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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Pauline Baird Jones

The basic problem with writing science fiction, or paranormal fiction, is making the unbelievable seem believable. Though there are times when making the actual believable is hard, too. After Out of Time released I had a correspondence with a reader who had some problems with my historical detail, specifically when I had my B-17 bomber guys empty their bladders off the runway before they boarded the plane. She pointed out, rightly, that the B-17’s had a tube for them to use while in flight. But as one member of crew told me, it was not uncommon for their flesh to freeze to that tube when they reached cruising altitude, particularly when moisture is added to the mix—hence the desire to empty their bladders prior to take off.

I pointed out to my vigilant reader that different B-17 crews had different experiences and that story telling also required me to take a certain amount of creative license, particularly in how I focused on what details helped forward my plot. But I have to admit what I found funny about the exchange: not once did she have a problem with my time travel.

I guess that shows that readers will suspend disbelief on surprising things, as long as you don’t knock them on the head with reality. An example of that would be, for me, the movie about Queen Elizabeth where they kill off Mary, Queen of Scots about 30 years before she actually died. Not only did they poison her, instead of beheading her, but that meant her son, James was never born—James who became Elizabeth’s heir. I never could understand why they did it either.

I know when I was writing Out of Time, my science fiction romances The Key and Girl Gone Nova, and the Steampunk novella, Tangled in Time, it was the historical detail that worried me the most. People know historical details, but the good news for me, they can’t know my made-up science.

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