I met Gladys Krueger through some fellow writers when we lived in Alberta. Shortly after Lily was born, I walked the two blocks to her house for a writer’s meeting, where Gladys shared a few chapters of a novel she was working on. We all encouraged her to keep writing.
Earlier this year, I was delighted to be scanning a list of books for review and to recognize her name. She’d finished that novel and gotten it published. I was also excited to interview Gladys about her book, and couldn’t keep this Writers-on-Wednesday interview to my usual three questions.
TKM: How did you become a writer?
Gladys: From youth on I wanted to write. I had stories, poems, articles published but it seemed that there were always the urgent things that prevented my doing more. When I wrote False Love, True Love (affiliate link) I gave myself a short deadline and spent about two months setting everything else aside. This novel had been in my mind for some years and in the spring of 2010 I asked myself how many more years did I expect to live in order to write it? Originally, it was going to involve a murder, but it went its own way and needed to be life through Jill’s eyes.
TKM: What inspires you to write?
Gladys: Beauty or strong emotions inspire poetry. An experience I had years ago immersing in Psalm 23 made me realize the need to forgive. (In my case it was the need to forgive my father-in-law for the emotional and physical abuse he had forced on my husband as a child and youth.) I brought in the importance of forgiveness through Jill’s experience.
TKM: Are Jill’s experiences based on your own experiences as a teacher?
Gladys: I practice-taught (in the old days) for 3 weeks at a rural one-room school. The characters are all fictional although I’m sure that they are an amalgamation of real people. Dan and Gordon are fiction. But as a teacher, I was always watching the kids – enjoying them and sometimes wondering about what caused their behaviour. A few incidentals like parts of the Christmas program were based on my experience as a teacher.
TKM: Why did you decide to write a novel about child abuse?
Gladys: Many years ago my husband and I watched a documentary on adults who had been sexually abused by parents. I realized that perhaps there were students that I was teaching at the time who were victims and I had no way to know or help. (By that time I had the music and library program so was not as intensely involved with any one class.) Anyway, as I visualized the emotional and physical pain these children endure, I wanted to make it something for my readers to note. Maybe one of them will realize that they are in a position to help a child.
TKM: What was the hardest part about writing False Love, True Love?
Gladys: I think the hardest part while writing was to make certain I kept my characters “in character”—making sure that the comment or action assigned was typical of the person.
TKM: Are you working on any more novels or writing projects?
Gladys: I’ve been mulling over ideas for a sequel as a number of people have asked for one. (To my joy!) But through the years I’ve had some encouraging reviews of two things I’ve written in the past. One is a sci-fi written for reluctant readers. I was told by a published author at a writers’ conference to lengthen it and submit it using his name as a referral! The other is a short book for a pre-schooler. I need to look at these.
TKM: Who is your favourite author and why?
Gladys: I have favourites in different categories. For example, I still think of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. I really enjoyed reading them to our kids. They had great imagination at two levels—the story and the allegorical.
As an adult, I liked the folksy tales set in Mitford by Jan Karon. The little town and its people come alive.
For stimulation, I appreciate Charles Colson and the depth of his experience and great mind coming together in print.
It’s hard to have a favourite author just like it’s hard to pick just one favourite flower! Is the flower for the flower bed? a bouquet? one to press and keep? one for a corsage?—You get the idea!