Overseas Q&A– and Give Away!

Hello once again to the talented and lovely Beatriz Williams, who took time out from a crazy pre-launch week schedule to come visit us here on the News page.

Below, you can read about what drew her to World War I, her advice to aspiring writers, and– er, how did Bing Crosby get in there?

(1) What sparked your interest in World War I?

A hot dead guy, basically! I was taking a college course in turn-of-the-century Europe (that would be turn of the TWENTIETH century, for the more youthful among you) and the course really captured my imagination: all that social and technological and artistic change, exploding like so much tinder in the Armageddon that was the First World War. Halfway through the course, we read Vera Brittain’s classic war memoir Testament of Youth, in which an ambitious young British woman falls in love with this brilliant young man — your classic Edwardian overachiever — who’s shot in the stomach by a sniper in December 1915. I absolutely fell in love with Roland Leighton, and the book devastated me. I even went twice to visit his grave in northern France. (Obsessed, much?) Ever since, I’ve gobbled up every book I could find on the subject, trying to understand the world that existed before the Great War and the world that emerged in its aftermath.

(2) Like Gabaldon’s “Outlander”, “Overseas” is very hard to pin down as belonging to any particular genre. How would you categorize it?

Well, I certainly didn’t set out to write a time travel novel — historical fiction is more my territory. I just had this vision out of the blue, a First World War infantry officer walking the streets of contemporary Manhattan, and the story unfolded from there. Kate, my modern career-focused heroine, falls in love with Julian, a man firmly rooted in the great romantic tradition of prewar England — the Downton Abbey world — and they’re both forced to follow the other across time and to face the ultimate sacrifice for each other. I hope it appeals across genres, from historical fiction to romance to (for lack of a better term) chick lit. Can we just call it a love story?

(3) What is your writing routine like?

Routine! (*laughs hollowly*) To paraphrase the old saying, I make plans and my four young children laugh. But here’s what’s working for me now: I take a story idea and let it marinate for a few months, usually while I’m trying to work on something else, until the scenes start writing themselves in my head. Then I sit down and draft it all in six mad, insomniac, caffeine-fueled weeks, following by a few more weeks of editing and general physical collapse. My youngest is in preschool now, so things have gotten a bit easier. I drop her off and head straight for the coffee shop, and the first thing I do there is turn off the WiFi on my computer!

(4) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Be persistent. It’s so easy in the age of self-publishing to think that anyone can write a book, and that’s true, technically, just like anyone can play baseball. But if you want to do it well (and trust me, I’m still learning, every day) you have to practice, practice, practice and read, read, read. Every day.

(5) What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished my latest book, which untangles a passionate and complicated love affair in an exclusive Rhode Island beach community during the summer before the great New England hurricane of 1938. It’s like A Perfect Storm meets High Society, but without Bing Crosby dancing around the library with Frank Sinatra. (Sorry, I just couldn’t make that work.)

To learn more about Beatriz and her books, visit her on her website, http://www.beatrizwilliams.com. Overseas comes out next Thursday, May 10.

In the meantime, there’s a copy up for grabs for one very lucky person! One person will be chosen at random from among those who comment to receive an early copy of Overseas , hot off the presses.

For a copy of Overseas … what’s your favorite time travel novel?


  1. Rachel on May 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I know that about 100 people are going to post this … but I LOVED The Time Traveler’s Wife. Absolutely adored it … couldn’t put it down, laughed, cried, had my heart broken … really an all-in-one novel.

  2. Marg on May 2, 2012 at 8:41 am

    For me, it is hard to go past Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but I also loved The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. I literally gasped out loud at the scene where it all came together!

  3. JP on May 2, 2012 at 8:45 am

    This sounds fascinating, and win or not, it’s on my to-read radar!

    My favorite time-travel book was already mentioned, Outlander. I was blown away by it when I first read it, just so intrigued by the idea of the tangled web of Claire’s personal timeline.

    Of course, I was no stranger to time-travel prior to this, as I am also a longtime fan of Doctor Who. When I was a kid, my local PBS stations would air the Tom Baker-era shows late at night, and I would play them really quietly so as not to wake my mother, LOL.

  4. Celia on May 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I absolutely adore The Doomsday book by Connie Willis. I think its about time for me to reread it!

    I just tagged Overseas “To read” in my google reader, so I’ll remember to read it in the next couple of months.

  5. Bekah on May 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I don’t know if they’re “time” travel as much as some other books mentioned but I love the Narnia series! And I know this has already been mentioned but I also enjoyed the Rose Garden. Overseas looks sooooo good! I can’t wait to read it ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Joanne M. on May 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Looking forward to reading Overseas!

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon would have to go at the top of my list, followed closely by Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea or Mariana.

  7. Rhiannon Rowland on May 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I am also a Time Traveler’s Wife fan!

  8. NikkiB on May 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I will have to admit that the number of time travel books I have read can be counted on one hand.I don’t have a favorite time travel book…… YET. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Christine on May 2, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Like everyone else, I also love Time Traveler’s Wife and Outlander, but my new time travel favorite is Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

  10. Renee on May 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Can I say The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley? Although Rose Garden is actually a time travel novel (and a good book in it’s own right), I liked Winter Sea even better. The modern day heroine is, in a way, time traveling, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Ashley on May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I liked “Somewhere in Time” by Richard Matheson! Growing up, “A Wrinkle in Time” was a favorite.

    “Overseas” looks great!

  12. Jeffrey on May 2, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Another vote for The Chronicles Of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. It is hard to believe that Lewis considered these tales to be for children or young adults. Well, this “kid” devoured them all with gusto.

  13. Melissa on May 2, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Still a big fan of TV’s Quantum Leap and Voyagers!, and loved to read the adventures of the Pevensie and Murry kids. Would the Daughter of the Empire series by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts count? The plot involves traveling through a magical rift between warring worlds; Mara, the heroine, has to fight for her place in her own society and then embrace new ideas from the barbarian world. Fantastic details!

  14. Eve on May 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I’ll give a vote for another Connie Willis novel…”To Say Nothing of the Dog,” mainly b/c I haven’t read “The Doomsday Book” or “Blackout/All Clear” yet. (If it isn’t clear, Willis loves to write time-travel novels)

    And since I never win your giveaways, I’ll keep an eye out for “Overseas.”

  15. Ashley on May 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Another vote for Outlander here! I had seen the books around for years, and when I finally picked up the first one I wished I had done it sooner!

  16. Becky on May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Oh, this one is hard for me! I love a lot of time travel novels. Outlander, Time and Again, The House on the Strand…I think I will also have to go with Connie Willis’ Blackout/All Clear.

  17. Liz on May 2, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This book sounds SO good! I was trying to think of some time traveling novels I’ve read lately but am drawing a blank…I do love the classic A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain though ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Katelyn on May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I’m going to go with The Eyre Affair, mostly because its hilarious (alternate reality with time-travelers where the French are going back and sabotaging all of England’s successes and brit lit has practically become a religion with Baconians knocking at your door like Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s just awesome).

  19. Amanda on May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I have to copy Katelyn above. Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series are my favorite. I re-read those when ever I need a smile!

  20. Ashley on May 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I have to go with Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden. I also loved The Winter Sea but I don’t know if that counts as time travel since she didn’t physically go back to the time…

  21. Stephanie on May 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    All the Outlander books. Really enjoy Susanna Kearsley too, but there’s something about Jamie and Claire’s story that…I don’t know. They’re just fantastic.

  22. Cรฉline on May 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    One of the best time travel novels I’ve ever read, except Outlander, must be Timeline, by Mickael Crichton. I know it’s not one of the best, far from it, but it the novel that introduced me to time travel stories and I have a special thing fot it…. i’ll never forget it, neither its author, RIP…

  23. rachel on May 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Susanna Kearsley has several great ones! “Mariana” and “The Rose Garden” are two I like.

  24. Joey B. on May 2, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Add me as a fan of the Outlander series! (BYW, tomorrow is my birthday and winning this would be a WONDERFUL present!!!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Chanpreet on May 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Favorite time travel books would have to be romance author Brenda Joyce’s Masters of Time series. What’s not to love about evil fighting, time traveling Scottish MEN in kilts, and the woman who not only love them, but also help them in fighting to defeat evil? *Sigh* Men in kilts *drool*

    Literary time travelling favorites would have to be The Time Traveler’s Wife and A Wrinkle in Time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Calli Fox on May 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Oh, like so many others before me I would have to say Outlander. Jamie and Claire’s relationship defines love and Jamie is sooo dreamy!!

  27. Jennifer O. on May 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I love the Outlander series and Time Traveler’s Wife, which are the only time travel books I can think of (totally predictable). I loved TV shows like Voyager and Quantum Leap, though.

  28. Pat on May 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Well damn. I’m going to have to read Outlander. My brain isn’t functioning well at all today–allergies. The only book I can think of is Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. There is a little time travel practice in there, mainly to lead up to book two coming out this summer in which our lovers travel back in time. Wonderful book by the way.

  29. Lauren Ashley on May 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorite books but I’ve just become obsessed with the Outlander series. Which is quite unfortunate when you have things to do. . . lol and of course I’m a huge Doctor Who fan ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Cho on May 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I’m honestly not sure I’ve actually got a favourite time travel book…clearly I need to read more of them! I’m very much looking forward to this one, though!

  31. Alexandra on May 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    When You Reach Me, an amazing YA novel that won the Newbery Medal.

  32. Sheila on May 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Dear friends: are you guys missing out…I love Outlander, but many years before that came some absolutely fantastic time travel romances.

    Time and Again by Jack Finney, and its sequel, Time to Time, which is not quite as wonderful, but very good. These are classics of the genre. They go back to late 19th century NYC, including some present day landmarks in their infancy. Just can’t reccommend these more strongly.

    Also, I know everyone has to love the Jane Seymour-Christopher Reeve movie Somewhere in Time. Love, love it, but the book it was inspired by, Bid Time Return, by Richard Mathieson, is outstanding….romantic, very.

    These books may be just a bit hard to find, but well worth the search.

  33. Tracie on May 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I’m going to dare to be different and say that my favorite time travel book (of the moment) is Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. It’s the first book in a trilogy about a teenage girl who comes from a family of time travelers (one female of each generation inherits the “gift.) The book was so clever and entertaining, plus it had family secrets, sword fights, and ghosts! I am waiting impatiently for Sapphire Blue, the second book in the trilogy, to be released this fall.

  34. Lauren on May 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    My hands down favorite, like so many others here, has to be the Outlander series. I actually found out about them thanks to Lauren ๐Ÿ™‚ I absolutely love Claire and Jamie! The books are just soooo good.

  35. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (because I have to be different, and also, I love it.)

  36. Karen H on May 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I fell in love with the Everworld series when I was a teen. It probably isn’t technically “time travel” but the characters teleport to an alternative universe that the old Gods decided to create when people stopped believing in them. So the main characters visit ancient cities filled with Vikings, Aztec Gods, aliens, all sorts of Irish mythical figures, and of course there is Mount Olympus. I think of it as time travel because each section of Everworld is stuck back in whatever the hayday of the myth was.

  37. Amanda on May 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    The time traveler’s wife!!

  38. Tiffany on May 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Definitely Marianna, the Winter Sea, and Outlander (please don’t make me choose)!!! Love them all, and I can’t wait for this one either!
    Thanks so much for the giveaway!
    With fingers crossed,

  39. Jenny on May 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife.

    I’m also looking forward to this new book!

  40. Rachel on May 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Has to be Outlander. But looking forward to this new one!

  41. Michelle K on May 2, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    as with everyone else, Outlander is my favorite. But I love the Susanna Kearsley novels, and some of the Lynn Kurland novels too.

  42. Abby on May 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    My favorite is Halfway Down Paddy Lane by Jean Marzollo, which was the first time travel book I read- about a girl who goes back in time and finds herself in an Irish mill family in the nineteenth century.

  43. Laura on May 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    My favorite when I was in high school was Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney – for a long time I was obsessed with finding a guy like Strat! I think now my favorite is Mariana by Susanna Kearsley, which I just finished reading.

  44. Chelsea on May 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I always loved the Wrinkle in Time series when I was little! Fun to go back and re-read books from childhood!

  45. Jessica S on May 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Seasons in the Mist by Deborah Kinnard.

  46. Jessica C on May 3, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. It’s fabulous.

  47. Katie on May 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    The Emerald Atlas by John K Stephens. It is sort of like Harry Potter meets the Chronicles of Narnia with time travel thrown in as a bonus. It has everything from witches to desecration and is the story of three siblings that travel in time to help save the world from evil by changing the course of events. Absolutely excellent first book in what looks to be an amazing series!!

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