D.L. Orton - The Future is a Trap
Award-winning Author D. L. Orton lives in the Rocky Mountains where she and her husband are raising three boys, a golden retriever, two Siberian cats, and an extremely long-lived Triops. In her spare time, she's building a time machine so that someone can go back and do the laundry. As our Author of the Day, Orton tells us all about the books in her Crossing in Time & the Between Two Evils Book Series.
Please give us a short introduction to Crossing In Time & the Between Two Evils Book Series
The past isn't over, it's an opening.
The future isn't a gamble, it's a trap.
If she wants to be in his arms again, she'll have to take the risk.
Fall into this edgy, action-packed, darkly comedic, dystopian love story, and be prepared to encounter a finicky time machine, a mysterious seashell, and a very clever dog (some sex, some swearing, some violence, but no vampires and absolutely no ditzes.)
The series has won lots of awards, including a Publishers Weekly Starred Review, an Indie Book Award, and 13 others! Book 4 in the series will be out this summer.
Tell us more about Iz. What makes her tick?
Isabel is her own worst enemy.
Women today have more life choices than ever before (as do men!): marriage, career, motherhood, politics? If a woman chooses to have children, there are even more decisions: stay-at-home, work part-time, pay for a nanny, find day-care, support a stay-at-home spouse? Whew.
Having options is good, but here's the rub: At least in my universe, it's NOT possible to "have it all." Time spent building a career is time away from children and husband, and years spent raising the sort of children you are proud of, equals lost opportunities for promotions and raises at work. No one wants to choose between a sick child and a one-on-one with the boss, but anyone who's tried to balance work and family has had to do just that. There's no escaping the "what if I could go back and do things differently" self-doubts—at least not for me.
Isabel made different life choices than I did, but she struggles with the same questions, the same worries, the same hopes and dreams. In some ways, we are all the same. Isabel's worst enemy just happens to be a bit more tangible: herself in another universe.
Why did you pick a dystopian future as the backdrop for this book?
In many love stories, strangers fall for one another. Why did you write this one about two people who already had a "history" (or would that be a "future"?) together?
Who hasn't looked back at a turning point in his or her life and wondered how things might have played out differently?
Relationships do matter. A lot. But they take work.
How do we prevent that dystopian world presented in the books? By finding a way to teach people care about someone besides themselves.
People who are in compelling, fulfilling, and enduring interpersonal relationships don't blow up train stations, shoot up churches, attack nightclubs, invade countries, build expensive walls, or deny others their basic human rights. (Maybe they forget to put their dishes in the dishwasher every now and then, but we can live with that.)
Crossing in Time is the first book in the series. How do the other books in the series tie in with this one? Are they also romances?
Love is the most powerful force known to mankind: It wrecks kings, destroys walls, makes us risk everything for a few stolen moments together. Love is stronger than the instinct to eat, sleep, or survive. It motivates us to kill in cold blood, die to save another, and rail against impossible odds. It brings out the best and the worst in all of us.
Love (or the lack of it) makes for great storytelling, and I plan to follow Isabel and Diego until they finally get it right.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
if (self.toldYouThat == true) then self.skills.secret = false;
If you’re curious, search for ‘Debra Orton’ at patents.google.com.
You included a lot of (sometimes dark) humor in the book. Why did you take this approach?
It’s a coping mechanism.
Humor is an invisible force field that can hold back the worst the universe can throw at us. Being able to laugh in the direst of situations gives one the strength to go on.
It’s sort of like a Patronus (and can be just as difficult to conjure).
Crossing in Time also addresses thought-provoking topics such as the pain of growing up, overcoming disbelief, "fixing" yourself and the harrowing nature of young love. What do you hope that readers will take away from the book?
In my mind, the characters are ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances. Diego is not a rich, powerful, manipulative Alpha with a helicopter and a riding crop, nor is he a gorgeous, super-human vampire who sparkles in the sun. Nevertheless, his love for Isabel is a powerful force in his life, and when required, he finds the strength to do amazing things.
Look around you, the world is full of ordinary people who step up and do heroic things when given a chance. Be that person.
Some readers were concerned about what happened to the dogs in this book. Will we see them again later in the series?
I keep track of each and every character, artifact, and animal I introduce in every universe (along with all their interactions and interconnections.) This makes for a lot of bookkeeping, but at the end of the day (or the end of the series), I plan to tie up all the loose ends, including Lucky, Tolstoy and their dog friends from book 1, Wilson (Shannon’s pet rat) and Bearheart in book 2, all the way to Benny (James’ chinchilla in book 3). If I give something a name (human or otherwise), expect to hear more!
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
All the effing time. It's like herding cats.
Why time travel?
For instance, take a shower curtain, an ant, and a bowling ball.
Start with a shower curtain: a two-dimensional object in a 3-dimensional world. Imagine that you are an ant, walking, talking, and shagging other ants on a thin, flexible membrane (or a "brane" in physics-speak). Layered beneath you are a million other shower curtains, all of them with their own allotment of ants (some of which get paid 78 cents on the dollar due to slight differences in their copulatory organs). In a very real sense, those other ant universes are close to you in space (and time), but still seemingly undetectable—until someone drops a red-hot bowling ball on those piled up rubber sheets and makes the real-world equivalent of a black hole. Mind the gap.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is your source of inspiration?
Inspiration is a bit like a cat: Sometimes she jumps into your lap and demands to be petted. And sometimes she disappears for days, and you worry she’ll never find her way home.
Perhaps if I put a bell around inspiration’s neck and kept yummy cat treats handy, she’d be a bit more predictable?
When I first started writing, I used google to do research: what is the most popular kind of handgun? How long does it take to die from an infection, and what are the symptoms? What drugs do you need to incapacitate someone? How difficult is it to land a single engine plane without an engine? What are the biological effects of radiation poisoning?
After a number of those types of searches, I started getting REALLY scary google ads in my browser! (Now I go “incognito” to do research!)
What are you working on right now? Can you give us a sneak peek?
The 4th book in the series will be out this summer. It follows Tego as he attempts to heed Isabel’s instructions (and fails quite spectacularly, poor guy.)
Here’s the first chapter:
If you’d like to know when the book is published, please sign up for my mailing list:
Do your books have happy endings?
The universe is a cold, dark, unforgiving place, but little bits of light still manage to shine through and make it beautiful. My endings aspire to that.
Where can our readers get a copy of the books or interact with you?
My books and audiobooks are available at most online retailers. The first book in the series, Crossing in Time, is FREE for a limited time:
Barnes & Noble: barnesandnoble.com/w/crossing-in-time-d-l-orton/1122742965?ean=2940161363669
and through your local library!
Tweet to me @DL_Orton or visit my website, DLOrton.com, to find out more.