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Meet the author

Rebecca Gibby shares her thoughts on staying creative in retirement

Created date

April 16th, 2015
Rebecca Gibby published her first novel, Forged in Philadelphia, in retirement. She’s currently working on a second book.
Rebecca Gibby published her first novel, Forged in


Tribune: What inspired the story of Adam and Christian in Forged in Philadelphia?

Gibby: When I was growing up in Philadelphia, there was a picture on our hallway—a print of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson inspecting the first U.S. coins. My ancestor, Adam Eckfeldt, who reportedly made the first U.S. coins from Martha Washington’s silver coffee service, is depicted in the painting. (The painting by John Ward Dunsmore is titled Inspecting the First Coinage.)

When I retired, I wanted to go back and see if the story behind the painting really was true and write a book about it. The book is historical fiction, but it’s based on a true story and an authentic event in history.

Tribune: Why did you want to share this story? 

Gibby: I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and initially I wrote Forged in Philadelphia for them so they could pass it down to their children. 

But I found the story is really so relevant to young adults who are learning about history because it talks about the Quakers and slavery and minting and the abolitionist movement. There is a block of time skipped over in most history lessons, and that’s the time period my book covers.  

Tribune: What would you tell our readers about writing your first novel as an older adult? 

Gibby: After having worked in an office with a lot of people, writing was very isolating. The year it took me to write it was a lonely year except that writing a story like that, all the pieces need to fit together like a puzzle, and I became very engrossed in it. So although it was isolating, it was very exciting. 

I would add that I self-published Forged in Philadelphia. I found that if I got bogged down with the marketing of it, I couldn’t be creative in other ways. 

I think self-publishing is a great experience—it’s expensive but so worth it if you have a story to tell, and I’ve been very happy with my decision. 

Tribune: What would you tell our readers about pursuing creativity—or any passions, for that matter—as you grow older? 

Gibby: I’m really into drama and the theater, and I love to read. To me, creativity is the essence of life—the creativity we have within us. It’s what makes us individuals. I just love the creative arts; that’s what sustains me. 

Tribune: Do you plan on writing any more books? 

Gibby: Oh yes. I’m writing a second book. I have an aunt who was a pilot in WWII. What I’m trying to tell with her story is that war changed the role of women, and their role in society was never the same again. Everything shifted.

I want to pinpoint the bravery and the creativity and the uniqueness of this woman, who really was completely independent thinking and did something that was really unthinkable—she was a Philadelphia debutant who flew across the North Pole.

I’m going to emphasize that this was an unusual woman, and women can do whatever they set their minds to. 

Tribune: You are on the Lantern Hill priority list. If you end up moving to Lantern Hill, how do you think living there would give you the time and freedom to pursue writing more books? 

Gibby: I think that when you’re in an environment where you’re happy and your life is full, it enables you to create a schedule for yourself when you can be creative in the morning, and in the afternoons and evenings be more social. I hope it will be a step for me to be in a happy social environment with other people. 

I also think I may meet people who have a story to tell. I’m looking at my moving to Lantern Hill as an opportunity to broaden my life. 

Tribune: What are you most looking forward to at Lantern Hill? 

Gibby: If they have an auditorium, I’d lead a drama group for older people. I work with a group of 70 year olds doing drama in the summer. Everybody has a great time. 



Meet the author series

Keep reading each month to meet authors who have joined the Lantern Hill priority list. Find out what inspires them, how they stay creative, and why they think Lantern Hill is a good move.