Previously this week I reviewed author Gloria Zachgo’s B.R.A.G. Medallion award-winning novel Never Waste Tears, and today we get a little glimpse into some background of the book and life of its author.
Gloria Zachgo is so kindly gifting a FREE COPY of Never Waste Tears to one lucky winner. For your chance to win, simply comment below, at the review (see here) or at the pinned thread on the blog’s Facebook page, located here.
The contest is worldwide, so anyone anywhere in the world can win! (Paperback within the U.S.; e-copy elsewhere.)
Good day, dear readers, and welcome! I had a great opportunity today to have a bit of a chat with Gloria Zachgo, author of Never Waste Tears, the tale of five individuals whose stories are told in their own words as they pave their way for future generations. Having left their families for various reasons, to journey into the unknown and claim the future for themselves and those yet to come, they struggled, fought and persevered, wasting not a single resource, not even their own tears. It was a life of sacrifices that promised free territory, land to call their own, though they all paid their own prices elsewhere.
Good morning, Gloria Zachgo, and thanks so much for taking a few extra moments to talk about your book, yourself, your background…perhaps a standard question to start with, but I’m wondering which authors may have planted a seed in you that grew until you decided to begin your own writing projects?
Our local library sponsored a writer’s workshop put on by author Nancy Pickard. On the way home from that workshop I kept thinking about a short story I’d written. I knew there was more to that story, so I challenged myself to develop it.
For the next year I wrote and re-wrote my first full manuscript, getting feedback from a writer friend of mine. With that friend’s encouragement I took another year to read a chapter a week to my writing group. I received such good encouragement that I finally published my debut novel, The Rocking Horse.
The back-of-the-book blurb reads: “An isolated cemetery on a lone country road inspired Gloria Zachgo to write this story. Dates on the headstones testified to long forgotten generations….” Do you count any of those laid to rest in this cemetery amongst your ancestors? If so, are any of the characters modeled after or influenced by anybody? Can you tell us some more about the inspiration for Never Waste Tears?
No one in that particular cemetery was an ancestor. However, the cemetery where my maternal parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are buried is on ground that was owned by my grandparents.
I tried to picture that land as it might have been before it was homesteaded – before there were any trees on it. I even created Carl Taylor as the spitting image of my maternal grandfather. As a young girl I would sit in the back of a wheat truck with him, chewing the newly harvested wheat until it made a gluten gum.
He proudly told me the story of how he and his brother planted the cottonwood that stood in the middle of the field where my dad was harvesting wheat.
Dad hated that tree. Every year he would have to stop the combine and pick up limbs the cottonwood had dropped during some of our Kansas windstorms.
Chewing wheat until it turned into a gluten mess doesn’t sound so appetizing today, but it’s one of the memories I treasure of my grandpa.
If you could talk with one of the characters from Never Waste Tears, which one would it be and why? What might you ask him or her?
It’s hard to choose one, but it would probably be Skinner. Although I never gave him his own voice, I came to admire the way he tried to see the human nature in all men and women.
I would want to ask him if he was happy when he found a wife and finally had someone to call family.
What kind of research did you engage in in the writing of this book?
A lot of research was done on the internet. I even watched a video on how to hand dig a well. But it wasn’t until I visited a museum in Lincoln County, Kansas that I realized the struggles that happened at that time between the settlers and the Indians in the area. There were real massacres on both sides.
What was the most challenging element of writing Never Waste Tears?
Giving five different points of view without being redundant.
I had written about a third of my novel in third person. It was the same story, but the characters didn’t become real to me until I re-wrote the story with each person’s own point of view. That’s when I truly fell in love with Carl, Hannah, Rebecca, Nathan, and Sarah.
Sometimes authors (songwriters, playwrights, etc.) read a review or analysis of their work and experience an “Mmmm” moment—the reviewer saw something in the work the author didn’t consciously include. Or it may be “accidentally” written in a style particular to a certain tradition, resulting in its popularity in a particular country or amongst a certain group. Did anything like that happen with you?
I got a question from two of my readers once. They had been discussing the book amongst themselves and couldn’t decide whether or not Nathan killed Rebecca.
Of course, I couldn’t tell them the answer, because Nathan himself didn’t know. I purposely left the question open to haunt Nathan.
What inspired the cover for Never Waste Tears? It has a very lonesome feel to it.
A visit to yet another country cemetery, where off in the distance under an old cedar tree is a lone limestone marker of a child.
I wanted to portray how lonely the prairie had to be for the first settlers. So I took lots of pictures of limestone markers, but I couldn’t find any as crude as Nathan would have been able to make. Instead of using a photo, I painted the scene.
What books are you reading these days? What is your favorite genre? Are there any books you decided to try, not convinced you’d enjoy, that you ended up really loving?
I’m as eclectic in my reading as I am in my art. I like to have friends recommend different things because I really have no favorite genre.
I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy the book The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan. But I found the perseverance of those who survived the Depression fascinating and inspiring. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the history of our country.
What are you currently writing about?
I’ve started another manuscript about a woman who cannot verbally speak about her abusive childhood. Since starting the story (I don’t outline) it’s taken me on a different path than I had originally intended.
Not knowing what is going to happen to my characters next is where I find the passion in my writing. Sometimes I take a character down one path and he changes direction on me. I never really know how a story will end until I get to that last chapter.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t talked about?
I like to write about ordinary people. My characters are mostly made up of the people I’ve met in my own life. Of course, because I write fiction, I get to mix up their physical traits and idiosyncrasies. That’s what makes it challenging and so much fun.
Thank you so much, Gloria Zachgo, for taking the time out for us!
After raising two children and selling her home-based business, Gloria Zachgo discovered her artistic talents. When the walls of her home grew heavy with her eclectic drawings and paintings she found she also had a flair for writing fictional stories. One of those stories developed into her debut novel, The Rocking Horse, which received honorable mention at the 20th annual Self-Published Book Awards winners.
Zachgo published her second novel, Never Waste Tears, in December of 2014. It was selected as an indie B.R.A.G (Book Readers Appreciation Group) Medallion honoree.
She lives with her husband, Ron, in Kansas, where she is currently working on another novel.
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Never Waste Tears.