I can’t say that I couldn’t put this book down, because I’m reading it on a computer screen—but I’m not getting much else done on the computer! Marlene Dotterer’s just-released Shipbuilder is the book, and without further ado I’ll let her describe the book and interview the characters.

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?

A big “thank you” to Sue Ann, for sharing her blog with me. I’m happy to meet all of you who read her blog.

This is the last stop on the Time Travel Blog Tour, and I have to say, it has been a lot of fun. We’ve talked about the book (ad nauseum, I’m sure), the characters, time travel, and writing. To close it up, I thought we’d do a group interview with the three main characters from TTJ: Shipbuilder.

They are:

Sam Altair, physicist from the 21st century

Casey Wilson Andrews, a young woman from the 21st century

Tom Andrews, shipbuilder from the 20th century

This interview takes place circa 1908. I’d like to pass a nod on to the Live Journal blog, WritersFive, for the questions.

MD: Welcome everyone. Pour yourself some tea and be sure to try the scones. I’ll throw out a question and you can chime in with your answers in any order. Ready?

First question: the three of you are in the unique position of having the chance to change history. Do you have an ethical right to do this?

Tom: How can I have an ethical right to not do it? Sam and Casey have told me that 1500 people die when my ship sinks. I could not possibly ignore that.

Sam: Yes. Not only a right. We have a responsibility. In fact, I’m convinced we have to change more than just Titanic. Now, we’re only three people, and there’s only so much we can do. But we know of future problems resulting from actions taken in the early years of the twentieth century. I can think of ways to change some of them, and I’m going to try to do it.

Casey: The thing is… I’m not convinced that everything will happen exactly as it did before. I mean, it doesn’t have to, as if it’s written in stone or something. I absolutely do not believe in determinism. We are not breaking any universal laws by causing things to be different.

MD: All right. Here’s a more general question. Do you believe in an afterlife?

Tom: Oh, of course. I can’t say I know what it’s really like – somehow, I don’t think it’s all pearly gates and streets of gold, or hell fire, either. I do think God has other plans for us after we die.

Casey: Nope, not in the sense you probably mean, where our souls live forever. We get what we got and that’s it. Now, recycling – sure. We die, we become part of the earth, maybe we help a plant grow and feed another animal. Life goes on.

Sam: Hey, I’ve done some weird experiments while trying to figure out time travel. Other dimensions, multiple universes… I can’t prove they’re real, but I’ve had odd enough results to make me wonder. Still, I’ve never seen anything that indicated life after death.

MD: What kind of person are you? Do you confront your problems head on, or ignore them until you have to do something? Do you procrastinate?

Tom: Mostly head on. I’m a busy person, I take care of problems as they come up, at least at work. Personal issues, especially if they involve someone else – that depends. Sometimes you have to let things sit for a while before you can know the right thing to do.

Casey: I hit the ground running. Patience is not something I’m good at. If there’s a problem, it better get out of my way, fast.

Sam: She’s telling the truth. I still have a bruise from that last time…

Casey: Is it my fault you’ve been the cause of most of my problems since the moment I met you?

Sam: And bloody well paid for it, too. Me, I’m more of a live-and-let-live kind of fellow, at least to start. Some problems flitter out if you leave them alone. But sometimes you have to act, and those cases, I believe I step up to the plate if I have to.

MD: Money, fame or happiness, you can only have one… what would you rather have and why?

Tom: I refuse to accept that I can only have one. I’m accruing all three as we speak.

Casey: Me too. Good call, love. Frankly though, I could do without the fame. Too many speaking engagements.

Sam: I agree in theory. If I have money, why am I necessarily going to be miserable? They aren’t really related, but in the spirit the question was asked – I’ll take money. The food is better, and people don’t mind having you around.

MD: What is the most important value you can pass onto your child?

Tom: Love for life and people. If you start with that, you end up being honest, helpful, and a joy to be around. You end up happy.

Casey: You probably end up with money, too, since you’re more likely to get a good job. A little famous, too, since everyone wants you around.

Sam: I’m not even going to touch this.

MD: What would you place in a personal ad if you were making one?

Tom: What’s a personal ad?

Casey: It’s an ad you place in a newspaper, so you can meet someone special.

Tom: Is this something people do in the 21st century?

Casey: Sure. Before that, actually. I don’t know when it started.

Sam: “Happy, famous, rich scientist looking for charming, buxom lady who’s not shy or falsely modest.”

Casey: Yeah, like that.

Tom (giving it some thought): “Handsome shipbuilder looking for beautiful, hotheaded time traveler to share future with.” How’s that?

Casey: Where do I send the reply?

Tom: Can Sam finish the interview? I’ll show you…

MD: Newlyweds. Can’t do a thing with them…

That’s all, folks. The blog tour is over. Thank you for tagging along with us. If you haven’t left a comment yet, do it today, so you’ll be entered in the contest. And be sure to let me know what you think of the book!

Sue Ann: I’ve a bit more to say. I met Marlene through SheWrites, and I’m delighted to have her as a guest. Her book is now available in paperback from Amazon, as well as at Smashwords and through her site.

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.

 Her website is http://marlenedotterer.wordpress.com/

Oh, one last thing: 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!