Guest Post: Time Travel Stories that Inspired “But Not Forever” by Jan Von Schleh

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We’ve got a guest post from debut author Jan Von Schleh, who wrote the book But Not Forever. If you aren’t familiar with the book, here’s the synopsis –

Could she be everything you aren’t, but somehow―still be you?

It’s the year 2015 and Sonnet McKay is the daughter of a globe-trotting diplomat, home for the summer from her exotic life. Everything would be perfect if not for her stunning sister, whose bright star has left her in the shadows. In 1895, Emma Sweetwine is trapped in a Victorian mansion, dreaming of wings to fly her far from her mother, who gives her love to her sons, leaving nothing for her daughter. Fate puts them in the same house at the same moment, 120 years apart, and the identical fifteen-year-olds are switched in time. In their new worlds, Sonnet falls in love with a boy, Emma falls in love with a life, and astonishing family secrets are revealed. Torn, both girls want to still go home― but can either one give up what they now have?




But Not Forever is an enchanting story of love and longing, and the heart’s ultimate quest to find where it belongs.

We are always honored to have authors write guest posts and today, Jan shares with us the stories that inspired, “But Not Forever.”


Time Travel Stories that Inspired “But Not Forever”

People tend to be impressed/intrigued/puzzled/shocked by the premise of my YA time travel novel. Most of the comments are variations on “How in the world did you come up with that weird idea?” What they don’t realize is that my reading and movie viewing history makes me almost an expert. And if you think about it, really, who doesn’t have at least a few time travel stories under their belt?

A Wrinkle in Time – Because, of course.

This little gem is my all-time favorite time travel book. I had read this story about one-hundred times before I even turned twelve. This was the book that started my fantasizing about the possibility of time travel. Meg was such a normal girl (except for, perhaps, her exceptional intelligence) and came from a pretty darn normal family (except for, most especially, that strange little brother). If she could do it, why couldn’t my protagonists, Sonnet and Emma?

Downton Abbey – Not time travel you say? I beg to differ.

The characters weren’t traveling in time, but I was just watching this fabulous Masterpiece series. Those dresses! Those shoes! Those hats! Those scandals! Downton Abbey let me peer into the convoluted subtleties between the wealthy lord and ladies of the manor, and the nose-to-the-grindstone, hands-scrubbed-raw help. I took those character clues to heart and doubled down when it came to “Rose”, the mean Victorian mother in my novel.

Kate & Leopold – Jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge into the past.

I’m not sure how I ended up with this DVD but, when it comes to a time travel movie, this over-looked jewel is actually pretty hilarious, and I am so glad I had it on hand to watch again with an eye to gleaning ideas for my book. I especially like the part where Leopold (an extremely debonair Hugh Jackman) accidently hits the remote control. The TV and surround sound switch on, flashing lights and blaring sounds and scaring this poor Victorian man half to death. Ha! But the part where he goes back to the old house he was living in right before he traveled forward in time to open a secret drawer in his former bedroom gave me the idea to have my character, Sonnet, hide her own letter in a built-in, dining room cabinet.

Timeless – An inspiration for being a TV show right now.

I love the name of this TV series and I also love how it’s a vehicle for history because I love history. The truth is, just watching the Timeless cast tear around in different eras, trying to catch the bad guy and prevent horrible stuff happening, inspired me to believe that the little romantic time travel book I had started writing in 2015 might not be such a bad idea.

Rip Van Winkle – The sleepiest man alive in colonial America. 

Falling asleep and waking up twenty years later would really be like traveling forward in time, right? This is what I choose to believe. Rip’s shock at missing the Revolutionary War, the death of his wife, and his beard now hanging down almost to his waist, was inspiration for the initial, shear horror as Sonnet and Emma reckon with the fact that they have switched places. Rip turned into an old man during his sleep-journey, but, thankfully, Sonnet and Emma only aged a few minutes.

The Time Travelers Wife – It always comes down to family 

I decided to NOT go with the “dropped naked” idea but, for modesty’s sake, kept my girls clothed. But what I especially loved about this story was the romance (of course!) and the way in which the family dynamics played out. Both the past and future wound through the characters’ lives, whether they knew it or not, and love and heartache and unbreakable ties reigned – themes that inspired the family drama in But Not Forever – because, really, isn’t that what life is all about?   

Jan Von Schleh is from the beautiful Pacific Northwest and resides in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the current base for her expat lifestyle. Magical and sweet, Jan’s YA debut novel, But Not Forever, explores the power of family, revels in friendshipand reveals the kind of love that crosses generations and splits open the boundaries of time.

But Not Forever hit the market June 12, 2018.


This is a guest post written by the author.

Jan Von Schleh was trying bio-feedback one day, hoping to cool down from the 137-degree heat-index raging outside her desert window. Her feverish thoughts took her to Monte Cristo, an abandoned ghost town in the mountains outside of Seattle, where she and her four brothers used to chase each other around the dark, tangled forest, scaring themselves silly. She was imagining rain-drenched ferns and mossy logs and the deep shade of a majestic evergreen tree, when suddenly she got up and ran to her laptop – and her debut novel, But Not Forever, was born.

There has recently been another wave of toasty weather, resulting in a second book now burning up the keyboard. This one, with some of the same characters, takes up the story a year after her first novel ends.

Jan and her husband and their little dog have lived all over the world in fascinating places including Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Turkmenistan. They currently reside in the (very hot) desert nation of the Kingdom of Bahrain and will be off to South Korea in summer 2018. When she’s not writing, she likes to explore ancient buildings wherever she can find them and wonder about the stories they would tell—if only they could talk. She is sure that whatever those stories are, they most probably have to do with love.

Jan’s a proud member of the Bahrain Writer’s Circle and the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association.

Find out more about her HERE. 







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