Welcome to the inaugural Books on the 7:47 interview! This is the first in a new series, where I have a little chat with authors behind the books I’ve enjoyed reading and reviewing.
I am very pleased to announce Gina Dewink as my first guest. She is an American author who has had a love of writing since she was a child and alongside working as a Communications Manager and being a mum to two young children, she found the time to write her debut novel Time in My Pocket (although it’s technically her fourth book, but her first published, she explains all below!)
Earlier this month I really enjoyed reading Time in My Pocket (my full review is here) and was intrigued by the time travel theme Gina explored in her book. I wanted to find out more about her inspiration and ideas, so she kindly gave me an insight…
Hi, Gina! Do you remember the moment you had the idea for Time in My Pocket?
I wish I remembered the exact moment, but it was a slow process with ideas seeping into my consciousness, if I’m being honest. The first novel I actually completed was in high school, and my inspiration then was just the urge to write. I completed two novels after that, but I never attempted to do anything with them. Time in My Pocket is technically my fourth novel – I’m not sure why I knew it was different from the others, but I did right away.
I grew up adoring Back to the Future – like any kid in the 80s – and I love to ponder the possibility of traveling through time and as my favourite actors were Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant and Doris Day, it was clear what time I wanted to go back and visit (Time in My Pocket‘s lead character travels back to 1940’s Hollywood).
Then in 2016, I heard about Stephen King’s book 11.22.63 and saw that the interest in time travel was still there and that there were people – like me – who wanted to relive a part of the past we were not privy to. So, when I couldn’t find the exact time travel book I wanted to read, I wrote it!
From idea to publication, how long did this book take?
I spent two – three months researching and idea-forming before I started writing, then – to the day – I wrote the first draft in six months, with another nine months of editing and preparing it for publication.
Can you tell us a little more about the research you did?
I’m a student at heart, I always enjoy learning, so when I got the inspiration for this book, I spent months sifting through online searches – I don’t know how writers created accurate historical fiction before the Internet! One search would lead me to a different nugget, which led to another. I was fascinated. From there, I had two fact checkers read over my draft to make sure I didn’t accidentally have my main character suck down some ibuprofen when it wasn’t invented yet!
In the end, I learned so many amazing quirks about daily life in the 1940s that I created a trivia game about it. It was a hit at my book launch party! The things I learned ranged from the obvious (duh, Gina – women couldn’t open a checking account without a man on the account in 1947) to the insane (wait, Alfred Hitchcock didn’t have a belly button?)
Did you put elements of yourself into the lead characters of Liza or Barbara?
Of course! When you’re writing a novel, all of the characters are a part of yourself. But more so when it’s first person, I think. I rolled elements of myself, my four sisters, best friend and cousin together to come up with my main characters.
Who are your favourite authors?
I’m a huge fan of AJ Jacobs, he is a non-fiction sociological author who I often recommend. (Yes, Time in My Pocket is full of sociological mentions.) When I discovered AJ Jacobs, I was delighted and a little bit devastated. His informal, humorous tone paired with exciting sociological experiments were exactly my style, but had been completed and written to a degree I couldn’t have fathomed. He remains my favourite writer… unless we can include Dr. Seuss.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
As clichéd as it may be, it is simply: Write. I do not believe in mulling a book over for a decade or talking about writing for five years. Just write it. Then it’s down and then you can work with it. Better to have a crappy draft of a book than the regret of never having invested in yourself.
Finally, can you let us know what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m working on an exciting project with a woman I met through Twitter, actually. She has been living for 15-years as a medical mystery – no explanation or diagnosis for her condition. We co-created a few articles we will start sharing through Thrive Global and social media after Thanksgiving. Our hope is to connect her with someone else with the same set of symptoms. All she wants for Christmas is to find her symptom soulmate!