Julie Howard’s time travel mystery takes you back to 1872.
What do you write? What’s the fun part of writing and why did you write this particular book?
I primarily write mystery stories, but love all genres. I find there is some type of mystery in every genre; this is what drives a reader forward to discover what will happen next with the main character. There just happens to be a murder or two in my stories and the conflict this creates provides suspense and interest. I’m more driven by how my characters react to difficult situations.
Spirit in Time isn’t a murder mystery at all. But the main character, Jillian, has a mystery to solve before she can return to her own time.
What’s the most difficult part of writing and why?
No question, the hardest part is the marketing. First, because it takes time away from writing, which is what I love to do. Second, because marketing is difficult and changes often. What works this month may not work six months from now. So it’s a constantly moving target and keeping up with those changes takes time away from writing too. That being said, I love interacting with readers and other authors, and marketing platforms give me an opportunity for this.
What inspired this particular story?
I lived for a while in Sacramento, California, which is the setting for Spirit in Time, and loved the history of the place. One particular old Victorian mansion, now a museum I visited frequently, became the central focus in my book. The mansion was once the home of a prestigious and wealthy family during the Gilded Age. My main character, Jillian, is stolen back in time by a mysterious spirit who may or may not have evil intentions. It was a lot of fun having Jillian roam the streets of 1872 Sacramento.
Who is your favorite character in all of the books you’ve written? Why?
Honey Stohler is a side character in my Wild Crime series and after the three books were completed, I still didn’t feel like I’d scratched the surface with her. She’s an older woman with a checkered past and a so-so attitude about the truth and morality. But she becomes a close friend to my main character, Meredith, and provides a good shoulder to cry on. I like her because she was bold, unapologetic, likeable, and a complicated personality.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to travel, although that’s been curtailed over the past year. Instead, I got a couple of kayaks and an electric bike so I could continue to get out and enjoy the more immediate world around me. These are also very appropriate for social distancing so they gave me plenty to do. Idaho is pretty chilly in winter, so I have to wait until late February or March (probably May for the kayak) to use them. In the meantime, I’m getting a lot of writing done.
Blurb for Spirit in Time
Time is not on her side.
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.
But will time be her friend or foe?
“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.
The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.
The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.
The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.
“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”
“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.
About the Author
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
Follow her on Instagram: @authorjuliehoward
Julie’s Buy Links
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3qaFAF5