Today I am so pleased to welcome A.L. Lester to Joyfully Jay. A.L. has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Flowers of Time. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hello there, thank you so much for having me visit today as part of The Flowers of Time blog tour! I have a (tiny) deleted scene for you and some additional info about The Green Book, which is pretty much a person in it’s own right by now.
The Green Book:
A secondary character
All of the Lost in Time books are based around The Green Book. It’s featured to a greater or lesser extent in every book in the series and I am starting to see it as a main character who had it’s own timeline. I’m not entirely sure what it contains myself, but it seems like there’s one spell (except they’re not spells, let’s be clear, they’re just instructions!) for each story so far.
I’m going to be updating my website some time this year with a section of further material for each part of the series, which will include the spells the protagonists used to get themselves in or out of trouble.
Deleted Snippet: The Green Book
As Jones got further and further in to the Green Book (she began to capitalize it in her own mind when thinking about it), she became more and more convinced that her father had believed it to be at least based in fact, if not completely factual.
Some of it she couldn’t translate. It was written in a myriad of different languages and hands. Some of the pages were even printed and had clearly been bound in between other pages retrospectively. The enterprise looked as if it had started out as someone’s journal and then perhaps passed through a few different owners who had continued the work before coming in to her own hands. If Pater had found it in the library at Penel Orleiu, god knew how long it had been there. They’d come out to India in the mid-fifties and Jones had been four when they left England, that much she knew. So he had probably had it a few years before that. It could be forty years old. Or a hundred. She didn’t think it was much older than that, from the gold-tooling on the binding and the way the leather and paper were aged. But it was difficult to tell.
Some of the ink was a faded brown color, clearly not very good quality. And some of it was very clear. One page was written in a very pretty green. It wasn’t a cohesive work at all.
So far, we know the book is bound in green leather with gold tooling and it’s written in lots of different languages with a mixture different handwriting and print, some of it on odd bits of paper that have been shoved in higgledy-piggledy. No-one has been able to work out where or when it originated, least of all me. However, this is what we do know:
- 1611: The book is known to be in Baden. Piece inserted by an unknown elderly traveller who mentions the Himalayas. They talk about pulling power from the border to make magic. (reference: The Flowers of Time)
- 1730s to 1779: The book is known to be with Franklin Jones. Franklin finds it in the library in his country house, Penel Orlieu. It probably arrived there in a job-lot of books bought by his Grandfather around 1690. He takes it to India with him in the mid 1750s. (reference: The Flowers of Time)
- 1779: Jones finds the book among her father’s things. (The Flowers of Time)
- 1848: Jones leaves it in her cousin’s library at Penel House in London. (The Flowers of Time)
- 1890 to 1920s: The book is at Webber’s Farm in Somerset, with Arthur, Matty & Rob. (The Gate/Inheritance of Shadows)
- 2016: Mira finds the book in a second-hand shop in London. The book is left behind at her flat when she and Lew go back to 1919. (Lost in Time)
I have a few more stories for it yet, so this time-line will no doubt expand. Because I write in a bit of a random fashion, the stories start off at one point and I have a fairly firm idea of what’s going to happen; and then the characters all hare off in a different direction with me racing to catch up.
The book seems to have life of its own in much the same manner as my human characters do, and functions as a thread running through all the stories. Because my universe has the possibility of time-travel, that makes the whole thing more complicated. It wouldn’t surprise me if the book turns out to have been made in 2051 and then jettisoned back to the sixteenth century. Or created in 1496 and then jumped a hundred years for some reason.
I see the magic in the universe as very unknown and unpredictable. It’s our own world with a hidden layer beneath, if you like. And there’s always a price to pay if you use it; if you’re lucky, and not a nice person, you can sometimes get someone else to pay the price. If not, you get ingested by a magical squid or sucked in to a vortex of rabid mice or eaten by a guinea pig. (WARNING: These are not real examples).
I like the fact that the reader probably knows more about how the magical bits of the universe work than the characters. Each book is self-contained (except Lost in Time, which has a HFN and sort of runs on in to Shadows on the Border for a proper HEA, because it was my first novel and I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to work). The central story is always the development of a relationship between two people discovering more about the concept of the Border and pulling energy from it to make magical things happen or stop them.
The characters in the love story change. But behind everything lurks the Border and the magic, and the book.
Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. She’s never been interested in the idea of the marriage bed, but along with a stack of books and coded journals he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.
Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn that the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinagar, Edie is surprised to find that here the Miss Jones of the London salons is ‘just Jones’ the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.
A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? It’s a trip fraught with dangers for both of them, not least those of the heart.
A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favourite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.
She has two and a half degrees, a BA in Archaeology and History; a MSc in Geographical Information Systems; and a few half-arsed courses as part of a Science and Science Fiction undergrad. In galaxies long ago and far away she has coded GIS, taught computing skills in the community, was a very expensive secretary and worked as an audio-visual technician. It came as a great surprise when health and safety got upset about pregnant people climbing ladders to do rigging; and so she gave all that up to breed poultry, bees, plants and children.
Now she has a chaotic family life and has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She has stress-related seizures and lives in a small village in rural Somerset with Mr AL, two not-quite-teenage children and various animals and birds. She is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft and struggles to find time to write, but manages anyway, because it’s what keeps her going.
A.L. has brought a hand-made leather-bound notebook and ereader cover to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- By entering you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions set out by Rafflecopter for entries.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize. In order to facilitate prize distribution, the winner name’s and email may be provided to a third party awarding the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Void where prohibited by law.