Glad you could join us, Gail. First question:
What books have fortified you as a writer? How?
Gail: I’ll start with the basics: the dictionary and thesaurus. Where would we be without these? Along with them, the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, and for Spanish and French references, The Macmillan Visual Dictionary.
Then my college lit textbooks and writing manuals, especially those I used while instructing college expository writing. Knowing the basics of essay and research paper construction did me a world of good. And teaching these techniques did me a world more.
“The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
Not to say I always inspired, but I did aim to. And my teaching definitely improved my writing. Understanding the why of grammatical rules and structures through studying English as a Second Language also strengthened my foundation.
Now, to the fun part. Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, Addie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Emily Dickinson’s poetry fortified me. Sigh . . . that art of finding just the right word for every season, the patient pursuit of the most meaningful phrase . . . pure joy.
The Cloister Walk helped me embrace my “place” as a writer, which isn’t always comfortable. So did The Art of Spiritual Writing by Vinita Hampton Wright—talk about feeling a book was written just for me!
Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way brought out the fiction in me, when I hadn’t really considered this genre. Such a comprehensive workbook for those afraid to use their art for art’s sake.
I’m just getting started, but this will have to do. I’d love to hear from readers if any of my picks also encouraged you.
Some of those are new to me. I’ll have to check them out. Now…
What secret talents do you have?
Gail: Secret . . . aye, there’s the rub. Well, I used to think I had a talent for rescuing and fixing people, but hallelujah, I got over that one. Secret . . . a real tendency to allow a sense of shame to bring me down for hours or even a full day after I’ve made an error But I wouldn’t call this a talent.
I’m able to put together a meal on the spot, for which I credit my mom, who had to do that often on our farm. If the fridge contains eggs, a veggie of some kind, and there’s milk or other suitable liquid in the house, I can always come up with something.
Most of the time, I’m also able to put people at ease. This really helped with teaching English to those without one word of English at their tongue tips.
Sounds like some great talents to me. 🙂 Last question:
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Gail: Probably some simple farm fare. A succulent roast chicken with rosemary and onions and sweet corn frozen last summer and laced with butter.
We’d all enjoy a green salad—spinach, kale grown out in our courtyard, a few sprigs of peppermint and my own tasty, non-cholesteroly dressing, with chai seeds, vinegar, sesame seeds, and whatever fruit’s in season.
Hope that whets your appetite, because I’d love to meet you all.
We’d love to meet you too! Maybe someday…thanks for stopping by!
Gail is offering a Kindle copy of In Times Like These to one blessed person. So leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing!
Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.
But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father’s stoke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God’s punishment.
When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.
Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?
Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.
White Fire 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 Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology,
The first novel in her World War II series releases on June 6, 2016—D-Day, and the second is contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for release in February, 2017. You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds.
Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.