Book: All in the Mind by Jenny Twistcategories: Book, Oldies, WW2, Alzheimer's, Experiment, Science Fiction, Nurse, India, Arranged Marriage, Historical Romance
Jenny Twistabout this book: Years ago I read about an old folks' home where they did the experiment of making their environment like that of their youth. I can't remember where I read this or what they were attempting to prove, but I do remember that one surprising result was that the subjects' hair darkened.
I've had the idea lurking at the back of my mind ever since. What if you carried the experiment to its logical conclusion?
Last year I entered Nanowrimo for the first time (a competition to write a novel in a month) and this was the idea that resurfaced when I sat down at my computer. I have never written so fast and furiously in my life before. The story just poured onto the page.
I kept coming across gaps in my knowledge but followed Stephen King's advice and just wrote it, intending to deal with all that later. When I picked it up again a few weeks later and got down to seriously working on it I found I had to do a lot of research on the Second World War. I knew a fair bit already from reading and television documentaries, as well as the experiences of my own parents, but I needed to know things like what branded goods they used, how the rationing system worked, etc.
I also realised, when one of my characters suddenly got completely out of hand and decided to return to India, that I was woefully ignorant of Indian culture. I knew some from reading, and I had studied a lot of Indian history at university, but I had no idea whether my knowledge would suffice for modern day India. The problem with something like that is you don't know what it is you don't know. I did not realise, for example, that a Hindu would be unlikely to understand Urdu. So I appealed on Twitter for experts on Hindu culture to read and correct it. I had four responses and checked all their comments with Google. Thank you, you wonderful people. You've saved me a lot of embarrassment. And thank God for Google. It's saved me weeks of work.
My dear friend, Caroline, read the proofs when she was staying with me and suggested the idea for a cover. She painted the beautiful hands. They belong to her mother, Anne Ritson, to whom the book is dedicated. The photograph is of my own mother, May Thornton, who was a nurse at the end of the Second World War.
So, to a large extent, this book is the product of friendship.
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