Thursday, November 8, 2012

Screwing Up Babylon - New Release by C. M. Keller

 Babylon, one of the most powerful and notorious empires ever, is the last place Mark wants to go. But when he discovers his girlfriend Miranda has been kidnapped and given to the king as a concubine, he travels through the colors of time to rescue her. It won’t be easy, not when the Hanging Gardens are a trap, his life is the prize in a game, and time is a prison. It will take all Mark’s cunning, the help of his friends, and a crazed chimp to free Miranda. When he does, time itself begins to unravel, and a life must be sacrificed or no one will survive.

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and I loved it. You can see my review here.

Since the book has just come out, I invited C. M. Keller to visit YAlicious and tell us why she chose Babylon as her setting for the second book in her Screwing Up Time series.

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One of the joys of writing time travel is that all of history becomes your playground. No time or culture is off limits. Of course, the question then becomes what time period do you choose. And that’s the question Melissa posed for me when she asked me to write this blog post. Why Babylon?

I have to admit that Babylon has fascinated me for most of my life. My first contact with Babylon was the story of Esther—an ancient beauty pageant winner who almost ended up as a concubine. Then, I fell in love with the story of Scheherazade, a Persian woman who survives by cleverness and stories. When I was in school, I read about the Code of Hammurabi and the Hanging Gardens. Later as an adult, I taught the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Yale Museum of British Art’s paintings of Babylon captured my imagination.

When I began Screwing Up Babylon and discovered that Peter had kidnapped Miranda to use her to manipulate Mark, I knew where Peter would take her. Babylon. I actually tried to talk myself out of the location because I knew it would present several problems. One, the language—the people of Babylon speak Akkadian, and my main characters do not. So it would be a huge challenge to engage the reader in the plot when Mark and Miranda can’t understand what anyone around them is saying. My other concern was that the culture of Babylon was violent and life was cheap. I knew if I set the novel there, the story would be darker.

So I tried to think of other settings, but they weren’t right. This sequel had to take place in Babylon because Babylon itself was a character—what was going to happen in the story could only take place in Babylon. So I stopped trying to force the story to fit somewhere else. And when I did, the story wrote itself.

Hopefully, readers come away from the book not only with a better understanding of many sides of Babylon, both the exotic and the bleak, but also a greater appreciation of their own culture.

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I loved seeing Babylon through the eyes of Mark and Miranda. You captured the city beautifully and it was the perfect setting for Screwing Up Babylon. Thanks so much for your insights, Connie.

The first book in this series - Screwing Up Time - is currently only 99c on Amazon. If you'd like to pick up a copy and grab yourself a copy of Screwing Up Babylon, you can follow the link below.

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