This post is part of an interview series featuring the authors of Family Stories from the Attic, an anthology of essays, creative nonfiction, and poetry inspired by family letters, objects, and archives. Monday posts are featured on the Hidden Timber Books website, and Wednesday posts are featured here. Learn more about Family Stories from the Attic at the bottom of this post. Without further ado, let’s meet Julia Gimbel, author of “In a Sailor’s Footsteps.”
Q: Did you write “In a Sailor’s Footsteps” with a particular person/reader in mind?
Julia: “In a Sailor’s Footsteps” was extracted from a much larger piece I am working on and was re-written for submission for the Anthology. My goal is to publish a book that blends my father’s journal entries with researched explorations of the things he discusses, bringing the war to life seven decades later. The chapters cover a wide range of topics; from cigarettes, to the GI Bill, to feeding the troops, to V-mail and more. My original intention was to write for high school and college students, but many others will be interested by this topical approach to describing life during the World War II years.
Q: How has the publication of your piece influenced the work you are writing today or your writing in general?
Julia: The inclusion of part of my father’s story in the Anthology has encouraged me to continue the larger piece and see it through to completion. One thing I’ve loved about the process is that through the experience of researching and writing, many former strangers have now become my supporters and friends. Another surprise was finding that I have plenty of things to say! When I have writer’s block on the war book, I like to scribble down stand-alone pieces about whatever happens to be on my mind.
Q: What is a fun, interesting, or unusual fact to share with your readers?
Julia: I’ve always been a person who is drawn to beaches and bodies of water. In my lifetime I’ve picked up so many seashells and smooth stones that I should probably start putting some of them back. Recently this passion inspired me to create a website where I share my blog posts, jewelry created from things found in the wrack line, and photography.
Connect with Julia
Julia Gimbel (above left) writing last summer on the porch of a gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs – Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and one of her landscape photos (above right).
Family Stories from the Attic features nearly two dozen works of prose and poetry inspired by letters, diaries, photographs, and other family papers and artifacts. Editors Christi Craig and Lisa Rivero bring together both experienced and new writers who share their stories in ways that reflect universal themes of time, history, family, love, and change.