Once Beyond A Time by Ann Tatlock

Posted by on Jun 26, 2015 | 16 comments

Once Beyond A Time by Ann Tatlock

My guest today is Ann Tatlock, award-winning, multi-published author. Her newest book, Once Beyond A Time is a work of Speculative Historical fiction and I know you will enjoy meeting her and hearing about her book! Leave a comment and sign in on the Rafflecopter for even more opportunities to win a copy!



Fabulous Fridays

Welcome, Ann, tell us how you started writing.

Ever since I learned to read, I’ve been writing. I didn’t consider making a profession of it, though, until God impressed upon me in college that I was not to become a nurse as I had always planned. As he had made me a writer, he pointed out, I ought to write. So I pursued journalism, earning a Masters in Communications and ending up as an editor with Decision magazine. Believing I was a strictly non-fiction writer, the thought of writing novels didn’t occur to me until my mother died and I needed a new way to express my grief. I discovered I loved making up people and places and creating whole new worlds, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

How did you come up with the idea for Once Beyond A Time?ONCE BEYOND A TIME

As I recall, many years ago I was watching a television show on old American inns. At one inn, the owner was taking the show’s host on a tour when they stopped in what had once been a billiard room. The owner explained that sometimes guests of the inn heard faints sounds of billiard balls banging together, as though they were listening to the games played in that room decades earlier. So I got to thinking: What if we could see and hear and even talk with people as they lived out their lives in other eras? What if we could glance forward or backward into time the way God can? That thought led to Once Beyond A Time.

Tell us something about Once Beyond A Time.

If you don’t mind my using the description from the back cover, here ‘tis:

It’s 1968, and Sheldon and Meg Crane have just moved their family from suburban Philadelphia to the town of Black Mountain, NC. Sheldon has resigned in disgrace from the ministry after an affair. He will now sell used cars for his brother-in-law’s auto dealership. Sheldon is burdened by his wife’s unwillingness to forgive and his daughter’s anger over the move. The oldest son is in Vietnam. The only happy member of the family is his eight-year-old son, Digger. But then, Digger suddenly disappears. Has he been kidnapped or has he wandered off into the mountains? How does the “house beyond time” show one family the healing power of forgiveness and the loving sovereignty of God?

Once Beyond A Time is not the kind of novel a lot of Christians expect. What was the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing this book?

My greatest challenge was finding someone to publish the book. Ten years ago when I first started writing this story, it seems speculative fiction wasn’t as popular among CBA publishers as it is today. This book was considered “paranormal,” even though I assured editors there’s not a single ghost in it. All the characters are very much alive; they just happen to be living at different times. But I couldn’t get any takers, and I thought it would never see print. Finally, last year Eddie Jones at LPC said he’d publish it. He did, and now it’s up for a Christy, which tells me maybe it’s not as bad as I once feared!

What new lesson is the Lord teaching you right now?

Just as novelists write a story, God is writing a story in each of our lives. Contrary to what the world says, it isn’t supposed to be a success story, a rags-to-riches story, an action hero story, a climbing-the-ladder story, a girl-meets-Prince Charming story or any kind of story other than this: a love story with Him. The whole main plot of our lives should revolve around God’s love for us and our love for Him. Everything else is sub-plot.

How would you like to inspire your readers?

I hope the readers of Once Beyond A Time will be inspired by thoughts of the sovereignty of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 2:13), the first and the last, the one who knows the end from the beginning. He knows our future because He is already there, already working out his plans for us as individuals and for the world at large. Life is hard—even the easiest of lives is hard—but God’s plans are good. When I become fearful of the future myself, which I often do, it helps to remind myself that God is the Perfect Author, and when the story is finished it’s all going to make perfect sense.

How do you see the importance of Christian fiction?

Jesus was a fiction writer who taught primarily through parables. His stories as recorded in Scripture are full of truth, hope, encouragement, and glimpses of heaven. Christian fiction writers are simply following suit. We use story as a vehicle for promoting the biblical truths that Christ revealed to us when He walked among us.

What are three things that have had the most influence on your writing process?

Biblical truth, good literature, and the God-given gift of imagination.

You have authored several books in different genres. Is there one book that stands out as your personal favorite?

As they say, that’s kind of like asking a mother which is her favorite child! There are several that “hold a special place in my heart,” but my real hope is that they’re all out there doing what they’re supposed to do, reaching whatever readers they’re meant to reach.

Ann, would you share the opening scene of Once Beyond A Time with us?


Friday, July 12, 1968

My first thought now, of course, is that Carl will never come home.

Not really, anyway. Not to the home he left only a short time ago. When my son comes back from Vietnam—and please, God, let him come back—he’ll return to a place he’s never been, and where none of us really wants to be. Not Sheldon. Not I. Certainly not Linda, who makes no effort to hide her anger. Digger is the only one at peace with the move, and that’s because at eight years of age he’s simply too young to know any better. To him, leaving the familiar and landing in some remote corner of North Carolina is just another adventure.

That’s not to say this place is without its charms. I stand here on the wide front porch of the old house and look out over the mountains. Because we are up high and in a clearing, I can see for miles and, yes, the mountains, layers of them, are oddly blue. The Blue Ridge Mountains. After a lifetime spent in the flat farmland of southeast Pennsylvania, I have the same feeling of hushed awe I got every time I stepped into the Cathedral Basilica in Philadelphia. The ceiling was so high, and there was so much open space! I almost longed to sprout wings and soar upward to touch the pinnacle of that domed ceiling.

But here, the ceiling is infinite and endless and untouchable, for the dome is the sun-streaked sky, and the walls are a living landscape formed by the mountains. I think I might find it beautiful, if only I could see it without the pain.

But I can’t. Because the pain is at the heart of why we’re here.

Book Blurb:

After settling into an old house nearly hidden on the side of a mountain, a broken family discovers that their new home is no ordinary place. The family can see and speak with people who have lived there in the past, and with those who will live there in the future. Are these people apparitions or real? Could the house itself be the stuff of mountain lore, a place where all of time is happening at once?

About the author:

Ann TatlockAnn Tatlock is the author of 11 novels and 10 children’s books. Her newest novel, Once Beyond A Time, is a Christy Award finalist and was a Selah Award finalist. Ann serves as managing editor of Heritage Beacon, the historical fiction imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and enjoys teaching and mentoring at writers’ conferences. She lives with her family in Western North Carolina. Please visit her website at www.anntatlock.com.

Connect with Ann:

Website: www.anntatlock.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ann.tatlock.1

Twitter: @AnnTatlock

Book Links:

Once Beyond A Time on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/p6hgwp5

Once Beyond A Time on B&N: http://tinyurl.com/oyzd7gf

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds like an amazing book, Ann. I don’t have this one yet and would love to win a copy. Blessings! 🙂

    • Hope you win, Andrea!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Andrea!

  2. What a wonderful concept, Ann! I’ve read all your other books and they are all excellent. Of them all, Promises to Keep is my very favorite. I’m eager to read this one. You are a fantastic author with a true gift from God, Ann.

    • I’m so glad you took time to comment, Sherry!

    • Thanks, Sherry! I hope you like this new book. You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers so much lately. Love you, friend.

  3. Although maybe not a time travel story per se, but “Once Beyond a Time” seems to be along those lines. I love Christian fiction with a distinct message and I am utterly intrigued by the “time travel” bent. One of my favorite shows as a teen was Quantum Leap and enjoy time travel stories.

    Ann, I am only familiar with your books Sweet Mercy and Promises to Keep, but you are a beautiful novelist. I am very excited to read this book and see how it plays out, as well.

    And Nora, I am so happy to have found your blog. I found your blog via “Land of My Dreams,” which I downloaded today. I look forward to getting updates and reading your devotions.

    • Thank you, Terrill! I am so glad you found my blog and hope you will enjoy Land of Dreams! If you enjoy our books I know Ann would appreciate a brief Amazon review, as would I. Happy reading!

      • I will make it a point to review both yours and Ann’s book when I have finished.

        • That is something every writer delights to hear, Terrill! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Terrill, for your kind words. I hope you enjoy Once Beyond A Time! So glad you discovered Norma’s blog and stopped by to visit. Blessings to you!

      • Thank you, Ann. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, it truly was a blessing.

  4. My beautiful Ann, I have admired your quiet grace from the first day we met at Boot Camp. You inspire me. I loved hearing some of your journey. Thank you Norma for sharing Ann with us.

    • You are welcome! It is my privilege and pleasure!

    • Thank YOU, Nan! Your kind words encourage me. And may the Lord bless you as you release your new book, “Perils of a Pastor’s Wife”! So excited for you. I know this book will touch many lives and do much good in God’s Kingdom.

      • Thanks Ann. You are precious.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Did you enjoy this?

If so, please help spread the happiness! Share this post with your friends!

%d bloggers like this: