Every now and then, you read a book that hangs with you. Riley’s Journey by P.L. Parker is such a book. It’s about an unsuspecting woman who is sent back in time 40,000 years to become the companion for a modern man hiding. From beginning to end, it is gripping, unique, and so very realistic. It turned into a three-book series: Riley’s Journey, Into the Savage Dawn, and Beyond Tomorrow. Each book has it’s own heroine and hero who get their HEA, but there is an ongoing story thread of modern people struggling to survive in a primitive time. If you haven’t read this series , you need to read it!
I loved it so much, I had to interview the author, P.L. Parker.
Cara: What was the inspiration for Riley’s Journey?
Patsy: I’m a die-hard fan of the Discovery Channel and I watch at least one episode every day. Though my inspiration comes from many sources, the Discovery Channel is where my inspiration for Riley’s Journey came into being. Riley’s Journey is based upon the discovery of the Iceman Otzi. He was murdered high in the Italian Alps over 5,000 years ago. The story behind this ancient male really caught my attention and then the old brain cogs began spinning.
Cara: Why did you choose to send Nathan back 40,000 years to caveman times? I know he went into hiding, but why not send him back 100 years? Or even 5,000?
Patsy: I thought about many different time frames, but I’ve always been interested about when the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon both walked the Earth at the same time. What happened to Neanderthal? Was it murder of a species or interbreeding as some believe? I decided that I wanted to research that time frame and it was easy to bring Nathan’s story to light. In Riley’s Journey, I lead the reader to believe that Dr. Bethany’s experiments only chanced upon the gateway to that period and so that is where Nathan was sent.
Cara: How much research did you have to do? The world, with the animals, the Cros, the Neanderthals, it all felt so real. Did anything in your research surprise you?
Patsy: I am a huge fan of research, research, research and sometimes I forget to write as I am so involved. It was important to me to set forth factual data about that time frame. I researched the areas where a high concentration of ancient bones were discovered (both Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon), the animals in that time frame, plants, etc. I also researched the layout of the land, anything I could find that dealt with my story line. A surprise – one document I reviewed was based on the concept that the cave bears hunted in packs. These animals were terrible predators and one can only imagine the destruction and terror if they did, in fact, hunt in groups. (Side note: I was cornered by a bear in Yellowstone Park when I was a young girl and I have had nightmares about that event all my life. What better way to describe what the victims were experiencing?)
Cara: How outdoorsy are you? Do you do any of things in the story (hunt, fish, archery, camping)?
Patsy: I grew up in a hunting/fishing/camping family as most of us born in Idaho are, so I would say I’m somewhat outdoorsy, more in my youth than now. Almost every weekend during the summer months was spent camping someplace where there was a stream or lake nearby. My father loved to hunt and it was a bad year for us when he didn’t get his deer as we subsisted on the meat through the winter. Beef was expensive and we were a poor family.
Cara: My understanding (I think I read this somewhere) was that you had intended Riley’s Journey to be a standalone, but readers wanted more, so you added two more books. True or False?
Patsy: Very true. In fact, I have had so many requests to keep the series going, I am thinking about perhaps another one in the series.
Cara: Have you read Clan of the Cave Bear? Did you draw any inspiration from that?
Patsy: I have read Clan and most of the sequels. I didn’t get much inspiration from that other than I enjoyed reading about that time in history, but I wanted my series to be seen from the eyes of modern man.
Cara: Did you plot the story or pants it?
Patsy: I’m a big-time pantzer! Before I begin to write, I somewhat know what direction my story needs to go but have never actually plotted the story in advance.
Cara: A few characters don’t survive. Did you ever wish you had sent a few more characters back in time so the survivors would have a bigger clan to take on the Cro army?
Patsy: Yes, especially given the fact that I might write another sequel, although I could pick some of the new characters the tribe encounters at the end of Beyond Tomorrow. I did take into account when I wrote Riley’s Journey that it would be hard to move a larger group through the portal in the short amount of time I allotted for the tribe to embark upon the journey.
Cara: If YOU went back 40,000 years, what items would you want to be sure to take with you?
Patsy: Me personally? Have to laugh at this one. I read once that Elizabeth Taylor said that if she was ever marooned on a desert island, she’d want her eyebrow tweezers. I would have to agree with her. Other items: a compass, “how to” books on edible foods and making weapons, making traps, skinning, etc., anything I could find in small, portable publications to help. I would also, like Geena, wear 5 pairs of panties so I’d have some for a while.
Cara: What are you working on now? What’s your latest?
Patsy: I’m currently working on a sequel in my Star Brides (Deg’Nara) Series. Still trying to name the story but want something that refers to revenge as this is the part where the rebels begin to strike back. This is Cam’s story, she is sassy, strong-minded, determined and at times, vulnerable. So far, I am very pleased with my efforts.
P.L. Parker Bio
I am a dreamer, an avid reader of fiction, a sometimes gardener and an inept crafter. I live in Idaho, with my husband, three sons, daughter-in-law and little granddaughter. I love to travel, but always return to my beloved Idaho. For many years, I performed and taught dance but as time passed, I decided to try my hand at a new endeavor – writing. I have published nine novels and two short stories and am currently working on my fourth novel in the Star Brides (Deg’Nara) Series.
I enjoy life and all its promises.
The research project was only for an “extended period.” No one said anything about forever! Deceived and betrayed, Riley is sent back 40,000 years to be the mate of a man she’d never before met. Her journey will take her into a world fraught with dangers—a world made more treacherous by savage beasts, primitive Neanderthals, and the incursion of the aggressive Cro-Magnon man.
If you were sent back 40,000 years what one item do you think would help you survive? What would you want to take with you? Post a comment!