Gail Kittleson is my Writer of the Day. Gail writes from northern Iowa, where she and her husband of forty-one years enjoy grandchildren, gardening, traveling and historical research. After instructing college writing and English as a Second Language, Gail wrote a memoir. Then the World War II bug big her . . . hard! Seven novels later, she’s still hopelessly addicted to this riveting era. Her women’s fiction honors Greatest Generation characters who made a difference despite great odds. Gail’s second love, teaching, has her facilitating workshops and retreats, where she cheers others’ creativity. You can connect with Gail at http://www.gailkittleson.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor.
She’s here today to talk about her new book-UNTIL THEN. But first, she shares how the book came to be.
Creativity in Wartime
Madeline L’Engle wrote that when we create, we co-create with Spirit or our muse and also with the recipient. We weave seeds of our imagination into our artistic work and hope they take root, flourish, and touch or change our readers.
My D-Day release Until Then (after the World War II song), features a real WWII nurse/heroine. Dorothy Woebbeking grew up down the street from the Sullivan brothers in Waterloo, IA. The Woebbeking children played with the five Sullivan boys, who all enlisted in the Navy. Like many from rural Iowa, three of Dorothy’s brothers also enlisted in the Army or Marine. And so did Dorothy.
I think she would like this tea bag message I read the other day.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
Milton Berle, a comedian in the fifties and sixties, said this. Other versions exist, but this one, short and sweet, fits Dorothy’s modus operandi.
So often in the dangerous trek of the Eleventh Evacuation Hospital across North Africa, through the Invasion of Sicily, up the boot of Italy, northward through France and into Germany, opportunity failed to knock. But Dorothy and others built doors everywhere they went.
They suffered from terrible heat, torrential rain, snowstorms, and enemy fire. A ruthless enemy that didn’t mind aiming at the white cross clearly exposed on hospital tents. But these incredibly faithful workers determined to use every ounce of their expertise to save wounded GIs—or to stay with them through the throes of death.
Someone recently asked me why I wrote this book. Well, Dorothy’s real-life story gripped me, and so did another one. At about the time Dorothy deployed, the worst civilian tragedy of the war occurred in a poor London borough, a horrific loss of life that would affect the community for decades.
Verbalizing our pain helps at times like this, but the war department ordered survivors to keep silent, lest that bugger Hitler hear and think he’d gained the upper hand against the populace. This added suffering—being forbidden to talk about your lost loved ones—is understandable, but so difficult to grasp.
And so Until Then took shape. I’d never tied together two such divergent stories, but the more I wrote, the more I loved them both. I hope readers do, too!
Thanks, Gail, for sharing how the story came to be. Here’s the book cover–front and back.
Thanks, Gail for being my Writer of the Day today! It looks like an intriguing book.
GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!