How Classic Children’s Stories Inspired ‘Lost in Time’ | by Dawn Treacher

Dawn Treacher is the author of ‘Lost in Time’ — a thrilling adventure story that harkens back to the classic children’s stories she grew up on. This decidedly ‘old school’ feel is something the author felt strongly about. In this blog, Dawn discusses how, by setting her latest novel in a place seemingly out of time, it would be able to defy the march of time itself and live long in the memory for years to come.

I hope ‘Lost In Time’ will strike a chord with children growing up today and that it will tell a story which will connect with young readers for many years to come. As with many of my children’s novels, I set my hero in a world that you can’t truly pin down in time yet is clearly our world. Unlike the other worlds that Connie will travel to, her home in Wattlington is one with underground steam trains, mechanical clocks and radios but no televisions, modern technology or communications. The world of Tempus, where she will find herself, is one totally removed from our own: It is a world of airpods, shuttles crisscrossing between glass tower blocks, time travel and of course a little robot called Fidget.

“For me, storytelling is all about mystery, unanswered questions and clues to follow.”

For me, storytelling is all about mystery, unanswered questions and clues to follow. I grew up with a passion for stories about worlds unlike our own. Worlds full of perilous adventures and danger. I am forever fond of classic children’s stories; timeless books which are as loved today as when they were written. Books like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘A Wrinkle In Time’.

These books introduce children to fantastical worlds, fuel their imaginations and empower them to be brave, courageous, resourceful and fearless. They allow children to face peril, make difficult decisions and be the masters of their own adventures, all within the safety of a story. I hope ‘Lost In Time’ follows this same tradition. I hope it opens children’s minds to being brave enough to face difficulties and understand that in life, just as in my book, there is good and bad, obstacles to overcome, and challenges to meet.

Connie is curious and determined, not afraid to follow her own instincts and her own mind. In Tempus, alongside her newfound friend Mia, she will endeavour to untangle the mystery and save her own world before time itself disappears forever. All of my children’s books feature strong female characters, and ‘Lost in Time’ is no exception. Girls need to see themselves in stories as strong, resilient and brave. They need to lead the adventure, facing dangers head-on, tackling villains and even flying airpods. Girls can do anything and I want to reflect this in my stories.

The villains have also been shaped by their own experiences, fears, and misconceptions. They too have family and friends. They too have embarked on a journey but have taken wrong turns, made bad decisions, and have faced their own difficulties. Good and bad, each character is shaped by how they live, what they’ve faced and what decisions they have taken. Whether a character is good or bad is not always easily defined, and I hope the characters of Vortok and Addison are examples of this.

“Good and bad, each character is shaped by how they live, what they’ve faced and what decisions they have taken.”

What I love about writing a fantasy adventure is building a world a child would love to explore. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of parallel worlds. Travelling in time to different dimensions, and a race to save time itself was a wonderful opportunity to explore that. In the case of ‘Lost in Time’, I have created three worlds; Connie’s world in Watlington, and the worlds she discovers through the wormhole. Where Alice follows the white rabbit in Alice In Wonderland, so Connie follows a white mouse through a wormhole. Just as the wardrobe was a portal into Narnia, the wormhole is the portal to Tempus.

The adventures are not just about battling evil, braving perils and exploring new worlds. As with the best classic children’s stories, they are grounded in the importance of family and friends and how these precious connections can help shape and support the characters. For Connie, there is her friendship with Nevis the clockmaker, her friend Mia in Tempus, and her connection with her grandparents. For Mia, Connie’s fellow adventurer, it’s her relationship with her robot, Fidget and her father, Vortok.

A classic adventure story gives wings to a child’s imagination. However, it also acknowledges the importance understandably given to their family and friends — those who offer security and familiarity as children learn to explore the world around them.

‘Lost in Time’ by Dawn Treacher is available now from all good bookshops. Published by Tiny Tree Books.

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