Today we launch our newest feature!
Our first featured wordsmith is Christian suspense and science fiction writer, Danele Rotharmel, author of The Time Counselor Chronicles. To date, this series includes the first three volumes Time Tsunami, Time Trap and Time Search.
Thank you, Danele, for joining us and sharing about yourself and your writing!
An integral and fascinating aspect of your novels is time travel. How do you strive to make time travel seem real for your readers?
I tried extremely hard to make time travel seem plausible in my novels—and it was an uphill battle because, as you know, time travel doesn’t really exist. In order to make my technical jargon seem realistic (especially some of Crystal Stuart’s lines) I had to delve into quantum mechanics, physics, and mathematics—all of which I have a horrible time understanding. I hated math in school, and I never thought I would research equations for recreational purposes. If I have to point my finger at one thing, I think that quarantine was responsible for my technical research. If you can’t go to a movie, a restaurant, or shopping—you tend to have a bit of time on your hands. And when you have time on your hands, you don’t really mind researching the oscillation rates of transverse timewaves with sinusoidal tendencies—or explaining them in your books. Every time a reader compliments my technical jargon, I feel wonderful because I really am awful when it comes to math. There have been several times when I’ve wished that Crystal Stuart was a baker rather than a TEMCO technician.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was five, I stapled some paper together to form a book. I spent days filling it with stories and pictures. My “book” captured my attention so completely that I knew I wanted to write a real one someday.
You were in a difficult time of life when you wrote your books, could you share a little about that time?
When I wrote The Time Counselor Chronicles, I was extremely ill and in the middle of a seven-year stretch of quarantine. Many years ago, I became extremely ill and almost died. For a long time, my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but eventually, I learned that the furnace in my home had a small carbon monoxide leak. This leak had been slowly poisoning me. I didn’t have a carbon monoxide monitor, and the gas can’t be seen or smelled. The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic the flu, but eventually, they escalate into stuttering, staggering, vomiting, fainting, and death. I thought that once the furnace was replaced I would get better, but unfortunately, the poisoning had triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. That meant I became extremely ill when exposed to perfume, car exhaust, cleansers, and the other chemicals that surround our modern-day society. My illness escalated until I was quarantined in my home to keep me away from chemicals. I thought my quarantine would only last a few months—it ended up lasting for seven years.
Why are your characters so special to you?
Because I was cut off from society, I let my imagination run wild, and I created my own community. My characters literally became my friends. I wanted to know all about them. I wanted to know their strengths and weakness. I wanted to know their admirable qualities and also the things that would drive me crazy if they were flesh-and-blood friends. Since I grew to love my characters so much, I couldn’t give any of them up. For instance, Dan and Gil—as well as Crystal and Marc—are mentioned in all of my books even if they aren’t the main characters of each story. Each book also explores new characters as well.
What are some aspects you love about Time Search?
I love many things about Time Search—it was such a fun book to write! Time Search is the third book in my series, and in it, I explore different aspects of my characters’ personalities.
One of my favorite aspects of Time Search is its underlying Cinderella theme. Many of my readers have said they love Crystal Stuart, and in this book, Crystal gets her chance to shine. As my readers know, Crystal is extremely smart—except when it comes to guys. The klutzy, frumpy computer tech has a crush on Marc Kerry, TEMCO’s Campus King, but he’s not sure whether he’s attracted to her or not. In Time Search, Zeke finagles Marc into taking Crystal on a date, but when she learns that Marc isn’t enthusiastic about the idea, she enlists Nicole’s help. With Nicole’s dressing tips, Crystal transforms into a glamor girl who completely turns Marc’s head. What unfolds is heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. I had so much fun writing Crystal’s scenes—I spent a ton of time giggling as I typed them.
Your novels contain such depth and breadth. What type of research did you do for this particular novel?
In Time Search, one of my characters, Angelina, travels through Europe. I included Angelina’s concert tour as a way for me to vacation while still being quarantined. To research, I read tons of travel magazines and books. I also watched an innumerable amount of tourist videos. Three of my favorite video clips were of people kissing the Blarney Stone, tourists throwing coins into Trevi Fountain, and a man traveling through the streets of Rome with a video camera mounted on his Vespa. Naturally, all three of those events found their way into Time Search. Another thing I researched was the language of flowers. In Time Search, the TEMCO team is given clues through the meaning of certain flowers contained in bouquets. I also researched some Latin phrases for Crystal to throw at Marc when she felt mischievous.
Does your faith affect your writing?
In a very real sense, faith affects everything in my life—especially my writing. During quarantine, I questioned everything I knew about God. I couldn’t understand why a “loving” Savior would allow me to experience so much pain. I was angry with God for quite a while, and I tried to kick Him out of my life completely. I had served God faithfully for years, and I felt betrayed. I felt that when I needed God the most, He had abandoned me.
One thing about quarantine, it gives you lots of time to think. As the months and years rolled by, I examined every aspect of my faith and all of my questions about God. Eventually, I came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested in every aspect of my life, Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith, and God is trustworthy in spite of hardship.
Those five conclusions have become the cornerstone of my life, and they have become the cornerstone of my books. My characters face hardships and question God—just as I did. But eventually, they all come the same conclusion I did—God is real and trustworthy.
I want my books to strengthen people’s faith, and my stories to point people toward God.
Which Biblical character do you most identify with and why?
That’s a tough question to answer, but if I could emulate one character I would enjoy being like the apostle Andrew. Andrew didn’t say much, but he was always gently leading people to Christ. He would bring people to Jesus and then step back and let them discover the Lord. That’s what I’m trying to do with my writing.
Do you have any inspiration for aspiring authors?
My advice would be to write what you love. If you’re having fun writing your book, chances are that your audience will have fun reading it. I would also advise aspiring writers to visualize reading their book directly to God—never write a single sentence that would cause shame if it were read to Him.
What is next for the Time Counselor Chronicles?
When it’s finished, The Time Counselor Chronicles will consist of eight books. The first three books—Time Tsunami, Time Trap, and Time Search—have already been published by Prism Book Group. The next three books—Time Awakening, Time Inferno, and Time Nightmare—are already written. I wrote them while I was ill and quarantined, and they just need a little polishing in preparation for publication. The final two books in the series—Time Flashback and Time Resolution—are outlined. Currently, I’m brushing up the fourth book in the series, Time Awakening.
To help us get to know her a little more personally. . .Danele has graciously shared a few of her favorites. . .
food, beverage, dessert:
I enjoy all types of food, but I have to admit that I’m particularly partial to smothered burritos that come with a side of chips and salsa. On hot days, my favorite drink is icy-cold water in a frosty glass. In my opinion, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as ice water. I absolutely love chocolate cake with lots of chocolate frosting. (Emphasis on LOTS of frosting.)
I love the ocean, and I love the woods. Any destination that provides both of them is FABULOUS.
type of shoe:
My favorite shoe is a comfortable sneaker. I do quite a bit of walking, and I like my toes to have wiggle room. My least favorite shoe is one with high stiletto heels. I’m close to six feet tall, and if I wear heels, I’m in danger of knocking my noggin on door frames and light fixtures. I’m also liable to fall on my face—I’m not very graceful in heels of any sort since I tend to be a little klutzy.
My favorite color changes on a daily basis. Today, it’s sky blue. As we talk, I’m looking out a window at the contrast of green leaves against a beautiful blue sky, and it’s a lovely sight! God’s artistry always takes my breath away.
book and movie:
Growing up, I really enjoyed reading The Hobbit. The idea that an adventure can take place every time you step out of your front door is fascinating!
My favorite movie is Facing the Giants. I love how the movie demonstrates the fact that God has everything under control.
Many thanks to Danele for sharing herself and her books with us here at CarpeDiem!!!
To find out more about Danele and her books. . .please follow the links below (you’ll be glad you did!)
Danele’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Danele-J.-Rotharmel/e/B06XDMK63K/
ACFW Fiction Finder: http://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/1331