Title: INTO THE DIM
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.
Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.
The 2013 winner of the coveted #PitchWars, Janet B Taylor, has four years' experience writing web content for a major television network fan site (CBS) that garners over a hundred thousand hits a day. Janet travels extensively to those places where her novels are set, often roaming around at night to commune with the famous historical figures about which she loves to write. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the SCBWI and the Historical Novel Society, and lives in a tiny town in Arkansas with her family.
Brittany: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Janet: Dude…when I wrote Into The Dim didn’t even know what those terms were. I just sat down and wrote the dang thing. Now, with book 2, I’m sparing myself that hair-ripping nightmare and using a loose outline. It allows me to keep on track and weave in all the threads, while also giving me the freedom to just let go and see what’ll happen. Who’ll spring to life unexpectedly. THAT is one of my fave things.
Brittany: Have you always been interested in history?
Janet: Always! Even in school, history was my favorite subject. I think it’s the thought of one person having all that power. A king could decide they didn’t like someone and—BAM!—Off with their head! (That…and the gorgeous clothes.)
Brittany: How much research did you have to do in order to write INTO THE DIM?
Janet: So, so, SO much! I’ve been effectively doing research most of my life, really, if you count reading a crap-ton of historical fiction and visiting so many castles, palaces, and historical locations over the years.
Brittany: I really love your version of Eleanor of Aquitaine, what made you want to write about her?
Janet: I’ve been crushing on Eleanor since I was in Junior High and watched the movie ‘The Lion in Winter’ starring the incomparable, Katherine Hepburn. As an adult, I read everything I could get my hands on about this fascinating queen. She was truly remarkable. Queen of both France AND England. Ruled England when Henry II, her husband, was off playing soldier. Advocated education for women. Endowed countless Abbeys. The woman gave birth to ten living children, and lived to her mid-eighties in an age where the average life span for women was thirty-six years old. She…was a ROCK STAR!
Brittany: Do you have any unconventional writing habits?
Janet: Hmm.. Well, I start writing around three o’clock in the morning, EVERY DAY. Day in/Day out. And yes, I’m aware I should be declared insane. :D
Brittany: What was the most difficult part of writing INTO THE DIM?
Janet: The hardest part for me was translating the images of the settings in my head in a way that would make the past come alive for the reader. Dialogue has always come easy for me. Descriptions are harder. I either write too little…or way, WAY too much. My editor, the wonderful Sarah Landis, would agree wholeheartedly with this statement.
Brittany: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you know you wanted to write for a living?
Janet: Actually, my degree is in biology. Though I wrote a lot when I was a kid, I’ve worked in hospitals for a very long time. And the ‘writing for a living’ idea only came after I actually finished ITD and realized, “Hey, this isn’t terrible.”
Brittany: Are there any scenes that were cut during the editing process that you wish made it to the final version of INTO THE DIM?
Janet: In an earlier version, there was a scene in which the loathsome housekeeper, Hilde, rats Hope and Bran out for staying in the house alone overnight. The Church comes and drags her off, subjecting her to a horrifying examination to prove her virginity. She barely escapes. It was a particularly harrowing scene that I really liked, but that was thought to be a bit ‘too dark’. (All earlier versions of ITD were WAY darker.) LOL.
Brittany: What is one thing you would like your readers to be able to take away after reading INTO THE DIM?
Janet: That history is kinda badass.
And that no matter what kind of issues you’re going through. No matter if you’re introverted or shy or suffering from others may deem as ‘shortcomings,’ you have it in you to be a hero. Hope is no conventional heroine. She’s actually kind of messed-up. But when the time comes to step up to do what’s right, she does it. And if she can do it…anyone can!
Brittany: Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Janet! It's always a pleasure talking to you! If you guys haven't checked out her book yet, do yourselves a favor and do it now!
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