Building Character with Sarah Shand from A Shadow in the Past

Welcome to my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Sarah Shand from A Shadow in the Past. Welcome, Sarah. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hi, I’m Sarah Shand. I’m nineteen and I live on a farm outside the village of Kendonald in Aberdeenshire Scotland, in the year 2010 with my mum and dad, fifteen year old sister, Rachel, and my ginger and white cat, Murphy. Oh wait, I don’t live there anymore. I’m currently living at Weetshill mansion back in the year 1886.

Oh my goodness! Time travel can be a sticky predicament.

Finding myself back in the year 1886 without the foggiest notion how I got there, I’d say is a pretty major conflict.

So…uh…now what?!

Finding my way back to my own time. Like I said, I have no clue what happened. I’ve had some strange experiences at the stone circle so I don’t know if that place caused me to be transported to the Victorian era or not. In the beginning I wanted to go ‘back to the future’ but the longer I stayed, the less important that became. Don’t get me wrong, I missed my mum and dad – even my sister, who gets away with far more than I did at her age, but I was away from my cheating so-called friends. I thought I’d never trust another bloke again after what Blair did to me, but I fell in love with the Laird of Weetshill.

Wow, how complicated can that be? Love? With a Laird? That’ll change your perspective. But your family must really miss you.

A major change like this always leaves a mark! What have you learned from this experience?

That I can be a right selfish cow by times. Yeah, I heard it a lot from my parents but it wasn’t until my transportation – and after being in the past for a while, that I realized that for the most part, I only ever thought of myself.

You mentioned ‘cheating so-called friends’. Can you talk about that?

My best friend ever since primary school was Niamh MacIssac until I went off to college in Glasgow. I caught her with my boyfriend, Blair. He’s now my ex, if you get my meaning and Niamh is no longer my best friend… the traitor.

I’m sorry to hear that, Sarah. Let’s change that subject. What is your strongest personality trait?

I’d say my stubbornness. I can be pretty pig-headed by times and will argue black was white just for the sake of arguing. When I make my mind up to do something, I don’t stop until I’ve done it. And I hold grudges, too.

What do you do for fun?

I’d say shopping, hanging out with friends and spending time at the stone circle on the hill at my parents’ farm but that was my old life. Now I love to read – something I was never overly fond of doing, go for long walks. I still spend time at the stone circle but things are so different there. My house hasn’t been built yet. Mobile phones, CDs and even the telly haven’t been invented. Weetshill mansion doesn’t even have electricity or running water!

Ew! No running water. That would be an adjustment. What are your favorite foods?

My father makes a wicked Chicken Tikka Masala. I can’t get enough of it but I like all Indian food except for the really hot stuff like Vindaloo. I discovered that I liked venison when I first had it at Weetshill. The other would be pizza with lots of cheese. I really miss the curries and if I ever get back to my own time, those will be the first things I want to eat.

I don’t know if you can answer this, giving your current predicament, but what do you want to be when you grow up?

I was studying hospitality management at college, with the plan of going on getting my bachelor’s degree at Caledonian University so I could manage a hotel. My parents run a bed and breakfast at the farm so I know how to run it. When I was smaller, we used to go on vacation in October to Ibiza and that’s when my dream started. I don’t really like living out here in the middle of nowhere and now that Blair and Niamh have done what they did to me, there’s really no reason for me to stay in Aberdeenshire.

But after fate stepped in and I found myself back in the year 1886, my goals changed. I rescued a wee girl from the lunatic asylum and I want to adopt her.

Well that is a dramatic change, I’d say. If you can change one thing in this world (present or past, I’m not picky) what would it be?

Fix men so they couldn’t cheat. I really thought Blair and I were going to get married since we’d been together so long. I knew the dress I wanted, the venue, everything was picked out, then he ruined everything.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I mean, I ended up being A Shadow in the Past.

Wise words, Sarah. Thanks for visiting with us today. We hope it turns out the way you want it in the end. Readers, to find out how it does turn out, find Sarah’s story, A Shadow in the Past at these lovely places:

Nineteen-year-old Sarah Shand finds herself thrust back into the past. There she struggles to keep her real identity from a society that finds her comments and ideas strange and her speech and actions forward, unlike Victorian women. When Sarah verbally confronts confining social practices, including arranged marriages, powerful enemies commit her to a lunatic asylum. After falling in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, Robert Robertson, she must decide whether to find her way back to her own time or to remain in the past with him.

About the author, Melanie Robertson-King:

Always a fan of the written word, Brockville born and raised, Melanie spent many of her formative years reading.

The writing bug first bit when she was about thirteen, but the itch subsided and it wasn’t until a number of years later that she put “pen to paper” and began writing again.

Prior to returning to fiction, Melanie wrote articles for various publications for a number of years and has been published in Canada, the US and the UK.

In addition to writing, her interests include genealogy, photography and travel – especially to Scotland, although Paris rates high on her “must return to” bucket list as well. On one of her trips to Scotland, she had the honor of meeting The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.

Please include contact information; websites, blogs, social media here:

If you have a character from a children’s, tween or young adult book that you’d like to see interviewed on Building Character, please contact kaistrand at yahoo dot com.


  1. Amazing interview with Sarah !!! Doesn't really seem like its a novel character !! Seems like a real life girl explaining her life's true experiences. Great !!

    1. Wait a minute...characters aren't real life people? *grin*

  2. Thanks for having me here today, Kai! It was a lot of fun.

    1. Sarah, it has been great to hear about your story. I can't wait to read the whole thing now!

  3. Thanks for hosting me today (primarily as my alter-ego, Sarah), Kai. It was a lot of fun.

  4. Nice to meet you, Sarah. I think living without our modern convenineces woudl be difficult. Maybe I'm just spoiled. I'll be reading your story soon.

    1. Hi Beverly! I can honestly say that in the beginning my live without mod-cons was torture. All those things I took for granted. But then I remembered all those trips to camp and just got on with things.

      I hope you enjoy reading my story. Pssst... Melanie is working on another novel with me as one of the main characters. I peek over her shoulder every so often but she's keeping things really tight to her chest. Not even letting me in on a lot - and what I have seen, I've been sworn to secrecy to keep it on the down-low until she's ready to do a reveal.

      I can kinda see her point, but... my tongue is getting sore from biting it!

  5. Sarah, I enjoyed making your acquaintance. Time travel intrigues me.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Janet! Thanks for stopping by. Time travel can be quite frightening - trust me, been there done that. Would love to meet your character Victoria. I think she's about the same age as my sister, Rachel. Cheers!

      Sorry about the earlier comment being deleted. Didn't realize Melanie was still logged in to google. ACK! I wish she would learn to logout!

  6. Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Thanks a ton!


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