THE DEVIL'S INTERN RELEASE TOUR
The fun and fear of writing time-travel by Donna Hosie
Writing time-travel is nothing new to me. My first four novels all had their premise based around a modern day teen who ended up time-travelling 1000 years into the past to the time of Camelot. A mixture of modern and medieval was fun to write, but without the danger of paradox, it was also a pretty joyous (and easy) journey to write.
My latest release, THE DEVIL'S INTERN, is an entirely different adventure altogether. Talk about a head rush. I've taken a Viking Prince, a peasant from 1666, a feisty girl from the 1960s, and a modern day guy who has been dead for only four years. The four best friends are in Hell, and they're looking for a way out. When they steal a time-travelling device, they each discover that the past isn't as easy to change as they thought.
I knew this book was going to be ambitious, and it took four years and many, many, MANY drafts to get right. Team DEVIL (Dead but not Evil Vanguard In Hell) travel to a medieval village, the Great Fire of London, San Francisco during the Summer of Love, and modern day New York and Washington. The research alone took months. I don't have a time-travelling device, and these settings had to be authentic. It's not enough to say a character can see flames. The reader has to be able to smell the fire from the page. This is the fun part of writing time-travel. I've never been to Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, but I now know so much about it, I feel as if I have. Writers and readers get to experience the world through the page of a book.
But the fear of writing complex time-travel comes when you get into a paradox. A paradox is a contradiction, but one that could be happening. If you think of the brilliant HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN novel, Harry sees a person he thinks is his father conjure a Patronus, only to realise later on that he saw himself in a time paradox. This is the interesting challenge for writers of time-travel: how far do you go? Do you play it safe, or do you aim to blow minds?!
For THE DEVIL'S INTERN, I've decided to blow minds! My characters see each other in their pasts; they discover they've heard each other in the future! I don't believe in dumbing down Young Adult literature. Teens are smart. Writers owe it to themselves to push boundaries and enjoy making readers think. The past, present, and future - nothing is off limits!
About the book:
"How did you die?"
It's the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil's intern in Hell's accounting office. Lately, he's noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell's limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.
Mitchell's plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking
Due for release 1 October 2014 from Holiday House, NY. Pre-orders now shipping.
Donna Hosie is the author of THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy and THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT. Her latest novel, the Kirkus-starred THE DEVIL'S INTERN, is published by Holiday House.
Congratulations, Donna. I must admit I'm in awe of anyone who writes time-travel stories. As you say, the paradoxes they present mean they are far from straightforward to write. I can't wait to start reading The Devil's Intern.