When Gail Kittleson’s not researching World War II, drafting scenes or editing, she facilitates writing workshops and retreats in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the gorgeous Mogollon Rim Ponderosa forest. Favorites: grandchildren, exploring WWII sites with her husband, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense?
Gail: Couple the grave danger of World War II clandestine work French Resistance work with a hero and heroine grieving for their first loves. Add a growing commitment to each other plus the suspense of knowing they could perish at any moment, you get romance and suspense. To be honest, I label my writing women’s historical fiction, but A Purpose True seems to fit both genres.
How do you connect with your characters?
Gail: They live with me, walk with me, and sometimes wake me up at night with nuances about their stories.
How do you come up with titles for your books?
Gail: I research songs of the era, Scriptures and applicable quotes, and explore what expresses the bottom-line premise of my characters’ needs and challenges.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels?
Gail: I suppose it would be the treacherous Nazi spy responsible for many deaths among the Resistance. He meets his Maker via a firing squad, after my heroine identifies him as the imposter to whom she once delivered messages vital to the cause. He transmitted these to London, but also shared them with the Nazis. ARGH!! Despicable!
How do you develop your plots?
Gail: Research and more research. Light dawns as I study actual events in the historical record, and I see how my characters fit into these perilous underground operations so vital to Allied victory.
Have you ever regretted killing off a character? Why?
Gail: Nope. The heroine and hero are the ones living in my heart, so any enemy of theirs is an enemy of mine—no regrets about ensuring their longevity. This connection with my characters is the one essential for me to write. Pungent tea, quietness, and time all help, but the characters themselves drive me to write.
What has been most frustrating about writing romantic suspense?
Gail: Hearing that the ending of a novel in a series disappointed them. That’s wartime, fraught with ambivalence and disappointment. Expecting a perfect outcome isn’t in the cards. Perhaps that’s why what I write is more aptly labeled historical fiction. The romance proves a strong thread, but not the main theme.
Current book: A Purpose True
Magnetized by clandestine French Resistance work, Kate and Domingo discover a growing commitment to each other. But everything depends upon the wiles of war.
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