You say the novel combines the two worlds you know best, Wall Street and the British experience in WWI. How did you come to know early 20th-century Britain?--Marshal Zeringue
I’ve been studying it all my adult life, starting from when I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth. The war was such an incredible waste of brilliant young men... it’s as if every young man in the Ivy League today went off to war and got killed. And with Downton Abbey coming out, the rest of the world is starting to realize what a fascinating time it was. I had a vision of one of these extraordinary young men who died in the war walking the streets of Manhattan. It was my way of saying they didn’t actually die; they were taken to another place. And then there’s the new trauma of adjusting to this other world. That was a challenge as a writer, trying to convey the enormity of what happened, but doing it through Kate’s eyes.
It’s a time travel novel in some ways, yet that’s not really the focus.
I didn’t want to make it about time travel, that’s just the way it occurs. I thought of it more in terms of circularity: it’s all sort of existing in this universe; the past is with us. You can go to a WWI battlefield and...[read on]