1: Why did you choose 1941 as the time period Joel is sent back to?
I chose 1941 because it was perfect for the book I wanted to write. It was the calm before the storm in the U.S. Many people believed America would stay out of World War II. As a time traveler from the year 2000, Joel Smith knows otherwise. He knows that the attack on Pearl Harbor is coming, but he doesn't know what to do with that knowledge. He doesn't believe he should change history, even if history will take a huge toll on the very people he comes to love and admire in 1941. I also picked 1941 because it was a fascinating year to study. It was a bridge between the Great Depression and the war. Everything from music, fashion, and literature to the role of women in society was changing and changing quickly.
2: Why did you include Joel's grandmother in the story? How did she influence the story?
I included Joel's grandmother in the story because I wanted Joel's internal struggle to be personal and immediate. He has more than the nation's security to think about as he wanders through 1941. He has his own family history and his very existence to consider. Joel's grandmother influences the story in many ways. She acts as a moral compass for at least three characters in the book, even though she has her own flaws. She is also Joel's link to the future, a person he knows he will see again, and a woman who is the protagonist's intellectual and comic equal. In many respects, Joel and his grandmother are two sides of the same coin. They complement each other nicely in The Mine.
3: What scene do you feel was the scene that cemented Joel and Grace's relationship?
Without a doubt, it was their first trip to the movie theater. That was the scene where Grace began to look at Joel differently. He was not just an acquaintance and an annoyance. He was someone she began to consider romantically.
4: Who was your favorite character to write about?
It was probably Joel. He is the protagonist, after all, and male. I could relate to him more. He also has many of the best lines and changes the most among all of the characters in the novel. Ginny was a close second. Katie, too, was fun to write about.
5: What can we expect from The Journey, the second book in the Northwest Passage series?
The Journey is a much different book, even though, like The Mine, it features a protagonist who travels involuntarily from the twenty-first century to the twentieth. Michelle Preston Richardson travels from 2010 Seattle to 1979 Oregon, the time and place of her senior year of high school. Like Joel Smith, she possesses knowledge of things to come. Unlike Joel, she doesn't hesitate to use it. The Journey is deeper, arguably more poignant book. It's the story about an unfulfilled woman who finds meaning in her life by going back to her roots and changing the lives of those around her.
That wraps up today's post, but don't miss the review of Learning to Eat Along the Way!