Author Spotlight : Jessica Tornese

Author Spotlight with: Jessica Tornese

Author of the Linked Through Time Series

1.         The question that is always asked—what inspired you to write Linked Through Time, and Lost Through Time?

I grew up with a large family. My Dad was one of eleven children, so I have endless tales of cousins and extended family. My Dad’s stories always stuck with me because he grew up with nothing. Absolutely nothing! He did not have indoor plumbing until high school- in Northern Minnesota! I admire him and wanted to keep his stories alive. A lot of what happens to Kate in “Linked” are true events from my dad’s childhood. Lost Through Time mentions a disaster that actually occurred in my home town in 1910. I guess I just really like to keep the stories of our ancestors from dying out. They were true, hard core Americans fighting just to make a living.

2.         Your take on time travel is unique did you do any research to help you form the idea?

I love the idea of using something that had to do with the region. Of course, northern lights are not often seen as brilliantly as in Alaska or Canada, but they are amazing and kind of mysterious, so I thought they could be a believable reason!

3.         What challenges have you overcome in having such a unique take on time travel?

As with any book, I had to keep going back and forth to remember my rules and events to make things happen. Since I change the rules in the second book, I had to really sketch out why and how Kate could travel differently than other characters.

4.         You create a very realistic picture of farm life in the 1960’s—did you do research? If not, how did you create such a realistic picture without research?

I actually lived on the farm I am describing. For a few short months, I had to live with my grandparents in the very house my Dad grew up in . They were still doing the same chores and living the same kind of lifestyle- except with indoor plumbing of course! The chores were endless and I absolutely hate haying!

5.         Who is your favorite character and why?

I love Kate. She reminds me of myself. I was the snotty city girl that was taken out of the city and moved to a small northern MN town when I was fifteen. I thought my life was over! I learned a lot about myself as a person and learned how to work outside. I appreciate my Dad more, and am so glad to have been raised closer to his family. I love Kate’s growth and life lessons about boys. There are good boyfriends out there and bad…definitely something we have to learn!

6.         In book one you create sympathy for the character of Sarah, but in book two she’s quite evil. Was making a character that was originally likeable into a bad character hard?

Yes. It was actually my husband’s idea to make a villain. He basically said that the story will go nowhere without a villain, so we decided Sarah had the most to be angry and vengeful for! Once I started, it was really fun to write the villain part because I never get to act that way. It was a peek into the dark side. 

7.         Kate matures a lot through book one, did you always plan this, or did she mature as you wrote the novel?

Kate was really a mirror of myself. I think I wanted to show that from day one- how she can go from a judgmental teenager focusing on her own needs, to learning about serving others. I think everyone makes this same transition at some point in their lives; it’s just a question of when.

8.         In Linked Through Time keeping track of so many brothers and sisters was hard for Sarah, how did you do it as an author?

I literally took my Dad’s family and just changed the names! He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters, and I just kept picturing them in my mind.

9.         In Linked Through Time who was your favorite brother or sister?

Probably a tie between Dean and Rodney. I identify with both of their personalities. My Dad had a little of each, so I brought out his tough military side in Rodney and his protective side in Dean.

10.      How did you evolve the story of Linked Through Time into Lost Through Time?

I didn’t want Kate’s story to be over. I knew I wanted to write about Baudette’s historic fire, so once I decided to bring Sarah back into the picture it all fell into place. I love history and am trying to decide how to connect with the final chapter in Kate’s and Sarah’s life in book three.

11.      We saw a very little bit of Travis’ son—will we see more of him?

T.J. will make an appearance in book three. I think we will see a bit more develop with him. I want Kate’s story to have something good in it for her. Though it is a little Jerry Springer, I think Kate deserves a good man and some closure in all the chaos she lives in.

12.      What is the name of the next book in the trilogy?

As of right now, Destroyed In Time, recommended to me by another Solstice author, Michael Thal.

13.      Is there a release date set?

Not yet. I am still in the early stages of defining the book. I have to be really careful on how I end this book.

14.      When did you start writing?

I didn’t really start writing books until a few years ago, but I have always loved writing and reading. They go hand in hand, I think.

15.      As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?

Finding time to write. I have three kids and it is a constant tornado in the house. I try to take some time once a week to nail down some outline ideas.

16.      You are with an independent publisher, Solstice Publishing, how did you find them?

I submitted my work based on a newsletter I received called Children’s Writer. They give contact names and emails and it just happened to work out that Nik Morton liked the manuscript.

17.      What do you like best about being with a smaller press?

I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction on line. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.

18.      What is the biggest challenge of being with a smaller press?

Marketing. There just isn’t enough time or money to get the word out. It has to be done over time, mostly own your own doing. But Solstice is trying hard to work with everyone and do what they can with their resources. I was just voted Solstice’s Author of the Year, so that was very exciting and proof that I do have fans out there that love the books.

19.      For budding authors out there, how much say do you think you have in the final product, from cover to the insides, to the marketing?

Depending on the publisher, you can have a lot of say in your product. I wouldn’t let someone change my work completely, especially if it was something I didn’t believe in. Stay true to your style and someone will come along that likes it!

20.      Other than writing, what are some things that you love to do?

I love volleyball and camping, and outdoor things in general. I love, love, love to read! A good book on the beach is my heaven!

A Little about the books...

Linked Through Time-

Fifteen year old Kate Christenson is pretty sure she’s about to experience the worst possible summer at her grandparent’s farm in rural Baudette, Minnesota. Without cable, cell phones, or computers, Kate is headed for total isolation and six tedious weeks of boredom. Until the storm.

 A freak lightning accident has Kate waking up in 1960. But she is not herself. She is the aunt she never met, but has eerily resembled her entire life. Thrust into living a dirt poor, rural farm life, Kate struggles to make sense of her situation- a boyfriend with a dark side, a “townie” who steals her heart, and the knowledge that 1960 is the very summer her aunt drowns in the local river.

 Even with every precaution, Kate cannot stop fate, and an unexpected twist adds to her dilemma. To her horror, Kate finds out firsthand her aunt’s death was not an accident or a suicide, but something much, much worse.

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Lost Through Time-

“There never was a body, you know.”

Such is the bizarre statement from Gran only weeks after Kate has returned from an accidental time traveling incident, surviving certain death…twice. Capturing Sarah’s killer seemed to be the reason for Kate’s disappearance, but Gran believes otherwise.

Learning of Kate’s power to time travel loosens memories and desires Gran has long since buried. Gran is set on finding Sarah, who she believes never died the night Dave Slater threw her in the river, but instead, went back in time through the Rapid River portal. With rudimentary research and analysis, Gran thinks she has unlocked the secrets to controlling the time traveling link that she and Kate share with their ancestors and she plans to use Kate to bring Sarah back.

 When Kate agrees, she is shocked to find out that in the more aggressive form of time travel, she doesn’t become Sarah, but trades places with her, sending Kate to Baudette, Minnesota in the year of 1910, and Sarah ahead to the year 2000.

Baudette’s catastrophic 1910 fire and typhoid epidemic are the least of Kate’s worries once she discovers what has happened. Her chances of a return trip are thwarted with the struggle just to survive, and Sarah, reliving her lost childhood in the ease of current day life, decides to never return to the past, leaving Kate to suffer the life she has left behind.

Gran is torn- get rid of the daughter she has dreamed of finding for four decades, or rescue the precious granddaughter who risked everything for her selfish dream? And to what lengths will Sarah go to destroy any chances of Kate coming back? Will Sarah succeed in severing the link?

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Destroyed Through Time Blurb -

After a decade of her life wasted in a futile search, Kate Christenson returns to Baudette, Minnesota to face more than just her failure. Broken relationships, broken hearts, and a slew of unanswered questions plagues her every move. Guilt and fear have turned her cynical and distrusting, and most of all, have left her alone.

When she encounters a stranger with the same hourglass birthmark, the past she has desperately tried to suppress comes roaring back with a vengeance. Hungry for answers, Kate pursues the stranger, eager to find another like herself.

But the answers she gets are beyond any she can imagine, derailing every idea she’s ever had about time travel. Who is really alive? And who is really dead? What can be changed? And what is forever broken?

When Mary disappears, Kate is thrust into a race against time itself. But this time, it’s more than just one life on the line.

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To learn more about Jessica and her work, visit http://www.jessicatornese.com or 'Like' her Facebook page HERE. Visit her Amazon Author Page HERE. You can connect with her on GOODREADS or LINKEDIN. Follow Jessica on Twitter @jltornese.