Today's featured guest: Alison Lohans
Connie: Alison, thank you for stopping by today. Please tell us about your current release.
Alison: Timefall is a “mature” young adult/adult speculative fiction novel. It evolved over thirty-plus years and is among my favorites of the 30-some books I’ve published. It’s had a very bumpy journey in the publishing world with two very small presses – first published in 2010 and 2012 as a two-book series by a tiny press that soon afterward changed hands. The new owner promptly jettisoned all YA titles. I was very fortunate to find another small press that was interested, and who published it in 2018 as one book under its present title. It was named one of the finalists for the Canadian 2019 Prix Aurora Awards in the YA novel category. Then COVID came along – and this second publisher suddenly was no longer able to continue business as usual. For the second time, those many years’ worth of work went out of print. Unwilling to let it go, in 2020 I re-issued Timefall on an independent publishing basis with Amazon.
Alison: Young Adult speculative fiction, featuring time travel, teen parenting, psychic phenomena, and climate disaster
Connie: What was the inspiration for this story?
Alison: Once in a very long while, a galvanizing image will come to me that begs to become a story idea. That was the case with Timefall. For some unknown reason in 1984, my mind’s eye saw a teen girl and her baby – and somebody in a robe was trying to take her baby away! I had no clue what this was all about. The image kept nagging at me even though I was working on, and publishing, other books.
Quite a few years passed before the image crystallized into a tangible story idea. At the time I was very interested in the day-to-day issues faced by teen mothers, issues their peers can’t fathom…and so, Katie and her baby Tyler were “born”. Psychic phenomena have fascinated me for a long time, and Katie’s baby (unbeknownst to her) has incredible psychic powers. The stakes were raised enormously by developing Iannik (the guy in the robe, a thousand years in the future) as the last in a long line of Seers. A lonely misfit with unruly, flawed Sight, who’s able to open the time channel between worlds, everyone fears his powers. Add to this the daunting problem of male infertility in Iannik’s world, and imminent climate catastrophe in Katie’s and Tyler’s present-day world, and all the parts were set in motion.
Connie: What, in your opinion, what’s the difference between a good book and a page-turner?
Alison: Plot-driven page-turners can keep us gripped as we read, carrying us along on an exciting journey. But to my way of thinking, a really good book is layered and gives us a lot to think about, stretching us. It will provide us with multi-dimensional characters who are dealing with important, heart-felt issues in a world that are crafted with nuanced, image-packed language that transports us into another kind of existence, and lingers with us long afterward. Just my take on this question, anyhow!
Connie: Do you have a favorite paragraph/line of dialogue in this novel?
Alison: A clip from Iannik’s point of view in Aaurenan, a thousand years in the future, where things are about to go devastatingly wrong. (Note: Due to male infertility in Iannik’s time, his life-partner Lieda became pregnant via complicated other means that can’t be explained here.)
“In the candlelight, Iannik fingered the Seer’s Stone.
This night Lieda’s brow was hot, her cheeks too pink. She had coughed until she lay exhausted. Now she slept, for he had gone to fetch the fever-brew from Daaiv’d. He stroked the hair back from her face, willing all his strength to her. One moon and more days remained before the birth, but restless dreams had shown Lieda crying out with the pains.
Weariness gripped him; he couldn’t remember when he’d last slept. His eyes saw things which were not there, yet also were not Sight. He bundled himself in his outer garments, wrapping both his and Lieda’s scarves about his face. Perhaps Daaiv’d had some other balm that might help Lieda. And – might he also seek some strength for himself? How could he be of service to Lieda, and the daughter, if he himself were depleted?
Snow crunched beneath his feet. Above, the stars clustered thick. In the distance came the howl of coyotes. Iannik uttered his own cry, feeding his pain to the night. There came an answering call. His heavy eyes scanned the great white stillness. Then he raised his arms, offering himself to Aaurenan, an offering of what had once been young and strong.
The night was very cold. It might be dangerous to continue – and was Daaiv’d now sleeping? He mustn’t disturb the healer too often, for Daaiv’d needed his own rest to care for the People. As Iannik turned back, a tightness gripped his belly and then was gone. The breath whistled from him. Within Lieda’s body, the daughter was making ready to join the People.
It was too early. Lieda lay ill.
Blackness squeezed Iannik’s heart….”
Connie: Who would it be if you were forced to live the rest of your life as one of your characters?
Alison: What an interesting question! From Timefall, I’d choose to be Katie, who comes of age in a world that’s very different from the one she was born into.
Connie: What are your hobbies? Do any of your characters share your hobbies/interests? Do any of your hobbies play a part in your novels?
Alison: Music is an important part of my life. I play several different instruments (recorder, cornet, cello, and piano), and also sing, in amateur community groups. Over the years I’ve taught instrumental music as well. Music often plays a role in my books - less so here in Timefall, than in titles such as Nathaniel’s Violin, Canine Cupid, Foghorn Passage, and Don’t Think Twice.
I love animals and presently live with Sebastian my Shih Tzu cross, and a zebra finch. Animals appear in some of my books, particularly in Canine Cupid, released last year by BWL Publishing, and in a middle-grade novel Dog Alert.
Another thing I love is traveling. I find those interesting destinations often trigger story ideas – such as a short horror story that takes place on a cruise ship heading to Alaska; my middle-grade novel Dog Alert set in Canada’s north; another middle-grade novel Doppelganger that plays out on a cruise to ports in Greece and Turkey; and my soon-to-be-released Strong as a Pharaoh (working title) set during a tour of Egypt.
Thanks so much, Connie, for this wonderful opportunity to showcase Timefall!
As an avid reader and writer since childhood, I’ve always marveled at the power of “story” to open up our worlds, taking us to new places, and to new experiences, that we’re unlikely to encounter in our daily lives. As opposed to laugh-track-based TV sitcoms (for example) that are geared to reach as many viewers as possible, a book provides a personal interaction between reader and text – a situation in which the reader co-creates the story world through her/his own eyes and other lenses. Likewise, in our writing, we explore characters and issues dear to our hearts. Thus we invite readers into a unique world…which provides a template for sharing experiences one-on-one with people we’ve never met.
Writing fiction provides a fascinating avenue for exploring all sorts of life questions. By “becoming”, and empathizing with, my characters, I grow as I take on new perspectives and explore our shared human journey. Good literature can provide a means of connecting people in this troubled world.
What if you’re a teen mother, and your baby is needed a thousand years in the future?
What if you’re last in a long line of Seers, and survival depends on your flawed Sight?
Two worlds are poised on the brink of collapse: one doomed by its lack of vision, and the other by a vision unfulfilled. Can a group of teens find each other – and more importantly, themselves – in time to save at least one world?
Katie lives with her baby Tyler, her mom, and bratty younger brother, struggling with the isolating realities of teen motherhood. Then she falls into another world…
Iannik is last in a long line of Seers – but his Sight isn’t true, and sometimes things go badly wrong. Everyone fears his unruly powers. Over the centuries, the coming of the infant T’laaure has been prophesied as the only hope for Aaurenan’s survival. Can Iannik summon the Child from the doomed, distant past, to save the future?
Is Katie’s baby the one who holds all the answers?
Alison is a member of:
The Writers' Union of Canada; CANSCAIP; The Saskatchewan Writers' Guild; the Children’s Writers’ Round Robin; Saskatchewan Romance Writers
Where Timefall can be purchased, in both print and ebook formats:
Happy Reading everyone!
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