Today, I’d like everyone to welcome one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet online to The Write Stuff: my good friend and fellow author, Gwen M. Plano. Gwen, the floor is all yours!
Thanks so much, Marcia. It’s a pleasure to be here today!
Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Gwen M. Plano
- When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. She explained that I couldn’t because I was a girl. This upset me, but decades later, through unexpected circumstances, I ended up studying with seminarians and earning a degree in theology and a degree in pastoral counseling – the same degrees that priests earn.
- Dad taught me to drive when I was 11 years old. He thought I was mature enough and, on the farm, this was an important skill. As it turned out, the following year, I had to drive my mom to the emergency room (about 13 miles away). This action probably saved her life.
- While a student at the University of San Francisco, I saw the Grateful Dead perform in Golden Gate Park. This was before they were famous. Attendees just sat on the grass or danced ecstatically. I did both, and the Dead remain my favorite band.
- One evening my boyfriend and I walked through the Panhandle. We didn’t get far before flashing lights stopped us. Two police officers got out and questioned us about what we were doing. They concluded that we were clueless and harmless and told us to get in the cruiser. They drove us back to campus and instructed us not to walk at night in that area. This would be my only ride in a police car.
- That same year, I enrolled in Speech. For the final exam, students were allowed to choose their topic to present to the class. I decided to do something different. I brought my Gibson to the classroom and sang an original song. To my surprise, everyone loved it – even the professor. She said this was a “first” for her.
- In 1970, I attended grad school at Purdue University. I lived in a farmhouse about 15 minutes away from the campus. One night I saw two UFOs, as did the locals. Terrified, I called the police. They asked if I had been drinking, which I hadn’t, then they told me to call the airport. That responder told me to call the Air Force Base, which I did. The Airman said, “We haven’t seen anything unusual.” I still wonder about his response.
- I lived in Japan for five years, and during that time, I became proficient in Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony) and Ikebana (flower arrangement). I also studied calligraphy. These ancient arts are a form of meditation, and their silence remains with me today.
- In the 1990s I was an administrator at a Jesuit university in Connecticut. On weekends, I’d take groups of students into the inner city, where we worked in soup kitchens and other sites. When school was out, I led student volunteers into poverty stricken areas of Mexico. We lived with the people and helped as we could. One trip is particularly memorable. It was during an election and riots broke out in the area and guns were used. I huddled with the students, and thankfully, the next day was quiet.
- On the yummy side of the world, I love dark chocolate and when I write, it is my constant friend. And…I never count these calories.
- To conclude, nature is my greatest solace and I bring it into my home – with plants, crystal clusters, and images of beautiful settings. Being in nature calms my soul.
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
A review by Mae Clair: 5 out of 5 stars
A Political Thriller with Strong Characters
Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.
I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.
A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue.
You can Buy The Culmination HERE
Author Gwen M. Plano
Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. She is now retired and lives in Arizona with her husband.
Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her next three books (The Contract co-authored by John W. Howell, The Choice, and The Culmination) are political/military thrillers. Action-packed, they span the globe and involve multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Her conclusion – only love can change the fate of humanity.
When Gwen is not writing, she’s out and about in the beautiful northern Arizona mountains, where she finds inspiration.
You can find Gwen’s Books on Amazon here:
Author Page for Memoir
Letting Go Into Perfect Love
Author Page for Thrillers
You can reach Gwen on Social Media here: