I’m so pleased to host fellow WhiteFire author, Gail Kittleson, today! Her new release, In This Together, releases this month!
GK: First of all, thank you for hosting me, Rachelle.
RR: So glad to have you! So tell me, what are you most thankful for as your Release Day approaches?
GK: I’m grateful for the ability to write, and that the desire never faded, even though I neglected it for so long. I can even see the good in the delay—other writers out there lament lost years, too, and wonder if it’s too late. I can say definitively that it’s NOT!
I’m so thankful that WhiteFire Publishing chose to publish my memoir, which got me started. The strong editing there taught me some things about fiction writing, too, even though we were working on nonfiction.
The unique satisfaction that comes in putting thoughts into words makes me thankful, and so do scads of new author and reader friends, and the adventure of meeting new folks at book signings and writing workshops I facilitate or attend. In the end, it’s all about connecting with people, and what’s not to be thankful for about that?
Which am I most thankful for? Hard to say!
RR: I know what you mean! I’m so thankful for WhiteFire Publishing, too. :) What have you most enjoyed about the publishing process so far?
GK: I love the character forming in my mind and heart, and becoming more real as the story evolves scene by scene. With so many self-edits, critiques, and then the months of professional editing with the publishing company, that character has become as tangible as my friend down the street.
The editing part of the process intrigues and challenges me—it never ends. I even have a theory about why we’re so ridiculously verbose in early drafts—we long for people to understand, and don’t trust that they will unless we explain. And explain. And explain. Lol! Then, of course, we go back and cut 9/10 of that explaining (telling) by using strong verbs. LOVE strong verbs! (Did I say I enjoyed diagramming in grammar school and like editing others’ work almost as much as I like writing?)
I really like working with an editor—it’s so good to have someone else’s perspective on a manuscript. Always, editors point out an angle I’ve missed. Colby Wolford, my editor for In This Together, strengthened the overall story.
Tomorrow, readers will meet one of my heroines, and I can wholeheartedly say, “Meet Dottie Kyle, the kind of greatest generation woman you’d like to have for your best friend. She’s steady, reliable, down-to-earth, and a hard worker. And no matter what life brings her, she makes do. She has no big plans for the rest of her life, and no idea second chances lie right around the corner.”
RR: Love that description of your heroine! She does sound like a good friend. So if you could be your own friend, what advice would you give yourself a year ago?
GK: “Gail, keep embracing your passion, your vocation. Shelve your constant whys. Focus on your writing and don’t stop or slow down. Good things are about to happen, you’ll see!”
RR: Great advice… What first sparked the idea for your debut fiction?
GK: When I was twelve years old, our family moved to a gigantic Iowa farmhouse with a long, long upstairs hallway, window transits above the doors, front and back stairways, and five large bedrooms with walk-in closets on that floor. There was a massive basement and an attic where people roller skated. The builder installed three sinks in the back porch, one for each of his farmer sons, who fought a lot—it was a house full of story possibilities.
One day a few years ago, I stood in the upstairs hallway of a big house and thought, “You know, this could be a boarding house, and someone could work here …” And that was when Dottie came to mind.
RR: Love old farmhouses! Which brings me to my next question: What is your favorite place to write?
GK: In our little converted front porch, with windows on two sides, very sunny, children playing across the street at the elementary school, and notes, books, and family pictures surrounding me.
My old teacher’s desk and an oak chair I bought at a garage sale (it also belonged to a teacher) serve me well. In winter months, I write at an even smaller version of this desk, looking out over the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. Every once in a while I look up to see an elk in our yard. Both places have their special inspiration—I guess our inspiration travels with us.
RR: I love that line about inspiration–reminds me of being a writer and finding it everywhere! This last question is just for writers: What advice would you give new authors?
GK: Keep writing. That’s the only way to do this thing. The writing life is a strange vocation, and from my perspective thus far, the rewards are mostly intrinsic—the satisfaction of putting thoughts into words, the joy of dipping so deeply into a story that you forget everyday things around you, but most of all, the underlying idea that your voice matters in this world.
If you get discouraged, contact me or some other author. I’ve been there, and chances are, so have they, but we kept on writing no matter how gloomy the outlook seemed. I don’t regret it.
RR: Thanks so much, Gail!
About the Author
Our stories are our best gifts, and blooming late has its advantages—the novel fodder never ends. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy gardening and grandchildren. WhiteFire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Line) greets the world on November 18, 2015. Please feel free to contact her—meeting new reading friends is the frosting on her cake!
About In This Together
It’s 1946. Dottie Kyle, an everyday Midwestern woman who lost her only son in the war and her husband soon after, takes a cooking/cleaning job at a local boarding house. But when a new employee is hired, complications arise, and when they niggle Dottie’s “justice meter”, she must decide whether to speak up or not. At the same time, her daughter’s pregnancy goes awry and the little California grandchildren she’s never met need her desperately. But an old fear blocks her way. When the widower next door shows Dottie unexpected attention, she has no idea he might hold the clue to unlocking her long-held anxieties.