Once Beyond a Time ~ by Ann Tatlock

Yvonne Lehmann
Tatlock is a novelist and children’s book author. Her newest novel, Once
Beyond A Time
, was published in December 2014
by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Her books have received numerous
awards, including the Christy Award, the Midwest Book Award and the Silver Angel
Award for Excellence in Media. She also serves as managing editor of Heritage
Beacon, the historical fiction imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the
Carolinas. She lives with her family in Western North Carolina. Please visit
her website at www.anntatlock.com.
Once Beyond A Time
A Non-Paranormal
Paranormal Story
I want to tell
you up front that I don’t believe in ghosts. The idea of disembodied souls haunting
shadowy places—rattling chains, slamming doors, walking through walls–just
doesn’t fit with my world view. People aren’t meant to remain earth-bound. We
either end up in the presence of God or separated from Him eternally. That’s
what the Bible says and that’s what I accept as true.
And yet my new
novel, Once Beyond A Time, was
rejected at several houses for being a ghost story. Too paranormal, they said. As
a Christian publisher we don’t want to promote anything having to do with the
But it isn’t paranormal, I argued. Not a single character in the book is dead.
No matter; they
didn’t want it. Years passed, and I finally found a house happy to publish it. Oddly,
this particular publisher wanted to promote it as paranormal.
But it isn’t paranormal, I argued once again. The premise has nothing to do with ghosts.
That may be, the publisher argued back, but what happens in your book isn’t
normal—what, with people talking to people who live in different times—so that
makes it paranormal.
We decided we
have different definitions of paranormal. Which, I guess–to make us both
happy–means my newest offering is a non-paranormal paranormal book.
What the book
actually deals with is time. Or more accurately, God’s timelessness: “I am
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and
which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8 KJV).
Unlike humans
who occupy a single point in time, God stretches from start to finish, he is
and was and is to come, and therefore he is the Eternal Now. He created time
for our use, but he remains outside of it and is unhindered by it. So, I
wondered, what if one was able to “step out of time” and experience what God
experiences? That’s the premise of my story.
It’s 1968, and
Sheldon and Meg Crane have just moved their family from suburban Philadelphia
to the town of Black Mountain, NC. Sheldon has resigned in disgrace from the
ministry after an affair. He will now sell used cars for his brother-in-law’s
auto dealership. Sheldon is burdened by his wife’s unwillingness to forgive and
his daughter’s anger over the move. The oldest son is in Vietnam. The only
happy member of the family is his eight-year-old son, Digger.
After settling
into their new home–an old house nearly hidden on the side of a mountain—the
family soon discover it’s no ordinary place. And this is where it gets to be
“not normal.” The family can see and speak with people who have lived there in
the past, and with those who will live there in the future. They are trying to
make sense out of this odd phenomenon when the unspeakable happens: Digger
disappears. They don’t know whether he has been kidnapped or whether he has
wandered off into the mountains and gotten lost.
As the family
deals with brokenness, heartache and—yes—the paranormal experience of “stepping
out of time,” they discover the house is a gift, one that teaches them about
the healing power of forgiveness and the loving sovereignty of God.
No ghosts. No
rattling chains or slamming doors. Just a chance to take an imaginary journey
beyond time. Sometimes the “not normal” can offer a fresh perspective on grace.
I hope it will for you.
It’s 1968, and Sheldon and Meg Crane have just moved their
family from Pennsylvania to the small town of Black Mountain, NC. Sheldon,
recently ousted from the ministry due to an illicit affair, takes a job as a
used car salesman at his brother-in-law s auto dealership. Burdened by his
wife’s unforgiveness and his daughter’s resentment over the move to “Barney Fife
country”, Sheldon finds a measure of solace in his eight-year-old son’s ability
to cope. After settling into an old house high on the side of a mountain, the
family discovers their new home is no ordinary place. Family members
occasionally see and speak with the home’s previous residents ⎯ and the ones who will live there in
the future. While attempting to come to terms with this portal in the past and
future, their son, Digger, suddenly disappears. Was he kidnapped or did Digger
wander off into the mountains and become lost? The answer lies in a place once
beyond a time ⎯ in a realm where the mysterious power of forgiveness removes
sorrow and heals even the most egregious sins. 
Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, who founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. She mentors for the Christian Writers Guild. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her latest releases include eight ebooks for Barbour’s Truly Yours line and a Harlequin/Heartsong series set in Savannah GA: The Caretaker’s Son, Lessons in Love, Seeking Mr. Perfect, (released in March, August, & November 2013). Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC


By Yvonne Lehman
Ann Tatlock is the author of
10 novels and eight children’s books (three available, five soon to be
released). Her works have received numerous awards, including the Midwest Book
Award and the Silver Angel Award from Excellence in Media. Her newest release, Sweet Mercy, is a finalist for the 2014
Christy Award in the historical category. Her novel, Promises to Keep, is currently being made into a motion picture by
Big Film Factory. You can read more about her work at http://www.anntatlock.com. 
Cynthia Cope
Rasemas is co-founder of Purple Toad Publishing, along with her artist-husband
Joe Rasemas. You can find Purple Toad on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PurpleToadPublishingInc.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called
Hockessin, Delaware, two teen-aged girls went to high school together and
became fast friends. Cynthia wanted to become a writer and became a nurse. Ann
wanted to become a nurse and became a writer.
Decades passed and they mostly fell out of
touch until one day Cynthia wrote to Ann to tell her the news. She and her
husband Joe were starting their own publishing house and were calling it Purple
Toad Publishing. Their goal was to produce high-quality non-fiction books for
“And,” Cynthia added, “we want you to write
for us!”
“But,” Ann responded, “I only write made-up
stories–and those for adults.”
“No problem,” Cynthia said blithely. “We’d
like you to start with a book on Medieval England.”
“But,” Ann protested once more, “everything
I know about Medieval England I learned from watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
“Wonderful!” Cynthia exclaimed. “You’re
So, given a deadline, Ann went to the
library and checked out all the books she could find on Medieval England and
scoured the internet for all the websites she could find on Medieval England
and for a full month she read and scribbled notes and wrote and rewrote and put
her head down on her desk in despair and cried, “This book is no good!”
Nevertheless, she persisted and finished the
book and sent it off to Cynthia with no small trepidation, as not only did she
want to please her old friend, but Cynthia’s mother, Mrs. Cope, had been Ann’s
high school English teacher and Ann was still of the mindset that she wanted to
get a good grade.
After hitting Send, Ann sweated it out for
several days until she saw Cynthia’s name once again in her Inbox. She
breathlessly opened the email to find these wonderful and welcome words: “I
love it! Beautiful! Very visual!” And Cynthia even went on to include a myriad
of comments from her mother, Mrs. Cope, that in Ann’s mind translated into an
After that, there was much singing and
rejoicing in the house of Ann. She went on to accept more assignments from
Cynthia, and she found herself in a veritable Wonderland of Learning as she
wrote about everything from dogs to opossums, from Heart Castle to Mary Queen
of Scots to Ancient China. Good golly, she
thought to herself, this gig of writing
non-fiction children’s books is pretty fun!
And so, while they are still waiting for the
ultimate happily-ever-after, these two friends from the faraway land of
Hockessin are enjoying their work and marveling at the circumstances that
brought them back together as writer and publisher, something they never would
have imagined some decades ago. But then, sometimes truth is stranger—and even more
wonderful—than fiction.
The moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid
to try a new and different kind of writing. You might discover you like it!
That’s Me in History
Imagine living in the days of castles and knights, lords and
ladies, minstrels and troubadours! Medieval life was full of the stuff of
legends, but at the same time, the people of the Middle Ages often endured
plagues, famine, war, and other hardships. Even during times of peace and
prosperity, their days were long and their work was hard. Let’s travel back in
time to Medieval England where ten-year-old William will show us what daily life
was like in a fourteenth-century English city. This Core Curriculum aligned,
library bound book is by award winning author Ann Tatlock.
Yvonne Lehman is author of 50 novels and
director of Blue Ridge“Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat – Ridgecrest NC Conference Center. 

Likened to C.S. Lewis ~ author Jenny L. Cote Interviewed

Award winning author Jenny L. Cote developed an early passion for God, history and young people, and beautifully blends these passions together in her two fantasy fiction series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz® and Epic Order of the Seven™. Likened to C.S. Lewis by book reviewers and bloggers, Jenny provides creative writing workshops at schools and universities around the country and abroad.

 A native of Norfolk, Virginia, she now writes and speaks full time and lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband Casey and son Alex. Jenny is active in the Student Ministry at Dunwoody Baptist Church, and enjoys reading, research, museums, music, travel, meeting people, fitness and finding any excuse she can to get to the beach.
I had the opportunity to meet Jenny when she spoke at my local ACFW chapter. I was enthralled as she told her writing journey. 

Jenny, what
were your goals in writing your latest release, The Roman, the Twelve &
the King
I wanted to tell the story of Jesus in an unexpected way,
so I wrote two books in one. The life of Christ is written within the story of
George F. Handel writing his masterpiece, Messiah.
 Since my characters were with Isaiah
as he wrote the words of Messiah, I thought it would be great fun to have them
be with Handel as he wrote the music. The book opens up in London, 1735,
and my team of animal heroes are tasked with helping Handel write the most
important piece of music ever written.
Since it’s been 1700 years since they were with Jesus,
they go back in time to revisit the unfolding of the greatest events in
history. After Jesus’ resurrection, they return to London 1741 for the writing
and premiere of Messiah at London’s Covent Garden Theatre.
So that was the structural goal of the story. But the
primary goal of the book is to give readers an opportunity to see Jesus come
alive in a way they never have before. I’ve had kids email me and tell me that
they never understood who he really was and what he did for them through the
Passion until reading this book – that thrills my heart! These books are geared
to kids but the reality is they are books for adults as well. Half my
readership is adults, and I hear from readers all over the world.
you write, how much do you draw on your own life experiences and people you
know, versus drawing on research about complete strangers?
God has been incredibly cool in setting up my life
experiences of spiritual upbringing, travel and a passion for research to write
these books. One of the things I stress to kids in my creative writing
workshops that I present at schools is that you can’t write about what you know
about. Research for me is the most important part of writing, especially when
you’re doing Christian Historical Fiction.
So, I was blessed to travel to Israel and Egypt when I was
17 to see the places I’ve just written about in this book. But I added to my
research travels for The Roman by actually travelling to London in Feb 2012 to
research Handel. I gained unprecedented access by Handel House Museum to
actually sit in Handel’s composing room where he wrote Messiah, and
write the scene of him writing it!
The inspiration was off the charts! While I was in London,
I contact the C.S. Lewis Foundation in Oxford, and was privileged to spend two
nights in the homestead of my writing hero, C.S. Lewis, “the Kilns.”
I also had the honor to spend three hours interviewing Walter
Hooper while sitting in the famed Eagle and Child Pub where Lewis and Tolkien
held their Inklings meetings. Walter was secretary to Lewis the summer before
he died, and he will be my technical advisor in my upcoming book on Lewis. So
my travels and research play a big role, but so do people.
I have a warning: careful or you’ll end up in my novel. 🙂
I put people in my books as characters all the time to become fictional
characters than interface with my real characters in history.
is the character in this story that surprised you most?
I think I would have to say Pilate. I’ve long known the
story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, but I had to study Pilate in greater
depth than I ever have before. He tried and very much wanted to release Jesus,
and I actually felt an empathy for him that I’ve never known. He was backed
into a corner and I now understand how that happened. I was also surprised by
learning about Handel. Guys in big fluffy wigs can be a lot of fun! Handel was
a very colorful character in history, and he had a big heart for kids as well
as for God.
What do you hope readers get out of your work?
I pray they will not only have a fun, engaging read, but
also a deep understanding of why Jesus had to die. We take for granted the rote
“Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave” and
perhaps don’t truly grasp how this was all planned out – every detail of Jesus’
death was planned, down to the time, place and setting. It was prophesied
hundreds of years before crucifixion had even been invented!
I wanted to write the scourging and crucifixion scenes
with great detail and honesty, without sugar coating the events, but also
without scaring younger readers. I thankfully was given the perfect balance of
words to pull it off. I’ve heard from countless readers who were moved to tears
but touched deeply by those scenes, and who have a new found appreciation for
all Jesus endured.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently writing the next book in the series, The
Way, the Road, and the Fall.
 It picks up resurrection morning and goes
through the entire book of Acts: Saul to Paul and the spread of the gospel in
the infant church.
But it goes beyond Acts to Peter and Paul in Rome, the
fire of 64 in Rome, Christian persecution, the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.,
building of the Colosseum and the gladiatorial games, John on Patmos and
finally ending with a future scene of Constantine liberating Christianity’s
freedom. It will be released in February 2014.
Two more books will follow: The Voice, the
Revolution, and the Jewel 
(2015) about Patrick Henry and the
Revolutionary War, and The Professor, the War, and the Muse (2016),
about C.S. Lewis and WWII.
In addition, I’m working on exciting developments with the
film adaptation of my first book, The Ark, the Reed, and the Fire
 into an animated feature film, TV show, VBS, DVD school
curriculum, etc. You can learn more about the movie at www.sevenwinged.com.
I’m also actively providing creative writing workshops at schools around the
country, and if anyone would be interested in scheduling me for their school,
homeschool or church, please learn more at www.epicorderoftheseven.com

The Roman, the
Twelve, and the King

The second book in the Epic Order
of the Seven
 series, it picks up where The Amazing Tales of
Max and Liz
 left off. The Maker created this team of animal friends to
be his envoys for pivotal points of history. This will be their most important
mission ever: to be with Jesus throughout his childhood, ministry, passion and
resurrection. The story of Christ is told as a story within a story: as
George F. Handel writes the greatest music to ever be written in London 1741—Messiah.