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The Quill Blog

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Once Upon a "Time" in Wyoming...

People often ask where I come up with my ideas. The truth is, a book idea often appears when I least expect it in the most surprising places. By the time the book is finished, I have usually forgotten where I got the original inspiration. A Window in Time is an exception. I still vividly remember what caused that first glimmer.

Since 1981, my hometown has held a balloon rally the second weekend in July. Though I am not a morning person, once a year I get up at early-thirty, brave the chilly Wyoming morning and drive shivering to an open field at the local college just to see the balloons go up. There is something magical about watching the giants come to life. No matter how many times I attend, there is always a nearly overwhelming feeling of anticipation and excitement as I watch the balloons fill with hot air, then rise like so many jewel-bright bubbles against the blue Wyoming sky.

That particular year, the balloons rose into the air and headed almost due south. All of them, that is, except for one that got caught in an errant cross-current and veered off to the southeast. As I watched it drift away from the others in a completely different direction, I couldn’t help wondering how the people in the gondola felt and where they would wind up. Just like that, the idea for A Window in Time was born.

I had just helped one of my sons research the Pony Express for his Wyoming History project and had sort of fallen in love. It just so happens that my hometown is very close to the Pony Express Trail. In fact, the site of the Split Rock Pony Express station is about fifty miles to the southeast as the crow, or in this case the balloon, flies. Most balloon flights are much shorter of course, but a fifty-mile flight is possible.

The errant balloon, all the information about the Pony Express that was still floating around in my head and the proximity of the Split Rock Pony Express Station seemed like a gift from the universe. I sat down and began to write. I don’t know if other writers experience the same thing, but for me, every book has its own personality, a sort of emotional feel that is unique to that story. A Window in Time was magical from the first page to the last.

Brianna Daniels agrees to go up in a hot air balloon, with Tom Shaffer, a pilot who has come to compete in the local balloon rally. They are drawn off course, but they bob along in friendly companionship, unaware of 15-year-old Scott Martin who tinkers on his computer below. None of them know of the time warp he creates until a terrifying black cloud appears with nightmarish winds screeching like a thousand tormented souls.

When Brianna is sucked into the vortex and lands in 1860, she soon realizes she has switched places with her own great-great-grandmother. She is on her way to the Split Rock Pony Express station as a mail order bride for Lucas Daniels, the station master there.

But Lucas didn’t send for a wife, the two Pony Express riders did it for him because he’s such a terrible cook. The very last thing Lucas wants is a wife. In fact, he took the job in the middle of nowhere to get away from women and isn’t happy to suddenly find himself saddled with one. Nor is he impressed with Brianna’s twenty-first century attitudes. The two instantly clash in a battle of wills that threatens to set the prairie ablaze. Conflict isn’t all that sparks between them as unexpected passions flare and the 21st century meets the 19th head on.

—Carolyn Lampman

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A Window in Time by Carolyn Lampman

Genre: Historical Time-Travel Western Romance

Type: Novel

Heat Level: 3

Language Level: 2

Violence Level: 2

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