The time travel piece of the book was by far the hardest part to write about. The entire idea for The Clay Lion came from a dream. I woke up having had a particularly vivid dream involving my sister and me traveling through time to fix problems. I do not remember much more of the dream than that, but I immediately wrote down a few ideas about time travel and how I could incorporate it into a story. I began writing the book with only a skeleton idea of how the time travel portion of the story was going to work out. About a third of the way through the original manuscript, I realized that how I envisioned the time travel working would be impossible for Brooke to do in real life. I had planned on her family and everyone around her remembering what had happened to her before her first trip, but as I continued writing, I determined that it would be impossible for them to remember if her timeline was reset to account for the changes she was making. It would have to be reset over the origin of the trip, thereby erasing the memories of everyone but the traveler, in this case, Brooke.
Another issue I encountered with the time travel was whether or not the travelers were gone in the present for the same amount of time they were spending in the past. For example, during her first trip, Brooke traveled into the past for six months. In the original manuscript, Brooke returned to the present having missed six months of her own life because of the trip. Knowing that Brooke would be traveling several times throughout the course of the novel, I knew that this was going to be an impossibility, not only because it would have taken years of her life away, but also because then every traveler would end up with large spans of time within their lives that they would not be present for. This would be a huge problem for many travelers, so it was something that I needed to rectify. I finally decided that in the present day, no time would be lost for the traveler. You leave and return in the same day, effectively missing nothing of your present life.
Both of these issues, along with several others, required a significant amount of editing and revisions as I wrote. There were many days (and nights) that I was not able to write any of the storyline because I was bogged down in the intricacies of the time travel. Strangely, most of my inspiration was given to me in the middle of the night and I was forced awake by bursts of inspiration regarding the time travel that needed my immediate attention. I was never so glad for my overactive subconscious!
In the end, I believe that I was able to work out many of the details regarding the time travel that exists in Brooke and Branson’s world. Having grappled for so many months with the difficulties that it involves, I firmly believe that I will never experience time travel in my own life. I believe it may very well be an impossibility in our world. But if it isn’t, just in case, I’m already making my list of what things I would like to do with my trip.
What would you do with yours? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!