The story behind the story of Waking in Time.
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.
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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!