Welcome to Talkshow Thursday. I'm pleased to welcome Gail Kittleson, author of In This Together, published in November, 2015. Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of the post for more information about Gail and where you can purchase her debut novel.
LM: You taught writing, when did you realize you wanted to write fiction and get published?
GK: In 2008, when I facilitated some groups through The Artist's Way. The third time through that wonderful, creative, freeing workbook, a historical fiction story spilled out of me. Amazing. I highly recommend EVERYONE taking the time to work through that very helpful gift to the artistic world!
LM: Where did you get the idea for your story?
GK: Dottie came to me in the upstairs of a big old house. I was standing in the long hallway, thinking . . . "Hmm, this could've been a boarding house back in the day, and someone could have worked here. That would be Dottie, the heroine of my novel. And as I visualized Dottie walking to and from her job every morning and late afternoon, Al appeared, a lonely widower watching her, thinking how strong she was, and wishing he could somehow win her heart.
LM: Are any of your characters based on real people?
GK: Not consciously. But as I've been interviewed and led book discussions since the release of In This Together, I've realized that Dottie is VERY MUCH like my mom. Her forties' songs, her hard work, and her plunge-ahead-no-matter-what-happens attitude certainly live out in Dottie's story.
LM: What was your research process for the book?
GK: No real process--as the story evolved in my head/heart, I kept on reading about the incredible WWII era, considering how much those folks sacrificed. I can't get enough of the endless stories that time created. Of course, I had to do some research on trains/schedules/routes of the day, government wartime restrictions on gasoline/clothing/lights, and the history of certain foods. Everyday facts like these make a huge difference in the story, and researching is like vitamins to a story.
LM: The age old question for writers - are you a panster or a plotter?
GK: Panster, for sure and certain. Plotting challenges me, and sometimes I call my plotter friend in Arizona for help. "I need to have something happen right now that will shake the story up a little. Any ideas?" She ALWAYS comes through --thank you, Machelle!
LM: What are your passions when you are not writing?
GK: Hmm . . . I've always loved poetry, reading, our grandchildren, and I walk a lot. Also do yoga to keep this old body going and am addicted to Good Earth tea. But passions . . . I think I'm a one-passion-at-a-time-person. Writing is it for me right now.
LM: What is your next project?
GK: I have another WWII novel coming out in the next couple of months. This one begins around Pearl Harbor time, and involves a young farm wife who finds her voice and stands up for herself. But it isn't easy! And getting it published hasn't been, either. Maybe because it deals w/marital verbal abuse.
And I just completed my first salable novella, also a WWII story. Maybe I should start an "IowaGirls" theme, because that's what all my heroines are. (So far, anyway.)
As it is, they all sail under the motto, DARE TO BLOOM.
LM: How exciting. I love reading WWII era fiction. As a debut novelist what is your advice for unpublished writers?
GK: Keep writing. Follow your heart, and put the lie to your inner attackers.
LM: Anything else you'd like readers to know about you.
GK: I love meeting new people and encouraging writers - if you want to contact me with a question, I'd be happy to connect. And I'm always looking for new midwestern and Arizona venues to facilitate writing workshops.
Visit Gail at:
You can purchase this wonderful book on Amazon.com