Escape from the Past by Annette Oppenlander
Genre: YA historical fiction with a twist of sci-fi
To be released: July, 2015
When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever. Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets’ nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.
Escape from the past is ranked #1 in hot new teen fiction, medieval. Amazon.com Hot New Releases: The best-selling new & future releases in Teen & Young Adult Medieval Historical Fiction
What got you writing?
Three events led to my fiction writing career.
- In 2002 I decided to interview my parents about their childhood growing up during World War II. Their memories were amazing and I wrote the first rough short stories.
- In 2005 I began working for a PR/advertising firm and found that I loved writing as a profession.
- In 2009 I attended a short story workshop at Indiana University and that’s when I got serious.
In short I found writing made me happy and gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction.
What is your writing routine (word count, chapter goal, etc.)?
I write most days, including the weekend. I don’t have a word count or a chapter goal, but I’m happy when I put down 1,000 – 2,000 words.
What gave you inspiration for Escape?
In 2012 I visited Castle Hanstein, one of the best preserved medieval ruins in Thuringia, Germany. As I explored the 15th century structure, climbed the tower and took in the view, I felt as if the walls were talking to me. In one of the preserved rooms I read about Knight Werner who’d saved a beautiful woman from nasty Duke Schwarzburg. This sounded like an amazing background, so Escape from the Past is based on Castle Hanstein’s history in 1471.
The second part to his story are my two boys who are avid gamers. There were times when I resented their playing because they’d ignore me and the world around them. So, I imagined what would happen if a computer game became real.
Did you change a lot in the process, or did you seem to have the plot in tact as you got from 1st to final drafts?
I’m a pantser, so I create a story as I go. I typically know the beginning and the end. There were quite a few changes in the story from first to second draft, especially the first chapter.
What about sequels and other projects?
The sequel, Escape from the Past – The Kid has just gone to the publisher and will be released in Winter 2015/2016. It’s based on the histories of Billy the Kid and the Warm Springs Apaches in 1881 New Mexico. Here is a little blurb:
In book two of Escape from the Past Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with having been misled by Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer, history made him out to be.
Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister Ela escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine.
Other projects are the third book in the Escape series in which Max returns to Hanstein, a story about a white farm kid and his black slave friend set during the American Civil War, and a historical romance set during World War II in Germany.
Hobbies? Anything else we should know about you?
I do love my old mutt, Mocha, so we take daily walks. I also love to travel which I believe is a must when writing historical fiction. I typically visit all the places I write about, so I get the feel right. I guess that’s sort of hobby and work combined. Of course, I also read a lot, usually two to three books at a time.
About the Author:
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”