My father was born with the ‘Travel Bug’ and passed it on to me. For as long as I can remember we were on the road every summer for the entire length of his vacation. He drove our family all over the United States, Canada and Mexico to see historical landmarks that made the subject of history in school come alive for my brothers and me. By the time I was 17 we had been in every state of the Union a minimum of four times each, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. After high school I traveled to both of them numerous times, as well as all over the world. I developed a fascination for world history the same as I had for American history.
To this day I get an indescribable thrill when I stand in the middle of ancient ruins where my ancestors possibly stood many centuries ago. Places like the streets of the Roman Empire or Ephesus set my imagination on fire. It was amazing to me that I could feel the somber mood that still lingered on the battlefield at Gettysburg. It was exciting to see and walk through the places that Mark Twain wrote about in his novels. I loved visualizing what life would have originally been like when those places were in their prime. As I took in the sights and read through the informational plaques that described the history of the places we visited, dozens of questions would flood my mind. What did the buildings look like when they were first constructed? How did the people dress, talk and travel around? What was family life like and what did they do for fun? The thoughts of them preparing food, shopping in the market places and interacting with each other were all filled with magic for me.
About 25 years ago I was looking at some of the original photographs on the walls of the old Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego, enjoying the nostalgic feelings they conjured up inside of me. I started daydreaming about being there a century ago, as usual, and then I asked myself the question, “If I were able to make time travel possible, how could I get back there?” All I wanted to do was go back for one day and observe people’s lives, especially if they were related to me. Then I thought, “What if one of my own ancestors footprints could magically act as a time portal because I was tied to their bloodline.” I began working out the details as to how it might happen. The print would need to glow so I could see it and then by stepping on it I would be transported back to their time frame in that same location that I was standing. From there I entertained myself by setting up the Rules of the Divvy and more or less kept track of them in my head through the years.
Four years ago I went to lunch with a good friend of mine and mentioned that I’d like to write a novel about time travel, using the footprints as the mode of transport. It was a short-lived conversation that ended that day and I forgot about it. The following year, my granddaughters became interested in writing at school and they loved reading to me what they had written. Their amazing stories lit the fire in me once again. I began talking to another friend about my ideas and found that the more I verbalized them with her the more the story and characters came to life for me. I was hooked! I started writing as though I were reading a novel that was already written. Ideas flowed out of me like electricity from a light socket. I could hardly wait to find out what happened next and the only way I could possibly do that was to continue writing. I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun doing anything in my entire life and my life has been wonderful!
It took me a year, between numerous stops and starts that were dictated by the demands of living, to complete this first novel. The more I wrote the more I could see a series developing. One idea would awaken another. I couldn’t turn them off and didn’t want to, they were so exciting. My husband and my father became my sounding boards. The story line was mulling around in my thoughts day and night. I even started dreaming about the characters, setting and plot, which forced me to keep a pen, notepad and flashlight by my bed so that I could capture the ideas before they vanished.
Then, one day, Beyond the Map’s Boundary – A Timely Sort of Adventure was born. I printed five copies (at $20 each…ugh!) and shared it with my family and a few friends. The feedback was so positive that I sprung for 50 more (at $10 each…better, but still expensive) and spread them around further. I sent a few of them to review houses prematurely, without response. The graphics and cover art were not really finished, but I was impatient. The third printing was around 100 copies for the purpose of sending them out for review and received some excellent ones from ForeWord Magazine and AllBooks Review. In fact, AllBooks Review selected Beyond the Map’s Boundary as their five star book of the month in December of 2009. It was fun to open my email each day because people were starting to send me their reviews (many of which appear on the website www.beyondthemapsboundary.com) as they finished the book. I also started sending out NibiBooks at the same time. NibiBooks are viral books and there are only 20 of these at the moment. They are meant to be passed from person to person and registered on the website, enabling us to track them as they move through the public domain. Fun! I started recording the audio book while we were refining the graphics for the most recent printing and found that I thoroughly enjoyed working in the format. Talk about entertaining! The audio book has also received very good reviews and people keep asking me when the movie is coming out. What a thrill that would be! Finally, Thornock International published the book in March of 2010, printing 5000 books through BookMasters, Inc. after which Atlas Books picked it up as a distributor. Their contacts are vast and today it is available in all the major and local bookstores throughout the world.
There are more exciting things going on, behind the scene, even as I write this story. Moving the book foreword is a wild ride and only time will tell the outcome. There are many twists and turns in the real world of publishing and just like when I was writing the novel, the only way I can see how things turn out is to keep on going. The adventure is afoot and the entire experience has been a wonderful process of discovery!
Nibi Soto grew up along the Wasatch mountains in the Great Salt Lake valley. She has been called the quintessential Renaissance woman because of her wide variety of interests experiences and educational background. She’s has three advanced degrees, has been a journalist, newspaper editor, professional athlete, certified athletic trainer, intercollegiate coach, professional musician, industrial designer, artist, educator, author, professional speaker, wife, mother and grandmother. To her, life is not a rehearsal; it is the real thing and there’s no time to waste. She has authored and co-authored several health and nutrition books under the EAT & Be Lean logo since 1986. Her most resent adventure lies in the writing of a new time travel fantasy series for young adults called Beyond the Map’s Boundary. Her blog is located at www.beyondthemapsboundary.com and more insider information about Nibi can be found at www.nibisoto.com.