Wendy Hinman Q & A with Author Joy Held

Books By My Friends
Featuring Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire by WENDY HINMAN

Joy E. Held, Nov 29, 2022 publication

Welcome to Books By My Friends, Wendy! Happy to have an adventurer on board today! *grin*

JH: What’s the blurb for your book Sea Trials: Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire? (That title is an attention grabber!)

WH: Sea Trials is the story of a family’s epic journey around the globe. Together they overcome daunting challenges–from shipwreck and wild weather to threats from pirates, gunboats, mines and thieves, a broken rig, scurvy and starvation. Glimpses of the fascinating cultures they encounter along the way enhances the suspense and keeps readers of all ages hooked until the “nail-biting” end. * A multi-award winner with rave reviews, including a Kirkus starred review.

JH: What inspired you to write Sea Trials?

WH: Over the years I’d been hearing snippets of the epic voyage my husband had taken with his family sailing around the world and their shipwreck when he was fourteen. Family dinners had been filled with “you remember the time when …

• gunboats forced us to sail across mines in the Red Sea?

• when our pilot Abdul got lost in the Suez Canal?

• the boat starting sinking in Israel?

• mom tried to poison us?

• we ran out of food and nearly starved?”

Such tantalizing anecdotes intrigued me. Then I got possession of the famous letters the family mailed home during the voyage. Hundreds of them. In them was more detail than any writer could hope for. Too much, sometimes. But by combing through them I fleshed out the outline of the story that I’d developed in my mind of the voyage. I asked a lot of questions of family members and took copious notes. What I uncovered was an even more dramatic story than I already knew, and I could hardly believe anyone had truly lived through it. Especially people I knew so intimately. Their story featured pirates, gunboats, mines, thieves, starvation and scurvy in addition to a shipwreck. I also couldn’t believe there wasn’t already a book written about it, since their shipwreck and arrival home hit the papers around the globe. To flesh out their story, I consulted guide books and sailing directions, maps, weather data, and the ship’s log to ferret out the finer details. I read the newspaper articles, listened to the interviews with the family. I started writing and double-checking details with the people who had lived through it. Once I began writing I found my draft came really fast, probably because I’d been thinking about this story for so long beforehand and had so much material. With a rough draft completed, I had them read every word to check for inaccuracies or things that didn’t seem true to their experience. It was a great family bonding experience to write Sea Trials about their journey.

Read more about Wendy’s inpiration and writing process here as well as discover other great books and authors:

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