The Time Before Now

BY MISSOURI VAUN

This novel is a prequel to my lesbian romance, All Things Rise, and it begins with a journey.

The setting is a hundred years or so in the future, after oil has peaked and transportation is mostly on foot or by horseback. For Vivian Wildfire Yates, the passage she chooses is a footpath from East Texas to North Georgia. During this trek, two women cross Vivian’s path who individually impact her life in different ways. Along the way she is also confronted with numerous obstacles both natural and man-made.

The Time Before NowAs with most of my stories so far, I began my writing process for The Time Before Now with a drawing of one of its characters. In this case, I did lots of sketching of Vivian before I settled on a drawing that I felt captured the rugged individualism I envisioned for her. The drawing also conveys a subtle vulnerability. I think you see that when you look in her eyes. The final image of Vivian is featured on the cover. She is not as wise to the world as she thinks but thankfully learns this early in her journey.

Vivian is the sort of character many of us might aspire to be. She’s a person of integrity and is self-sufficient, confident, fearless even, in the face of adversity. And the sort of woman that others depend on.

This book is also the story of Ida George. Her aspirations and focus are different from Vivian’s. Ida is drawn to hearth and home the way Vivian is drawn to independence and freedom. Vivian and Ida couldn’t be more different and yet are drawn together during this epic journey.

Ida George

Ida George

If you have read All Things Rise, then you may remember that Ida is Cole’s biological aunt. In The Time Before Now, Cole is six and we get to see some of the forces in her life that shaped her into the person she

becomes.

 

One of the first things I had to do when I plotted this story was to make sure someone could actually make Vivian’s epic walk.

Vivian uses a map, drawn by her grandfather. The coastline has changed considerably along the Gulf of Mexico due to climate change. Most of southern Louisiana is under water. Some of the notations on the map are in Cherokee

Vivian uses a map, drawn by her grandfather. The coastline has changed considerably along the Gulf of Mexico due to climate change. Most of southern Louisiana is under water. Some of the notations on the map are in Cherokee

The Appalachian Trail, which runs up the eastern U.S., is two thousand miles from Georgia to Maine. As a teen and as an adult I hiked different sections of the Appalachian Trail so I knew that trekking seven hundred miles was doable, and relied on my experiences for some of the details of this story.

I also spent a good amount of time sitting and imagining my childhood in Mississippi. What the air smelled like. What sounds you hear in the woods when the sandy forest floor is covered with pine needles. And then there are the swamps. I have sense memories of the large stands of long-leaf pines and the scent of the dark tannic water in the swamps and creeks. Hopefully I captured this sense of place for those of you who haven’t traveled in the Deep South.

This book will likely get categorized as science fiction because it’s set in the context of an imagined future. But it doesn’t really feel like science fiction to me. It feels like one possible trajectory for a society without machines and industry. If anything, I would describe it as a lesbian romance set in a mostly happy post-apocalyptic world. Mostly. Because where would the adventure of the journey be without a bit of danger?

Vivian’s grandfather

Vivian’s grandfather

There’s one other character that plays an important role in this novel: Vivian’s Cherokee grandfather. He raised Vivian, and his passing is the impetus for Vivian to begin traveling east. Her goal is to reach the mountains that were once the ancestral home of the Cherokees. She uses a map drawn by her grandfather to guide her. Even after death, he continues to be a spiritual force in Vivian’s life.

Writing this book and remembering my youth spent in forests in the Deep South with my father made me want to reconnect with my wilderness roots. Maybe it will inspire others to spend more time outside, and connect with their ancestors in the process. And let’s not forget: fall in love.

 

10 Responses to “The Time Before Now”


  1. 1 kejaeck October 6, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    I enjoyed your first two, and I’m looking forward to reading this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Tq October 6, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    It’s an amazing story. The entire series pulls you in. After reading this one, I’m going to go back and reread the other two. How can I not?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 4 Ann Aptaker October 6, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    Great essay for what I’m sure will be a wonderful book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 5 Missouri Vaun October 6, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    Reblogged this on Missouri Vaun and commented:
    More on my latest novel, The Time Before Now, out now via Bold Strokes Books.

    Like

  5. 6 Melissa Moir October 6, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    This entire series has definitely been one of my favorites! And this book completely ties in the essence more deeply than any other series I’ve read so far. I hope this isn’t just a trilogy. I want to keep reading stories about this family!!!! Where the heck have you been Missouri Vaun? I wish we’d seen your books a long time ago! Write on!

    Melissa

    Like

  6. 8 Devlyn October 7, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    ‘Always love’, yes I agree, I like all of my books to have love at its heart.
    Sounds like a lot of research and experience has gone into this story and I am sure it will come through in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 9 S.A. October 8, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    Nice intro to the new book; looking forward to reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 10 Becki November 15, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    Hi Missouri Vaun, we have not read your books…yet. I was wondering if we should read the prequel first or read them in the order that they came out?

    Like


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