Today we have author Julie Howard joining us to talk about her time travel with a twist of paranormal romance, Spirit in Time. In case you are dying to know what her book is all about, I'll hit you with a blurb to satisfy your cravings:
Time travel isn't real. It can't be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.
Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?
Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.
But will time be her friend or foe?
I know, I know...spooky right? What if I could give a little sneak peek into the world of Mason and Jillian? Julie was kind enough to give us an excerpt!!! Time-travel romance junkie squeeeaall!!!
“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter-of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.
The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.
The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.
The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.
“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”
“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real-looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her black lace-up shoes.
Now that you're totally intrigued...let's hear what the author has to say about her amazing creation...after I tell you how much I LOVED this story with a review.
5 Stars for Spirit In Time by author Julie Howard. When clairvoyant, Jillian, steps into a wonderous museum, she stumbles upon a picture with a familiar face. But how is that possible?
When an earthquake rattles the museum, Jillian is startled by the change of scenery…the clothes, the museum, the people…they are all different. Where is she? Or better yet, when? The man in the painting may hold all the answers. Can she find him and get back to her time, or will the wrong era swallow her whole?
An intriguing time travel story filled with forbidden love and secrets. Howard weaved a tale about a time period I had never seen but was able to describe it in a way that made me feel as if I were there. Highly Recommend!
1. How did you come up with the idea for Spirit In Time?
I used to live in Sacramento, California, where the story is set, and visited the Crocker Museum many times. I always thought this historic building, part of an old mansion, would make a fascinating setting. There is a famous painting in the museum that was commissioned by Edwin B. Crocker that shows the goods and evils of gold mining camps – and this figures prominently in Spirit in Time. There is a ghost in my story, and I learned later that one of the occupants of the mansion once saw a ghost! I loved this intersection of fact and fiction and how the past flowed seamlessly into the present.
2. There was quite a blend of cultures as well as a mixture of different times in this book. Did you have to do a lot of research to make the shifts between present and past so seamless?
Most of Spirit in Time takes place in 1872, and I had great fun transporting a modern-day woman into a time and place where nothing was familiar. In her first hour in the past, I have her stripped bare because, of course, clothing styles changed, and women at the time didn’t wear bras or panties. She had to completely remake herself and, to her dismay, even her name got changed. I enjoyed the research, especially recreating the city of Sacramento in the late 19th century. I learned that the capitol was still under construction, they were raising the street level to prevent flooding, and there was a huge effort to rebuild structures with bricks to prevent fires. Also, bordellos and saloons were rampant.
3. Jillian is one of the most determined women I’ve ever read about in a book, and she certainly has no qualms about going after what she wants. Is she based off a real-life person?
I love writing about strong women who overcome the odds – most of my books have that as a central theme, even when they don’t believe in their own strength. I’m not entirely sure where Jillian came from. She’s a conglomeration of several people I know, along with pure imagination. I suppose she reacts how I hope I would in difficult circumstances, although I suspect she’s more resourceful.
4. Hunky book boyfriend, Mason, is Australian. Have you ever been to Australia?
I went to Australia three years ago, and that prompted the book House of Seven Spirits, another Spirited Quest mystery that features Jillian and Mason. In that story, Mason takes Jillian to his home, where she meets his parents and learns about a 19th-century family who disappeared without a trace in the Outback. Jillian and Mason head out to the abandoned house to uncover the mystery.
I loved the small bit of Australia I visited – primarily Sydney and Melbourne, but that was enough to spark my imagination. The animals, flowers, plants, and terrain are all so different, much more so than I expected. The history of the place also captured my imagination, and some of that is woven into the story.
5. I love time travel books, especially when romance is involved, but it seems so intricate. How do you keep all your timelines together without crossing them?
To be honest, I didn’t think about it much. When I write, I feel as though I’m part of the story and I’m seeing and living it along with my characters. So it all made sense to me while I wrote.
6. What do you feel are Mason and Jillian’s best qualities?
Mason is kind and very capable. After some tough months, he adapted very well to life in the 19th century. Jillian, however, is determined to get back to her own time, and she won’t be deterred in her quest. She has a fierce force of will.
7. The ending seems like you may have left Mason and Jillian open for a sequel. Do you have another book planned?
This is actually part of a series where I have five books planned. Spirit in Time is the third book I’ve written about Jillian and Mason – they meet in the first book, Spirited Quest – but each book also works as a stand-alone. I’ll start writing the fourth book in the series next year, which will be set in 1930s Central California.
Thank you for hanging out with us today, Julie! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. Her latest book, The Three Widows of Wylder, is a historical fiction and releases this month. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. A fifth-generation Californian, she now lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and aging sheltie dog. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal.
Follow Julie Howard here:
Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3qaFAF5
More from Julie Howard: