Interview: Gina Hooten Popp, author of UP NEAR DALLAS

BNR Up Near Dallas JPG

Winds of Change — Book III

  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Number of Pages: 307

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.

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How has Texas influenced your writing?

For starters, all my books are set in Texas. This was not a conscious decision on my part, it just happened that way. I think it may be because there are so many good stories to tell about this area of the country. Take for example my latest book, Up Near Dallas, set in 1934. The characters roam all over the state hopping boxcars but end up back in Dallas where the music scene was hot at the time. Texas has always had a lot of musicians and artists on the forefront of things—from Austin to San Antonio to Dallas and more—Texans have paved the way into new creative territory. I’ve always thought that this is because Texas is a little untamed and not too fast to tell others what they can and cannot do. Therefore, if a guy plants Cadillacs upright in a row or starts a new style of country music, then good for him because there are all kinds of people around the state and the country that will more than appreciate it.

Why did you choose to write historical books?

I’ve always had a love for history and literary books, so it was only natural for me to write what I love to read. My sister got me hooked on historical fiction novels. So, you’d have to blame her, I guess.

Where did your love of storytelling come from?

My grandmother was a great storyteller. From a young age, I would ask for a story and she’d just make one up out of thin air, and it would be interesting. In fact, she could even make a story about going to the grocery store or the gas station tense and exciting. Nothing in her life was ever mundane. And, as the old saying goes, the nut doesn’t fall for from the tree. In fact, you’ll see a lot of her colorful sayings in my stories. I think she’d be proud.   

How long have you been writing?

I have a long history of creativity and writing. In school, I always did well in literature classes and art classes. When I graduated from Texas A&M/Commerce, I went into advertising. First, I started as an art director. Then I kept writing behind the scenes on ads, menus, and brochures. After I’d collected enough awards for writing, my boss at The Richards Group (Stan Richards) let me work as a writer/art director. I’m forever grateful to him because it made for a great career as I moved from agency to agency as well as worked on my own as a freelancer. So, I’d been professionally writing for about fifteen to twenty years when I decided to start writing novels. About ten years ago, I took a class at Texas A&M/Canyon in West Texas and got involved with the West Texas Writers’ Academy, hosted by New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Thomas. I would suggest that anyone wanting to write books seriously consider this week-long summer camp. It’s a game changer for making it in the world of writing.

How does your book relate to your faith?

Before I do any creative project, I always pray God will allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me influencing my work. Yes, I’ve always done this whether I’m working on websites and brochures for an airline, tech company, or restaurant, or whether I’m writing a novel about a hurricane, drug dealer, or fighter pilot. I see myself as a vessel through which creativity flows.  

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I write in a simple conversational style that moves fast for the reader.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorite quotes at the moment:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”        —Mother Teresa   

“Be kind to one another.” —Ellen DeGeneres


A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission. 

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One thought on “Interview: Gina Hooten Popp, author of UP NEAR DALLAS

  1. Pingback: Lone Star Book Blog Tour – Dec. 4 – 13, 2017

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