|pinterest: tempus regina|
I'm not taking the questions in chronological order, but I am trying to give them some sort of order and reply to the similar ones at once. The most foundational seemed to be the question of time-travel, so I thought I would address those first and see if I could clear the matter up a little.
how does Regina travel back in time?
My word. I've never actually said. Huh! Anyhow, the time-traveling device in Tempus Regina is an object that looks like a pocket watch and which is "set" much as one might set a typical clock; apart from the perfection of the workmanship, there is at first glance nothing very remarkable about it. Its history is explored in a little more detail within the scope of the story, of course.
I don't remember why I chose a pocket watch, except perhaps that I've always been fascinated with them. There is something enchanting, something mysterious and magical, about the working of all those tiny gears for keeping track of time - even more mysterious and magical after reading a book like Longitude or watching, as I just did recently, as vivid a movie as Hugo. It's astounding to see the lengths to which men have gone in order to chart the skies and the passing of time, amazing to just glance at their ingenuity in capturing something so vast. And then to shrink all of that intricacy down to something the size of a pocket watch: that confounds me.
re: the time-travel, do you adhere to any strict rules and/or address the cause-effect paradoxes involved, or in true Whovian fashion do you just use the concept and ignore the paradoxes until one of them happens to make a convenient plot hook?
You would ask this. You would.
Short answer: Mostly I ignore. It's so much easier.
Long answer: I can honestly say that since I don't watch Doctor Who, any similarities are both unintentional and very unfortunate. At least there aren't any blue boxes involved. I should probably take out the sonic screwdriver during the editing process, though...
There is a helpful graphic (which looks as though it might have been created by the XKCD guy, though I don't think it was) on Pinterest that outlines three theories of time travel. Theory Number One is the Fixed Timeline, wherein the characters may travel back in time, but the future they leave remains unchanged and cannot be changed by their actions in the "past." Their actions are already a part of history and cannot be finally altered. Theory Number Two is the Dynamic Timeline, where the actions of characters who have gone back in time have definite effects on the future they've left. Kill your grandmother, you die too. That sort of jazz. Theory Number Three is Multiverse and deals with parallel/alternate timelines, and I don't mess with that, so we'll leave it alone.
Tempus Regina is primarily a fixed timeline story, where actions are integrated, as it were, into history. However, there is also tension between that and the possibility of a dynamic timeline, since certain characters cannot know how their actions will affect the future (or if the actions will have an effect at all). Can a character die before being born? If someone kills her own father, will she be destroying herself? What's happening to Kay while Regina is gallivanting in the past?
Based on our own linear thinking, I don't believe time travel would be possible because of all the paradoxes it creates. You're faced with one at every turn. Time "travel" would have to be, not actual physical travel, but a mental ability to "see" all times without actually affecting them. Even if you try to get around the linear idea (there are two competing theories presented in Tempus Regina, neither of which I actually adopt, though I would enjoy seeing readers duke it out over them), you would still only end up with some sort of cosmic pretzel as proposed in the extremely highbrow "Kate & Leopold."
...so yes, for the most part I ignore.