Thursday, May 4, 2017

Would You Visit Another Time?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Some of us already live in another time—Rhys for instance, lives in the historical world of Lady Georgie.  Some of us live in another place—Debs, for instance, her books are set in the UK. And we all live in fictional worlds. Sometimes I see places in Boston where something happened to Jane—and I can picture her there.

The fabulous Carol Pouliot (who wowed the new authors’ breakfast at Malice Domestic)  has written a time-travel mystery—and I have to say, I am in the population of people who thinks, kind of, that it might really be possible. Okay, right, there are things we don’t know. Aren’t there?

TimeWhat if you had a do-over?

First of all let me say how thrilled I am to be here with the fabulous Jungle Red Writers. My heartfelt thanks to Hank Phillippi Ryan for inviting me to stop by today.

HANK: Aw, my pleasure.

CAROL: Because Doorway to Murder is a time-travel mystery, I’ve had quite a few conversations about time. The question that arises most often is: What would you do if you could go back in time? Would you relive a happy moment? Try to change something? Talk with someone now deceased–a relative, friend, famous person?  
                                          
My mother once told me the secret to being happy is to recognize that moment when you finally have what you’ve been working or looking for. She said I should stop there and enjoy it.

I have been blessed with many happy times in my life. The first time my great-nephew said my name in that tentative baby whisper, I was thrilled to my toes. The day I stood on the steps of the Palais de Chaillot gazing out on the Eiffel Tower, I got chills. When I held my first published article, joy surged through me and I danced around my kitchen, the magazine in hand.                                                                            

I don’t think that reliving those moments would make me any happier than I was at the time or than I am right now. I’ll pass on that option.

So, what about trying to change something? I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. If I’m meant to arrive at Point C, I can take Path A, Road B, or Route X, Y or Z and I will still end up at Point C. Personally, I wouldn’t mess around with what has already happened. What if I screwed up and made something worse? Egads! The pressure! No, thank you. I would choose to be an observer or a gatherer of information.         

That takes us to that often imagined conversation with someone who has left this world. I am reminded of an old Twilight Zone episode where the grandmother of a young boy gives him a telephone. They spend many hours behind closed doors, away from the prying eyes of his parents, talking on this phone. After she dies, the conversations continue−it was a very special phone.                                                       

There are two people with whom I would love to sit down with for a good long chat–Hatshepsut, who became the first female pharaoh of Egypt around 1473 BC, and my maternal grandfather, lovingly known as Pa.

Hatshepsut is one of my female heroes. At a time when men ruled the world (Hmm, I’m totally re-thinking this sentence. sigh), she seized power and refused to let go. She was smart, clever, and driven to improve the lives of the Egyptians and maintain peace with their neighbors. I’d sit for hours listening to her talk about how she managed it all.
                                                        
My grandfather died when I was still a teenager. My memories of him are largely those of a child. He was born in 1900, fought in WWI, survived the Depression, and made a success of his life. I borrowed certain traits and interests from him for my main character Detective Sergeant Steven Blackwell, who solves crime in 1934. Like Steven, Pa loved baseball and Chevy cars. I’d be overjoyed to talk with him now that I’m an adult. I’d like to know about his life and life in the early 1900s. I have so many questions.          


What about you, Jungle Reds, what would you do with the gift of time travel?

Let’s do a give-away. Every comment is entered to win a copy of Doorway to Murder, A Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery.

Dear Readers, what would you do if you could go back in time? Is there a wrong you would right or a happy moment you wish to relive? Is there someone you want to talk to? I’m looking forward to “chatting” with you.

HANK: I'd love to see where my gramma Minnie grew up--was it Russia or Austria? And be with my Dad in the fifties of Blue Note Chicago, wth Harry Belafonte and Studs Terkel. I'd adore to eaves-watch my mother in art school--wouldn't that be great? But I do want to come home to now.

What about you, Reds and readers?


 
    A Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery

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In a small New York town, secrets lurk and betrayal is just around the corner. The morning after the worst blizzard of 1934, Detective Steven Blackwell takes on a highly charged murder case. The investigation starts badly: one clue, lots of lies and alibis. To make things worse, Steven is seeing visions of a woman in his house. One night, she speaks. Her name is Olivia Watson and she lives in 2014. She believes time has folded over in the house they share. As their relationship deepens, Steven’s investigation intensifies. Soon he can no longer trust anyone in his own time. Can Olivia help crack the case—and catch a killer?

The past collides with the present in an exciting new mystery by debut author Carol Pouliot.

"There's nothing I like more than a time-travel tale, but how much better to get a crisp, fair-play police procedural, too. The atmosphere grabbed me. The ending surprised me. I'm already looking forward to Steven and Olivia's next adventure."       
      −Catriona McPherson, award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver series and
        quiet neighbors


Carol Pouliot is a former French and Spanish teacher and business owner. She lives in upstate New York, where the lake-effect snow reaches over ten feet every winter. Passionate about travel, her passport and suitcase are always ready for the next adventure.






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96 comments:

  1. A time-travel mystery sounds like such an intriguing premise for a story, Carol . . . I’m looking forward to reading “Doorway to Murder” . . . .

    If I could travel back in time? Usually the first thought is always the temptation to go back and stop that one horrific event that changed everything in your life, but I agree with your thought that things [even the worst things] happen for a reason --- and trying to change a particular event could have unforeseen consequences.
    But I could definitely go for reliving a happy moment . . . .

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    1. Have you ever seen the TV show timeless? It is a time travel adventure, and they have to be very careful about changing things.

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    2. Thanks, Joan. Yes, now the trouble is...which happy moment?

      And, Hank. I love Timeless! When is it coming back?

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    3. I really like “Timeless,” too, but it’s likely there will always be that very human temptation to try to keep that one horrible thing from happening. I think it’s probably a good thing that time travel remains in the realm of the imagination.
      As for which happy moment to choose . . . Any treasured moment; it wouldn’t make any difference which one . . . .

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    4. Carol, Timeless has finished for the season. The ratings weren't all that great so a 2nd season is still up in the air. The networks announce their fall schedules in a week or two and that's when we'll find out if Timeless is coming back.

      Speaking of the show, I thought the most profound line of dialogue from the show came in the pilot episode when Rufus (the man who serves as the pilot for the timeship) mentioned that as a black man, there's not point in American history that would be a good time for him to travel back to.

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    5. Thanks for the info, Jay. Guess I'll cross my fingers for season 2. I remember that comment by Rufus. Pretty sad!

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  2. I love the premise for this series, Carol! You remind me that I would love to talk with both my grandmothers and one grandfather. I lost all of them before I was fifteen, and would love to know them as an adult. Best of luck with the new book!

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    1. Thanks, Edith. That's such a shame. Grandparents are such an important part in our lives - and they can tell us so much about the past.

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  3. I have often wished for a time machine just so I could go back briefly and relive a few special moments. But lately I have been thinking more I would like a pause machine. I want something to make time stand still for a little bit so I can really savor the NOW.
    Your book sounds fabulous and I cannot wait to read it.

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    1. Judi-- I am so with you! The time is going by way too quickly!

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    2. Ooo, the pause machine. Be careful what you wish for. There was a Twilight Zone episode (two actually) about a very special stopwatch. I think the second version was even more chilling than the first.

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    3. Thanks, Judi. I LOVE your idea of the pause machine!!!

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    4. Susan, I've actually been getting into the Twilight Zone lately. I'm watching in order, currently in Season I.

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  4. Welcome Carol, lovely post today and intriguing book! I have not seen that episode of the Twilight Zone with the phone--the plots in that show were astonishingly good.

    I would like to go back and help my younger self make some better decisions. Yes, they all led to who I am today, but sometimes it's painful to look back, isn't it? My grandparents on my mother's side both died very young. My grandfather was gone before I was born, and my nana when I was about six. (Her name was Lucille Burdette:). I would love to check in with them. Also, my father's father owned a silk mill in Paterson NJ with his sisters--his life took a turn for the worse when the sisters refused his desire to sell the company. Then the bottom dropped out of the silk business. It would be fascinating to see those times...

    Judi, love the pause machine. I suppose we can all sort of do this for ourselves by staying right in each precious moment...

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    1. Thanks, Lucy aka Roberta. I'm so happy to be here today with all of you. I think it would also be interesting to go way back to my family's origins in Normandy, France. It would be fun to practice my French with them.

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  5. I love love love the concept of Time Travel (and have written a TT romance, 1910/2013).

    I'd really like to be a Time Travel Tourist, but there's always the danger of changing something, and causing Horrible Things to happen. After all, they do say that 2016 was the result of future time travellers coming back to try and fix things -- and making them worse.

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    1. What? Susan, I had not heard that about 2016. It does explain some things though.

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    2. Oh, that is hilarious! And now I'm thinking about that…

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  6. It's my experience, too, that just when I get enough perspective to get curious about someone... they die. My mother died when I was too young to think about anyone but myself, and when I realized I wanted answers to so many questions that only she ... or her brother could answer, her brother died. So, folks out there, if you wonder about an older relative, ASK NOW! And bring a tape recorder (and a bottle of wine or whiskey)

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    1. Oh, Hallie, you're so right! I tired very hard to find out as much as I could from my mom before she died. Now my dad has Alzheimer's and I still try to get bits and pieces as much as I can. And...love the wine idea, too.

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  7. I suppose it's natural for us to wonder what it would be like to visit another time, but I'm also fascinated by some of the things theoretical physicists speculate about the nature of time: capsules of time that can recombine in many ways; the notion that time is not actually linear, the way we experience it; rivers and currents of time. It all makes time travel seem much more possible. Your book sounds like great fun. I'll be sure to look for it. Oh, and one of my all-time favorite memories happened in upstate New York, in and around Hamilton. It's a place I'd like to revisit, even if the event itself was perfect in every way, and best left out of the reach of tinkering time travelers.

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    1. Gigi, those capsules of time recombining sound interesting and scary, too. I like the rivers and currents image though. Hamilton is a lovely town.

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    2. Wouldn't that be so cool, Gigi ?

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  8. Wistfully thinking of two places I'd revisit: Before my dad died in 1969, and about a year ago. Maybe I could have warned my dad, or the rest of the world, and urged some changes before it was too late.

    But probably not.

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    1. Karen, there are so many things that I think I would change if someone said, "OK, Carol, pick one horrible thing that the world could have done without." Where do you even start?? I'll go back to my original idea of not messing around with any of it.

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  9. I sometimes think I'd like to visit another time but then I remember how much I like modern medicine, the internet, and all the rights I currently enjoy despite my genitalia and the people always trying to curtail them and think ... nah, better not.

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    1. I'm right there with you, Aimee. Modern medicine for sure!

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    2. Yes, but just visiting… Just for maybe a day or so. And the rule would be that you could leave whenever you wanted.

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  10. Oh, and I have my grandmother's watch, which looks exactly like the one in the photo.

    Carol, I heard you talk about this book at the New Author's Breakfast. Sounds great!

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    1. Oh thanks, Karen. I was completely unprepared for that interview. Signed up the day before and had no idea it was going to be an interview. I thought it would be just talking with people at the table.

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  11. I also hear Carol talk about this book at the new author breakfast, and it sounds fantastic!

    I have a fascination with the Civil War and Revolutionary War, so those are time periods I'd be interested in visiting. However, being the DisNerd I am, I'd also love to meet Walt Disney.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I've been very interested in the 1930s and 1940s lately. Did you see the movie about him a couple of years ago? About the woman who wrote Mary Poppins, I think - or one of his hits.

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    2. I think the movie you are thinking of is Saving Mr. Banks.

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    3. I saw that movie, but I had such a hard time with it since it wasn't anything near what really happened. Yes, I know too much about it to enjoy the alternative history they set up.

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  12. I'm eager to read Carol's book! I love Connie Willis's time-traveling historians and all the care that they have to take not to change anything. Sometimes I think I'd love to go back, knowing what I know now, to times when I could have been more decisive or courageous. Or to a time when I could have helped to make things a little bit better: to help with the underground railroad, to have marched with Dr. King, that sort of thing. I always think, though: what small thing that I did in those situations might have caused something that I have loved not to happen? So it's quite a quandary. I think I need to apply these thoughts to my current life and see what are the opportunities that I might regret missing out on later.

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    1. That's a great take-away, Jim. I liked the earlier comment about the pause machine and how we can apply that now by living a mindful life. I know that I for one should really slow down!!

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    2. BTW, Jim, Connie Willis is now on my list. Can't wait to delve into her books. Thanks for the tip.

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    3. Who is Connie Willis? (I ask, embarrassed...)

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    4. Hank, Connie Willis is a science-fiction writer, one of the most highly awarded ones in recent years. Her short story "Fire Watch" described a doctoral student's travel back to the bombing of London and won several awards. She posits a history program at a future Oxford, which sends students back to study earlier periods. I particularly like *To Say Nothing of the Dog*, and *Doomsday book*, which I haven't read, is very popular.

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    5. Connie Willis is indeed an amazing time travel writer. I've absorbed all her TT books multiple times, even the(perhaps a tad overlong?) Blackout/All Clear pair, though I had to read them with sticky notes to keep referring back to earlier (or later) events.

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  13. I love the idea of a time travel mystery! Have you seen the flurry of articles over the past few days about this. For example,

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/799249/time-travel-IS-POSSIBLE-tardis-black-hole

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    1. No, I haven't seen any of this, Lisa. Thanks very much for sharing. I'll check it out.

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  14. Jim, I love Connie Willis's books, too, and I've always been fascinated by time travel.

    Hank, I've only watched a couple of episodes of Timeless. Should I go back and start at the beginning?

    Carol, I love the idea of your book and your characters. Another to add to my teetering TBR pile!

    I've been thinking all morning about what I'd do if I could time travel. First, I would go back and ask my grandmother all those questions about her life that I never thought to ask. She died when I was in my late twenties, and although we were very close her whole life, she didn't like to talk much about the past, and now there is so much I'd like to know!

    OR I would go back and spend one ordinary day with my mom, maybe when my daughter was little and we would have mom-daughter-granddaughter outings. Or I'd go back and spend a day traveling with my parents--Mexico, Europe, our first trip to England. I wouldn't try to change anything, just be there so that I could remember every detail.

    And if I could have just one more universe-bending power, I'd fold time on itself so that my mom could meet her great granddaughter. But who knows what even that small thing might change??

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    1. Thanks, Deb. I hope you enjoy it. It seems that so many of us have chosen to reconnect with grandparents. Your comment about "one ordinary day" with your mom really touched me. My mom passed away in February and I am still trying to focus on the good times before she got so sick. Maybe I would go back and tell myself to savor a moment just a little bit more.

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    2. Deb,

      If you decide to watch Timeless, it is probably best to watch from the start and go straight through. Each week's story has the Time Travel of the Week aspect, but there are the overlapping story arcs to watch out for as well.

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  15. I love time travel stories! I have two fantasies. In the first, knowing everything I know now but mainly having the self confidence I've earned, I'd go back to my first years in college when I attended UT in Austin. I would not worry and I would have fun fun fun! In my second fantasy I would travel back to the pre- and post- Great War years. Preferably in England or Europe.

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    1. Pat, I am with you on ALL of the above!!

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    2. Pat D--I am SO with you! ANd I might go to classes, too, since I rarely did...

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    3. Hey. Janis Joplin used to hang out and sing at different venues before she got famous.

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  16. Time traveling is such a romantic idea--and the idea of time is fascinating--the way we view time versus the ways other cultures perceive it--and the science which suggests how little we understand it at all. If time folds back on itself, and there is a moment when the folds touch--do you suppose that could explain some weird 'ghost' stories? Me, I'm interested in family history--there are several moments in our family history that I think I'll never get the answers to unless I can go back personally, as there's no one alive today who can answer my questions.

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    1. That's the really hard part, Flora, when there is no one left who remembers. It makes me think of the WWII memories program that the Library of Congress has going on, where WWII vets record their memories for all future generations. Such a wonderful idea!

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  17. Regarding the time travel, I have some questions. Can I only go backward? Can I return, and to the exact moment I left? What can I take with me (in the way of clothing, objects, etc, like my modern eyeglasses). How will I be able to obtain money correct for the time? Will I be able to have correct documents to prove my identity in that time? These are important details!

    I've sometimes wished I could go back to undo a really stupid thing I did involving an auto accident. It would merely (?) mean using common sense instead of teen lack of sense.

    I've also wished I could go back in time to buy something I wanted but could not afford then, a specific automobile, and then salt it away so I could recover in in the present. Awfully complicated.

    And I'd love to go back and spend time with my father. We never had a chance to have an adult-adult relationship, he died when I was a teen.

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    1. Rick, you touched on some of my challenges in writing the series. In book #2, Olivia spends more time with Steven in 1934. I thought long and hard about clothes, money, and that one item she should NOT have with her that she might forget or take for granted. Tricky stuff.

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    2. Yes, all these questions, very very important. So Carol, did you make rules?

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  18. Carol, Doorway to Murder sounds wonderful! I have added it to my TBR list.

    I have no desire to go back and change anything, but if I could go back incognito, in my current state, and talk to my dad, who died when I was 13, that seems like it would be pretty awesome.

    Also, I'd love to see my mother's family dynamics when she was growing up, or just before she left home to marry my dad. She left Louisiana to go home to Ohio with him and while she wasn't completely estranged from her family, she didn't stay super close, either. For most of my life I accepted her answer that distance just drove a wedge between them, but in recent years I've realized that doesn't really hold up under scrutiny. In the case of observing Mom's family, I wouldn't really want to interact at all, just watch. And learn.

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    1. Wow, Susan, a bold choice! Checking up on your mom's version of things. Do two people ever agree on anything? For over 40 years I was positive I remembered the night my BFF met her husband. It came up in conversation recently and it turns out that their memory is nothing like mine! Go figure. It made me wonder how many other things am I remembering with my own filter. And thanks, Susan! I hope you enjoy it when Doorway reaches the top of the pile.

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    2. Yes, just watching. Could we add being invisible?

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  19. What a great premise. I might go back to have one last chat with my mother and get her advice on dealing with a 16-soon-to-be-17-year-old daughter. Actually, I don't think we could cover it all in one chat because I'd probably want to talk to her again on the eve of The Girl's 18th birthday - and so on.

    But considering that modern medicine had to step in for me this morning and I might need surgery on my knee, I'd DEFINITELY want to come back to 2016, crazy political world climate and all!

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Exactly--the rules will say we can come back.

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  20. Oh definitely, Mary/Liz. Modern medicine is key for me, too. And clothes. The thought of corsets or girdles. Shudder!

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  21. Welcome, Carol!

    I don't feel the need to go back and change anything (and mess things up!) but I'd love to spend time with my grandfathers. My Danish paternal grandfather came through Ellis Island when he was seventeen and had many adventures--including driving an ambulance during the time of the 1906 earthquake in S.F.--before settling as a homesteader in Montana. He died when I was four months old, so I never got to ask him about his experiences. My maternal grandfather died when I was about four, and I don't really have any memories of him. He was a wonderful person, and I wish I'd had the chance to get to know him.

    I'd also love to hang out with Agatha Christie and pick her brain about writing mysteries!

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    1. While you were at it, you could try to find out what happened when Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926.

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    2. Right?! I want to know, too!

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    3. Yes, it would great to know the real answer to that real-life mystery. Though, the fictional one that Doctor Who came up with was pretty interesting.

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    4. I love your idea of hanging out with Agatha Christie, Ingrid! Maybe on a long train ride??

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    5. PS Thanks for the welcome, Ingrid. I'm having a blast with you guys.

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    6. Yes, I want to know what happened to her, too. I love the Vanessa Redgrave/Dustin Hoffman movie about those few days. I re-watch it at least once a year.

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  22. Having grown up with every science fiction story I ever watched showing how traveling back in time tends to have dire consequences, whether the time traveler intends to have anything go wrong, I'm kind of indoctrinated against going back in time.

    I'd hate to be the cause of a fixed point in time becoming changed because you don't know how things would/will ripple outwards once the change is made. We can all do without the wibbley-wobbley timey wimey problems The Doctor encounters.

    Of course, playing along with the idea of actually going back in time. I'd love to know who killed Kennedy, for once and for all and without any room for conspiracy theorists to quibble over things.

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    1. Yes, Jay, those pesky consequences!! I would hate to make something worse. That is what they deal with on the new TV show Timeless. They keep trying to "fix" things and they keep making things worse.

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    2. And maybe we could warn Amelia Earhart?

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  23. Oh, Carol, you have found your target audience in me for sure. I love time travel stories, and when you combine time travel with mystery, it's perfection. I will definitely be reading Doorway to Murder, and what a great title.

    Jim and Debs, I'm a Connie Willis and the time traveling historians fan, too. The Doomsday Book is in my top five of all-time favorite books, and the rest of her books featuring the time traveling historians are all favorites, too.

    I think it would be impossible for me to pick one moment to go back and relive, as there are so many that are special. I'd love to revisit when my children were little and the world was no larger than our couch where we were reading and snuggling or the floor where we were playing tea or ninja turtles. Holding my mother's sweet hand and telling her how much her love and belief in me meant. I like Debs' idea of spending an ordinary day with each of them. Going back and meeting my grandparents, both sets who were already dead when I was born. Historically, there are many moments that would be amazing to visit, too. Spending time with my great-great-great-great grandfather, Edward Boone and his brother Daniel would scratch the itch to connect to family history, while also major history. WWII is a favorite setting in books, so that would be most intriguing. Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear are set in England during WWII. And, Ingrid has me thinking about authors who have passed and who I'd love to spend time with. I agree with her on Agatha Christie as a first choice.

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    1. Oh Kathy, so happy to hear it. I love the possibilities of unknown things. Time travel is so tempting a concept. I can't wait to read Connie Willis. Seems like I'm the only one who doesn't know her books. Your comment about ancestors of centuries past reminded me that we had a French spy in our family back in the day. He would be someone interesting to talk with!

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  24. Eh, mon ami. I'm taking a break from The Granite Project. If I go could back and relive, it would be any moment with my mom. Today is her birthday; she would be 91. Her twin sister is still living in Radisson and enjoying her friends at Eastern Star. A lot of tough love back on Fairmount Ave. but it paid off down the road. You and I were fortunate to live in a great community, get a great education at LHS, and later in the SUNY system. Mom was there all the time for us.

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    1. Yes, it seems that grandparents and moms are winning the travel-back-in-time lottery today. They gave us everything and prayed we'd put their lessons to good use. Happy Birthday to your mom.

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    2. As you can see, I don't blog. My Google handle is ls1monarogto which was the GM designation for my 2004 Pontiac. No one would know who I am! You're getting some great feedback today--Hal

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    3. Mais oui. C'est fantastique, n'est-ce pas?

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  25. The blog is not letting me reply! Grr.

    Who is Connie Willis?

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only person who doesn't know. Evidently we are in for a treat, Hank.

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    2. Just looked up C. Willis. A science-fiction writer - which explains why I haven't read her. I am totally ensconced in mystery, thriller, suspense, and historical novels. But, I will give her a go.

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  26. And I would love to know, Carol, if you made up your rules in advance, or had to tweak them..

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    2. Both, Hank. I had a general idea of what made sense to me - along with Einstein's theory - but then Steven and Olivia did some things I hadn't planned on just yet. LOL

      (Oops, now I see what happens when you delete! I only wanted to add in your name, Hank. Jeez.)

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    3. PS I used to wonder when I heard authors say how their characters "took over" or did things the author hadn't planned on. Now I get it. The best laid plans...

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    4. Exactly! And fun, right? Amazing.

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    5. Yes! So much fun I could go on and on for ages.

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  27. Thank you once again to Hank and all the Reds for a lovely, fun day. I just pulled a name out of the proverbial...Congratulations to Flora Church!! You are the winner of a copy of Doorway to Murder. Send me your address via the email set-up on my website www.carolpouliot.com and I'll be happy to send you your book. Hope you enjoy it.

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  28. So great! Thank you, dear Carol--you made our day! Congratulations on a wonderful book!

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  29. You made my day! Merci. Gracias. Grazie. Danke. Arigato. Xiè xiè. Shukraan. You get the idea - thank you.

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