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A Dystopian Chaos

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Saving Time follows two unlikely companions who must band together to save Scotland from a nuclear threat. What were some driving ideals behind this story’s development?

Rory is the son of Scott and Caitlin (Stolen Time: Community Chronicles Book 2) and is an emerging leader in a community of survivors founded by his parents. He is the head of his Militia team. Siobhan has grown up in the Scottish Government underground Bunker. She is a child of a scientist member of the Brains Trust, the group of specialists seconded to the Bunker when the world’s situation spiralled downwards after the Stock Market Crash forty-odd years previously. Plus, her team of scientists, technicians and Scottish Defence Force personnel.

These characters, and their respective communities, come from different worlds and have lived under the impression that their ideologies, types of governance, and lifestyles will be at odds. But they find out that they can and, indeed they must, co-operate for the safety of Scotland.

In so doing, they discover they are more aligned and alike than they had been led to believe. Those members of the teams involved, who had previous apprehensions regarding their need to co-operate, find that, with a little effort, they can. But not all are open to this, which causes more problems and threatens the success of the endeavors of the combined team.

I hoped to show that when people put their prejudices, preconceptions, and personal agendas aside they can cooperate and combine their efforts for the common good. And maybe even find something precious along the way, such as acceptance, a unity in common purpose, and even love.

Your characters are methodically and deeply developed. What is your writing process like to bring these characters to life?

I follow loosely the method of character creation outlined by Jeff Gerke in his book Plot Versus Character (2010. Writer’s Digest Books). Donkey was right, we are onions, and I develop my characters a layer at a time beginning with personality type as defined by the Myers-Briggs model. Then I work through the layers including physical appearance, back story etc. and, of course, their internal knot—their inner issue they will be forced to deal with during the course of the story.

For example, Rory is closest to an ISTJ, a sentinel type with defender/protective tendencies. He has a strong sense of responsibility and great loyalty to his family and Community. He struggles with his father’s death and is driven by the need to emulate the hero-figure status of his father. Well, I’ll let readers find out for themselves how that pans out.

What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books in the Community Chronicles?

I wanted to explore the beginnings of restoration. It is over forty years since the world descended into a dystopian chaos after The Stock Market Crash, and now a hitherto silent government is preparing to go up top and govern the country once more. The situation of a leaking nuclear war head on an abandoned submarine from a rogue state is the catalyst, but is Scotland, and indeed its underground government, ready for it?

What about those who have managed by themselves in this changed world without its leadership or intervention? How will the government diplomatically endeavour to connect with a people who have felt abandoned by them for the past forty years?

I wanted to explore the effects time travel may have on a human. Rory has made the journey to the past previously and does so again in this story. How has it changed him? Does he now have a special relationship with linear time?

Rory has a very different view of time travel than his father, Scott. Rory strongly believes the Time Machine should not be used for personal gain or manipulation and is determined it never will. His greatest fear is that the government will discover its existence.

I cannot wait to read book four in the Community Chronicles series. Where will book four pickup and when will it be available?

I’m so pleased you can’t wait to read Restoring Time. It picks up immediately from Saving Time with Rory desperate to bring Siobhan home. There is plenty of action, more time travel, and we meet once more Derrick Lloyd, from The Crash: Community Chronicles Book 1. All I will say is age has not softened him any.

I’m endeavoring to have this book published by the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Saving Time (Community Chronicles Book 3) by [Lees, Jenn]Could a chance meeting in the past, and a vision belonging to the future, be part of the same timeline?

2061, forty-three years after the stock market disaster which changed the world.

Rory, Militia man and son of Caitlin and Scott Campbell, lives in a self-governed Community that exists independently from the Scottish Government.

Nuclear physicist, Siobhan Kensington-Wallace, has lived underground in the Scottish Government Bunker since the Crash. Along with the other children of the Brains Trust, she has been brought up to believe they are the elite who will bring restoration to Scotland.

Their opposing worlds collide when Rory discovers a submarine leaking radiation into a sea loch in the North Western Highlands. Forced to work together to save Scotland from annihilation, Rory and Siobhan discover more is at stake than neutralizing the current nuclear threat.

Will their attraction cause fallout of another kind…or will their allegiances divide them forever?

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Saving Time

Saving Time (Community Chronicles Book 3) by [Lees, Jenn]

In her third book in the Community Chronicles series, Jenn Lees continues the adventures and perils of a world that is spinning into chaos after a major stock market crash. Set in the year 2061, Saving Time is the story of brave Scotsman and his companions who risk their lives to save Scotland from nuclear destruction. In a world where the government has deserted its people and bandits are always a threat, the story’s hero must take matters into his own hands even if that means risking a trip back in time to get the information he needs. Through her story of loyalty and betrayal, Lees shows readers the meaning of self-sacrifice for the betterment of all.

Although the book starts off a bit slow, I found the story line increasingly compelling as the book progressed. The topics of love, time travel, and impending worldly destruction that run throughout the book are ones that are likely to appeal to the reader and keep their interest. In terms of grammar, flow, and ease of reading, the book was well written and enjoyable.

I felt like the time travel part of the book was not as compelling as it could have been. It didn’t seem integral to the plot. The reasoning for traveling to the past seemed vague, especially when the information that the characters acquired from this journey was ultimately unnecessary in dealing with the nuclear threat. I thought that the surprise assistance that showed up for the ultimate resolution of the threat seemed coincidental and made the original plan seem unnecessary.

The characters were interesting and well developed. When they make their way through 21st century England, I enjoyed the outsiders perspective, but would have enjoyed a deeper contrast. Rory and Siobhan’s relationship reflects that kind of contrast and I savored the experience of watching the slow development of their characters.

Overall I thought the book was enjoyable, particularly after reaching the second half where the story really picks up speed. This would be well suited for anyone looking for post apocalyptic fiction with a time travel twist.

Pages: 255 | ASIN: B07PWYVYJC

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Explore What True Love Is

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Stolen Time is a thrilling time travel romance story following Caitlin and Scott who must survive the collapse of the world they knew. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

Inspiration for this story’s setting came from the questions ‘What if the stock market crashes but doesn’t recover? What kind of world would we have then?’ I imagined a stock market fall similar to 2008, only worse, because in this one, the world economies never recover. Jobs, wealth, businesses, homes etc are lost. Weak governments mishandle situations and the general populace revolt. Opportunists loot and terrorize. Goods are in short supply, services, such as medical care, become hard-pressed, infrastructure collapses, law and order are harder to maintain, power sources and supplies are fractured, and the world spirals down into further violence and anarchy, poverty, and disease. That is a very brief summary of world events as I imagine they may unfold. To survive, people either go underground, as some governments eventually do, or start self-sufficient communities, or roam in packs.

What if someone who had lived through this chaos came back to live it again, but this time, to mentor someone while navigating them through it?

I loved following Caitlin and Scott’s relationship and watching it develop. What were some themes you felt were important to capture in their characters?

I wanted to share the journey of a young woman who had no idea of her potential and the important influence she would eventually have on society.

We all are capable of great things but are often oblivious to the possibilities.

Caitlin was used to a life of ease, only suffering the usual ‘first-world problems’. Suddenly her comforts and securities are taken from her. How does she adapt and what inner strengths are drawn out and developed as Scott mentors her?

With the time travel element and Scott coming from a Caitlin of the future, I enjoyed (and I hope the readers do too) trying to answer the question of ‘who mentored whom?’.

I wanted to explore what true love is; to show how much one person can love another. What they would risk to be with them, even if the risk was that they didn’t fall in love with them this time. Is it possible to love someone in a different phase of their lives and, indeed, are they the same person? And how much do we really love the people we say we do? What would we do to keep them safe, even if that meant we were not?

Stolen Time is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction and romance. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I didn’t start with a particular genre in mind. I knew the questions I asked regarding a sudden, worldwide economic decline would place the story in a dystopian world, but not one of post nuclear annihilation. I was sure it would have romantic elements as the story itself started with a dream where someone was coming to take my character to safety because of the impending disaster. That sparked the question of a love interest.

But then, as happens in some stories, the characters took over and I found it hard to keep up. So yes, it was organic in its genre-crossing but most of my stories are. At present I’m working on an interworld fantasy series where the characters go back and forth from our world (present day) to a world of warriors, high kings and mages (not our world nor our history). So, it isn’t just contemporary or only fantasy. I find it difficult to write stories confined to just one genre.

This is book two in the Community Chronicles. What can readers expect in book three in the series, Saving Time?

Saving Time is mostly set in this possible-future Scotland, eight months after the future section of the Stolen Time story. Caitlin and Scott Campbell’s son, Rory (who we met in Stolen Time), is now a leader of the Invercharing Community’s Militia. We see more of the community system lifestyle. Siobhan, who has grown up in the Scottish Government’s under-ground Bunker since the crash, is a nuclear physicist who heads a team to find a solution to the problem of a radiation leak coming from a submarine in a sea loch in the far north of Scotland, near to Rory’s community. These two survivor-groups have to co-operate to save Scotland. There’s a lot more action, time travel is involved and, of course, a romance between two gutsy heroes.

Restoring Time Community Chronicles Book 4 is on the way.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Stolen Time (Community Chronicles Book 2) by [Lees, Jenn]When the stock market crashes, banks close, homes are repossessed, and jobs are lost as the world descends into a dystopian chaos, young Scottish nurse, Caitlin Murray cannot escape the madness. Her future had been bright, but now survival is her number-one priority.

During the ensuing violence a military-type stranger, Scott Campbell, rescues her. Caitlin is perturbed because he knows so much about her… and her apparent destiny.

Can Caitlin trust Scott who seems to be the only safe option in the violent turmoil? Should she stay with him and believe his outlandish claims of time travel and her fate as a leader in a very different world?

But is Scott telling Caitlin the whole truth?

If only she knew the future.

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Stolen Time

Stolen Time (Community Chronicles Book Two) by Jenn Lees is a time travel fiction story about a dystopian future. The book begins in the Scottish Highlands in the year 2056, then jumps back to Present Day. After the U.S. Stock Market crash, plunging the world into chaos, Scott Campbell saves Caitlin Murray from a mob, but there’s something strange about him. He acts like he knows her, and he seems to know future events. He claims that he must protect her because she’s needed for her coming role as a great leader. Caitlin thinks he’s crazy, until he proves that everything he’s said is true. Will Scott be able to keep himself and Caitlin alive amid violence and the fall of human society? Or will his act of traveling to the past change everything about the future?

This book has an interesting premise and I enjoyed reading the story. Although it is Book Two in the Community Chronicles, this story can be read without reading the first book. The Glossary of Scottish Words at the end of the book is helpful for readers unfamiliar with some of the terms used by the characters.

The author’s descriptions of the chaos and struggles for immediate survival were vivid and I could picture what Caitlin and Scott were seeing and experiencing as they escaped from Edinburgh. But then the book got bogged down a bit by a slow pace when they hid out in a cabin in the Highlands, while Scott taught Caitlin survival and fighting skills. This section did not hold my interest as well as the rest of the story, when they were in constant danger.

The portions of the story that take place in Present Day were told primarily from Caitlin’s point of view. At the beginning, I felt just as confused as Caitlin since I didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on and I didn’t know why Scott acted like he knew her when she first meets him. It is only later that he tells her the details of their relationship. Once Scott revealed their connection in the future, I would have liked to see more glimpses into his “past” with scenes from his point of view. In either case, this slow build up and reveal was intriguing and, I thought, the best part of the novel.

I liked the interactions between Caitlin and Scott, and I enjoyed the romantic element in the story, which showed a love that spanned across different timelines. As soon as I finished the story, I immediately wanted to start reading Book Three in the series, Rory’s (Caitlin and Scott’s son) story.

Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0987644807

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