• Gina Wilkinson

Where Fact Meets Fiction: Inspiration for When the Apricots Bloom

I met these two little girls in 2002, not far from Baghdad’s Mutanabbi book market. The little girl at the front proudly showed me her fine dress, and explained she was preparing to attend her aunt's wedding. Her young friend, dressed in apricot, was curious and a little shy, taking shelter behind her vivacious companion. I turned to this photo often when writing about Huda and Rania, two of the main characters in my upcoming novel, When the Apricots Bloom.

"It was summer, and like most people in her village, Huda’s family slept on the roof of their mud-brick home to escape the heat. Lying on a thin bedroll, while her two brothers snuffled and snored, Huda imagined she was Rania atttending her cousins's wedding, and the milky stars were the lights of the Rashid Hotel. She fell asleep dreaming of crystal chandeliers and silk dresses."

When the Apricots Bloom was recently selected by Publishers Marketplace as one of the ’30 Great Reads’ coming out in the fall/winter publishing schedule, and was inspired by my real life friendship with a woman who was secretly working as an informant for Saddam Hussein’s secret police and reporting back on my every move.

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