Tag Archives: Waking in Time

Peek behind the curtain of Waking in Time

The story behind the story of Waking in Time.

(Photos below)

*spoilers ahead

I’ve always been enamored with time travel stories. My favorite of all time is Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It was made into a movie starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, and is often the case, it isn’t nearly as good as the book. So for years, I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect time travel idea to write, but could never come up with the vehicle for travel or more importantly the reason. Until… one day I was at the University of Minnesota touring the campus and moved by all the majestic old buildings that have stood for more than a hundred years. I remember thinking, “Imagine the things those buildings have witnessed. If only they could talk.” And that lead me to realizing a college campus would be the perfect setting for a story.

The story itself came to me a couple years later while researching genealogy. I came across an ancestor named Ruby whose life was filled with difficulty and mystery. Her story was fascinating, heart breaking, and left many unanswered questions. But because she and everyone who ever knew her is gone, I could never know the full truth of her life and a missing year on her boarding school transcript. And then I thought, the only way to learn what really happened would be to travel back in time. Viola!

And so I created the character of Abbi Thorp and tossed her back in time to unravel secrets she never knew existed.

~   ~   ~

A Peek Back in Time

Meet the real Ruby. This was taken before her father remarried. I love the little dog. How in the world did they get the dog to stand on two legs and look at the camera?

Here she is in boarding school around the time she met Walter. Ruby is in the first row, second from the left. She’s so lovely. It’s hard to believe anyone could be cruel to her.

This is the picture of Ruby at the convent that I discovered. I never determined what convent she went to, and so was unable to locate a formal birth record of the baby she was forced to give up. If somehow Ruby’s able to look down from the heavens, I hope she feels the love this story is meant to bring her.Ruby years later.

This is the last picture of Ruby. She died at age of 44. She looks much older than that in this photo.

Walter at the boarding school where they met. He is  behind the table second from the right.

Walter went off to fight in WWI. I’d like to believe he didn’t know of Ruby’s condition until it was too late. The photo below is actually a postcard of Walter and his platoon in France. I’m not sure, but I think two of those fellas are holding large loaves of bread.

Here is the inspiration for Will as a child. These are the photos Abbi finds in the buried tin on Picnic Point, and they are actual family photos. I think they’re awesome!

It’s All About the Socks

Releasing a new book is always a highlight in a writer’s life, but the truth is not that much happens for the author on release day. Other than a handful of social media posts, books quietly slip into bookstores without much fanfare unless the author has a book launch party.

As this is my eighth book, I’ve had launch parties before, but they aren’t my favorite thing to do. Why? Because as a writer I spend most of my days home alone with little more than the radio and my dog to interact with. There’s no audience of people waiting expectantly for me to say something brilliant, but my publisher for Waking in Time encouraged me to have a launch party, so I found myself nervously adding it to my calendar.

My publisher found a great indie bookstore for the event. Mystery to Me is an adorable bookstore in a quaint part of downtown Madison. The owner is friendly and inviting and made me feel special from our very first email. What was even better, she said she’d bring in a local journalist, Doug Moe, to interview me. Whew! Huge pressure off of me.

Now I could shift my thinking to what cookies to bake, orange dreamsicle, and what to wear. I choose a long sweater in muted pastels with black leggings and ankle boots.

The night arrives and people come out in droves to help celebrate, which stuns me and warms my heart as they crowd into the bookstore. I’m seated on a stool at a high-boy table along with Mr. Moe. He does an amazing job of directing the conversation and asking me interesting questions as I gaze out over a packed room. Things are going well until about halfway through the talk. I realize my leggings have pulled out of my ankle boots and are likely revealing my socks.

You see, initially I had put on black socks, which would have gone unnoticed, but at the last minute in honor of it being my UK release date, I thought I’d give a silent nod to my readers “over the pond.”

I love the UK cover!

So I changed into a pair of red, plaid Jack Wills’ socks that I bought when visiting London two years ago. These would definitely look out of place with my pastel sweater, but I never thought anyone would see them.

I spent the rest of the talk trying to push my pant leg down and flex my foot so less red plaid would show. I even tried to hide my ankle under the tablecloth without slipping off my stool, but that didn’t work either. I kept fretting that everyone was staring at my odd choice of hosiery and realizing I truly have no fashion sense, or didn’t bother to do laundry. Both are true.

Doug Moe being intelligent.
Me thinking about my socks.

So, as I was discussing the book my heart and trying to come off as intelligent and entertaining, I was really just focused on my socks.



Special Delivery

There’s nothing like spying the Fed Ex guy lugging a package up my driveway and me wondering what it could possibly be. It’s long past the holidays and it’s no one’s birthday. Did I order something? I don’t think so. And then when I fight my dogs away from the door to retrieve it, I don’t recognize the return address or name. I carry the box to the kitchen wondering, could it be? But it’s too soon to be my new book. I slice through the packing tape with a steak knife, and sure enough, it is my new book!

Box of books!Holding a book in my hands after years of mulling it around in my brain and then dribbling it into words over many many months is a combination of euphoria, relief, and even a little disbelief. Euphoria that I can hold my little masterpiece in my greedy paws, relief that it truly is finished, and disbelief because, honestly, I’m still kind of shocked that I write books for a living. It was never in my game plan and I am most definitely a planner.

I’ve been fortunate to have published books delivered to my door a few times before, but this time is different. This book is very special. There is family history unraveled within the pages. Of course, there’s lots of magical sweeping fun as well, but at the root of it all is the true story of a girl from eons past, with an insurmountable problem. The book doesn’t release until March 1 in the U.S. and the 8th in the UK, (I’m totally stoked about the UK release!) and yet the anticipation of sharing this story has me giddy with excitement. So, I will while away the days until it’s release, gazing at the beautiful cover until the rest of the world gets to dive into Waking in Time and lose themselves in the epic tale of seasons long past.

Is it weird that I love the spine of the book?

Is it weird that I love the spine of the book?

You might be wondering what authors do with the books they get from their publisher. For me, I give them as thank you gifts to people who helped along the way. This time to two of my aunts helped with research on hairstyles, snowpants, and pantyhose of the 1950s; a woman working at Elizabeth Waters dormitory who granted me full access; and a woman who graduated in 1951 and shared stories of naughty make out sessions in the foyer. I also force a copy on each of my kids, and if there are a few copies left, I tuck them away in case my future grandchildren are literate and curious to find out what crazy thoughts their old granny had drafting through her brain.

Waking in Time is published by Capstone Publishings’ imprints Switch Press and Curious Fox Books and is available everywhere!


All in a Day’s Work – A Day on the UW Campus

I haven’t posted in forever mostly because life is busy, but I’ve had a colorful couple of days doing research and thought I’d share. Here are some pictures that represent the next book. I’m sure you can quickly guess where it takes place. If you can’t, it’s the University of Wisconsin – Madison.      IMG_0923The Carillon Tower

IMG_0976Guess what dormitory will be featured?

IMG_0940Babcock Hall ice cream on the Memorial Union Terrace


A crew boat. I’m very excited about this research

IMG_0921It’s a very important door. Trust me.

IMG_0951Words can’t do justice to the significance of this building



The lecture hall in Bascom Hall

IMG_0977And where might these stairs lead?