Looking Out the Window: Danele Rotharmel Talks About Time Search, Book Three In The Time Counselor Chronicles Series. Gives Away a Sunflowers and Butterfly Prize Package
It's my pleasure to have you. Let's talk about your new book. What inspired you to write this particular story?
Time Search is the third book in The Time Counselor Chronicles, and one of the things that inspired me to write it was a horrible case of cabin fever. I was extremely ill at the time, and I wrote it in the middle of a seven-year stretch of quarantine. The four walls of my house were closing in on me, and my only way of escape was through my imagination. I longed to travel, and since I couldn’t, I became an armchair traveler. I’d always wanted to visit Europe, so I read travel books and watched online videos of tourist spots. My desire to travel ended up manifesting itself in Angelina’s concert tour through Europe. I lived vicariously through her. Researching Europe was my way of traveling even while being locked in quarantine.
Is Angelina a main character in your new book?
Yes, she is, Gail. My readers have had brief glimpses of Angelina Ableman in both Time Tsunami and Time Trap, but she comes into her own in Time Search. Angelina is Dan and Alex’s sister, and she is incredibly brave. When she was a teenager, she became ill and almost died. Rather than giving up on life, she lives each day to its fullest. She is also a wonderful violinist who is beginning to achieve world acclaim. In Time Trap, we learn that her brother, Alex, gave her a list of silly, challenging tasks to accomplish in each country. In Time Search, she is working to complete that list. For instance, in Ireland, she has to kiss the Blarney Stone and dance with a leprechaun. In Rome, she has to ride a scooter and high-five a gladiator. I had a blast with Angelina’s European tour! Her scenes were so much fun to write. I also enjoyed the glimmer of romance that is beginning to stir between her and Andrew Hamilton—but that’s a story for another time.
What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?
One of my favorite themes in Time Search is forgiveness. All of us have painful things in our past, and all of us deal with hurtful situations in different ways because of our pasts. In Time Search, Crystal, Zeke, Phoebe, and Alex all encounter situations that are hurtful. Each of them must decide how they will handle that hurt. Will they forgive the person who sinned against them? Will they become bitter? Will they try to get even? Each of them reacts a little differently because they are unique. In Time Search, I tried to show that our pasts can color how we view offence. I also tried to show that no matter what we’ve been through, the only real victory comes from forgiving those who have sinned against us.
How do you get to know your characters?
I hold late-night conversations with them. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. When I was ill, there were lots of times when I couldn’t sleep. Rather than lying in the dark peering up at the moon shadows on the ceiling and worrying about my health, I would deliberately think about my characters instead. What made them tick? How would they react to different situations? What events in their past shaped their personalities? Sometimes, I would pretend to talk to them. Other times, I would scrunch my eyes closed and think up scenes from their past. What had they been like in middle school, in high school, in college? Who had been their friends? What tragedies and joys had overtaken them? My late-night musings helped me understand my characters from the inside out. It made them my friends.
Sounds like time well spent. What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
Oh, Gail! That’s hard to say! I’m a certifiable klutz, so embarrassing things are ALWAYS happening to me. I actually used one of my clumsy moments as inspiration for a scene in Time Search. When I was a teenager, I was taking a bowl of milk outside. Since my hands were full, I hooked my foot around the door, pulling it closed behind me. Unfortunately, my ankle turned and I slipped. As I fell down the steps, I flung the bowl in the air and grabbed for the doorknob. All I managed to do was slam the door shut as I fell. I had incredibly long hair, and it became trapped beneath the door. The milk spilled all over my face so I couldn’t see, and no matter how hard I tried to reach the doorknob, I couldn’t touch it because my hair was pinned. I was stuck until my mother saw my predicament and freed me. She said it gave her a horrible scare seeing my hair on the wrong side of the door.
When I wrote Time Search, I included a similar incident in the book. I exchanged the bowl of milk for a bag of apples, and I turned Crystal’s rescuer into Marc Kerry. I had such a great time writing the scene. I was giggling the whole time I was typing. Here’s a glimpse of how Crystal felt after Marc freed her:
Crystal drove down Science Avenue, chewing her lip and squirming.
“It just had to be Marc who found me!” she muttered. “Out of all the people who could’ve opened that door and seen me looking like an utter idiot, it just had to be him!”
Groaning, Crystal curled her bare toes around the accelerator.
“Heaven knows what he’s thinking right now.” She glared at her reflection in the rearview mirror. “Probably something along the lines of Klutzy Crystal strikes again.”
She gave a halfhearted attempt at whistling “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” but gave up in disgust.
Rolling her eyes expressively at her reflection, she grumbled, “Whistling may help you fend off your fear of a murderer, but it’s absolutely worthless when it comes to fending off the embarrassment that an extremely cute guy has just caught you trying to open a door with your toes!” She scrunched down in her seat, trying to disappear. “The only bright spot in this whole stupid situation is that at least I have freshly painted toenails.”
That's a cute scene. Does your faith affect your writing?If so, how?
In a very real sense, faith affects everything in my life—especially my writing. During quarantine, I questioned everything I knew about God. I couldn’t understand why a “loving” Savior would allow me to experience so much pain. I was angry with God for quite a while, and I tried to kick Him out of my life completely. I had served God faithfully for years, and I felt betrayed. I felt that when I needed God the most, He had abandoned me. One thing about quarantine, it gives you lots of time to think. As the months and years rolled by, I examined every aspect of my faith and all of my questions about God. Eventually, I came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested in every aspect of my life, Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith, and God is trustworthy in spite of hardship. Those five conclusions have become the cornerstone of my life, and they have become the cornerstone of my books. My characters face hardships and question God—just as I did. But eventually, they all come the same conclusion I did—God is real and trustworthy. I want my books to strengthen people’s faith. I want my stories to point people toward God.
A nameless evil lurks in the shadows…
In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!
It sounds suspenseful.
Buy on Amazon
Paperback copies here
Thank you for allowing me to talk about Time Search, Gail! I’ve had such a great time! This has been so much fun!
You're very welcome, and the fun's just begun. Danele shares her great-grandmother Anna’s oatmeal cookie recipe.
Anna was an amazing woman. She was born in Russia, and when she was a child, a great famine hit the land. She and her parents immigrated to the United States. They landed in New York and traveled to Colorado. Later, she married my great-grandfather who was an immigrant from Germany. My great-grandparents homesteaded on the Colorado plains and raised fifteen children. With all of those mouths to feed, it would take Anna a whole day to bake enough bread to last the family a week. She would spread a clean sheet over a bed and fill it with loaves. She was a strong, amazing woman who saw many things during her lifetime. She lived through World War I and II, the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression. She followed the news as Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, and later, she watched on television as a man walked on the moon. She is an enduring reminder that faith and hard work can see a person through all of the storms of life.
One of Anna’s Favorite Bible Verses
Anna lived most of her life surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. She had many favorite Bible verses, but she especially loved Psalms 121:2-8. “My help is from Jehovah who made the mountains! And the heavens too! He will never let me stumble, slip, or fall. For He is always watching, never sleeping. Jehovah Himself is caring for you! He is your defender. He protects you day and night. He keeps you from all evil, and preserves your life. He keeps His eye upon you as you come and go, and always guards you."
Bio: Danele Rotharmel
Danele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.
During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.
When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.
Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.
You can learn more about Danele by visiting her /blog
And social links