Welcome to the month-long mega tour for Charlie Laidlaw’s newest book, The Space Between Time, due for release on June 20th! There will be fantastic bloggers participating, who will be posting interviews, excerpts, reviews, and other exclusive content!
The Space Between Time
Expected Publication Date: June 20th, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Dark Comedy (Adult)
There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…
Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.
But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.
The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.
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Timescale for a Closed Universe
It wasn’t an afternoon that I like to remember, and not just because of my shrieking tantrum. Once I’d calmed down, Mum told me I’d been very silly, because it was all make-believe on a cinema screen. I reminded her that she’d cried when Bambi’s mum died, and that was a film and a cartoon. Mum said that it wasn’t the same thing at all. But I wasn’t being silly because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between pretence and reality.
Dad had looked pretty dead on the screen. The blood on his chest had looked pretty real. If it had been a different dead person, I would have been OK. Children don’t really know where make-believe ends and the real world begins and, partly because of who I am, it’s remained pretty hazy ever since. I also don’t like to remember that film because it was the moment when I realised that our lives were about to change, and I didn’t know if that would be a good thing.
Sounds strange, yes? Here’s something stranger: I am a child of the sea, I sometimes think, and have done ever since we first moved to live beside it. I feel subject to its vagaries and tempers, with its foaming margins framed against a towering sky. I am familiar with its unchanging mood swings. That’s how I like things; I find the familiar comforting. I find change threatening.
I am the daughter of someone who, not long after that ghastly cinema outing, became one of the most famous actors of his generation and, importantly for me, the granddaughter of a rather brilliant but obscure physics professor. But despite their overachievements, I have inherited no aptitude for mathematics and my father positively hated the idea of his only offspring following in his thespian footsteps. He knew how cruel and badly paid the profession could be. But I still look up to my grandfather, and think of his ludicrous moustache with affection.
Gramps once told me that there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth. Just think of all those sandpits, beaches and deserts! That’s an awful lot of stars. He then told me, his only grandchild, that I was his shining star, which was a nice thing to say and why I remember him talking about sand and stars. On clear nights, with stars twinkling, I often think about him.
I still believe in my grandfather, and admire his stoic acceptance in the face of professional disdain, because I believe in the unique power of ideas, right or wrong, and that it’s our thoughts that shape our existence. We are who we believe ourselves to be.
I gave up believing in my father long ago, because speaking other people’s words and ideas seemed like a lame excuse for a job, even if he was paid millions, and met the Queen on several occasions. She must have liked him because she awarded him an OBE for services to film, theatre and charity. Charity! Who the hell told the Queen that?
I stopped believing in him one Christmas Day, a long time ago, when he simply didn’t turn up. It wasn’t his presents that I missed, or even his presence, but the warm, fuzzy feeling of being important to him. During that day of absence and loss I concluded that his wife and daughter couldn’t much matter to him, otherwise he’d have made a bigger effort to get home. That Christmas Day, my father was simply somewhere else, probably in a bar, immaculately dressed, his hair slicked back, the object of male envy and the centre of every woman’s attention for miles around.
In that respect, Dad was more tomcat than father, except that by then his territory, his fame, stretched around the globe. I know this: by then he had a Golden Globe to prove it. He gushed pheromones from every pore, squirting attraction in every direction, and even women with a poor sense of smell could sniff him out.
I feel mostly Scottish, but am a little bit Italian. It explains my name, Emma Maria Rossini; my dark complexion, black hair, the slightly long nose, and thin and lanky body. Obese I am not, and will never be, however much pasta I eat, and I eat lots. It also explains my temper, according to some people, although I don’t agree with them, and my brown cow’s eyes, as an almost-boyfriend once described them, thinking he was paying me a compliment, before realising that he had just become an ex-almost-boyfriend.
But mostly I am a child of the sea. That’s what happens if you live for long enough by its margins: it becomes a part of you; its mood echoing your mood, until you know what it’s thinking, and it knows everything about you. That’s what it feels like when I contemplate its tensile strength and infinite capacity for change. On calm flat days in North Berwick, with small dinghies marooned on the glassy water, and loud children squealing in its shallows, it can make me anxious and cranky.
The sea, on those days, seems soulless and tired, bereft of spirit. But on wilder days, the beach deserted, or with only a hardy dog-walker venturing across the sand, with large waves thundering in, broaching and breaking, then greedily sucking back pebbles into the foam, I feel energised: this is what the sea enjoys, a roaring irresponsibility, and I share in its pleasure. We are all children of the sea, I sometimes think, or we should be – even those who have never seen an ocean or tasted its saltiness; I can stand for hours and contemplate its far horizons, lost within myself, sharing its passion. In the Firth of Forth is the ebb and flow of my past and my existence, wrapped tight against the west wind. It is what I am, placid and calm, or loud and brash.
The impact of childhood trauma been a core component of both my professional and personal life. Professionally, as an urban educator, I have worked with, researched and desperately tried to convince many of the immediate, and long lasting impacts of childhood trauma. Personally, it shaped my childhood and is a large part of who I am today.
In both cases, the traumas were very different than the ones suffered by Emma in The Space Between Time. However, trauma is trauma no matter the context, or type of trauma and it will cause the same detrimental impact.
It is how Laidlaw chooses to unveil the family dynamics at the root of Emma’s troubled psyche and the domino effect it continues to play throughout her life. It is Emma’s point of view that drives The Space Between Time from childhood through adulthood. And it is done masterfully.
I have yet to read a book where a character is followed from childhood to adulthood, through only their eyes, their point of view. Let me be clear. By childhood I am talking elementary school through full adulthood.
Madeline L’Engle did write Katherine Forrester from ten-years old through seventy in The Small Rain and The Severed Wasp. Two books I hold great affection for, but I consider them very different then The Space Between Time. L’Engle’s duology is over two books and covers very different themes than Laidlaw’s The Space Between Time.
The themes Laidlaw covers and his ability to carry Emma’s personality authentically as one would change overtime is, I would believe, a very difficult feat to accomplish. However, he does so without losing his audience and with appropriate humor, a lot of grace and much charm.
I have to believe that he put quite a deal of research into the immediate and long-term effects of trauma throughout one’s life, as he lays them out in very true-to-life terms. Although Emma does have the benefit of financial stability that many I worked with, and I myself didn’t not, it does not change the inner turmoil that is caused.
Change one’s name, financial status or social status but none of it changes what happens on the inside of a person. There isn’t an make-up for the inner-self and money can’t buy you out of mental instability, cracks in well-being or past grievances you can’t let go of.
In fact, in Emma’s case, her father’s famous status often comes back to hurt her further. Never being able to have anyone focus on her because even in his absence his presence was the most important thing in the room, she always felt lost, unimportant to both her father and everyone around her.
If you believe I haven’t told you much about the plot of the book (outside of the excerpt above), I haven’t summarized the plot much. I chose not to because there are many twists and turns that I did not want to give away. However, most importantly the genius lies in the theme of the book and the literary toolbox Laidlaw pulls from in which to present it.
I believe this book would serve many: educators, adults who have lived with and continue to live through trauma, parents who are trying to help children cope with unstable family dynamics of any kind and those who want a damn good read.
About the Author
I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.
I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.
I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.
I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember
Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.
Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.
I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.
Blog Tour Schedule
Reads & Reels (Review) http://www.readsandreels.com
The Writer’s Alley (Review) https://www.jacobrundle.com
Yearwood La Novela (Excerpt) http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com
Tranquil Dreams (Review) http://klling.wordpress.com
Little Tinklabee (Review) https://littletinkablee.com/
Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/
Cup of Toast (Review) https://cupoftoast.co.uk
Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) http://gwendalynbooks.wordpress.com
Breakeven Books (Interview) https://breakevenbooks.com
Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com
Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com
Where Dragons Reside (Excerpt) https://kernerangelina.live/
Inked and Blonde (Review) http://www.inkedandblondeonline.co.uk
Go By the Book (Review) http://gobythebookblog.wordpress.com
Novel Lives (Review) https://novellives.com
Valerie’s Musings – https://valeriesmusings.com/
Misty’s Book Space – http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com
Brianne’s Book Reviews (Review) http://briannesbookreviewsvideo.wordpress.com
Love Books Group – http://lovebooksgroup.blog
Wrong Side of Forty (Review) http://wrongsideoffortyuk.wordpress.com
The Eclectic Review – http://eclecticreview.wordpress.com
The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/
The Reading Chemist (Review) https://thereadingchemist.com/
Erin Decker (Excerpt) http://erindeckerblog.wordpress.com
Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com
Banshee Horror Blog (review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com
The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com
Sawdust & Spoons (Review) http://sawdustandspoons.com/
Tsarina Press – https://www.tsarinapress.com
*Yearwood Novela – http://yearwooddailybookreview.wordpress.com
Kim Knight (Review & Interview) http://www.kimknightauthor.com
Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (Review) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com
The Photographers Way (Review) http://www.thephotographersway.org
Daily Waffle (Excerpt) http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk/
I’m Into Books (Excerpt) https://www.imintobooks.com/
Scarlett Readz & Runz (Interview) https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/
B is for Book Review (Review) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com