Great news -- I've sold a novel to Skyhorse/Night Shade Books, called Weighing Shadows.* It's a time-travel novel, something I've always wanted to write, though somehow I never got around to it before this book. And I have to say it was as much fun as I thought it would be, researching history, playing around with paradoxes. The hardest part was trying to come up with ways that the characters wouldn't just go back in time and change all the problems I threw at them, but I think I managed to work everything out.
This is also possibly my first explicitly feminist novel. Feminism, these days, seems to be a dirty word, attacked from all sides (see the comment section for just about any post that even vaguely suggests women are equal to men; see also statements from Republican congressmen), and I wanted to speak up, to be one of the people giving the women's side of the argument. I also wanted to show that the idea some people have, that men were in charge throughout history, was not always true.
So my characters get to visit times where power dynamics and relationships between men and women were different -- first ancient Crete, which was probably a matriarchy; then the Library of Alexandria and the mathematician Hypatia; and finally southern France during the time of the troubadours. All of this, of course, meant doing a ton of research. Ancient Crete was the hardest, because so little is known about it. (It was also the most fun, in one way, because I got to make things up. I did try to keep to the known facts, though.)
Crete was hard to write about for another reason -- the authors of the books I read seemed unable to imagine what a country ruled by women would look like. There was one book where the evidence showed pretty clearly that that Crete was a matriarchy, and then the author went on to call the famous throne in the palace of Knossos "the throne of King Minos." King, really? Another author, Rodney Castleden, wrote, "Women and their children are mentioned on the tablets too, without any reference to their menfolk, implying slavery and absent males." I don't know -- could there be another reason the men are absent?
All the while I was writing this book the Internet seemed to be full of articles about the lack of good women characters in time-travel novels. I wanted to point to my book and shout, "Here! Over here!" but since it wasn't out yet I had to keep silent, which, I have to say, was extremely frustrating. Now, though, I get to finally say something -- "Hey look -- over here! A book about women and time travel!"
*The title is from a dream I had. I don't usually recommend dreams as a source of ideas, but in this case it seemed to fit.
Some splendid authors--if you omit that DiFi guy--talk about writing at short length.