Today I’ve got a treat – and another first. Recently I had a week of author blog visits from some amazeballs non-romance writers. Today, I can add one more name to that list, Ginger Dehlinger. Ginger is a Wild Rose Press sistah who enjoys writing about the American West. So cool! Today, she’s visiting me and giving me a glimpse into her writing process, plus she’s brought along a little something extra: an excerpt from her soon-to-be released new book, NEVER DONE. So, sit back and get to know Ginger.
Ginger, The Writer
- What drives you to write? The pure pleasure of writing, the sound and rhythm of words, and the amazing number of different ways they can be combined. I’m always thinking of situations or topics to write about. When I run across something interesting, or an idea pops into my brain while I’m on my daily walk, I quickly add it to my list of future projects. I’ve been compiling the list for years. I don’t think I will ever get to the bottom of it.
- What genre(s) do your write, and why? My genre is actually historical fiction. Once in a while a bit of romance sneaks into my stories, but it plays a small role.
- What genre(s) do you read, and why? I prefer historical fiction. The last book I read was Temperence Creek, a memoir written by a woman who herded sheep (along with her boyfriend/later husband) in the Snake Canyon region of Oregon during the late 60’s and early 70’s.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I try to write every morning from about eight o’clock until noon.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I have converted our small third bedroom into a den. In it are my desk and chair, two tall bookcases, a recliner, and a hide-a-bed, just in case we have an extra guest or two. On the wall I face is a burl clock my cousin made for me, and the wall next to me has a framed collage made from my first novel, Brute Heart.
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision? Unless I’m working on a deadline, I keep the door open. The TV is usually on in the living room, but it is just background noise.
7.Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I don’t listen to music because I find it distracting. Either I want to sing along or dance to it. ( Peggy here: so do I!!)
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It came to me while reading my great-grandmother’s handwritten life story. Like most women from my great-grandmother’s generation, she didn’t openly discuss personal matters. For example, all she wrote about her widowed father’s marriage to a sixteen-year-old girl was: “and things didn’t go well with the new young wife.” Well, I wanted more than that, so I made up a story about it. I took what I saw as a terrible situation for a girl of fourteen and fictionalized it into a stormy relationship that takes place between two women from their teens (roughly 1884) until 1919.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Plot. I have to begin with a story or message that is emotional and meaningful. Otherwise, why waste my readers’ time?
- What 3 words describe you, the writer? straightforward; detail-oriented; sensitive
Ginger, The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I used to play the guitar, and one night I sang for my supper at a bar in lower Manhattan.
- Who was your first love and what age were you? When I was five years old, I told everybody my boyfriend was the movie cowboy Roy Rogers. According to my mother, I used to include him and talk to him while I played house.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and… It would probably be the day I spent touring the ruins of Machu Picchu
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? my eyeliner pencil
- What three words describe you, the person?loyal; organized; curious
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? “A Train Called the City of New Orleans”
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together? Cheryl Strayed from Wild. We would climb Mt. Hood together.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound: the ocean
- Least favorite sound: squealing tires
- Best song ever written: “You Raise Me Up” (Pop); “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (Country); “Treat Her Like a Lady” (Rock)
- Worst song ever written: There are way too many to list.
- Favorite actor and actress: Today—Bradley Cooper and Emily Blunt From the past—Charles Bronson and Elizabeth Taylor
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Joni Mitchell before she changed from folk music to jazz. She was an amazing songwriter and musician. I would have loved to spend a day inside her head.
- What turns you on? Il Divo
- What turns you off? talking heads trying to talk over each other during a TV program
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Waffles and Jimmy Dean sausage for breakfast, three hours of quiet to write, a two-mile walk along the Deschutes River, Mongolian chicken with brown rice for lunch, a pedicure, a movie like “Emma” or “The Joy Luck Club,” a glass of white wine with shrimp scampi and a green salad for dinner, a game or two of cribbage, hot bath and massage before going to bed
Clara, fourteen and Geneva, sixteen are close friends until Geneva secretly marries Clara’s widowed father. Feeling betrayed by her pa and a girl she idolizes, Clara wants nothing to do with her new young stepmother. Geneva retaliates, beginning a clash of wills that lasts from 1884 to the flu epidemic of 1918.
Years go by without them speaking to one another. Geneva, bolder of the two, lives a life of ease in elegant homes with piped water and domestic help. She shops for the latest in women’s fashions and plays pinochle with lady friends.
For spite, Clara marries a handsome cowboy Geneva fancies, but ends up living in a freezing cold cabin and a house infested with bugs. She takes in ironing and feeds miners to make ends meet, discovering love and purpose in the process.
It takes a tragedy to bring her and her family together again. Can she and Geneva see this as an opportunity to put aside the past? Can they salvage a relationship that was once the center of their world?
Pa wasn’t supposed to get married again. He hadn’t promised that; however with her and Lily to take care of him, he didn’t need a wife. Besides, cousins marrying cousins, one of them much older than the other, was a complete muddle of how life was supposed to be.
With a sudden start she realized she would be seeing Geneva every day. They would be living in the same house—the one Pa built for his family—and her best friend, her only friend in this place with no neighborhoods or schools was now her stepmother.
Ginger Dehlinger is a native Oregonian who enjoys writing about the American West: poems, essays, short stories, and two novels, one set in Oregon, one in Colorado. On her blog http://gdehlinger.blogspot.com she writes about the process of writing or posts short pieces she’s written.
She has received kudos for her writing, although, as she tells people, “I’ll never be famous.” Her first novel, BRUTE HEART, was a runner-up for the 2012 Big Al’s Books ‘n Pals People’s Choice Award. “Last Ride,” an essay starring a tumbleweed, won first prize in the 2011 Rising Star contest for Pacific Northwest writers. A short story, “The Embroidered Sheets,” was a finalist for the Women Writing the West Laura Award in 2013.
Her poetry has also been honored. She received a Writer’s Digest honorable mention in 2010 for her poem, “A Bar Stool’s Lament.” “Sleep on the Lam” (2013) and “Ghost Trees at Midnight” (2016) were finalists in a local writing competition, and another poem,”If I Wore Sensible Shoes,” was published in the 2012 edition of the Gold Man Review.
Ginger is an active member of the Central Oregon Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, and the executive committee of the Lake of the Woods Oregon Historical Society. She also participates in a small critique group. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, reading, and travel.
Born and raised in Klamath Falls, Oregon, she attended the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, where she majored in history, minored in English. She graduated from the U of O with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Phi Beta Kappa key. A few years after graduation she went bi-coastal, living in New York City, Norwalk and Westport, Connecticut, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California. She now lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband Dick and a cat named Kiki.
You can connect with Ginger here:
Peggy here: Ginger it’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Much luck with NEVER DONE and thanks for visiting!