Cherry-Picking Time

An editor to whom I’d previously sold reprints contacted me last week about possibly contributing to a new anthology.

Immediately, this made my heart sing. It sang even more when I found out I could write any subgenre of “hot romance” that I chose. Whee! Ideas ideas ideas! I’ve been missing writing short fiction, and the freedom it offers to experiment.

As I often do, I went promptly to my friends on LiveJournal, where my account allows me to post polls. I created a poll offering every story element that appealed: cross-dressing, circuses, space opera, the Crimean War, time travel, World War II, dystopias, cuisine, superheroes. After cross-dressing, the top choice was the Crimean War.

I adore writing things set in World War One, but I’ve also had a desire to set something during the Crimean War, mainly because I know little about it. I mean, there’s Florence Nightingale and there’s the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of the Light Brigade. Half a league, half a league, / Half a league onward, / All in the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred. I want to go a little deeper than that.

Writing a story is a great excuse to learn more. I have a couple of books already, and until now they’ve been languishing unread. I ordered two more almost immediately. I’m already pondering where in the war to set my story – Balaclava seems an obvious choice.

But then there’s the second element. Time travel was also a top choice. I’ve never done time travel. One of my favorite science fiction novels is Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and though I don’t aspire to anything so complex, I love the way she integrated time travel and scholarly study; Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden has time-traveling agents as well, whose motives are more economic. Regardless of what I choose, time travel and a major event like the Battle of Balaclava would make perfect sense. And those two ideas are already percolating rapidly in my brain.


Related posts:

Synergy in Writing and Research.

The Research Book Dilemma.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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