[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sydney! Can you please describe yourself in five words or less.
[Sydney Dahlquist] Scientific. Curious. Adventurous. But careful.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Sydney Dahlquist?
[Sydney Dahlquist] Back in 2013 I spent most of my days in a basement lab, deep in the bowels of the Health Sciences Center at the University of Washington. You’d think with time travel being the hot new field for medical research, we’d get space with windows, at least, but I guess the theory is if you get to see the past, you don’t need to see Mount Rainier on sunny days.
Here in the past I’m nursing wounded soldiers in Wellington’s army. That was my cover, when I first came back in time—I pretended to be an English widow living in Portugal whose husband had been in the port business, eager to help my countrymen with whatever small skill in the sickroom I could offer. Now that I’m staying, well, I like the work, and it’s probably the only job acceptable for a woman I have the right skills for. Even if I didn’t want to stay with Miles, I’d suck as a governess or lady’s companion.
Evenings and nights I spend with Miles. I like my nights. A lot. The rest of the time, I’m still trying to work out all the details of everyday life in 1811—it’s one thing to come back as a time traveler and fake it for a week or two, but much more of a challenge to actually live here, you know? Miles helps all he can, but he doesn’t know everything a woman needs. The first time I got my period in the 19th century? Not exactly my favorite day in the past.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Miles?
[Sydney Dahlquist] Smart. Compassionate. Hot.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about him?
[Sydney Dahlquist] He’s one of those people who’ll just set his things down wherever—his sketchbook, his shoes, his sword—and then thinks I’ll know where to find them. I’m looking forward to us eventually going back to England where he can have a valet or something to be his memory for him, weird as it is to think of having a staff of servants.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?
[Sydney Dahlquist] That’s a tough one. As much as I miss my family and friends in 2013, I can’t say I wish I’d never come back in time, because then I wouldn’t have met Miles. Hm…if I had it to do over again, I’d pay more attention to all the little details, beautiful and ugly, in my world. In the 21st century I was one of those people who’s always in a hurry, and who’d text while walking around. Now that I can’t do any of that, I’m learning to enjoy how much more you see when you’re forced to slow down and look.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?
[Sydney Dahlquist] Pencil and paper. Even though I know I won’t make it back to 2013 with my medical notes, I still like keeping records for myself. And I plan to leave them, along with the rest of my journal, to be opened in this timeline’s version of 2013. I figure scientists and historians will be interested, along with my descendants, should I have any.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What modern convenience to you miss most?
[Sydney Dahlquist] Hot running water. Seriously. I miss it more than the internet.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.
[Sydney Dahlquist] Do science, have a family.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
[Sydney Dahlquist] Thank you for the invitation!
About the book:
Christmas Past by Susanna Fraser
Entangled Ever After
Release Date: November 25, 2013
Time-traveling PhD student Sydney Dahlquist’s first mission sounded simple enough—spend two weeks in December 1810 collecting blood samples from the sick and wounded of Wellington’s army, then go home to modern-day Seattle and Christmas with her family. But when her time machine breaks, stranding her in the past, she must decide whether to sacrifice herself to protect the timeline or to build a new life—and embrace a new love—two centuries before her time.
Rifle captain Miles Griffin has been fascinated by the tall, beautiful “Mrs. Sydney” from the day he met her caring for wounded soldiers. When he stumbles upon her time travel secret on Christmas Eve, he vows to do whatever it takes to seduce her into making her home in his present—by his side.
“What is that thing?”
His voice shook a little, she thought. But not much. He was an officer and a gentleman, so he couldn’t let himself freak out over something new and strange. If he was scared, he hid it well. She admired that. As a time traveler, she tried to live by the same kind of code.
“A carriage, sir,” she said. “And a broken one, at that.”
“No, Mrs. Sydney,” Captain Griffin said in a tone that reminded her of Professor Krakowski in lecture mode. “Itappears to be a carriage, externally. Inside is something very different. I saw it. I may not understand the evidence of my eyes, but I’ve never been given to hallucinations. And,” he added with a musing, distant look that called her mentor even more strongly to mind, “if I were to suddenly take leave of my senses, I doubt very much I should hallucinate something I’d never imagined existed before.”
Disguise had failed, so she must distract and deflect. “I don’t see why not,” she said. “After all, isn’t that how strange religions start?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps. But you’re no angel, are you? Although,” he allowed, “you’re tall and golden enough for one.”
She shook her head. There had been concern among the review board that at 5’11” she was too tall a woman to go more than a hundred years into the past. Time travelers were supposed to blend in to their destinations. “No,” she said. “Anyway, I’m shorter than you.”
He smiled. It wasn’t fair how the expression made him look even hotter, with white teeth straighter than anyone born before orthodontics had a right to in a soldier’s sun-browned face. “Not by much. But stop trying to distract me. I know what I saw.”
She crossed her arms and tried to look lofty. “What if I told you it was none of your concern and refused to say more?”
Now he grinned, a wicked twinkle in his eye. “Then I should be obliged to found a strange religion based on my suppositions. How do you think I would do as a mad preacher, ma’am? On Christmas Eve, I saw the most celestial vision …”
He wouldn’t. He couldn’t. “You’re far too rational a gentleman to do anything so mad,” she said.
“True. But—hang it all, Mrs. Sydney, you must tell me something!” Now his voice shook, and she could hear the fear and amazement he’d been working to hide. “You cannot expect a man to see a light that glows bright as sunlight without a flicker of flame or a—a portrait frame that changes its contents with the touch of a fingertip, and walk away and never think of it again.”
She bit her lip and fought to control her shaking breath. Maybe she could’ve passed off the electric light as some new and improved oil lamp, but he’d seen her iPad. What could she do now? She couldn’t think of a single lie that wouldn’t make everything worse. The Protocol made no allowances for this, but he’d already seen too much to be distracted or deflected, and wasn’t it safer for such a curious man to know the truth? Who knew how badly he’d destroy the timeline with his guesses if she left him ignorant.
“It’s my time machine,” she said in her own accent, “my broken time machine. I was—I will be born in 1987. I came here from America in 2013.”
About the Author:
Susanna Fraser wrote her first novel in fourth grade. It starred a family of talking horses who ruled a magical land. In high school she started, but never finished, a succession of tales of girls who were just like her, only with long, naturally curly and often unusually colored hair, who, perhaps because of the hair, had much greater success with boys than she ever did.
Along the way she read her hometown library’s entire collection of Regency romance, fell in love with the works of Jane Austen, and discovered in Patrick O’Brian’s and Bernard Cornwell’s novels another side of the opening decades of the 19th century. When she started to write again as an adult, she knew exactly where she wanted to set her books. Her writing has come a long way from her youthful efforts, but she still gives her heroines great hair.
Susanna grew up in rural Alabama. After high school she left home for the University of Pennsylvania and has been a city girl ever since. She worked in England for a year after college, using her days off to explore history from ancient stone circles to Jane Austen’s Bath.
Susanna lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter. When not writing or reading, she goes to baseball games, sings alto in a local choir and watches cooking competition shows.
$50 BN or Amazon Gift Card- winner’s choice