Monday 7 November 2016

Timeless Blog Tour

Welcome Crystal Collier here today to share her new book and answer some key questions!

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

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Author Interview

How did you come up with the idea for the Maiden of Time series?

you say “idea,” it sounds so singular! This book was a series of layers, but
they came to me. That’s it.

first book was a quick novella, one I hadn’t planned. I frequently have story
dreams and write a first scene, but this one wouldn’t let go. It was a love
affair with words.

I finished, I had no intention of doing anything with it—other than enjoying
the words on the page. It was just for me. But then a character from another
series stuck his hand in my face and informed me that this was his book too. A
character with a LONG arc and deep roots. Placing him at the heart of the story meant weaving two worlds together—a conventional historical setting, and
a fantasy-based world. Details unfolded organically with each new draft
(over 10 years), and by the time MOONLESS saw the light of day, there was a
decade of history supporting it. Not only that, I had the beginning of the next
two books written, and an outline for the series.

Wow. With such a long backstory to the series, it sounds like a real labour of love!

Which of the special powers possessed by the Passionate would you most like to
have, and why?

like to have a little of all of them, truthfully. But if I had to pick one, it
would be time manipulation. As we get older, it seems like time becomes
exponential. I don’t want to stop it or go back and change things, I just want
to be able to slow it. To freeze the moment. To hold onto the sensations.

That sounds nice. Time definitely becomes fleeting with ageing!

Could you pick a favourite cheese? Or would that be like picking a favourite

called that! I have too many favorites to count, but without exception I will
take these ANY DAY: Muenster, cheddar, Jarlsberg, Provolone, Romano, Feta, smoked
Gouda, Colby jack, Fontina, or squeaky cheese. (Cheddar cheese curds.)

I've always had a soft spot for Edam...

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

(Email address is required for awarding prizes.)

Thanks for being here today, Crystal! I encourage everyone to check out this excellent series, and for an extra push, here's my review of Timeless:

With this final instalment in the Maiden of Time trilogy, events for Alexia come full circle in a way that, without wanting to give too much away, feels very satisfying. I love time travel stories, and the way this wraps up was very nicely done, although at no point does it feel like anything is guaranteed. I definitely feel this was the strongest book of the series, with a sense of urgency that hardly lets up throughout, fuelled by several motivating factors: Alexia's mission to prevent the birth of the Soulless; her need to ensure the safe birth of her own daughter without dying in the process; and her fight against bonding with Kiren, her husband in her own timeline but who has never met her in this earlier time (because this would mean his own demise when she dies). Yes, most of the book takes place 500 years before the action of the first two, something that I feel really breathes fresh life into proceedings. We get to see several characters before they have undergone key changes and learn how those changes transpired (Kiren's scar, Mae's blindness, Amos becoming Soulless). I love medieval history and rewriting the Crusades to include a war against the Passionate, and having them as pawns in a political game, felt very convincing. I felt there was a different tone to this book as well. While the first two instalments were fantasy/historical, I would classify this more as sci-fi/historical, with the time-based elements being much more heavily explored and a portal to another world playing a key part in the plot. In both cases, the historical stuff serves as a backdrop to the main action, but there's enough detail to make the settings seem real.

Of course, at the heart of all this is a love story that spans centuries. Things are certainly awkward for the most part, as you know these two belong together, but they both have reasons to keep their distance - Alexia for the reasons mentioned above, Kiren because he believes she is already bonded to someone else - and I really felt the despair of both. This made the ending very uplifting, and it wasn't something that I saw coming.

Having said all that, I had a few quibbles with the book, but they might not matter to anyone else. I sometimes had trouble following what was going on at every moment. That just shows the level of complexity and invention in the story, though. There were a lot of minor characters among the Passionate and some are only mentioned in passing, as if we already know them. It was slightly confusing and I would have appreciated just a bit more detail on these people.

None of this took away from my enjoyment of this book, though. It was definitely the fastest-paced of the series, and the most intense. Collier really made me root for things to work out for the two main characters. I thoroughly recommend this series and I can't wait to see what the author does next!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick and Crystal - good to see the tour here. I enjoyed reading how you started the story and the characters, then their take over - while you let the story line mull and be added to ... ten years is a long time - but not as long as your timeline in the series!

All the best to you both - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Does the squeaky mouse get the squeaky cheese?
Weaving two characters and settings together would be challenging. Well done, Crystal.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats to Crystal on her new book. Time manipulation would be a great power to have. And it was cool learning what cheeses are Crystal's favorites.

Crystal Collier said...

Hi Hilary! Characters can be quite insistent, eh?

Thank you, Alex! Your logic totally makes sense to me.

Natalie, everyone asks which ONE is my favorite, and I can never answer because there isn't just ONE. It's definitely a problem.

H. R. Sinclair said...

But does your main charater have a favorite cheese...or do they hate it! Oh, the irony and horror!

Thanks for sharing the story roots.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I would take time manipulation as a magic skill too. I would be so much younger if I could, but just my body, not my mind. LOL.
Love me some swiss and provolone cheese. Good luck to Crystal.

Anonymous said...

Did somebody say cheese? Yum! Thanks for sharing the story roots!

Crystal Collier said...

--Holly, since the variety of cheeses available to my characters in the late 1700's (rural England) wouldn't have be very large, I'm afraid their choices are limited. Unless you wanted to pull them into the modern era. My goodness, they'd die of bliss for the variety. I do compare their personalities to cheese in the doppelganger quiz though. (Also part of this tour.)

--Susan, LOL. Definitely would have keep the mind/experience, but I'm not going to complain about a little de-aging. If only Alexia's gift worked that way.

--Ivania, there's cheese wherever I go. Always. ;)

Liz A. said...

It seems like most novels have that sort of backstory--they take a while to get right.

Chrys Fey said...

I LOVE that Moonless was essentially two different stories that Crystal combined. Neat!

Meradeth Houston said...

What a fun interview! Though now I find myself wanting some cheese.

Crystal Collier said...

Liz--They totally do. If they don't have a history, they probably don't deserve to be out there.

Chrys--Crazy, right? I still wish I could go back sometimes and separate them to see what they would have been individually.

Meradeth--And you should. Cheese is epic.

diedre Knight said...

Timeless sounds enchanting, Crystal! It's timely too,(Can she escape her own clock?) as it coincides with the Daylight Savings event in which most of the country participates ;-) Brilliant!
Terrific interview, Nick!

Heather R. Holden said...

Great interview! I love how you described the book as something that came to you in layers, Crystal. Many of my own projects have been the same way.

Also, excellent review, Nick! I've read the first book in this series already, but have fallen woefully behind since then. Your thoughts on Timeless make me excited to get back into this series!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great interview, guys!

I agree. I think this was the strongest book in the series, too. Our lovely cheese-eating Crystal is getting to be a better and better writer all the time. (Then again, if she's getting story ideas in her dreams, she's got an unfair advantage! HA)

Squeaky cheese? Okeydoke then...

Stephanie Faris said...

Time manipulation would be a nice power to have, wouldn't it? Seems like when you're doing something you enjoy, time flies by...when you're doing something you hate, time crawls. Congrats to Crystal!!!

H.R. Bennett said...

At first glance, I thought this was the same interview that I saw on another blog. I was happily surprised otherwise. Good read! Thank you!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I had to pause sometimes and remember the minor characters myself. This is not a book you speed read. It has all those layers Crystal mentioned, so it's best enjoyed slowly.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I'm seeing you everywhere, Crystal!!
And yes, wouldn't we all love the ability to manipulate time?

Crystal Collier said...

Thank you, Diedre!

Heather, that's the way it works, isn't it? ;)

Susan, maybe I do have an unfair advantage...but maybe I also have a problem. How in the world am I ever going to write all these ideas?

Stephanie, too true!

Robert, I'm glad you were surprised too!

Elizabeth, there are quite a few minor characters, aren't there? I suppose that can happen after 3 books.

Lyn! I think we all probably would like that ability, but you know, there may be some people who would hate having the responsibility it brings. I imagine the brain may get slightly muddled with multiple time streams.