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Author Interview: Donna Balon
How did you come up for the book’s title: Sam Time?
I’ve always loved the name Samantha and the nickname Sam. Shortly after I began writing the book, the title popped into my head. It’s a short easy-to-remember title. (“Time” should be helpful in keyword searches for “time travel” stories.)
In the first chapter, Samantha’s boyfriend tries to persuade her to move in with him. He says, “I want Sam time.” Many chapters later, readers will discover that Grant’s nickname from his West Point days is also Sam. So when Samantha time travels to the past, being with Grant is Sam time. It’s a play on words.
What’s on your bookshelf closest to your workspace?
I have two dozen books on writing: On Writing Well by William Zinsser; The Writer’s Art by James J. Kilpatrick; Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane; and The Chicago Manual of Style to name a few.
Is there a memory from grade school that you still apply today?
I do have a memory in grade school—perhaps 5th grade—for a writing assignment in which we were required to organize paragraph sentences in the best sequence. When reviewing my own writing, I look for good sentence order, often rearranging for the best flow.
How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
Once I start writing, I avoid reading or rereading any historical fiction books lest I subconsciously start to imitate another author’s writing.
What types of books do you read?
I like historical fiction but the last couple years I’ve been reading nonfiction to research this book.
by Donna Balon
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
When her fiancé is away on business, lonely Samantha Hunter despairs and absorbs herself in historical research. Her nighttime dreams being so vivid, Samantha believes she’s traveling to a past century. As she navigates the Victorian era rules of dos and even more don’ts, she charms Ulysses S Grant while struggling to maintain her present-day romance.
During the night, Samantha had a vivid dream. She was in a rural town wearing her Victorian-style dress. The weather was cool so she wrapped the crocheted afghan around her shoulders. And her sockless feet were cold in her slip-on shoes.
The few men she saw were in worn, soiled work clothes and walked with purpose. The so-called roadways were not paved but dirt paths. No cars or trucks, but horses and carts. A few wooden one-story buildings scattered here and there.
This must be a dream in which the clock has been turned back, Samantha thought. But where am I?
She strolled, aware she had not seen any other women. Pulling the afghan around herself snugly, she walked with her head tilted down to avoid catching the eye of any man in whatever this place was, glancing up often to learn more of her surroundings.
Then two women hurried toward her, each carrying a wooden bucket of water. Their cotton dresses hung to their ankles, with full skirts gathered at the waist of fitted bodices. Plain white cotton bonnets covered their heads, and shawls were wrapped around their shoulders. They looked at Samantha disapprovingly. Her dress was too fancy for this rural town. Moreover, she wasn’t wearing a bonnet or hat; a bare head was a means of solicitation by prostitutes. She hugged her body with the afghan, which served as a shawl to hide her uncorseted torso.
The dream seemed authentic. Despite her uneasiness, she thought, Enjoy the dream. If I don’t like it, I’ll wake myself up.
Around a corner, she spotted a few men in uniform. Soldiers. Maybe the army. This might be a small town next to an army fort, Samantha guessed. Still, not a good place for a woman.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author Donna Balon debuts Sam Time, a novel well-researched and professionally edited by quality talent from the publishing industry. Donna resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband.