I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Gloria Zachgo to chat with me today about her book, Never Waste Tears. It’s a natural for Gloria to write stories with Kansas settings. She grew up on a farm in Lincoln County, Kansas, where she attended one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the country. After graduating from Brown Mackie Business School she married her high school sweetheart.
Living out of state for several years, Gloria and her husband moved back to their Kansas roots. While their children were young, she ran a small business out of their home. When her children left the nest, she pursued a lifelong dream and took various art lessons.
Always wanting to learn new things she joined a creative writing group in 2006. She soon found she had a passion for writing fictional short stories. One particular short story was written from the prompts of a gingerbread man and a small toy horse. It led to her first novel, The Rocking Horse.
“I knew there was more to the story. I kept seeing the image of a young woman, all alone, with a quirky little toy trying to give her a message.”
After her debut novel won honorable mention in the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, she started working on another book.
“I love writing about ordinary, everyday people and their struggles with what life deals them.”
Gloria certainly did write about the struggles of ordinary people in her second novel, Never Waste Tears. She lets five individuals each tell their own story of what Kansas looked like in the 1860s, when the land was free, but the true price was often high.
Her second novel, Never Waste Tears, was awarded an indieB.R.A.G. Medallion.
To learn more about Gloria feel free to visit her website
How did you discover indieBRAG?
My husband discovered it while searching for new ways to help promote my books. He’s my biggest supporter.
Please tell me a little about your story, Never Waste Tears.
Never Waste Tears is about love, family, heartache, perseverance, and courage. Each of the five characters: Rebecca, Nathan, Hannah, Carl, and Sarah, tell their own story —each in their own voice.
Rebecca Martin and Nathan Carter are young when the Civil War begins, but it has a lasting effect on their lives. When they marry, Nathan’s estrangement from his father deepens and he dreams of more independence. With little experience at farming, he and Rebecca head West in his quest for free land.
On their journey, Rebecca and Nathan meet Carl and Hannah Taylor on a wagon train. The couples develop a close friendship. Carl and Hannah are traveling to Kansas because of their own war memories.
When Nathan and Carl file homestead claims adjoining each other’s land, their friendship deepens. But friends and love are not enough for Rebecca. She records her feelings of loneliness and hardships in her diary. It is the only thing left that reveals the way she felt about the prairie.
Nathan vows to never leave the homestead where his young wife lies in a solitary grave. It is not until Hannah’s twin sister comes to live with Hannah and Carl that he once again starts to dream of his future.
What was your inspiration for this story and why this period in American History?
Years ago I was traveling on a lone country road in Kansas and came upon an isolated graveyard surrounded by pastureland. Dates on the headstones testified to long forgotten generations, yet someone had cared enough to tend the final resting place of those who were buried there. It made me curious as to what their individual stories were.
Did Nathan fight in the war?
No. Nathan turned thirteen years old on the day the Civil War broke out. When his older brothers and his father went away to do their part in the war, he was told to stay home and be the man of the house. His family owned a general store and he took on many of the responsibilities of running it with his mother.
What is one of the hardships of the Kansas prairies?
It’s hard to pick just one, because there were so many. I think loneliness was probably the hardest for the women.
Please tell me a little about, Sarah.
Sarah joined her twin sister, Hannah, on the prairie after the death of her parents. She was hard working, independent, God fearing, and although she had a quick temper she could never stay angry for long. Like her sister, she loved the land but was terrified of snakes – and there were a few snakes on the prairie – including rattlesnakes.
You mentioned to me that Lincoln’s death is part of the story? Would you mind sharing a little of your personal thoughts about him?
I have a great compassion for the man that had to make such difficult decisions in our country’s history. I tend to believe he was tormented with the division in our country and he did what he thought he had to do to reunite America.
What was some of the research involved in the making of your story?
Even though my story is entirely fiction, I wanted to make it believable. I was able to research quite a bit on the internet, including some history, modes of travel and travel time, and even how to dig a well by hand. I also read books and diaries about early pioneers, and gleaned much information from visiting local museums. I tried to correlate the Indian raids to the correct time and area. Although I purposely didn’t put in an exact location of the homesteads, I myself, at one time, lived on the land I describe in the story. Like the house Carl wants to someday build for Hannah, I’ve been told my grandparent’s limestone house was built from the limestone that was quarried out of the hills on their own land.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The twin sisters, Hannah and Sarah, had a mother who told them to never waste their tears, but to save them to wash away grief.
Who designed your book cover?
I painted the scene after visiting several rural cemeteries. My husband put the book cover together.
What are you working on next?
I’m not quite sure. I’ve started a novel dealing with the emotions of a woman who was abused as a child. Occasionally I get the urge to go back to the Kansas prairie, but so far I’ve only made notes for future reference.
Do you stick with just one genre?
No. My first book, The Rocking Horse, was a mystery. My writing is mostly character driven. Several people wanted me to write a sequel to The Rocking Horse, but that’s not what was in my heart at the time. My husband jokes about my imaginary friends talking to me, but I must admit I let them guide me when writing a story.
Where do you like to write and what is your process?
I prefer writing in my home office on my computer. I’m also in a local writing group that meets once a week, and I belong to a novelist group that meets once a month for critiquing and inspiration.
When you’re stuck on a scene in your story, what do you do?
I’ve found what works best for me is to let it rest for a while. It’s frustrating when I want to finish a scene or chapter. Like Mother Nature, sometimes the ideas flood and I can’t type them fast enough. But when the well goes dry, I have to wait patiently for the ideas to trickle in – often when I’m in the shower.
Favorite food or drink?
Water – I know, it sounds boring. Early morning I let myself have coffee, but too much coffee calls for too many interruptions.
Is there a particular hobby you enjoy when you’re not writing?
I love to paint. However, I’m an eclectic artist. Like switching genres, I switch mediums. My favorites are whatever I’m using at the time.
A Message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Gloria Zachgo who is the author of, Never Waste Tear, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Never Waste Tears, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.