Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gail Kittleson Interview and GIVEAWAY!

Happy Wednesday, Diamond Mine readers. Abigail here, and I am thrilled to introduce you to Gail Kittleson: WWII writer extraordinaire. She's just released her second book in the Women on the Home Front series titled With Each New Dawn. And boy is this a good one! Heartwarming and filled with period detail, With Each New Dawn shows the dangers and hardships of war, but the courage of people working together to fight evil and keep their countries safe.

AND...she's giving away a free print copy! As long as we get at least three comments, we'll randomly select the winner. So comment away.

ABOUT THE BOOK: With Each New Dawn

In war-torn London, American Kate Isaacs grieves her husband, awaits their child's birth, and welcomes her best friend Addie. But after her miscarriage, another meeting with mysterious Monsieur le Blanc launches her into Britain's Secret Operations Executive (SOE). In late 1943, Kate parachutes into Southern France to aid the Resistance.

Domingo, a grieving Basque mountain guide-turned-saboteur, meets her parachute drop, tends her injured ankle, and carries her to safety. Reunited a few months later, they discover the injured Monsieur le Blanc who, with his dying breath, reveals a secret that changes Kate's life.

In the shadow of the Waffen SS, Domingo's younger brother Gabirel is missing. While Domingo seeks Gabirel, Domingo's parish priest Pere Gaspard, creates a new identity for Kate.

As Kate and Domingo subject their mutual attraction to the cause of freedom, can mere human will and moral courage change the war's tide and forge a future for them?

Amazon, Author Website, Facebook, Twitter


What led you to write about WWII? Did you have any relatives in the war?

My journey into the WWII era started with Dottie, the heroine of my first published novel. That got me into “shell shock” for a character from WWI. And I started researching…researching…on and on. The WWII era GRABS my heart. Yes, my dad served four years, and my three uncles served in the infantry. My father-in-law also was an Alamo Scout, one of those who led the Rangers into the POW camp to rescue the Bataan death march soldiers. Gives me shivers. 

In your story you do a fantastic job of describing the unique Basque people and their language. I didn’t know much about them before reading your book. Have you ever been to that region?

I’ve been close, but not in the Department of Lot, YET!! I definitely want to go. We lived in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon for French language study before we went to Senegal, W. Africa. That’s in the Haute Loire, and also plays a role in the novel. Oh, how I wish I could relive that time - I would interview everything that moved!!

I came upon the Basque mountain guides as I learned more about how downed pilots found their way back to England. Without those trusty guides, many would not have made it. Then of course, I had to study the Basque people in general - so much wonderful folklore and a deep faith. Years ago, we visited a Basque museum in Boise, Idaho, but at that time I had no idea I’d ever be writing about a Basque WWII guide.

To aid in the war effort, would you have rather been on the home front as Addie was, or in a dangerous foreign country as a spy like Kate? 

Oh, what a great question. Hum…my answer might depend a lot on my age at the time. At Kate’s young age, I’d have been terrified to be anywhere the Gestapo and the war effort would have been much better off with me here in little old rural Iowa.

But as I’ve aged, I’ve grown more confident in who I am. So I think if I knew my particular gifts could best be used in a dangerous place, I’d go. It’s interesting how we change with age. I think for many years, people would have said I was basically quiet and non- risk-taking. But as I look back, when the time has been right, I have taken quite a few risks. 

Addie has always seemed more timid than Kate, but she still crossed the mine-infested Atlantic to help her best friend. I think I would have proven the coward on that score. 

Your description of Kate’s parachute drop was realistic. Would you or have you parachuted from a plane? Or done anything else crazy like that?

I might have done something crazy, but not from an airplane. I would have been far too motion sick, especially in those types of planes. My husband was “Airborne” in the army, and loved it. I’m trying to think what “anything else crazy like that” might be. I would have tackled the long mountain treks Kate took, for sure. 

Were any of the courageous things your characters did in the story based on true accounts?

Yes, the guiding of downed pilots and secret agents over the Pyrenees happened often during the war. So did agents parachuting behind enemy lines, as Kate did. I can’t say their experiences were based on ONE specific account, though. Many stories exist, and I attempted to meld together the facts for my scenes. 

When will book three of “Women on the Homefront” series come out?

I don’t know yet, but I hope soon, since readers are asking for closure for a few questions left in the air. This week I wrote an involved proposal for the manuscript, which is completed (I hesitate to say that, because they seem NEVER to be completed— I always end up finding things to fix no matter how close we are to publication.) Anyway, the sooner it’s published, the better. 

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Don’t stop to edit until you’re all the way through your story. Be faithful to your characters and your readers. For me, that means not giving them any easy ways out of trouble, and NO pat answers. Human beings suffer, that’s the plain truth. So why should our characters have it easy? 
Wow, I got on a rant there. Guess you know one of my pet peeves: unrealistic characters and plots. 

Thank you so very much, Abbie, for having me. And thanks again for reading and reviewing With Each New Dawn. I can’t over-emphasize how much that means to me. 

It was my pleasure. Thanks for coming on the Diamond Mine and sharing your stories. Can't wait to read book three!


An Iowa farm girl, Gail earned an English/Secondary Ed degree at Wartburg College and her M.A. in TESOL from the University of Northern Iowa. (A loooong time ago!)

WhiteFire Publishing released Gail's memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013. In This Together, her debut WWII ear novel, released in November, 2015. The first in her World War II series, In Times Like These, released in May 2016, and two sequels wait in the wings.

Gail instructed college expository writing and now facilitates writing workshops and edits. She and her husband split their time between Iowa and Arizona Rim Country.


Please leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win.


Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed the post. I have read and loved With Each New Dawn and would love to win a print copy.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I love the stories my mother told about the WWII era.
Pat Duke

Gail Kittleson said...

Thanks Ann and Pat. I really didn't realize how much the war had a "trickle down" effect on our family until I started writing about that era. Have you written down your mother's stories, Pat?

Priscilla J. Krahn said...

That looks like a really good book! Does it have to be read after the first one or is it a stand alone book as well?

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very exciting book!
Martha T.
CRPrairie1(@)imonmai(dot) com

Gail Kittleson said...

It really is, Martha - if I do say so myself! WWII intrigue w/a tad of romance, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Gail Kittleson said...

Hi Priscilla,

This novel was published as a stand-alone, although if you want background on the two female characters, you'll find a LOT in In Times Like These. Hope you can enjoy both!

Caryl Kane said...

Interesting post! Gail, With Each New Dawn sounds so fascinating! I'd love to read it. Thank you for the chance.

psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

Gail Kittleson said...

Glad you stopped by, Caryl. Having just completed to third book in this series, I look back at my heroine's journey and marvel at her tenacity and fortitude - her story has a lot to offer readers today.