Words began whispering tales into Gina Marie Adkins’ ear at an early age. “I was always coming up with stories as a kid, but it wasn’t until about 5th or 6th grade that I realized regular people could be writers,” she said. In high school, Adkins fleshed out 2 novels but never wrote “The End” to either project.
Writing took a backseat to college and a career. In 2020, when COVID-19 shut the world down, the stories started whispering again to Adkins. She listened and began work on her debut novel, Unlovable, But Maybe Not. Just as with many creators, music inspired the spark. Adkins added, “It’s sort of silly, but I was listening to the song ‘Scenery’ by V from BTS, which is a soft love song, and my mind just sort of wandered there as I listened.”
Adkins described Unlovable, But Maybe Not as “a soft love story with a hint of suspense.” The setting will be familiar to readers. She chose Danville. Adkins continued, “It follows singer Park Mal-Chin and local teacher Sophie Gregory as they slowly fall for each other.” The conflict comes because Sophie doesn’t believe in love. Mal-Chin has a problem as well. “He is hiding from false accusations in his home country while his accuser seeks him out.”
Writer’s Block is a villain in the creation of many stories. But as author Steven Pressfield stated in The War of Art, resistance is the enemy. Resistance takes on multiple identities that lead to self-sabotage. For Adkins, sharing her words with people is difficult. She added, “I tend to be a private person. Letting people into a world I created and knowing there would be feedback, possibly negative, was scary. I struggled at first to tell people what the story was about.”
Unlovable, But Maybe Not came to light thanks to a strict writing schedule. Adkins blocked out time every night to pen Sophie’s and Mal-Chin’s story. On weekends, writing usually started around 9:30pm and ended when she “ran out of steam.”
When the story came to Adkins, publishing it wasn’t at the forefront of her motivation. That lack of pressure made the process easier. “I went into it with the idea to just have fun.”
The foundation for a great story is development—character and plot. Adkins spent the first draft getting to know her characters, and they shaped themselves. “After that, I began really analyzing my characters and what they needed to do.” With Sophie having a timid personality, Adkins needed to make sure she grew as the story progressed. “I also went back and added a side story from the characters John and Minseok because they were originally very flat and showed up when needed.”
Now that her debut novel is out in the wild, Adkins hopes readers will take an important message away from the story. “I would like for people who think that way to know there is someone out there, romantically or otherwise, who truly does love and care for them.”
Putting the words “The End” to a first novel is one of the greatest obstacles a new author has to overcome. There are countless unfinished first novels buried in drawers all over the world. Seeing “The End” complete your story is clearing a hurdle. It lets an author know I did it once. I can do it again whenever resistance pops up to make a cameo. Adkins has started writing her second novel, which she said is a “little darker.”
You can grab a copy of Unlovable But Maybe Not locally at The Dog-Eared Page, and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and Walmart.