Excerpt from Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

My photo
When people sat down at Sarah Seldon’s blackjack game, they always wanted to talk about The Book. “Should I double down? Should I hit? Dealer, I know you’re a gambler; you could let me win if you wanted to. What does the book say?” She had never read this book, this mythical Bible for gamblers. The truth is there are 2256 books, each teaching its own foolproof winning system. But Sarah had been in the casino business long enough to think with a gambler’s mind. Gamblers knew they could follow all the rules of basic strategy, utilize money management and still lose if they weren’t dealt the right cards. The allure and curse of gambling was that there were no sure things. In the end it all came down to luck; gamblers prayed that Lady Luck would show up and that she would stick around for awhile.

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

#1 Cruise Ship Novel at Amazon

Friday, October 28, 2011


I love books that tell a great story but I want to learn something at the same time. I knew that since Linda Ballou was a travel writer that I would learn about Hawaii but what I didn't realize is that she is a beautiful writer. This story takes place at the time in history where the Hawaiians are introduced to the Europeans as seen from the Hawaiian viewpoint. It is a lush story about a strong woman living in a warlike country. Just get that picture of peaceful Hawaiians out of your head. She weaves a tale that keeps you intrigued all the way to the end. This is a great read about a fierce heroine.

Say hello to adventure travel writer Linda Ballou
A love triangle of extremes has proven to be a solid base for my writing. From my roots in Alaska I received strength, centeredness, and respect for the awful power of nature.  While living in Hawaii I found nurturing, a spiritual awakening, sensuality and the heroine for my historical novel, Wai-nani High Chiefess of Hawaii: Her Epic Journey. In proud California I obtained a degree in English Literature from Northridge University and a doctorate in urban savvy. My non-fiction book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales is a spirited collection of travel narratives. I live in Los Angeles where I continue to enjoy exciting contacts, and friends.

Smelling the flowers at Bridal Vale Falls Telluride

                 My novel is fabled history couched in magical realism that combines truth with folklore and myths of a heroic past. Ka’ahumanu was a woman in history that stirred my imagination. Brave, athletic, strong, passionate, caring and centered in herself, I saw her as a role model and forerunner to the modern woman. She became the inspiration for my character, Wai-nani. I was first introduced to this character in history in the 70’s –a time when women were breaking out of accepted molds. Her literal journey follows the rise of Kamehameha the Great, but her more important mythological journey takes her to her own truth and discovering the extent of her own powers.

Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i is the culmination of my long-standing love affair with the Islands. When I was 28, I took one blissful year off and spent it on north shore of the Island of Kauai. I took a job as a cub reporter on the local paper. It happened that they ran a 200-year anniversary issue spotlighting the arrival of Captain James Cook on Kauai in 1778. This is where ano ano, the seed, was planted and the story took root in my heart.  Historical accounts often speak of the savage Hawaiians stabbing the great navigator in the back.  This prompted me to learn more about what was happening in the Hawaiian culture in 1776. What I learned disturbed me. It’s true that they did stab the good captain. It is also true that Cook’s men trespassed on sacred ground, trampled on religious beliefs and generally ate the natives out of house and home. I was so impressed with the powerful personage of Ka’ahumanu that I determined to tell the story of Cook’s demise and what followed through her eyes.

Women in the ruling, or ali’i class, were separate but equal. Ka’ahumanu was a very high ranking chiefess with privileges, but even she had to eat separately from the men and was not allowed to eat certain foods. The character I have drawn listens to her inner river, acts out her of personal needs and desires and bucks a system with harsh punishments for doing same.  She rises to become the most powerful and best-loved woman in all of old Hawai’i. In the end she brings down the 2,000 year old kapu system and was responsible for the burning of the gods!

Like all Hawaiians, Wai-nani is a water baby finding sustenance and solace in the sea. It is reputed that Ka’ahumanu swam 18 miles a day---- so it is not a stretch to think that she would have made friends in the sea. Tales of dolphin rescues and relationships with humans go back to ancient Greece. When I was on Kauai I interviewed a woman named Bo Bo who swam the wild waters of the Napali Coast. She told me dolphins often joined her and wanted to play.  Wai-nani’s best friend is a dolphin named Eku who saved her from drowning when she was a girl. Much of her time is spent in the sea. Indeed, her name means Beautiful Water. Wai-nani listens to voices whispering in the winds off the velvet green sea cliffs lining the shore, fears Pele, the goddess of the volcano in her fiery home and speaks to gods in every rock flower and tree. She tells us what was happening in her beautiful world when Cook landed on the Big Island bringing new weapons and spreading disease in his wake.

People equate Hawaiians with warm aloha which is what they receive when visiting what Mark Twain described as “The loveliest fleet of islands ever to lay anchor in the South Pacific.”  Indeed, Hawaiians are a generous and loving people in a community where no child goes unloved. However, the “people of old” were constantly warring against one another. They called a truce each year during a four month festival called Makahiki when they rested, honed military skills and feasted. The battle scenes depicted in my book were taken from actual accounts of battles that took place during Kamehameha the Greats rise to power. Kamehameha fulfilled the centuries old prophecy that a chief would be born whose cloud would rest over all of the Islands ending the wars between tribes.

Hula chants, and legends are interwoven thoughout the text. I attempted to mimic the poetry of the Hawaiian language which adds to the transporting affect of the story. The goal of every travel writer is to convey a sense of place. It is my hope that I have captured the sensuality, pageantry and poetry of a time gone by and that Wai-nani serves as a portal into a world you can’t get to any other way.

My travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout is an eclectic mix of stories filled with chills, spills, giggles and squeaks. One reader told me “You book was my salvation. It took out of myself while I as going though a through a very bad patch.”  As an adventure travel writer I hike, horseback ride, raft or kayak in pristine wilderness areas.  Today, my focus is on getting to as many beautiful places I can before they are gone! I have a host of articles and photo essays on my site along with more information about my books. You will also find a free download “How to Make Travel Writing Work for You” along with an invitation to sign up to receive my blog posts.

Overlooking Nelson Lake in New Zealand

I just returned from a spin around The San Juan Skyway through the most splendid country Colorado has to offer. Have Boots Will Travel will appear in RealTravelAdventures.com in Jan. I have several articles set in the Wild West on my site.  I grew up in Southeast Alaska and have articles set there as well as essays in Lost Angel Walkabout. New Zealand remains the most phantasmagorical of the places I have visited thus far. I have a couple of stories set on the North Island in my book and an article or two on my website sharing how to get around the South Island.  I would love to return to NZ and go to Stewart Island-the least disturbed in the environmentally conscious country where only 400 people live year round. Patagonia is on my ever growing list along with Botswana. Places that are less touched by civilization are what inspire me to start packing.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


Revital Shiri- Horowitiz is an Israeli-Iraqi author who has lived many years in the United States. Some years ago she decided to write a novel about her family's exodus from Iraq to Israel. She would  like to share a little bit you about her novel, Daughters of Iraq, and what inspired it, but first she will tell you a  little history about the Jews in Iraq, because not many people know it. I have read this novel and it is beautifully written, and I learned so much about the Middle Eastern immigration to Israel. But now I will let Revital tell you her story.
The history of the Jews in Iraq has been documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BCE. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most historically significant Jewish communities.
The Jewish community of Babylon included Ezra the scribe, whose return to Judea was associated with significant changes in Jewish ritual observance. The Talmud was compiled in Babylonia, identified with modern Iraq.
From the Babylonian period to the rise of the Islamic caliphate, the Jewish community of Babylon thrived as the center of Jewish learning. The Mongol invasion and Islamic discrimination in the Middle Ages led to its decline. Under the Ottoman Empire, the Jews of Iraq fared better. The community established modern schools in the second half of the 19th century.
In the 20th century, Iraqi Jews played an important role in the early days of the Iraq's independence, but the Iraqi Jewish community, numbered at around 120,000 in 1948, almost entirely left the country due to persecution following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Most of them fled to the newly founded state of Israel, and today in the early 21st century, fewer than 100 Jews remain.
Even though I haven't visited Iraq, I did research for my novel. Since there isn't much out there, I mainly used my family as my main resource.
All the Jews who left, like my parents and grand parents, were never able to go back to Iraq. I must mention that the Iraqi government took over all their belongings and properties left behind. Jews were not allowed to leave Iraq even with cash, and only with a very limited amount that left them basically with nothing when they arrived in Israel. My family left Iraq the way I related it in the novel. That part is all true. It is also true that they came from very nice houses, where they'd had servants, but in Israel they had to live in tents for a few years. Many people never got over this very traumatic move. I can tell you that the relationship between my grandparents was never the same after they left Iraq.
My grandfather who worked for the Iraqi government was a very well known person in his community. Coming to Israel with no money or language at the age of almost 50 years old had a great impact on the way his own family members looked at him, not to mention the fact that he could not find a job for a long time. His young kids had to stop going to school and find jobs. My mom worked since she was 17 and was never able to complete her education. My grandmother, who had adored my grandfather before leaving Iraq, just couldn't stand him anymore. He lost his family status, his community status, but actually never regretted moving to Israel.
In his eyes he was so fortunate to be the chosen one, the one from many generations, able to fulfill the dream of living in the holy land, his forefather's land. After so many generations forced to live abroad, he was the one who could live with his family in the Promised Land.
The Wailing Wall - One of the most sacred spots in Jerusalem

All the women play an important role in Daughters of Iraq, including the mother. She is the one tells the family story. She's a composite and a great tool for me to bring the women's story of the Jews in Iraq, and to share about the Jewish Iraqi traditions. I had to kill her in order to justify her. After all she is telling her story to her kids, so why do that unless she was dying. In doing the research for my novel, I would have loved to travel to Iraq, but the situation there is unfriendly to Americans and to Jews specifically. My guess is travel there is not going to happen anytime soon, though I would have loved to go there with my mom, uncles and aunts. It would be a visit to the places of their youth, and a way to uncover even more family stories.
Essentially, I wanted people to learn about Jewish Iraqi history, and especially about the women, and what better way than through a novel.

I laughed, cried, and found myself relating to this beautifully written novel of a family in a world far away. It's a lovely story of humanity, a mother's adoration for her children, and a family's dream for the future. One a scale of 5 stars, I give it an 8. I highly recommend it to both men and women alike. -- Jackie Madden Haugh, Author of My Life in a Tutu

About The Book
Daughters of Iraq is the story of emigration of a Jewish family from Iraq to newly-established Israel as experienced by two sisters: Violet, whom we learn about through a diary she kept after being diagnosed with a critical illness, and through Farida, whose personality unfolds through her relationship with her new surroundings and herself. And through Noa, Violet’s daughter and a student in her twenties in the late twentieth century, who is searching for meaning. Noa embarks on a spiritual quest to the past, so that she can learn how to build her life in the present and for the future. While each of the three women is struggling with her own issues, they are all looking for the same thing: happiness. They have a strong sense of family and of their deep roots. They are all inextricably linked to each other. By the book’s end, the author has painted a powerful and moving canvas of the whole family.

This is a photo of one of my favorite spots to travel to. It is Mount Rainier in Washington State. My family lived there for several years and we loved hiking the great outdoors.

Links for Revital Shiri-Horowitz:

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This week I feature the novelist Inka Piegsa-Quischotte and her novel Sweet Revenge. This novel is a roller coaster of a ride that takes the reader from London to Turkey. Revenge is it sweet or bitter? Inka has a fascinating story of how she came to write this novel, but now I will turn it over to her.

My novel Sweet Revenge has two purposes: to entertain and to alert people to the culture and many beauties of my chosen country, Turkey. To explain how it all came about, I need to tell a bit about my background.

I was born in Germany but have lived and worked in the UK, Switzerland, South Africa and Spain. Until four years ago, I used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Marbella/Spain. At the beginning of my career, I acted as a criminal defense lawyer and in the course of that occupation I met countless ‘colorful’ characters, enough  to inspire a few more novels. Drug dealers, thieves, fraudsters and white collar criminals are no strangers to me, as are prostitutes, strippers, transsexuals and the  seedy environment they move in.

After a few years of close encounters with members of the underworld, I moved to the higher echelons of mergers, acquisitions and property dealings and that’s where I remained for nearly 30 years.

One day, I simply had enough. It didn’t hold any fascination for me and, more or less from one day to the other, I sold my firm, my house in Marbella and my business clothes and decided to pursue my life long dream of becoming a writer. I have written short stories all my life, but due to the demands of my profession, I never had the time or concentration to seriously get into my writing.

Being a nomad at heart, a change of country was called for and when I happened upon a lovely fishing village on Turkey’s Aegean coast, I bought a small home. Being also a city person, I decided to buy another one in Miami and ever since I live the summer in Turkey and the winter in South Florida.

Sweet Revenge really started as a lark. Finally, I had the leisure to let my imagination run wild and as I also had run out of books to read, I thought:  now is the time to write one of my own. I devour books and often read more than one simultaneously, classics, biographies, history books  and best sellers, according to my mood. I wanted to create a novel which would entertain people around the pool or during a long distance flight.

I remembered  a friend in London, who was trying to start a catering business from home and came up with weird ideas for ‘themes’. And another one who had a knack for always choosing the wrong boyfriend. The characters of my book are an amalgam of many real life people. The story just developed as I went along and when I gave the first chapters to my neighbor to read, she wanted to read the rest. That was an incentive to spin the yarn even more and to make things as outrageous and exciting as possible.

On a more serious issue: I have traveled  extensively in Turkey and my present focus is far more on travel writing and photography than on fiction. It irked me that many people I speak to, know only two keywords about Turkey: Istanbul and Cappadocia. That needed to be rectified because it’s difficult to find another country which encompasses thousands of years of history and culture, from the ancient Greeks and Romans, to the Byzantines, Venetians,  Ottomans  and modern day Turkey which juggles Muslim faith and traditions  with a secular state.

My favorite part of Turkey is the Southeast, the region around Mardin, aka The Window to Mesopotamia, Urfa, aka The city of the prophet and Hasankeyf  on the shore of the river Tigris with a medieval stone bridge which, in 2013, will disappear under the waters of a massive  hydroelectric dam.

Hasankeyf’s bridge is my favorite shot of Turkey. As I said, I’m also a city person and therefore return to Istanbul again and again. In fact, I’m in the process of writing an unconventional guide book to Istanbul. The title:’ City of the green-eyed beauty’ a Literary Guide to Istanbul. It will portrait off the beaten path locations and secret corners of Istanbul, based on the books of Pierre Loti, Barbara Nadel and Orhan Pamuk.

The old bridge Hasankey's Bridge
I thought that the cosmopolitan Istanbul as well as the harsh Southeast would make a suitable venue for the plot of Sweet Revenge.

Next to Turkey, my favorite travel spots are all in the Middle East. I have lived for several months in Beirut, then visited Jordan, Egypt, Dubai and Sharjah. I guess, nobody who has ever seen Petra can forget the’ library’ as it emerges at the end of a canyon. Or the majestic Zeus temple of Baalbeck in the Lebanon.

When I am in Miami, I love to make shorter trips to the Caribbean and Puerto Rico is next on my agenda in the winter. Who knows, the rain forest might inspire another entertaining mystery. Meanwhile I continue to share my travel stories on my blog: www.glamourgrannytravels.com and in travel magazines, online and print.

Thanks very much, Cara, for giving me the opportunity to talk about my first novel  Sweet Revenge.

Sweet Revenge available from

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This week I am happy to present Marita Hansen, and her highly praised novel set in New Zealand. In my years on cruise ships I visited New Zealand many times, a chapter in my novel is even set there. It is a beautiful country filled with the friendliest people I have ever met. Many times the casino staff doubled as tour guides, giving me the chance to visit the Maori community in Rotorua, so I was aware of the social tensions that exist in New Zealand. Like Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby or Push by Sapphire, this novel is a graphic look at life in a South Auckland suburb. The novel vividly describes the life led by a group of young adults. Now I will let Marita tell you how this novel came to life.

Behind the Hood is a realistic portrayal of a rough town in New Zealand. I remember when I first put part of it up on Youwriteon and Authonomy (writers websites) people were genuinely shocked and told me that they had no idea New Zealand had these types of places, because it is often portrayed as clean, green and safe.  But, from Auckland to New York, London to Melbourne, we all have our problematic areas.

Another thing that people asked about was why I chose to write about the Maori people. Originally this took me by surprise, and still has me tongue-tied at times, because I never really considered that I was specifically writing about one culture. Instead, it was the settings that influenced my story. This was because at first I had intended on writing a fantasy piece set in Singapore, but changed it because it wasn’t working. And when I placed it in one of my old neighbourhoods in South Auckland, the story suddenly took off and morphed into realism.

                                      The author Marita Hansen.

However, the settings do not alter the fact that my novel is very much character driven, which is another reason why I don’t believe my book is just about the Maori. Instead it’s about New Zealanders from areas like Claydon (based on Clendon Park). Although there are a number of Maori characters, there are also others that aren't, like Rory and Stella, as well as her bunch of friends from West Auckland. Also, Jess and Saul are Samoan, while the Connor family are Irish and Cook Island Maori (which is different from New Zealand Maori). Plus, the characters that have Maori in them also have other nationalities, such as seen in Dante's tattoos. He has both Slavic writing and Maori designs, which reflects his Croatian and Maori heritage. I added this in because there are both Maori and Croatians in my family, which is quite common in the upper part of the North Island. It's a place where a lot of Croatians (from the Dalmatian coast) came to dig gum. And because of how well the Dalis (a nickname) got on with the Maori there were intermarriages. So, again, this isn't a Maori story, this is a New Zealand story.

I have also had people mention Once Were Warriors. Although I touch on similar topics, my book isn't the same and is written very differently. Not only are the styles nothing alike, but Once Were Warriors focuses on one family, and was set in Rotorua (while the movie was set in Otara). In contrast my book encompasses a number of families. Once Were Warriors was also from a different generation. Although it was published and made into a movie in the 90s, the mention of Jake’s slave ancestry suggests that it was set further back.

But, as I said, my novel does touch on similar topics as Alan Duff's.  Domestic violence, suicide, gangs, abuse, crime, and so forth are all portrayed, which shows that these problems have spanned a number of generations.

And because of the crime in my story I had to do a bit of research, such as finding out about the effects of drugs and how a stabbing would feel. I also had to research hospital procedures, because a number of scenes were done there. But other than these, my book largely relied upon what I was familiar with, such my understanding of certain characters as well as the area portrayed. Like any author I incorporated traits from people that I have met as well as some of my own. For example, Maia’s grinning when in trouble is something I do.

                                       Korcula on the Dalmatian Coast

Lastly, although I portrayed the harsher side of life in New Zealand there are MANY areas that are absolutely lovely. I love my country and have missed it intensely since moving to Singapore (due to my husband's work). Though, Singapore is a fantastic place, and I do enjoy travelling and experiencing other cultures. Outside of New Zealand and Singapore, I have been to Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the old Yugoslavia before it split into separate countries. In particular I visited Croatia as I have family there, plus I also travelled to Slovenia and climbed Mount Triglava. I went there on the cusp of my sixteenth birthday. And if I had to choose a place that I most enjoyed travelling to, it would be the gorgeous island of Korcula (on the Dalmatian Coast). However, my favourite place in the world is a little town called Howick in East Auckland (New Zealand). The beaches are fantastic and it holds lots of good memories.

                                         Howick on the New Zealand Coast

Thank you, Cara, for this opportunity, as well as the readers. Take care.



Here is an excerpt of the interview I gave for THE BOOK BLOG. It is British blog about publishing and writing and has a section on featured authors. I thought I would share the story of how I came to write my novel.

Tim I am so happy to be appearing on a British blog because my book is such a blend of the British and Americans. It is set on a British ship with many nationalities in the crew.
The road to my novel, Cruise Quarters – A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships, is a long journey with lots of twist and turns much like a good story. After I graduated college I got a job teaching high school in North Carolina. On a summer break I drove across country with two friends and we all got jobs in a casino in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe was a beautiful place and casino jobs were the best ones to have, especially dealing. Well they all soon went home but I stayed. I worked at Caesars Palace for a few years but then I moved to the North Shore of the Lake. The place I worked at was an “old school” casino, it had been a rat pack hangout in the old days and even now autographed photos of movie stars still adorn the walls. The casino overlooked the lake and as I dealt I would look out at a beautiful view of the crystal blue water.  The border between Nevada and California runs down through the middle of the casino.

The owner was a plumbing contractor from Fresno. The head of security was an ex-Mossad officer and every few weeks we would be strapped down and given lie detector tests. They let porn movies be filmed in the casino and there were rumors that he rigged the slot machines. I’m not sure if that was all true but he did manage to get his casino closed down by the Nevada gaming commission, no small feat. One day a sports agent with Hollywood connections played on my game and encouraged me to write down all my great casino stories. That was the day I became a writer, well my script got as far as HBO where it was eventually rejected but that didn’t matter to me. I was a writer.

A year later I went back to the real world and became a systems analyst by day, writer by night. I lived in Boston, the home of perpetual students and so I was able to take writing classes, join critique groups and improve. After a few years I began working on an MA in writing at Emerson because it had connections in Hollywood. Well, just before I was scheduled to intern in Los Angeles as a script reader I got the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. My choice was spend my dwindling savings on an internship or get paid to see the world. I wasn’t scared of going - only staying. The Germans have a word for it torschlusskpanik, the fear of missing the boat.

I stayed at sea for five years and I would like to say that I wrote everyday but I didn’t. I spent those years soaking up all the history I could. The ship was my home and the crew bar was my living room and the nights I spent there were research since I planned to tell the story of all my crewmates someday. And then on my last contract I met Ray and my novel became a love story and that surprised me more than anyone else.

We settled in Palm Springs and I began my book. I had written most of it when I decided to test it out by taking a novel writing class at UCLA. One of the exercises in the class was to try out five opening lines, well the whole class voted for my current opener. My professor liked it so much she became my first editor. I started it in first person, but when I decided to include Ray we switched to third person. Ray’s adventures dealing around the world were just too good to leave out, and I really wanted to include the male point of view.

The goal of our book was to tell our story in a realistic way. After so many ridiculous casino movies like The Cooler, I had had enough.  I am the cynic and Ray is the happy chappy but we both wanted a book that rang true. We wrote down all our ship and casino stories in a book and then built a novel around them.

I casually handed our manuscript to one of my ship friends and asked her to read it. The next day she called me raving about our book. In fact she had already run off three copies for her co-workers. Then I knew that we had nailed it. My biggest beef with the books I had been reading for the last few years were that they all sounded alike. Especially the love stories, I didn’t need to dress ours up it was exciting enough. Our book is based on true stories but it is still a novel. I was so disappointed to learn that Three Cups of Tea was a lie. Surely Greg Mortenson knew that when you elaborate or move events around for dramatic effect it makes your book a novel.

I was always afraid of showing my friends my book but they turned out to be my best readers offering great criticism. I don’t know why I hesitated, dealers are avid readers, with a break every hour they always have book on the go.

About the author:
Cara Bertoia is the author of Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. Her novel is really a travelogue, a narrative, a romance, a self-help manual for gambling and cruising, and a real-life story all rolled into one funny, obsessive, and entertaining story of two people whose separate life journeys meet at a crossroads. Kindle Fire Dept. says, "This novel is a gem that is nothing short of a vacation in a book!"

Please check out her most popular posts at CaraBetoia.blogspot.com  to find more blogs about cruising, casinos and anything that catches her fancy.

Below are the links to Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

Thursday, August 25, 2011


For my first novel I am pleased to feature the work of Georgina Young-Ellis. Her novel is ranked number 1, in travel for Great Britain, but hers is a different kind of travel novel. I first heard about Georgina's novel from mutual friends. I love everything about England, and I am also a fan of Jane Austen's novels. TheTime Baroness is a great read, but I will let Georgina tell you more about how her engaging and entertaining novel came to be.

The story of The Time Baroness by Georgina Young-Ellis.
I became inspired to write The Time Baroness simply based on the fact that I’d read all of Jane Austen’s novels so many times. Enjoying her books as I did, I started to wonder: if I could time-travel back to that era, what would it be like for me? How would a modern woman manage to fit in? My main character Cassandra became my representative, going from 100 years in the future to 1820s England, exploring it in a way no person of our time can do. This must be the reason The Time Baroness manages to always hover around #1 in British travel books on Amazon, because though it’s not really a travel book, it takes the reader to County Hampshire in southern England during the Regency Era, as well as Bath, Lyme Regis and London.

Beyond reading all of the 19th century English literature I could get my hands on, I researched for The Time Baroness by reading biographies of my favorite authors from that period and trolling endless websites describing clothing, food, manners, etc. of the era.  Nevertheless, I purposely have Cassandra making mistakes in her dress, speech and behavior because prepare as she might have for the trip, there are some things she will inevitably get wrong. So this is the basis of The Time Baroness: how this woman of the future manages to integrate herself into 1820 England, how the people she meets impact her in a way she never imagined, including romantically, and how quickly things can take a turn for the worse, plunging her into dangerous situations.

I had so much fun writing The Time Baroness that I began to think about other places Cassandra could visit once she returned from her Regency England adventure. As a resident of New York City, and a person fascinated with the history of abolition and the Underground Railroad, I decided to set the next book in Pre-Civil War New York. The working title for that nearly completed work is The Time Goddess, (though I’m also tossing around the idea of calling it The Time Heiress so watch for either of those titles). Inspired by Cassandra’s exploration of 1820’s England and 1850’s NYC, I decided that these books will become part of a series which will ultimately take the reader to Renaissance Italy, Shakespearean England and finally to 1950’s USA.

You can probably see from the settings of my present and future books that there are two countries that I especially love to travel in: England and Italy. I’m a person that really likes to immerse myself in the places I visit, and rather than hurry around to various tourist attractions, my family and I usually rent a car and drive through rural areas, staying at B and B’s and getting to know the countryside and small towns.  I feel I get to know places better this way, a useful thing for a writer.

Thanks for the chance to share my process and thoughts on travel, even my imaginary travels into the distant past. I hope readers will join me there in The Time Baroness and future works.

Georgina Young-Ellis