Welcome to the Writing Prompts blog, Gail. Let’s start out with your reading interests.
Which author would you never get tired of, and why?
Gail: Um . . . how to choose? I think maybe Henri Nouwen. If he hadn’t suffered such an untimely death, he might have written about more Biblical characters, as he did in The Return of the Prodigal Son. I doubt I’d ever tire of those books.
He brings the Prodigal to life so powerfully—including the prodigal in me and the prodigal’s older brother who often manifests in us. Nowen’s gripping descriptions call me to consider the story in fresh ways, and my own attitudes, too.
I love authors that bring their books to life. Second question:
Who is your favorite fictional villain?
Gail: Inspector Javert, Victor Hugo’s antagonist in Les Miserables. He’s villainous, but also tragic in his misguided and self-destructive pursuit of justice. But he respected authority and hated rebellion—what could go wrong?
Javert has no vices, except an occasional pinch of snuff. Hugo describes his life as one “of privations, isolation, self-denial, and chastity— never any amusement.” As a child of a prisoner and a fortune-teller, Javert’s hatred for his own people and his passion for order drive him to become a policeman.
But his fanatical pursuit of Jean Valjean, a man of basic integrity who steals only to avoid death, lead to Javert’s self-destruction. How sad is that?
I think Javert gives us an example of how we might all be affected by legalism. Our “love of truth” can easily turn vindictive, and we find ourselves shutting out the very people our Savior would embrace.
Wow. Powerful thought. Now tell us something about yourself.
What project are you currently working on?
Gail: My World War II series, three books that take the reader from a rural Iowa farmhouse to London during the Blitz, and then to the Auvergne, Southern France. There, the Waffen S.S. causes terrible destruction en route to Normandy to fight the Allies. The Resistance, men, and women who risked their lives to protect their homeland and aid the Allies have a hold on me.
Can you imagine enemy troops and tanks crossing midwestern farms or the Piedmont or the prairies here in the United States, blistering the countryside with havoc and atrocities?
Those French people and the underground workers who parachuted in to strengthen them intrigue me and the research seems endless. So right now I’m working on book three, and this winter/spring, I’ll be working with an editor on book two, since it’s been contracted for February 2017 release.
Congratulations! Sounds like an interesting series…
And if you’d like to read Gail’s book for free, she is offering a PDF of In This Together to one person who leaves a comment at the end of this post. It could be you…
In This Together
Dottie Kyle’s world centers on hard work. When World War II steals her son and she loses her husband soon after the Allied victory, her job at Helene’s boarding house gives her a reason to wake up in the morning. But when her daughter in California experiences complications in her third pregnancy and needs help with the little grandchildren Dottie longs to meet, old fears of closed-in spaces hinder her from embarking on a cross-country train trip.
Meanwhile, unexpected challenges arise at work, and Dottie’s next-door widower neighbor Al’s sudden attention becomes obvious. Could he hold the clue to conquering anxieties that have her in a stranglehold?