Gail Ingis writes historical romance with a twist of mystery set in the Gilded Age. Her latest book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin: The Gilded Age Heiresses (Sept. 2019) is available for preorder on Amazon and through other retailers. Here, Gail talks about writing this latest novel.
was your biggest challenge in writing the novel, and how did you overcome it?
comes first, the outline, the theme? What will my focus be? Who are my
characters? Where to begin the book—in a situation, at home, in the office,
with friends, and what era? So many questions. Every author asks herself these
and more when starting a book. My challenge wasn’t fear, it wasn’t lack of
desire, and it wasn’t lack of time. The most difficult part of writing is
plotting the story. For Miss Baldwin’s story, I created a timeline as I wrote, rather
than an outline, before I wrote. The outline is the skeleton—the bones of the
book. However, as you write, the characters often change the direction of the
story, and the original plan gets lost. Then we’re left with a few cracks in
the bones of the plot! After writing two books, and once I have an idea of the
plot or the theme, I decided it would be productive to work from an outline—it
helps create the scenes. I built the scenes with the main thrust, which
in this case was women’s suffrage, fuelled by the common thread of intrigue and
carry both the love story and the mystery. Some backstory: I had the
opportunity to teach the history of architecture and interior design for many
years—I have always been fascinated by the Victorian era, the overabundance and
exaggeration in design. The style of the period is known for its eclecticism
and oddities in dress, homes, and architecture. There was an undercurrent of
higher moral standards—this era was not quite like the Age of Enlightenment,
but it was a period of change. As women, we continue to fight for equality so [I
thought] why not write about the women’s struggle of the 19th century that led
up to the nineteenth amendment giving women the vote? That’s how I found my
theme—women’s suffrage. I’m Brooklyn born and bred, so it was easy to choose
New York City as my setting, in particular, where my heroine and her family
lived across the street from Central Park.
What was the most enjoyable part
of the writing process?
The most enjoyable part of the process was creating
scenes, entwining them, and watching how the characters came alive and helped build
Are/were you part of any writing communities that supported your
goal of completing the novel? If so, how were they helpful?
I can’t say
enough about the importance of getting involved with a local writing group—taking
mini-courses and talking to other writers. I highly valued your workshop,
Adele. The writer’s group varied in experience, but I still valued the input,
with your leadership.
What would you like to add about writing—or writing a
novel—that you feel is important for writers to know?
Learn the craft. Every
word and every sentence has meaning and importance. Understand the hook, show
don’t tell, always keep the point of view in mind, write active scenes, and
remember there is a rhythm to writing—cadence, as well as a rhythm to the
chapters. Read your work aloud—the words, the beat, and the rhythm will be apparent,
more evident than when you read quietly to yourself.
And remember to have fun!
More About Gail Ingis
Gail Ingis writes historical romance with a twist of mystery set in the
Gilded Age. Her latest book, The
Unforgettable Miss Baldwin: The Gilded Age Heiresses (Sept. 2019) is available for preorder
and through other retailers.
Her first novel, Indigo Sky, is also available on Amazon
and through other retailers (2015 Soul Mate Publishing). The
love story behind Albert Bierstadt’s Domes
of Yosemite was Gail’s inspiration to write Indigo Sky. The painting, now in St. Johnsbury Atheneum in Vermont
once hung in Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, Connecticut, where she
serves as a trustee and curator of art.
Before her debut as an author, Gail
illustrated the book Seeking Paradise by Deborah Galiley (2009,
OakTara Publishers). Gail’s career in interior design and
architecture culminated in her founding a school of interior design, Interior Design Institute, now part of
Berkeley College. Her professorship extended to colleges across NJ, CT, and NY.
Gail has memberships in several interior design and
art organizations, and membership in the Romance Writers of America. She
resides in Connecticut with her scientist-writer husband, Tom, who is
supportive of her work and her writing.