I’m happy to talk about the origin of Kiss’d, a YA romantic adventure. I’ve always been fascinated by history and how ordinary people dealt with tumultuous events. My favorite time period is turn-of-the-century 1900, and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I triggered an idea for a time-travel romance. After researching the beginning of the war, I discovered the German invasion of Belgium in 1914 was so rapid many Allied soldiers were caught behind enemy lines. Escaping capture by the German army meant British, French, and Belgian soldiers had to struggle through occupied territory and reach neutral Holland where they could find fishing boats to take them to England. This dangerous situation seemed ideal as the basis for a tense adventure story.
And romance? One of my favorite movies is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Every woman who has seen it wants the ghost to be solid enough to kiss the heroine at least once. What could be more romantic than a hero from the past needing the modern heroine so desperately he comes as a ghost to take her back with him? A poem also plays a part in the story, and the title reflects the spelling in the poem—“Jenny kiss’d me when we met.”
In Kiss’d, Jenny has had a concussion that gives her the ability to see ghostly visions. She is spending the summer with her eccentric aunt who holds weekly séances, and after one of the séances, Jenny meets a ghost soldier. Jack is a Canadian teen in the British army. He materializes, says he needs help, and with a kiss, sweeps her back to 1914. The two experience a mix of danger and romance during wartime as they struggle to evade the Germans and reach safety. Jenny is courageous and clever dealing with danger, but she’s also uncertain about her feelings for Jack because she’s caught between what her aunt calls “layers of time.”
The dangers the characters encounter are typical of those experienced by Allied soldiers caught in Belgium. One historical character in the novel is Edith Cavell, a British nurse in Brussels who smuggled some 200 Allied soldiers past German lines. Cavell’s activities were discovered by the Germans, and she was executed in 1915. She became a heroine for the British war effort.
Buy Kiss’d on Amazon.
Pauline, thank you so much for inviting me to talk about the background for Kiss’d.
Diana Reep has been a writer since she told horror stories to elementary school classmates. While an English professor, she taught American literature, film, the Arthurian legend, and technical writing. No longer grading papers, she’s now writing historical fiction. Her first YA release, The Dangerous Summer of Jesse Turner, follows three teens when they volunteer to join Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Next up is a story about three sisters in the early silent movie days. Diana lives in the Midwest and crosses her fingers every fall, hoping for a mild winter. Catch up with Diana here.
Wow, thanks for stopping by and sharing your story behind your story. I LOVE time travel and what a fascinating time to travel back into. Your cover is beautiful, too. I can hear my TBR crying in the background. LOL Well, readers, did you know about Edith? What’s your favorite time travel period?
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