Meet the Exquisite Quill Authors

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Genesis of a Book - All in The Mind by Jenny Twist

All in the Mind

Years ago I read about an old people’s 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?

In November 2011 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 carried on writing, 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 from 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 months 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.
Here are some of the things other authors have to say about it:

“Jenny Twist is an enormously talented story-weaver who just goes on getting better.  Fans of the wonderful novel, ‘Domingo’s Angel’ will not be disappointed with this latest offering from her.  It’s a sweet and haunting feel-good story which will immerse you totally in its fictional world and leave you feeling deeply satisfied.  Absolutely recommended.”  Lynette Sofras

“All in the Mind will take you on a mind trip, one from which you won't want to return. As always, Jenny Twist's fiction is an addictive treat that's tightly woven to draw the readers in and keep them there.”  Su Halfwerk

“This book moved me more than any other in recent memory, not because it was sad, although some scenes were very tragic, but because of the depth of emotion I felt for the characters, and the lasting love they share. . I dare anyone to read this book and not be moved to tears of joy.”  Tara Fox Hall


Tilly wakes up in the dark, alone and very frightened. She finds she is in a strange room inexplicably furnished in 1940s style. However did she get here? Has she somehow slipped into the past? Has she been kidnapped? Of one thing she is absolutely certain, she has never seen this place in her life before.

All in the Mind is a fascinating tale exploring the human capacity to overcome any obstacle, no matter how great, as long as you believe you can.

Tilly is part of an experiment working on a cure for Alzheimer's disease. She and most of the other patients taking part in the experiment seem to make a full recovery, but there is a strange side effect.

Tilly and her fellow experimental subjects appear to be getting younger.

Can the same experiment be repeated for Tilly's beloved husband so that he can recover from a stroke? Tilly thinks it can and she will move heaven and earth to make sure it happens.

A charming and thought-provoking story full of reminiscences of a bygone age, All in the Mind also deals with the dilemmas posed by new developments in a society whose culture is geared to the idea that the natural span of a human life is three-score years and ten.

You can find out more about Jenny here:


Goodreads Blog:





Jane Leopold Quinn said...

What a fascinating concept, Jenny. And very sweet with your mother's picture and your friend's mother's hands on the cover. A wonderful honor to the elder generation. Thanks for being here today.

Rose Anderson said...

I loved this story. Best luck Jenny!

Jenny Twist said...

Thanks for jhaving me, Jane. I love your site. xx

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you so much, Rose. You're a star!


Kaye Spencer said...

What an absolutely intriguing premise and such a novel (lol-pun intended) setting for a romance.

Your statement, "So, to a large extent, this book is the product of friendship" touched me. We can never have too many really good friends.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Kaye.
I'm so pleased to meet you. Glad you like the concept. It was great fun to write. And I couldn't agree with you more about friends. I've made so many since I started writing.

Effrosyni Moschoudi said...

Jenny, what a fantastic story! I had no idea it was something like that and I can't wait to read the book. Thank you for sharing this post :)

Su Halfwerk said...

When I read All in the Mind, I couldn't help but care for each of the phenomenal characters. The one who remained with me the most was Tilly's mother-in-law. The sweetness, caring, and strength of these people made them very real. Yeah, this book is a keeper, after sometime I will be visiting with these characters again.
Thanks for sharing the post.

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you Su. You are an inspiration to me. xxxx

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you, Fros. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed reading The Necklace. xxx

Georgina said...

Really interesting. This looks great! Thanks for sharing.

Jenny Twist said...

Hi Georgina. Thank you so much for commenting. I'm so glad you find the concept interesting.