The Story Behind In Times Like These

June 18, 2016

Today I'd like to welcome Gail Kittleson as she shares about her new book.


Addie, the heroine of In Times Like These, an everyday young World War II housewife, strove for excellence. In housework, caring for her chickens, gardening, and even a task she detests—mending, she desires to please her husband.


Pinpointing the origins of her story challenges me. An endorser says, “This extraordinary story classically captures the mindset of the 1940’s. Addie and her friend Kate reflect the voices women hear as they face confusing dilemmas almost seventy-five years later . . .” Patricia Evans, author


I honestly don’t recall when Addie first became real to me, but can safely say she entered my life long before I started typing the scenes that brought her story to readers. She and I have hung out together for almost five years.


I’m convinced writers work in tandem with our creator. Writers call this “the muse,” and I like that term. Musing on situations and people produces heroines and heroes  Forties’ popular songs floated through my childhood home as Mom worked as hard as Addie, and World War II affected us all, although we were born years after it ended.


The forties’ mindset lived in us, as the Depression lived in my parents and the Great War in our grandparents. Things as commonplace as the price of a pound of flour during World War II still affect my attitude when I go into a store—maybe not consciously, but I can’t help but look for the lowest possible price. I find many women experience this.


Addie’s wholesome, old-fashioned farm with a big white house and an idyllic barn rise directly from those times when the family farm deferment kept some young men from the fighting force. The twist of Addie’s husband Harold rejecting his deferment occurred naturally, too. He’d lost his best friend at Pearl Harbor, and his tendency toward judgment initiated his longing for revenge.


It’s easy to see the logic in all this now, but the real story is, I had no idea where Addie was taking me. I didn’t know Harold’s father would die, freeing his mother Berthea from a lifetime of obeying a tyrant. And I never imagined she would become one of Addie’s most fervent supporters in her own struggle with her prejudiced, autocratic, volatile husband. 


I love that, don’t you, a mother-in-law garnering the emotional strength to support her daughter-in-law, even though that meant infuriating her son? Berthea became such a strong secondary character. In the process, I delighted in learning her story and watching her emerge from grief with a taste for joy.


Readers tell me Addie has now found a place in their hearts, too. One positive comment really encouraged me—the plot is unpredictable. Being entrusted with a story is an amazing process—I’m so grateful.



Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.


White Fire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology,


Another novel in her World War II series is contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for release in February, 2017. You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds.


Meeting new reading and writing friends are Gail's cup of tea, as Addie would say.


Book Blurb: 


Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.


But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father’s stoke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God’s punishment.


When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.


Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?


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