Jillian Winchester is back. As in waaaaay back, in time. My latest book is Spirit in Time, now with my publisher, and will likely be released early next spring.
Every book I write is my favorite. I can’t help myself. I fall in love with each of them. Spirit in Time is no different. This story is a bit different from my others in that it’s a time-travel tale. In this book, the third in my Spirited Quest series, ghost-blogger Jillian falls back a hundred and fifty years to land in 1872 Sacramento, California. Think post-gold-rush era, railroad barons, a time before telephones and electricity. It’s clear my character will need a different way to earn a living.
Here’s the blurb:
Time travel isn’t real. It can’t be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding. Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting.
The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?
Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.
Will time be her friend or foe?
As a former Californian, I grew up learning so much of that state’s rich history. Decades later, I still get a thrill when bits and pieces of that state’s past emerges. Sacramento is the capital and also near the first gold discovery. Men and women from all over the world flooded the region in the middle part of the nineteenth century. Scarcely twenty years after the gold discovery, Sacramento was made the state capital. Progress came fast to this once Old West town. While there were still plenty of saloons, brothels and cowboys, there were also fine Victorian mansions, opera houses and a thirst for innovation. 1872 seemed a perfect year in which to set my story, at a time when Old West met New West.
The book also required a fair amount of research. As I wrote, I constantly bumped up against questions: What kind of plumbing, if any, did houses have? Were there any ready-made clothes in 1872? What kinds of hats did ladies wear? When was the capitol built? As I wrote, I had to keep in mind some words – such as okay, fired, hey, etc – weren’t used then.
Historical fiction requires another set of skills, and it was fun adding to my writer’s toolkit. In fact, I enjoyed historical fiction so much, I’ve started another one, which I’ll share more about in a few months.
My Spirited Quest series will eventually consist of at least five books – I already have the next one outlined, and will start it early next year. I suspect Jillian’s adventures may go longer than five books since I love a good ghost story. She has a personal mystery to solve, something that has plagued her since book one. I’d like that mystery to have a conclusion before the end.
Spirit in Time doesn’t yet have a cover; my publisher is working on that right now! Once it’s finished, I’ll certainly share it here. I’m eager to see this one. I hope to announce the publication date by the end of the year. This story is such a bright spot to me in this difficult year we’ve all experienced. The book swept me away to another place and era (in my imagination), something novels are so adept at doing.
This was the perfect time, I believe, to write a book set back a hundred and fifty years. I have to admit, after learning what wasn’t around back then, I’m grateful for where and when I live more than ever.