15th November 2013
The quest is still on for getting reviews ("blurbs" - they have invented a whole new word stem here: blurbed, blurbers, blurbees. My agent just found one for me from Jillian Medoff (Hunger Point), who wrote nice things, like, "reading Veil Of Time was a trip into an enchanted dream that the reader doesn't want to wake up from." So, I have three good reviews at this point, and the net has been cast for the catching of others. My agent says my book is a "guilty pleasure," for the sophisticated ones, because though it is literary, it is also fantasy. But not as fantastical as it used to be.
Scientists are already discovering that particles go back and forth though time, which is in itself anyway this nebulous cloud of something or other moving in vague circles. Time, my friends, just ain't what it used to be, when you could see yourself stepping on to one end of a time line at birth and dropping off the other at death. Time is the great mystery, and scientists are tying themselves in knots just trying to utter one coherent sentence about it.
I thought Einstein's saying, "The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion," would be a fine line to splash across the front of my book, but I met some resistance there. But I should persist with that, because readers, hell, Romance readers, respect Einstein and the world of science, and it would be better for my prospects if the idea of travelling through time were entertained by the scientific community, which it is. I think the most we can say is that time is an illusion. We perceive it as going in one direction because the Big Bang set everything into motion towards entropy, but the thing we call time - past present and future - is all relative. The faster you go in space, the more time slows down - a little known scientific fact. If you could go at the speed of light, time wouldn't exist at all. And the more science goes on about things that defy all explanation, the more it sounds like the vedas or other books of wisdom encrypted when man was just beginning to figure things out and when he was more connected to the workings of the universe naturally.
Universes are made and fall in the dream of Brahma....religion or theoretical physics? "There's no necessary limitation upon the number of universes, i.e. there can be many universes, i.e., a multiverse." Where did that come from? It's what they're talking about these days in physics. So, time and space are being turned on their head. We've come full circle from the mystics of old, and now we know that anything we say about the universe is just fancy. In the words of Lewis Caroll's gryphon, "It be all his fancy, that!"
The point is, my book Veil of Time is aptly named, and its timing is also apt, because we're only just now beginning to realise that time is at best a veil, at worst a puff. I didn't plan my book this way - it evolved all by its own self, because writers are always accidentally putting their toes on the rim of a land mine and having it go off in their faces. I didn't think I was writing about multiverses, but I suppose I am, and at least one theoretical physicist is doing back flips over it.
The other thing my book turned out to be was a shout out for Scotland. I won't say that was accidental, but I didn't contrive in my head to make it so. All I wanted was to write about this place I grew up near where the kings of Scotland were once crowned, but the minute you start looking at the history of Scotland, the more you have to concede that its neighbour to the south has played things pretty dirty over the course of time. I won't go so far as to use the words tyranny and imperialism, but why not? The artist is committed to truth. The tyranny goes on - just look at the "No" campaign leading up to the referendum on Scottish independence. Somebody leaked out that the in-house name for this movement from the south of the border is "Project Fear." I rest my case.
The other thing my book turned out accidentally to be was a book about women and the sacred feminine. I am one of the least likely to be known as a feminist, since I am more easily drawn to the company of men, but, again, when you take a look at history, at least the last five thousand years or so, what you see is one sex lauding it over the other, and very often going to extremes to declare itself king.
The church has been at the forefront of this movement over the past sixteen hundred years or so, leaving us religiously bereft.
I didn't have any clue what I was getting myself into when I put a thesis on witch burnings into the hands of my protagonist, but that's the great thing about writing stories - the characters can take over. On a good day, they are taking over and talking among themselves, and all you have to do is listen and write. I suppose it wouldn't be a great day if they all decided to mutiny - you'd have all these men and women walking right off the pages of your book, like a scene from Harry Potter.
So, you're getting into a lot more than you bargain for when you sit down to write a story. I thought my book was about Dunadd, but it is about a whole lot more. It might one day be about a film, and if that day comes, I will be knocking on Scottish actor Richard Madden's door and asking him how he'd like to play my handsome hero Fergus McBridghe. I think about these things, even though it may all just be my fancy, that.