Join Kate Christenson as she battles a past that was never meant to be hers!
Linked Through Time (Solstice Publishing)
Fifteen year old Kate Christenson is pretty sure she’s about to experience the worst possible summer at her grandparent’s farm in rural Baudette, Minnesota. Without cable, cell phones, or computers, Kate is headed for total isolation and six tedious weeks of boredom. Until the storm.
A freak lightning accident has Kate waking up in 1960. But she is not herself. She is the aunt she never met, but has eerily resembled her entire life. Thrust into living a dirt poor, rural farm life, Kate struggles to make sense of her situation - a boyfriend with a dark side, a “townie” who steals her heart, and the knowledge that 1960 is the very summer her aunt drowns in the local river.
Even with every precaution, Kate cannot stop fate, and an unexpected twist adds to her dilemma. To her horror, Kate finds out firsthand her aunt’s death was not an accident or a suicide, but something much, much worse.
Lost Through Time (Solstice publishing)
“There never was a body, you know.”
Such is the bizarre statement from Gran only weeks after Kate has returned from an accidental time traveling incident, surviving certain death…twice. Capturing Sarah’s killer seemed to be the reason for Kate’s disappearance, but Gran believes otherwise.
Learning of Kate’s power to time travel loosens memories and desires Gran has long since buried. Gran is set on finding Sarah, who she believes never died the night Dave Slater threw her in the river, but instead, went back in time through the Rapid River portal. With rudimentary research and analysis, Gran thinks she has unlocked the secrets to controlling the time traveling link that she and Kate share with their ancestors and she plans to use Kate to bring Sarah back.
When Kate agrees, she is shocked to find out that in the more aggressive form of time travel, she doesn’t become Sarah, but trades places with her, sending Kate to Baudette, Minnesota in the year of 1910, and Sarah ahead to the year 2000.
Baudette’s catastrophic 1910 fire and typhoid epidemic are the least of Kate’s worries once she discovers what has happened. Her chances of a return trip are thwarted with the struggle just to survive, and Sarah, reliving her lost childhood in the ease of current day life, decides to never return to the past, leaving Kate to suffer the life she has left behind.
Gran is torn - get rid of the daughter she has dreamed of finding for four decades, or rescue the precious granddaughter who risked everything for her selfish dream? And to what lengths will Sarah go to destroy any chances of Kate coming back? Will Sarah succeed in severing the link?
Excerpt from LINKED THROUGH TIME
Steering carefully into the gravel drive of the Rapid River parking lot, I swore under my breath as the bike’s rear wheel slid on loose gravel. Trying to right the bike too quickly, I ended up swerving sharply to the left and crashing into the brush at the side of the gravel lot. Flying over the handlebars, I landed in a patch of overgrown weeds, my knee striking a rock hidden in the ground. Pain radiated from my knee, paralyzing me for a moment. I lay sprawled face first in the grass, breathing in the smell of earth and dry grass, cursing myself and everything on the planet.
Emotions overwhelmed my frazzled, fragile mind and I let loose with a string of profanities that would have definitely earned me a whipping. Rubbing my throbbing knee, I groaned.
Lightning flashed and the breeze picked up as if on cue, sending the cattails above my head into an agitated dance.
With great effort, I stood and flexed my leg. I could feel the slightest trickle of blood dripping a warm path down my shin. Perfect, I grimaced. Can anything else possibly go wrong tonight?
My vision had adjusted slightly to the moonless night, but I still had to partly feel my way to the place Travis and I spent the evening. Pushing through the brush, I couldn’t help but sense that uneasy, creepy feeling that comes from wandering in the dark, as though eyes watched you and monster hands waited to grab at your feet. My heart pounded loudly in my ears, the tingling creep of fear working its way from my head down through my limbs. I forced myself to keep my eyes forward, ignoring the nagging feeling that someone or something watched me from the shadows of the rocky shore.
Limbs of the interlocking pines poked and prodded my bare arms as I threaded my way through the trees. The pounding of the rapids had increased with the coming of the storm; the wind tossed the water upon the rocks, sending spray high into the air.
When I broke through the tree line, I stood mesmerized by the awesome power of the roaring water. It looked as if the rapids were fighting to break free of their rocky channel, its watery fingers washing over the rocks, reaching far down the wall, only to withdraw and try again.
Above the churning waters, a simple two-lane bridge hung defiantly in the air, its thick concrete arches planted firmly around the dangerous rocks. Suddenly, a semi loaded with logs thundered across the bridge overhead; its headlights lighting up the darkness for a matter of seconds. I used the momentary help to break my gaze from the water and search the outer banks for my sweater.
A flicker of movement amidst the trees caught my line of sight, and I focused in on a ring of pines to my right; the very place Travis and I had been a few hours earlier.
“Travis?” I called out hopefully, thinking he had remembered to retrieve my sweater.
Excerpt from LOST THROUGH TIME
I felt the exact moment my heart stopped beating in my chest.
“Where’s Mary?” I said, trying to keep the alarm from rising in my voice. The group looked around, stunned.
Vivie handed Gracie to James. “She was just here. I swear it.”
Frantic, we strained to see across the wagon bridge into Spooner. The brilliant blond tresses of Mary’s head were nowhere to be seen.
Ruth spoke up. “That man took her to the depot.”
I stared hard at Ruth, trying to process the words, but not understanding. “What man?” I said, confused. There were dozens of people crossing the bridge rushing in all directions. Like ants on a collapsing anthill, the twin towns were alive with chaos, the people coming and going with what looked like little purpose. “What man?” I said again, the panic seizing my voice and pushing it another octave higher. I grasped Ruth’s arms in a painful, panicked grip.
Ruth shrank away, afraid I might lash out. “I don’t know. I was watching John. Aunt Vivie told me to watch John.” Her eyes welled with tears. “I had John,” she insisted again, afraid of taking the blame.
“What did the man look like? What was he doing?” I demanded.
“He was that man from the backyard. The big man who touched Mary’s hair. I heard him say he could help her run faster. For her to take his hand.”
Sickness heaved inside and I clenched my jaw.
“You were getting sick over the bridge,” Ruth accused. “You weren’t helping at all! Mary couldn’t keep up and she was crying!”
Vivie reached out and gripped my shoulders. Without saying a word, we stared hard into each other’s eyes, the truth of the situation passing between us as though we were speaking aloud. McGraw had bided his time, watched us from afar and waited for a weak moment. He couldn’t possibly know the danger he faced. Was it a ploy? Would he really take Mary? Or was he just trying to get me alone to give chase and play his twisted game of revenge?
“I’ll go,” Vivie said, the sacrifice evident in the firm line of her mouth. “You can’t fall for his trap, Kate. He won’t do anything to me.”
“No,” I argued. “Too dangerous. If something happens to you, then Gran will never be born, and then, neither will I.”
Q&A with Jessica
1. The question that is always asked—what inspired you to write your two time travel books?
I grew up with a large family. Dad was one of eleven children, so I have endless tales of cousins and extended family. Dad’s stories always stuck with me because he grew up with nothing. Absolutely nothing! He did not have indoor plumbing until high school - in Northern Minnesota! I admire him and wanted to keep his stories alive. A lot of what happens to Kate in “Linked” were true events from my dad’s childhood. Lost Through Time mentions a disaster that actually occurred in my home town in 1910. I guess I just really like to keep the stories of our ancestors from dying out. They were true, hard core Americans fighting just to make a living.
2. Your take on time travel is unique did you do any research to help you form the idea?
I love the idea of using something that had to do with the region. Of course, northern lights are not often seen as brilliantly as in Alaska or Canada, but they are amazing and kind of mysterious, so I thought they could be a believable reason!
3. What challenges have you overcome in having such a take on time travel?
As with any book, I had to keep going back and forth to remember my rules and events to make things happen. Since I change the rules in the second book, I had to really sketch out why and how Kate could travel differently than other characters.
4. You create a very realistic picture of farm life in the 1960s—did you do research? If not, how did you create such a realistic picture without research?
I actually lived on the farm I describe. For a few short months, I had to live with my grandparents in the very house my dad grew up in. They were still doing the same chores and living the same kind of lifestyle - except with indoor plumbing of course! The chores were endless and I absolutely hate haying!
5. Who is your favorite character and why?
I love Kate. She reminds me of myself. I was the snotty city girl that was taken out of the city and moved to a small northern MN town when I was fifteen. I thought my life was over! I learned a lot about myself as a person and learned how to work outside. I appreciate my dad more, and am so glad to have been raised closer to his family. I love Kate’s growth and life lessons about boys. There are good boyfriends out there and bad… definitely something we have to learn!
6. In Book One you create sympathy for the character of Sarah, but in book two she’s quite evil. Was it hard, making a character that was originally likeable into a bad character?
Yes. It was actually my husband’s idea to create a villain. He basically said that the story will go nowhere without a villain, so we decided Sarah had the most to be angry and vengeful about! Once I started, it was really fun to write the villain part because I never get to act that way. It was a peek into the dark side!
7. Kate matures a lot through Book One. Did you always plan this, or did she mature as you wrote the novel?
Kate was really a mirror of me. I think I wanted to show that from day one - how she can go from a judgmental teenager focusing on her own needs, to learning about serving others. I think everyone makes this same transition at some point in their lives; it’s just a question of when.
8. In Linked Through Time, keeping track of so many brothers and sisters was hard for Sarah, how did you do it as an author?
I literally took my dad’s family and just changed the names! He had 6 brothers and 5 sisters, and I just kept picturing them in my mind.
9. In Linked Through Time who was your favourite brother or sister?
Probably a tie between Dean and Rodney. I identify with both of their personalities. Dad had a little of each, so I brought out his tough military side in Rodney and his protective side in Dean.
10. How did you evolve the story of Linked Through Time into Lost Through Time?
I didn’t want Kate’s story to be over. I knew I wanted to write about Baudette’s historic fire, so once I decided to bring Sarah back into the picture, it all fell into place. I love history and am trying to decide how to connect with the final chapter in Kate’s and Sarah’s life in Book Three.
11. We saw a very little bit of Travis’ son—will we see more of him?
T.J. will make an appearance in Book Three. I think we will see a bit more develop with him. I want Kate’s story to have something good in it for her. Though it is a little Jerry Springer, I think Kate deserves a good man and some closure in all the chaos she lives in.
12. What is the title of the next book in the trilogy?
As of right now, Destroyed In Time, recommended to me by another Solstice author, Michael Thal. I am still in the early stages of defining the book. I have to be really careful how I end this book.
13. When did you start writing?
I didn’t really start writing books until a few years ago, but I have always loved writing and reading. They go hand in hand, I think.
14. As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
Finding time to write. I have three kids and it is a constant tornado in the house. I try to take some time once a week to nail down some outline ideas.
15. You are with an independent publisher, Solstice Publishing, how did you find them?
I submitted my work based on a newsletter I received called Children’s Writer. They give contact names and emails and it just happened to work out that Nik Morton liked the manuscript. [Nik is no longer EIC of Solstice].
16. What do you like best about being with a smaller press?
I like the camaraderie with the other authors. We have a daily interaction online. Mostly we use it for questions or support, but it’s nice to have others in the same boat as yourself.
17. What is the biggest challenge of being with a smaller press?
Marketing. There just isn’t enough time or money to get the word out. It has to be done over time, mostly doing your own. But Solstice is trying hard to work with everyone and do what they can with their resources. I was recently voted Solstice’s Author of the Year, so that was very exciting and proof that I do have fans out there that love the books.
18. For budding authors out there, how much say do you think you have in the final product, from cover to the insides, to the marketing?
Depending on the publisher, you can have a lot of say in your product. I wouldn’t let someone change my work completely, especially if it was something I didn’t believe in. Stay true to your style and someone will come along that likes it!
19. Other than writing, what are some things that you love to do?
I love volleyball and camping, and outdoor things in general. I love, love, love to read! A good book on the beach is my heaven!
A selection of reviews:
5*- Hannah- “As someone who grew up in Minnesota, I enjoyed the Midwestern nuances. The story line has the perfect amount of complexity to allow for an easy read with a plot that keeps you guessing. I will be referring my friends and family to this book, and am excited to read more by this author in the future.”
5*- Author Jennifer Comeaux-“ I haven't read many time travel stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. What I loved most about it were the rich details that put me back in the 1960s rural setting and the relationship between Kate and her father in the past. It was such a neat way to strengthen the bond between father and daughter - a bond that was very shaky in present day. The story kept me in suspense throughout as I wondered if Kate would be able to change the past, and the ending was definitely a surprise! I'll be looking out for more from Jessica Tornese in the future.”
5*-Author Nancy Wood-“… There's no internet or cell service. No cable. And before Kate even makes it into the farmhouse, she accidentally smashes her iPod: a clean separation from the life she knew. Kate has issues with everyone, from her dad to grandparents to her mother. Nothing is made easier by the fact that Kate's a dead ringer for her Aunt Sarah, who committed suicide at age 15. But when Kate is transported back to 1960, resurrected as Sarah, her once-burning issues begin to seem trivial in light of what she's facing. Life is so different! Every member of the family works long, hard hours on the farm. There's Sarah's questionable relationship with intimidating boyfriend Dave Slator. There's a new love interest, Travis Kochevar, a townie. There's Sarah's siblings, Kate's dad, and other aunts and uncles. And there are the secrets Sarah keeps, secrets that she doesn't even share with her closest sibling, Kate's dad. With Sarah's death looming, Kate has to figure out why she's there. Kate grows up during her stay in 1960… matured, much more compassionate, and much more aware of love, loyalty, and family. This book drew me in and moved along flawlessly. There's something for every reader: the paranormal, romance, suspense, and a mystery with a twist. Jessica Tornese's deft writing will keep you turning the pages!”
5*- Jboy- “Jessica definitely delivers on her sequel to Linked Through Time. It takes a crazy twist at the beginning and it keeps your attention to the very end. I'm hoping there will be a third book since I really enjoy Jessica's writing style and storytelling.”
5*-MN girl- “I think I liked this book even more than the first! I was surprised at the development of Sarah's character, and felt the suspense building throughout the book as well. Knowing what was supposed to happen, and waiting to see what would happen just made the story fly by. The developments at the end of the book leave me feeling excited to see what this author has in store for the third instalment of Kate's story!”
Author Bio, Links, and Contact
Jessica Tornese was inspired by her home town Baudette, MN. She graduated from high school there and continued her education at Minnesota State University – Moorhead where she earned a degree in education. She spent several years coaching in the Junior Olympic volleyball program in Minnesota as well as the junior varsity team for Lake of the Woods High School in 2010.
Her favourite hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, playing volleyball, and extreme outdoor sports like caving, ziplining, and white water rafting. Jessica is also active in her church and has run several Vacation Bible School programs and Sunday school programs. She enjoys working with kids of all ages. She hopes to finish her Linked trilogy soon, and continue writing. Recently, she self-published her first juvenile fiction book for kids online (see M&M Twins). Jessica is married and has three children. Her family recently relocated to a small town in south Florida.