Whoop! Whoop! You’re just in time to help us celebrate the release of Jennifer Jensen’s debut novel Through the Shimmer of Time for kids ages 9 to 12.
Take it away, Jennifer!
Thanks for hosting me, Lynn. It’s fun to share some blogging with another middle grade booklover.
With a MG time travel book that goes back and forth to 1838, you’d think I’d be a history fanatic. I thought I was a history lover . . . until college. American History 101 cured me of that – History with a capital H is names and dates and battles and economics. B-O-R-I-N-G, even if I was half-decent in memorizing them.
What I love about history is what I used to call The Olden Days – any and every time period far enough in the past that it’s fun to imagine living there. I love reading about how the pilgrims survived winter, how families buried their silver during times of war, and how kitchens were in separate buildings, not only to keep the house cooler in the summer, but for fire safety!
I love imagining farmers mending harnesses by the fire and ladies dancing intricate steps in sumptuous long gowns. I still remember being fascinated with an old high school movie that showed how coopers made barrels in colonial America. Since I can’t actually travel to those times (although I did make a plea for a time travel agent this week), I love reading books and watching movies that draw me in, as far as my imagination and someone’s research will take me.
A few “Olden Days” moments that have grabbed me through books:
• Being about 12, reading about the Whitman massacre in Walla Walla, Washington. Although that may be partly because Walla Walla is fun to say!
• Living alongside (in a book, anyway) an impoverished mining family in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
• Visiting Edinburgh Castle and finally understanding that a castle was a whole town unto itself!
• Finding out exactly what being “hanged, drawn and quartered” really meant. *shudder*
• Imagining how ancient families scratched a living in the ice age or early Mesopotamia. • The idea of cooking dinner over a fire made with buffalo chips (manure). Hmm . . . would that add any special flavor?
• The incredible perseverance of pioneers as they lowered wagons into the Columbia River Gorge or carved a road into a mountain of solid rock.
• Crying when I discovered that my Scottish sea captain ancestor lost his 3-year-old daughter and his wife in the same year, and then lost his ship to rocks in the fog a month later!
I could go on and on, but the gist of it is that I like learning how people lived in any sort of Olden Days, and living it along with them. To me, the best historical fiction (including history-based time travel) is accurate in its facts and how it portrays life, AND has a great story line.
Title: Through the Shimmer of Time
By Jennifer Jensen
Readership: Ages 9-12
A mysterious pottery shard . . .
A haunted cabin . . .
A shadowy stranger . . .
And no way home
Present Day: Jim has a talent for getting into trouble. Grounded from his model rockets, he goes exploring where he shouldn’t and gets zapped back in time. Can he find the way back home or is he marooned in the past?
1838: Hannah’s life in her frontier village is filled with a little play and a lot of hard work. A seemingly harmless trick lures a strange, dazed boy from the old haunted cabin. Now Hannah must make a choice – and face the dangers.
Together, Jim and Hannah struggle to unmask a thief and solve a murder while they search for the key to unlock time. It will take all their courage and wits, plus the rocket motors in Jim’s pocket, just to stay alive.
Jennifer Jensen is an award-winning writer who wouldn’t be without her computer or smart phone, but still dreams of living in the olden days. Until someone invents a working time machine, she lives in Indiana and makes do with plenty of imagination, loads of books and as much Dr. Who as the BBC will produce. She’s a longtime member of SCBWI and has received two Indiana Arts Commission grants for her fiction. Through the Shimmer of Time is her first novel. Connect with her at her blog, through Facebook or on Twitter (@jenjensen2).
What do you love about the Olden Days? Do you have a favorite time period? And if you’re into time travel and frontier America, check out Jennifer’s new release, Through the Shimmer of Time.