I found Jessica’s novels through Goodreads and then continued to purchase them through Kindle. Once I completed them I knew one thing was sure: I needed to talk to this author! So I contacted Jessica and asked her if she would be willing to do an interview. It was the beginning of a great friendship and I am glad to share with you today my reviews of two of her novels and that great interview. Special thanks to Jessica for her willingness to be my first interviewee. Also! She just received Author of the Year from Solstice Publishing!
Linked Through Time by Jessica Tornese
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First, the cover: I think it really fits the tone of the book–a bit mysterious but romantic. The thing that is striking here is the TIME, but the front is that of the magazine the TIME as well. I’m not sure if it was done on purpose because it’s an iconic magazine, but I suppose that would work either way. In the novel the main character is a snotty, spoiled brat of a teenager who constantly bickers with her brother. She’s a city-girl and couldn’t be more upset when her father drags her to the country especially because everyone keeps reminding her how much she looks like her suicidal aunt. Then she hits her head, and actually becomes her aunt. From here you get to watch the character grow into a mature and grateful person as she goes the trails and tribulations of a possessive and abusive boyfriend and the hardworking home life. I enjoyed watching the character grow and learn, and I could really relate to how she was feeling in the situations she was put in. Through each step of the character’s journey you get intimate descriptions of what is going on, but these descriptions aren’t overbearing or cliche; thus, they do not violate the show not tell tenant. The writing also perfectly captures the feelings and roller coaster of an abusive relationship including the realization that the guy is a total toolbox. You feel the fear, hate, and anguish with the relationships she is in. The abusive relationship with Dave is one that the aunt is already in when the main character gets there, and it seems she is feeling as the aunt did. Luckily, she stands up for herself and gets out the relationship, but there is a sense of doom that something bad is going to happen because of it either way. Then you get to see her relationship with Travis build up slowly but surely. You feel her doubts and questions about if this could be the same as with Dave and when it’s not you’re relieved. I really connected with the characters and enjoyed watching the main character grow up when I really hated her in the beginning. This book isn’t a “Dr.Who” time travel book filled with fantasy–it’s hardcore real life contemporary romance that has you trembling with the character and laughing, too. I purchased the next one in the series the second I saw the 100% on my Kindle!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First, the cover. I really loved the cover of Linked Through Time, but this one doesn’t hold the same draw for me. This book was the sequel to the aforementioned novel and held the author’s voice through out. The story was a quick reading and had me swearing a lot in my head at Sarah. In the previous book Kate switches places with Sarah and lives her life. Through Kate we got to see Sarah’s life, and how it allowed Kate to grow and mature. Lost Through Time is written from both Sarah and Kate’s points of view, and is done so in a skillful way. The transitions between each character are clear and easy to understand. Kate continues to grow as a character and when you meet Sarah, oh, when you meet Sarah, you will want to pummel her. Her actions are so outrageous, so selfish and immature that I found myself highlighting the areas and putting swears. I really despised the character as if she was living–she was that awful and that well written. This story wasn’t as fast paced as Linked Through Time and lacked the romance from the first–in fact there was no romance at all. There were small moments between Kate and Evan, but there wasn’t anything really romantic there, which in the context of the novel makes sense. When I read Linked Through Time I found myself unable to read fast enough because the book was that good, this novel was a good follow-up, but it didn’t have me flipping the pages like the first. I still loved the novel, though, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. The surprise ending has me already turning and ready to buy the next book the second it comes out.
Jessica Tornese, Young Adult Author
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 J
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What do you like best about being with a smaller press?
I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction online. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.
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.
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!
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!
Still want to learn more about Jessica?
Visit her website:www.jessicatornese.com
Follow her Twitter: @jltornese
Like her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Linked-Through-Time/392292227468460
Want to buy her books?
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