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Dinosaurs, a deadly disease and time travel in Jennifer Macaire’s new novel

In Jennifer Macaire’s new novel a deadly disease is ripping through the world. Her heroine has the chance to save millions of lives by travelling back in time to find a vaccine.

I love the premise of this new book (and how I wish someone would step through a time portal with a vaccine for us today!)

And so it’s a great pleasure to welcome Jennifer to my blog with an article on the background to her research, and how she came to be fascinated by the world of dinosaurs.

Thanks for coming today, Jennifer!

A Remedy in Time, by Jennifer Macaire

Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog! I’m here to talk about my newest time travel book, A Remedy in Time, and what inspired me to write it.

I’ve had a passion for time travel ever since I found out about dinosaurs. I admit, I’ve watched the Jurassic Park series about a hundred times. The dinosaurs never get boring for me. When I was in kindergarten, I stood at the blackboard and drew huge dinos. A t-rex chased a triceratops, a stegosaurus lumbered across a swamp, while a huge brontosaurus (now known as apatosaurus, which is a pity, given that brontosaurus meant “thunder lizard”) grazed on high tree tops. One of my teachers discovered my obsession, and she would take me from class to class so I could draw and give a talk about dinosaurs.

Then one day I happened on a Reader’s Digest that featured sabretooth tigers. In the illustration, the tigers are attacking a mammoth that has somehow gotten entrapped in a tar-pit. I stared at that illustration for hours, trying to imagine how the sabretooth tigers could hunt and eat their prey with such massive canines.

That was that for the dinosaurs. Suddenly I was fascinated by a time when woolly mammoths, huge cave bears, and even sloths the size of small houses, roamed the frigid plains of the ice-age tundra. The sabretooth tiger, with its out-sized canines became my spirit animal – I read everything I could about them, and spent my time drawing pictures of extinct mammals. Needless to say, the sabretooth tiger was the beast that really caught my interest.

Years and years later, I stumbled on a blogsite that featured fossils, and it amused me to try and guess the mystery photos the author posted. And then one day, lo and behold, there was a sabretooth tiger! I recognized it right away. In the blog post, the author admitted that scientists still argued about how the animal hunted its prey. I started imagining a trip to the past to film a documentary about sabretooth tigers.

Of course, the trip would start at Tempus U, where my time travel books all start from. And the heroine this time would be a single-minded young woman who not only specialized in paleolithic animals but infectious diseases as well, because when I started writing the book, there had been a breakout of an especially virulent form of typhus in California. And so I wove a story about corporate greed, vaccines, man-made diseases, and a trip to the far, far past. A Remedy in Time is available for preorder, and will be published January 7th, 2021!

And here is the fabulous cover my publisher, Headline Accent, made for it!

To save the future, she must turn to the past . . .

San Francisco, Year 3377. A deadly virus has taken the world by storm. Scientists are desperately working to develop a vaccine. And Robin Johnson – genius, high-functioning, and perhaps a little bit single-minded – is delighted. Because, to cure the disease, she’s given the chance to travel back in time.

But when Robin arrives at the last Ice Age hoping to stop the virus at its source, she finds more there than she bargained for. And just as her own chilly exterior is beginning to thaw, she realises it’s not only sabre-toothed tigers that are in danger of extinction . . .

A Remedy in Time is available on preorder from:

  Amazon.com  ; Amazon.co.uk ; Amazon.com.au :  Hachhette UK 

Here is an excerpt:

I lay with my face in the grass. I hadn’t vomited, but that’s only because I couldn’t take a full breath. I knew that as soon as my diaphram started working again I’d spill my guts. It didn’t take long. “Why, oh why, did I agree to this,” I said, between bouts of retching and paralyzing pain. Finally, I managed to get to my knees. “What if a sabre tooth tiger had been here? We’d already be eaten, or worse.”

He shook his head. “See how the air around us is faintly blue? We’re protected by the tractor beam for a good hour. Nothing can get in.”

I reached out my hand and touched the blue-tinged air. It was a little like being surrounded by a very faint fog. I poked. My finger tingled and stung. “Wo cao!” I said. As I watched, the blue shivered and began to fade. “It’s almost gone. Let’s go. We should send some vidcams out and see if there are any spots that look like a good campsite.”

Donnell looked at his comlink.

“What time is it?” I asked. “Is time here different, I wonder? It was nearly noon when we left the, um, future.” I glanced at my own comlink. “It’s one minute to one. Amazing. We go back ten thousand years in little more than an hour. A-fucking-mazing. Look at this place!” Mouth open in amazement, I gazed around. We were on the side of a grassy hill, and we had a good view of the surrounding area. I forgot about my pain, I was in the past! I was here! I staggered to my feet and looked around. “Wa cao! We’re really here! There is a ta me da giant armadillo down there. Putain, a glyptodon! This is amazing. Look at that! It looks like a walking igloo except it’s brown, not white. Donnell, look!

Donnell didn’t look at the scenery. He looked at me, and said, “Robin, I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m really very sorry. I didn’t have a choice in the matter.” He looked truly upset.

I hastened to reassure him. “No need to apologise. Look, I know you didn’t want to have me as a partner. I overheard you talking to the dean. It doesn’t matter. Let’s just make this trip a success. We have many lives depending on us.”

He made a strange noise. Then his face turned ashen, and he gagged like he was about to be sick. I thought he was still feeling the effects of the trip. I bent to help him to his feet, but he gagged again, then screamed.

“What is it? Donnell? What is happening?” I didn’t understand what I was seeing. His leg, his leg was shrinking. He shrieked, grabbed his leg, and his hands sank into his, well, where his thigh should have been, and then he sort of slid and slumped to the ground, convulsing, his body moving as if waves were tossing it, as if he were made of liquid, and his clothes became wet, and the strongest, strangest smell assaulted my nose.

I think I started to scream then too. Then my breath ran out and all I could do was squeak, squeak, squeak, as I tried to drag air into my lungs.

He must have been in dreadful pain. He screamed until the end. Until all that was left was his chest and his head, then those too sank into themselves and all that was left were clothes and boots, and a pink, foamy gel.

I spun around and flailed at the air, at the faint wisp of blue that still lingered. I found my voice. “Help!” I screamed, “Help, help, help!”

No one came. Below me, in the valley, the glyptodon lifted its head and seemed to look in my direction.

I couldn’t stop shaking, and I couldn’t seem to be able to breathe. Black spots danced in front of my vision and I knelt down, bent over, and hit my head on the ground. “No. No. No! That didn’t just happen. It’s a hallucination. You’re still unconscious. You’ll wake up in a minute. Wake up, Robin. Wake the feck up.” I dug my fingers into the dirt and screamed again.

*

Thanks so much for your fascinating post and excerpt, Jennifer. I love the idea of the time-travelling heroine rescuing the world. A book I’m looking forward to escaping with!

If you’ve enjoyed Jennifer’s post, or have any questions or comments, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

6 thoughts on “Dinosaurs, a deadly disease and time travel in Jennifer Macaire’s new novel

  1. My kind of novel (particularly the moment where the sidekick inexplicably melts into a pink foamy gel, he must have been wearing a red shirt) and it’ll be interesting to see Robin if changes the future (a typical danger in the case of time travel) and returns to a world where the troodonts took first place…

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    1. That’s a really good point about changing the future, James. I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London a couple of years ago, and JK Rowling plays with that idea in a brilliant way. The play itself was really scary, too. I can highly recommend – for when we can all travel and gather together again!
      Thanks very much for dropping in. Hope all’s well with you x

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  2. Gripping, intense, but did I , in any usual meaning of the word , ‘ enjoy’ reading this extract from Jennifer’s new novel ? Read on, yes, gripped by the story…
    Last year, my response might have been very different. Now, bombarded as we are with every new possible symptom, transient or long term, I suspect that reality is generating constant fear. I’ve just read someone’s account of the very ordinary sensation of coming down with a cold – and the intense fear this triggered…
    Disease and fear, gripping your community ? As in Watership Down and the white blindness ?

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    1. Hi Esther, I perfectly understand – and agree – about the constant fear. Readers choose the books that appeal to them the most. Some like to confront what’s happening head on in fiction, as well as in reality, and some like to take a break from reality by immersing themselves in books that have nothing to do with what’s going on around us.
      Your mention of Watership Down is the perfect analogy. I love that book, although it’s a long time since I read it. I don’t think I’ll be re-reading it soon, though…
      Thanks very much for dropping in, and for your thoughtful comment.

      Like

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