I was forced awake by bursts of inspiration regarding the time travel that needed my immediate attention. I was never so glad for my overactive subconscious!
In the end, I believe that I was able to work out many of the details regarding the time travel that exists in Brooke and Branson’s world. Having grappled for so many months with the difficulties that it involves, I firmly believe that I will never experience time travel in my own life. I believe it may very well be an impossibility in our world. But if it isn’t, just in case, I’m already making my list of what things I would like to do with my trip.
What was your writing process like for The Clay Lion?
When I began writing I had an outline of the plot but didn’t know how I was going to end the story. It was as if I was going on vacation, map in hand, knowing only where I was starting out and a few places to stop off along the way. What I didn’t know, however, was where the ultimate destination was going to be. After the first few chapters I thought I knew where I was headed, but the more I got to know Brooke, the more she began taking over the direction of the story. Places I wanted to go were not necessarily the places Brooke wanted to take me, so instead of fighting her, I surrendered to her. At one point in the story, I was writing at the kitchen counter and my husband was baking brownies. I started crying and he asked me what in the world had set me off. I told him I was upset because I didn’t know that what I had just written was going to happen, which of course made me sound as though I’d officially gone off the deep end. “If you’re the one writing the book, how do you not know what’s about to happen?” he asked. “I didn’t do it,” I replied. “Brooke did.” And that’s how it was for the remainder of the manuscript. Brooke was in control. I just wrote what she told me.
on Jan. 26, 2014
There’s something about British humor that always tickles me so I was hoping NGLAND XPX would not disappoint. Not only was I not disappointed, I was in fact delighted with the ten short stories within. Each story, in its own way, spoke volumes about the author’s view of our current status as a society. With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, he delivers page after page of honest (I dare say to a fault) insights about the state of our “civilization.” However, Hutson’s truth is not told spitefully. Not at all. Because married within the lines of satire are glimpses of hope and possibility, often in the form of an animal or mechanical device. This humanity, which we humans are often lacking, can still be found in our world (and the future) if we look hard enough. This is not a book that you will be able to read while multitasking. Hutson’s writing style requires your full and undivided attention, but I promise your attention will be rewarded. Highly recommend to those looking to give their brains (as well as their hearts and their funny bones) a workout. And, as for the title, I do believe, Mr. Hutson, that you have done your duty.