[Note from Frolic: we’re so excited to welcome author Rebecca Hefner to the site today! She’s talking all things time travel. Take it away, Rebecca!]
Ask anyone to name a time travel romance and they’ll most likely say Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It’s a solid choice, compounded by the gorgeous actors who embody Jamie and Claire on the extremely popular TV adaptation.
While I do enjoy all things Outlander, my goal with A Paradox of Fates was to write something… geekier. As a huge, self-proclaimed science dork who went to Space Camp when I was fourteen, I always knew that someday I’d write a romance with a theoretical physicist protagonist attempting to figure out time travel. She’d be a bit awkward and wary of love, because her practical brain understood that romantic love is just a bunch of rapid-fire chemicals that trick us into feeling affection. All her effort would be spent advancing science. Emotion, be damned.
But what if a handsome and mysterious military captain showed up at her door, spurring feelings of longing in her cynical heart that made her question everything? Could her linear mind compute balancing her feelings and her purpose?
This is the main romantic thread throughout A Paradox of Fates. A woman bred her entire life for one goal begins to consider more, although she has an extremely difficult time processing the swirling emotions in her practical brain. Moreover, she must trust someone who has secrets of his own and be willing to forgive his deception, not borne from malice, but from his need to enhance the greater good.
It is a daunting task for our protagonist, Dr. Elaine “Lainey” Randolph, and she struggles with it throughout. Unlike the time travel romances of the nineties, where women from the twentieth century had to build a life with a male character stuck in medieval misogyny, even if they railed against it, there is no doubt that Lainey is the boss. She’s the leader of the scientific hub and her authority is assumed and respected. Captain Hunter Rhodes, our aforementioned sexy soldier, instantly admits that Lainey is infinitely more intelligent than he and promptly jokes about how terrible he is at math (hint: he counts on his fingers). But he possesses a great capacity for love, and is, therefore, an anomaly to Lainey. She sets out to study him, as she does everything in her world, attempting to discern his motivations.
In the meantime, she works with her team of ragtag scientists to solve time travel. Every science-loving dork like me will recognize the science references throughout the novel. Carl Sagan, EMPs, faraday cages, Nikola Tesla, Einstein, nuclear fuel rods, paradoxes, and Doc Brown (okay, that one is just for pure fun!)—all are mentioned in some capacity. Although it is first and foremost a romance novel, it was important to me that the scientific principles be as realistic as possible. Lainey’s time machine is based upon the theories of Dr. Ronald Mallett as well as Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity.
No matter how steeped in science the novel is, time travel is still, to my knowledge, impossible. Therefore, the reader does have to suspend reality in some instances since a reader’s imagination is always much more expansive than reality. But, if we can believe that Claire traveled through the stones at Craigh Na Dun to meet ruggedly handsome Jamie, I’m assured that readers can lose themselves in the scientific possibilities of Lainey and Hunter’s world.
Post-apocalyptic dystopian stories are part of our culture now. They weave through the novels we read, from YA to adult, and the shows we consume (Dark on Netflix anyone? I’m obsessed!). Perhaps it’s because we live in a time where these stories seem less like fiction and more like a chilling realistic possibility. Tomorrow, when we wake up and check our phones, would we truly be surprised if the headline read, “World Leader Launches Nuclear Warheads on Rival Country”? Sadly, I’m not sure we would be shocked at all.
In that vein, Lainey has a very important mission to accomplish. She must travel from the year 2075 to 2035 and prevent the US President from launching the nukes that vaulted the Earth into a post-apocalyptic future. An almost insurmountable task, especially for someone thrown so off balance by a heart sliding into unwanted love. As she toils with her team, intent on success, she begins to understand that there are multiple timelines and multiple enemies. Much like when Biff gets his hands on the Grays Sports Almanac in Back to the Future II, Lainey begins to understand that past events have been manipulated so she must have already succeeded… only to ultimately fail. It is a tough realization for the determined physicist.
My hope is that even if the reader isn’t a full-blown science dork like me (I would discuss time travel and special relativity over a glass of wine all day long and twice on Sunday!), the science is explained well enough that they can accept it in their minds and focus on the central love story. For, in the end, my goal was to ensure that our female, almost forty-year old, science-loving protagonist experiences her HEA. Because geeky scientists deserve love too.
About the Author:
Rebecca Hefner grew up in Western NC and now lives on the outskirts of NYC. When she’s not belting karaoke, searching for the next great red wine or watching the Carolina Tar Heels beat Duke, she’s writing sci-fi and paranormal romance with complex characters, surprise twists and HEAs.
Connect with Rebecca:
A Paradox of Fates by Rebecca Hefner, out now!
One woman bred to save the world…
Dr. Elaine “Lainey” Randolph was born with one sole purpose: to prevent the past. With her brilliant mind and unwavering spirit, she works tirelessly to solve the equations that will finally unlock the mystery of time travel. Then, she will leave the post-apocalyptic future her grandfather created and travel back in time to prevent his calamitous actions.
When handsome military captain Hunter Rhodes appears at Lainey’s remote scientific hub, he offers her protection. But there are strings attached to the mysterious soldier’s proffer, and Lainey finds herself wary of the man who stokes unwelcome longing and desire in her unemotional heart. For Lainey is a scientist, obdurate and dispassionate toward the notion of romantic love.
As Lainey’s band of ragtag scientists and loyal soldiers endeavor to escape the dystopian future, the evil New Establishment threatens to destroy them all. In their unpredictable timeline, the nefarious regime has become all-powerful and will stop at nothing to ensure complete world domination…