Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

At the beginning of June, I featured K J Waters on here when she was celebrating the launch of her debut novel. If you missed the exclusive excerpt on launch day, interview, and guest post, just click on them to play catch-up.

Well, now I’ve had time to actually read the novel and want to share my thoughts with you. So here’s they are:

Book Review – Stealing Time by K J Waters

KJWaters-Front Cover for blog

I was intrigued by the blurb on this book, especially as it mentioned Hurricane Charley which I experienced in 2004, so although it’s not the sort of book I would normally read, I was interested enough to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

The concept of the plot was very original and I liked the way Waters constructed the method for the time travel to take place. She weaved the plot well and it certainly kept me turning the pages. KJ had certainly done her research about London and the time period. Factually it was very accurate, especially when it came to how women were treated more as chattels to be sold into a loveless marriage to advance the standing or financial position of the family. She’d also done her homework on what happened to women who were accused of witchcraft. The detail she included gave the reader an accurate picture, but I’m glad to say there wasn’t an info dump. The author intertwined it with the plot so it read as a natural progression within the story.

The detail included in the hurricane scenes was scarily realistic. Trees crashing through roofs, bringing down power lines, loss of power and water – these were all things I remembered only too well!

The main character, Ronnie, was well crafted. She had depth, was realistic, and relatable. When Ronnie became Regina, after the time travel incident, the confusion and desperation she felt was palpable – something which isn’t easy to achieve without over-emphasising. However, the author accomplished it with ease. I enjoyed the blossoming love between Ronnie/Regina and Matthias and I hope they meet again in the future. Matthias was the perfect gentleman, perhaps a little too perfect, but I liked him just the same. Jack, Regina’s brother, on the other hand, was a monster and I had a hard time believing parts of his story. I couldn’t understand how a man could treat his sister in such a horrendous way and then denounce her as a witch and all because she didn’t encourage the suitor of an arranged marriage. It seemed to me that his behaviour was way too extreme for the circumstances, which made his character less realistic.

The supporting cast were well thought out and, for the most part, likeable. Jeffery wasn’t a character I warmed to, probably because he used Ronnie for his own ends and was cheating on her too. Those directly involved in the Hurricane Charley part of the story showed myriad emotions and reacted as most people would under the same circumstances; this was very well done. I particularly liked the two main characters in this section.

The writing flowed nicely, the story lines were easy to follow, and the descriptions of places and events were extremely well written, without going over-the-top.

My only real criticism was that the proof reader didn’t do the greatest of jobs. However, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment too much. Overall, this was a page turner for me; I found myself invested in the story and characters to the extent that I really want to get my hands on book two. For a debut novel, I would have to say this is one of the best I’ve read in a while and would definitely recommend it.

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Guest Post: Inspirational Characters by K J Waters

Inspiration is something that fascinates me. I love how my mind can imagine different places, characters, and creatures totally unbidden and then give me the words to create stories. I often wonder where other authors get their inspiration from and how they craft their characters.

I asked K J Waters, author of the debut novel, Stealing Time, and who I’ve been featuring on here over the last week, what her inspiration is and whether she’d be interested in writing a post on it for me. I won’t say she ripped my arm off, but she was very excited about it. So without further rambling from me, here’s K J’s post on inspiration:

Inspirational Characters

Thank you so much Carlie for letting me pen a guest post for your blog. Carlie asked me to talk about what inspires me to write and how I develop my characters. It’s funny because when I think of my characters I get all warm and fuzzy. They are part of me of course, but so much more than that, they’ve become my dear friends as well.

Let me start with what inspires me to write. I was born with a very creative brain and have used those skills in various ways to bring me joy. As a kid I’d play for hours with my brother and our stuffed animals. He is my Irish twin, only 11 months older than me (well yes, I was a mistake). In high school and college I set aside my animals to pursue art classes and filled my creative brain with water colors, pen and ink, and acrylics. I didn’t ever consider being an author until I decided to quit my job to stay home with my children well after college.

Without the constant demands of my job, I had time to be very creative with the kids, with constant art projects, day trips to fun museums and loads of imaginary play. But at a certain point, my mind started craving more creativity, more of a challenge than finger paints and zoos. The idea for a novel began brewing after the hurricanes hit Florida in August of 2004 and the following summer we were on a road trip driving up the coast from Florida to Maine.

The idea sparked a wild adventure that has come to fruition with my first novel, just released this past December, called Stealing Time. I’m so thrilled to be back writing again after the months of editing and promoting, and I’m working on book two in the Stealing Time trilogy. My inspiration now comes from wanting to spend time with my beloved characters. I’m falling in love with Mike Walsh, and can’t wait to get back to some of the interesting characters that are in this second book. The time travel elements are so much fun to explore and I’ve delved into it a lot more than I had time for in the first book.

Characters

Carlie asked me how I develop my characters. Ronnie is the main character in Stealing Time and I’d have to say she is about 80% me, with a dash of … hmmmm, not really sure, but there has to be someone else in there. It was easy to make her love the water, because it is something I’m passionate about, and I can say she reacts the way I would in many of her situations, at least as far as I can imagine being back in time and in trouble.

Steph, the second main character in my trilogy, is another story. She is based on one of my best friends who moved away from me years ago. It is my way of spending time with her now that she is gone. I don’t think she is exactly like my friend, because we’ve grown apart somewhat, but it is how I think of her and how she would act in similar situations.

When I developed Jeffrey, Ronnie’s boyfriend, I had to go with what I knew about men. He is a mixture of the good and bad of a few people in my life. It really surprised me that I would enjoy writing from the male perspective so much. Some of my best friends are men, and I love seeing the world through their eyes. Writing from Jeffrey’s perspective has given me a new window into their minds, and from what male readers have told me they really identify with how I’ve written them. Which is a huge relief!

In book two I began writing Mike Walsh, Ronnie’s boss, as the good parts of the same person that Jeffrey is based on but had to diverge enough to make the two characters very different. They have completely different motivations and views in their roles in my book. The other way are very different is that Jeffrey pretty much listens to me and does as he’s told. Mike has his own ideas. He’s hijacked my story on numerous occasions and it has shocked me as some of the twists and turns that have spiced up the story. I gotta say, he’s really grown on me and if I could make him into a real person my husband would be in big trouble. I guess that’s a writer for you, always making up stuff and often glad it’s not real.

As for Mathias in the first book, an Austrian man from the 18 century, I pretty much had to go on a big fat guess on how he would act. You don’t really run into many men from that time period these days. I have a friend who read the book and reported, much to my surprise, that he had a really good friend from Germany who was so much like Mathias in how he acted and thought. Maybe, just maybe, I tapped into some special time travel skill to mind meld with these characters in a different realm. Hey, I’m a writer I can think outside of the box on anything if I want.

The side characters are a mish mash of people I run into in my real life – a waitress, a PTA mom, an old boss. On several occasions I’ve created a character not really knowing him well, but as he develops into a full blown personality I meet someone who is ridiculously like that person I crafted. It has definitely freaked me out. This happened with Nick in the first book.  

I’m really curious to learn how other authors create their characters and see if my approach is standard operating procedure, or if, as I often do, I’ve created something completely different.

Thank you again Carlie for allowing me to spew on and on about my inspirations and character development. I’d love to talk to you about how you created your well-loved characters in the Heart Search series.

I’d be only too happy to talk about my characters with you, K J!.

It was a real pleasure for me to feature K J on my blog during this last week and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Don’t forget, if you’d like a copy of Stealing Time, click here for all the buy links from the Book Launch post!

KJWaters-Front Cover for blogkj pic

Author Interview: K J Waters

A couple of days ago, I revealed the book launch and an exclusive excerpt of Stealing Time by K J Waters. Click here if you missed it. I was so excited and intrigued by this book that I asked the author if she’d be kind enough to grant me an interview. She very kindly agreed so here it is:

kj pic

Welcome KJ. It’s great to have you here. Are you ready for a grilling?

Thank you so much Carlie, great to be here. Yes, let’s put the shrimp on the barbie! Wait… you meant the other kind of grilling. Yes, hit me with it!

CC: Your book Stealing Time deals with time travel. How long have you been interested in this subject and what was it that attracted you to it?

KJ: When I was a kid my step mother would read to us on long walks in the woods. We would sit down on a bed of leaves surrounded by the sounds of nature, the smell of pine, and the view of a canopy of tall trees and lose ourselves in the book. It set the tone for our mystical and beautiful adventures with C.S. Lewis, J. R. Tolkien, Richard Adams and more. One of books she read to us was A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle and it really sparked my imagination, and believe it or not starts with the famous Snoopy line, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

I soon discovered that the possibilities were endless with time travel. When I began writing, it was even more magical because you can go anywhere and change anything you want to suit your needs and tell an exciting story.

CC: I agree, the possibilities are endless with time travel – there are so many places you can take your characters to! I was particularly interested that you featured Hurricane Charley in the book. I was actually in Florida when it hit and lived through it myself. Did you experience this first hand? If so, how were you affected by it?

KJ: We have that in common, Carlie. I hope nothing too dastardly happened to you. Hurricane Charley was my welcome to Florida. I moved there and just like in Stealing Time, three days later Charley paid us a visit. Rude, don’t you think?

I’ve grown up on the East Coast and it seems where ever I’ve lived the hurricanes chose that location to wallop us. The prior year I was in Virginia Beach where Hurricane Isabelle devastated North Carolina and Southern Virginia coastline. I have been in over 15 hurricanes and tropical storms in my life, so it was an easy subject matter to convey the terror and helplessness you feel as the storm is raging around you, dropping trees and tornados as Mother Nature throws her tantrum.

I was lucky with Hurricane Charley, and for that matter, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne that same summer in Florida also hit, but didn’t sustain any real damage, mostly just a lot of clean up. The last hour of the last hurricane, Jeanne to be exact, a branch from a Loblolly pine dropped and pierced our Florida room roof. Other than that was just a messy clean up and the dreaded no power or cable service for a week or more after each storm. It was a hot summer anyway, but throw in no power and zero entertainment… well you were there so you know.

CC: I was actually quite lucky. I didn’t lose power or water. It sounds like you had a rough time there. Moving on though, one of your characters ends up in London – have you ever been to the UK or has all your information come from research?

KJ: I visited London with my best friend after I finished grad school. I have always been fascinated with English history and how people lived back before modern conveniences. The details and social issues I had to research, but I felt very natural writing in that place and time.

I’m definitely an Anglophile and loved visiting the castles and other historical buildings when I was there. We also visited Ireland and Scotland on that visit and I was equally enamoured with the land, the history, and the people.

CC: If you come back to the UK, we’ll have to meet up! Anyway, I’ve given away a few minor details about Stealing Time, but can you tell us more about it?

KJ: Stealing Time starts with Ronnie Andrews and her best friend Stephanie McKay watching news coverage about Hurricane Charley. Ronnie gets a call from her boyfriend to spend the night at his weather lab, he is monitoring the storm, and it’s her birthday. He shares a very special gift with her – a watch she found on her trip to London with Stephanie the month prior. The watch is a very important part of the story.

During the peak of the storm, Ronnie is thrown back in time to 1752 London, where she struggles to figure out what brought her there and how to return. She is a modern woman and the people around her start to notice differences in her speech and behaviour and accuse her of being a witch. Ronnie struggles to find her way out of the life and death struggle to return to Florida and save her neck from the witch trials that ensue.

Meanwhile, Steph heads back home and invites her hot friend Nick over so she is not alone when the hurricane hits. She and Nick are caught out in the middle of the storm a few times and quickly find everything is falling apart around them, and are faced with losing everything.

CC: I noticed it has Volume 1 on the cover. How many books do you plan to write in this series?

KJ: I started Stealing Time as one book, but as I got so detailed in the telling and found so many cool twists and turns I decided to turn it into a trilogy. I neatly ended Book 1 after the storm and will pick up Book 2 immediately after. The third book will be the final in this trilogy. If you ask my son, who is my helper on the ideas of the books, he has mapped out 3 more trilogies after this. I’ve no idea if I’ll want to move on to something different after the first three books or keep it up. We shall see.

CC: I’m so glad there’s another book in the works. Can you give us a few hints about what’s coming in the next book?

KJ: Book Two has been so much fun to write. I have Hurricane Francis approaching and if you were there, Carlie, you remember it was the size of Texas and a category 5 as it approached Florida.  In Book Two, many of the same characters, and several new and quite colourful ones emerge as heroes and villains. To give you a quick 30 second snapshot of book two I’ll provide a list of highlights.

Stealing more time, seduction, rape, deceit, mud slides, Hurricane seeding and steering, drowning, suicides, Puerto Rico, Wild West shootouts, Hurricane Jeanne, the black plague, London 1666, and past life theories coupled with string theory, fifth dimension and other religious, cultural and belief systems to explain the time travel method I’ve invented.

CC: That sounds fantastic and maybe a little darker than book one. Changing the subject, I understand you also design book covers. How long have you been doing this and how did it come about?

KJ: Great question. I designed the cover to Stealing Time with a professional photographer friend of mine, Jody Smyers. A year later, I had several author friends approach me wanting to know who did my cover and if they would help them with theirs. I’m an indie author and I know the importance of having professional cover that captures the mood of your book – as you know everyone does judge your book by the cover. I’ve seen too many indie authors either pay way too much for a good cover or struggle to create their own without the marketing and editing knowledge on how to pull it off.

I talked to Jody and asked if he’d be interested in going into the business of book cover design and he was game. We started in January 2014 and you can see some of our covers here:

book cover from calendar graphic

We offer the usual book cover services of design and we can use your photo, one you purchase or as a niche market that most don’t offer, we can create a custom photo shoot to capture the cover you want. You can see a mixture of these methods on the book covers we’ve done.

CC: What do you do when you’re not writing?

KJ: Well I’m a water lover so if it’s warm out I’m neck deep in some body of water, whether it’s my pool or preferably I’m on a trip somewhere awesome. This summer will be Cape Cod.

I spend a lot of time with my gorgeous children and help them with school, or develop fun learning things for us to do during summer with my Camp Waters, where I invite their friends over for learning, lunch, and swimming.

When it’s not warm out, I write about my love of water on my blog, Blondie in the Water (kjwatersauthor.blogspot.com) and you can see some of my water adventures here.

I love the gym and you can find me there 4 days a week, if I’m not too busy.

CC: What sort of books do you enjoy reading? Do you have an all-time favourite?

KJ: I like a lot of different genres, from Michael Criton’s science fiction to Dan Brown, but my all-time favourite is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. She is the main reason I decided to write a book. Her stories are so rich in history, character development, humour and time travel, that it inspired me to create a story of my own with more modern tilt.

CC: Let’s have a few fun ones to finish off with.

Gold or Silver?

KJ: Gold

CC: Cats or dogs?

KJ: Dogs, although I really like cats, too.

CC: Sandals or bare feet?

KJ: Bare feet, unless it’s cold. Then boots!

CC: Summer or winter?

KJ: Summer a million times over!

CC: Witches or vampires?

KJ: Witches.

CC: Hot or cold?

KJ: Hot! Hate being cold!

CC: Sweet or savoury?

KJ: I have a massive sweet tooth!

CC: And finally, pizza or chilli?

KJ: Pizza!

CC: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come and talk to me today. I wish you every success with Stealing Time!

KJ: It has been a pleasure Carlie! Thank you so much for having me on your blog!!

CC: You’re very welcome.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! KJ has kindly agreed to write a guest post on what inspires her so I’ll be posting that in a couple of days time. It’s another chance to learn more about her so make sure you keep checking the blog for the next post.

If you’re interested in buying Stealing Time, the buy links are on the launch post (see top of this page for the link to the post)

 

Book Launch: Stealing Time by KJ Waters

When I first read the blurb of this book it immediately piqued my interest. It mentions Hurricane Charlie (spelt Charley on the blurb) which I lived through during a family holiday in Florida. I even had a t-shirt made saying “I survived Hurricane Charlie”. Yeah, I know, a bit lame of me, but at the time I really did feel like a survivor and it was a bit of fun.

Anyway, enough of my story. It wasn’t only the Hurricane Charley reference that drew me to it, but the whole concept of the story. You’ll see for yourself in a minute! First of all, let’s take a look at the fantastic cover.

KJWaters-Front Cover for blog

This cover is so cool – I love it! And now here’s the all important blurb:

As Hurricane Charley churns a path of destruction towards Orlando, Ronnie Andrews and her best friend, Stephanie McKay, scramble to prepare for the storm. Ronnie seeks shelter at her boyfriend’s weather lab while Steph heads back to her house. 

During the peak of the storm Ronnie is hurtled back in time to eighteenth-century London where she is caught in a web of superstition, deception, and lies in a life and death struggle to return to her own time. 

Steph is thrust into the middle of the hurricane, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare as she is faced with losing everything.

Can you see now why I found the concept intriguing? And the good news – this is book one of a trilogy, so if you fall in love with the characters and story, you know there are two more on the way.

Guess who’s been lucky enough to score an exclusive excerpt just for you? Yep – me! And here it is:

A strange feeling bubbled in her stomach. Ronnie got up and slipped on Jeffrey’s T-shirt and found her underwear in a pile of clothes near the desk. The feeling worsened. Was she going to be sick? Jeffrey was busy at his computer and she quietly made her way to the small bathroom and closed the door behind her. Was it something she had eaten?

The cold water felt good as she splashed it on her face. Ronnie looked at her reflection in the mirror. No outward signs of being ill. Too much champagne? She took a deep breath in an attempt to quell the rising nausea. The room spun and she sat down on the toilet, head in her hands. Sweat broke out on her face and she knelt down to lift the toilet seat. “Oh crap!”

A sudden change in air pressure overwhelmed her, making her drop on all fours. Her ears popped and she swallowed trying to clear them. Was the storm intensifying?

An agonizing bright light seared into her eyes and she squeezed them shut in an attempt to block it out, without success.

The building must have been struck by lightning! Struck by lightning. Struck by lightning. She could hear her father’s voice reading The Hobbit to her as a young girl. A pang of sadness added to the confusion.

A low vibration shook the bathroom tiles. A dark mist sucked away all light. Ronnie was flattened to the floor by some unseen force and couldn’t fight it. Strange smells assaulted her—horse manure, almonds, and wet soil. She pressed the side of her face against the cool cement floor in an attempt to stop the dizzy spin of the room.

What the hell was happening? A chill ran up her spine. Nothing about this was right. Fear choked out any rational thoughts. She tried to call out to Jeffrey but her body was paralyzed, her voice disconnected. It was a living breathing nightmare.

A gut-wrenching tearing ripped apart her soul. She tried to scream. Ronnie floated up to the ceiling to see a lifeless shape on the bathroom floor below, surprised to see anything in the dark. Holy crap, that was her own long blonde hair spilled across the concrete floor. She reached out to touch her arm but was jerked a million miles an hour upwards into the darkness.

Shadows engulfed her. A sensation of motion disturbed her equilibrium. She was hurtling up into the ebony sky and away from her body splayed in Jeffrey’s lab. Her arms reached for something to hold onto, to make it stop, but came up empty.

Was she dying? There was supposed to be a calming bright light to head towards. Instead there was only emptiness, a buzzing that lulled her to an empty dark place similar to the twilight just before falling asleep—alert, yet fuzzy and drifting into oblivion. It sped up, she could feel the wind on her face, her hair whipped behind her, but now she was falling like a rocket returning to Earth, pulling her down, stretching her towards destruction. 

So is this when Steph goes back in time to 18th century London? I’m not saying – you’ll have to buy the book to find out!

The book launches today and is available here:

Paperback:

Createspace: http://createspace.com/5265254

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Stealing-Time-Book-K-Waters-ebook/dp/B00PJMWD6S/

Ebook:

Amazon: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00PJMWD6S

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stealing-time-kj-waters/1121455699?ean=2940151669672

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id977501005

inktera and Page Foundry:
http://www.inktera.com/store/title/6ba521d5-da57-4598-b71b-d8d75925408c

kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/stealing-time-12

scrbid: https://www.scribd.com/book/258981760/Stealing-Time

Let’s find out a little more about the author.

kj pic

I never really wanted to be a writer. I’ve always had a great imagination, but writing was not easy. It wasn’t until I completed my master’s degree where I was forced to write paper after paper and I realized I actually enjoyed it. All of my professional jobs have been writing in some form, either brochures, contracts, newsletters, marketing materials or proposals. So why not do something I created for fun?

 

In the squillion hours spent driving from Florida to Maine for a family vacation I realized I had a great idea for a novel. That is where I began my journey as an author. I just finished book 1 in December 2014. Book 2 and 3 are already in the works and I hope to have them out in the next year, if the kids will let me get something done!

 

KJ is the CEO of Blondie’s Custom Book Covers, a company specializing in independent author services.  She also has a blog called Blondie in the Water where she has author interviews, water adventures, and other information about her books.

 

During this next week, you’ll get to know even more about KJ as I’m going to be interviewing her and she’s writing a blog post about what inspires her. So keep checking in for the next post. You won’t be sorry!