Storm Watch: Book Three in the Unfinished Business Series

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crossing Genres-Marlene Dotterer and Her New Release: Shipbuilder

I am delighted welcome Marlene Dotterer,  a long time member of Online Writer's Workshop. We met a few years back during an online workshop and I had the opportunity to read some of her novel,  Shipbuilder, which has now been published. 






Imagine being there before the Titanic set sail.

Now imagine being there before she’s even built.

Sam Altair is a physicist living in Belfast, Ireland. He has spent his career researching time travel and now, in early 2006, he’s finally reached the point where he can send objects backwards through time. The only problem is, he doesn’t know where the objects go. They don’t show up in the past, and no one notices any changes to the present. Are they creating alternate time lines?

To collect more data, Sam tries a clandestine experiment in a public park, late at night. But the experiment goes horribly wrong when Casey Wilson, a student at the university, stumbles into his isolation field. Sam tries to rescue her, but instead, he and Casey are transported back to the year 1906. Stuck in the past, cut off from everyone and everything they know, Sam and Casey work together to help each other survive. Then Casey meets Thomas Andrews, the man who will shortly begin to build the most famous ship since Noah’s Ark. Should they warn him, changing the past and creating unknown consequences for the future?

Or should they let him die?


Welcome, Marlene. Crossing genres is a subject near and dear to me. Many times I am asked, what is this? And often I answer with a combination of three, sometimes four subgenres. This can make it hard to sell in traditional markets who want to know where the book goes on the shelf. My answer is put it on three or four shelves! Especially now that most of them are virtual ones. Give us your insights.

Thank you having me, Carole. I’m excited to chat with your readers about my book. Let me start with a question:

Is it Science Fiction if the story takes place in the past?                 

My answer:

Probably not. Not exactly, anyway.

There. Wasn't that easy?

Science fiction, as I understand it, involves technology. Usually, the story takes place in the future, with space ships, planets, and weapons easily capable of exterminating humanity. However, there are also present-day plots. These are usually Michael Crichton-type  doomsday scenarios with superbugs breaking loose and exterminating humanity. Or they can be aliens-visiting-earth, who either

a)befriend some kids and eventually go away, or
b)exterminate humanity.

Other stories take place in some variant of current or near-future earth, with just enough difference to show it's not our own present day. Computer related stories are a popular type of this sub-genre, with people lost in the circuits, or some role-playing game starts to take over the world. And exterminates humanity.

What about steampunk? Ah, now that takes place in the past, and is most definitely a type of science fiction. SF as H.G. Wells would write it, but with more martial arts. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is an example of this, and I believe there was some danger of humanity being exterminated. At least, the kid part of it.

I wonder about this question because my book takes place in 1906 - 1912, and it's not steampunk. Yes, there's a scientist in it, and there's time travel. But the time travel is quickly done and never really explained, although it is clearly science-based. There's nothing supernatural going on.

Is this science fiction?

I feel safe calling it alternate history, but is alternate history a branch of SF? I've always thought of it so, but I could be wrong.

TTJ: Shipbuilder is also historical fiction, assuming you don't mind time travelers talking about space shuttles in your historical fiction.

It's also romance. So here is where I tie it all together by calling it...  get ready... Time Travel Romance.

To me, this says science fiction because of the time travel. It also says romance (obviously), and it probably means historical fiction, since (most) time travel stories involve going to the past. I consider this a neat package in which to tie up my book. Perhaps with a bow.

Feel free to search for it under any of these genres. I’ve tried to include them all in the keywords because the book could easily be on any of these shelves in a bookstore. But if I had to pick just one shelf, which would it be?

Science fiction. 

Thanks, Marlene. As I said, I've read some of this book and it's on my TBR pile in my TBR file. Take a look, folks. You won't be disappointed.
Anything else, Marlene?



YES! Must Have Give-Aways!
Ships are launched with a bottle of champagne. My book is about a ship, so...

Actually, perhaps it’s best if I don’t try to mail anyone a bottle of champagne. But how about a free book?

Throughout the blog tour, I’ll keep track of everyone who leaves a comment on any of the blogs and enter them into a drawing. At the end of the tour, I’ll pick three winners, each to receive an autographed copy of The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder.

So, read on! Comment!

And those stops are:
Sept 2 - Patty Jansen
Sept 3 - Amy Raby
Sept 4 - Anna Kashina
Sept 5 - Darke Conteur
Sept 8 - Sue Ann Bowling



Visit her website for a links to her other interesting articles. Here are buy links for all formats, including print for us dinosaur types.






Marlene Dotterer grew up as a desert rat in Tucson, Arizona. In 1990, she loaded her five children into the family station wagon, and drove north-west to the foggy San Francisco Bay Area. To stay warm, she tackled many enterprises, earning a degree in geology, working for a national laboratory, and running her own business as a personal chef. She’s a frustrated gardener, loves to cook, and teaches natural childbirth classes. She says she writes, “to silence the voices,” obsessed with the possibilities of other worlds and other times.

She is married to The Best Husband in the World, and lives in Pleasant Hill, California.