Gabrielle Meyer has worked for state and local historical societies and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She currently resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota with her husband and four children. By day, she’s a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and nonfiction filled with hope.
In this interview, she shares some insights into her latest book, In This Moment.
FF: Can you please tell us a little bit about the plot of your new novel, In This Moment?
Maggie is born with a gift she inherited from her parents. She lives, simultaneously, in three different time periods: 1861, 1941, and 2001. Each night, she falls asleep and wakes up in the next path, rotating through all three without any time passing in the other paths while she’s away. In 1861, she’s the daughter of a prominent senator, trying to uncover spies in the nation’s capital. In 1941, she’s a navy nurse, caring for her grieving sister and wrestling with her knowledge about Pearl Harbor after she’s asked to serve there. And in 2001, she’s a medical student, gaining knowledge that she cannot share in her pervious paths for fear of changing history. Though she has no plans to fall in love and further complicate her decision, she meets a man in each path that captures her heart. A mysterious British gentleman working in the White House, a moody and demanding doctor leading the medical crew to Pearl Harbor, and a charming young congressman with big ambitions. She must choose which path to keep and which to forfeit by her twenty-first birthday. An impossible decision to make.
FF: In This Moment is book 2 in your Timeless Series. Can you explain the connecting element between these two books?
In the first book, When the Day Comes, we meet Libby who is a time-crosser living in 1774 and 1914. She inherited the time-crossing gift, which is accompanied by a sunburst birthmark on her chest, from her mother. At the end of When the Day Comes, Libby gives birth to Maggie, who not only has the mark on her chest but another on the back of her head. The mark on Maggie’s chest sends her forward from 1941 to 2001, and the one on the back of her head sends her back from 1941 to 1861. Which means Maggie has three paths instead of two.
FF: Even though they’re listed in a series, do these books have to be read in order or can they stand alone?
These books stand alone and do not need to be read in order. However, book one is full of twists and turns, with a big surprise ending. Book two reveals these surprises right away, so if the reader would like to read book one without spoilers, they might want to read it first.
FF: Your protagonist, Maggie, must juggle three timelines and the unique challenges that they bring. How did you balance writing three equal and fully-formed storylines?
It wasn’t easy! I’m a super-plotter. I never start writing a book until I’ve worked out all the plot points. I spent more time plotting In This Moment than any other story I’ve written! After a LOT of research, I created three historical timelines (1861, 1941, and 2001) next to each other, lining up major events I wanted to include in the story. Then, I plotted each of Maggie’s paths as three unique stories, making sure they had all the story-structure elements and lined up with the major historical events. Then, I combined all three on a spreadsheet, each in a different color, adjusting them so that each chapter flowed smoothly into the next. Though Maggie lives three different lives, they impact each other every day. After I had all three combined into one story, I created a synopsis and detailed characters analysis. After I felt like I had a good handle on the story and the characters, I began to write.
FF: These timelines revolve around major events in history—the outbreak of the Civil War, the attack on Pearl Harbor that initiated the US’ involvement in WWII, and 9/11. What lead you to choose these specific events as the backdrop for this story?
I’ve always been fascinated that the American Civil War took place from 1861–1865 and that WWII lasted from 1941–1945. The similarities in their years were intriguing to me. Then, on September 11, 2001, when we watched the terrorist attacks and I thought we were entering another war, it didn’t escape my attention that it had also started on a year ending in the number one. When I started to brainstorm In This Moment and decided that Maggie would have three timelines, and they each needed to end with the same number, I knew which ones to choose. 1861, 1941, and 2001 were intriguing years to study and write about. It was fun to put Maggie in the midst of all of them.
FF: What was one of the most interesting things you discovered while researching for this book?
There were so many interesting things to discover as I researched 1861, 1941, and 2001. One that instantly stands out to me, though, is what I learned about the history of penicillin. Since the late 1920’s, Scottish physician Alexander Fleming had been experimenting and treating patients with penicillin mold, but could not convince other scientists and doctors of its abilities. Eventually, they began to see the possibilities, but could not mass produce it. In 1941, two scientists came to America to see if the United States government would mass produce penicillin. Fearing that their bottles of mold would get lost or stolen, the men smeared the mold inside their pockets to travel to the US! Eventually, they worked out a deal with the USDA Northern Regional Research Laboratory in Peoria, Illinois, and penicillin began to be used extensively, especially towards the end of WWII.
FF: Many readers have pointed out the rich historical detail that makes this series come to life on the page. When did your love of history begin?
My love of history started very early. When I was a little girl, my dad was the caretaker for a historic estate on the banks of the Mississippi River in my hometown. I grew up above the carriage house on the estate and loved living in the shadows of two Victorian-era mansions. I was also homeschooled, and my mom fostered my love of history. She took me to the local historical society to volunteer at a very young age. I eventually went on to work there, and then in high school, I started to work for the Minnesota Historical Society at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, which is also in my hometown. Along with my work, I loved reading historical fiction and reading research books for fun. I was not your typical teenager!
FF: What sparked the idea for a series with such a unique concept of time travel?
The idea was born one day when I was thinking about the Outlander books, and other time-traveling stories. In most, a character accidentally falls through a portal in time and then races to get back to their “normal” life but meets challenges along the way. Eventually, they usually find a reason to love the time period they fell into, and it causes a conundrum. Which do they choose? It made me wonder, What if someone was born with two different lives and had to choose between them at a certain age? My mind immediately began to spin with ideas, and the three books in the Timeless Series were born.
FF: What do you hope readers take away from reading In This Moment?
As I wrote Maggie’s story, the theme that kept presenting itself to me is that of faith. Often, we are presented with choices in our life, but don’t know which way to go. Many times, we are required to take a step of faith, hoping and praying that we are doing the right thing. In my own life, I’ve realized that when I make a decision, it should always be made in faith and not in fear. This is something that Maggie is called to do repeatedly. It is my hope that readers of In This Moment will identify with this struggle in Maggie’s life and have the courage to take their own steps of faith.
FF: Will there be another book in this series?
Yes. There will be a total of three books in the Timeless Series. Book three will release in May 2024.
In This Moment
Timeless Series #2
Genres: Time Travel Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Maggie inherited a gift from her time-crossing parents that allows her to live three separate lives in 1861, 1941, and 2001. Each night, she goes to sleep in one time period and wakes up in another. She faces a difficult journey to discover her true self, while drawn to three worthy gentlemen, before she must choose one life to keep and the rest to lose.
In 1861, Maggie is the daughter of a senator at the outbreak of the Civil War, navigating a capital full of Southern spies and wounded soldiers. In 1941, she is a navy nurse, grappling with her knowledge of the future when she joins a hospital ship going to Pearl Harbor. And in 2001, she’s a brilliant young medical student, fulfilling her dream of becoming a surgeon.
While Maggie has sworn off romance until she makes her final choice, an intriguing man tugs at her heart in each era, only complicating the impossible decision she must make, which looms ever closer. With so much on the line, how can Maggie choose just one life to keep and the rest to lose?
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