About Author Gail Ingis

Author, Blogger, Historian, Writing happily ever after, one book at a time.

Finding Nemo

Why? Did your painting journey uncover a secret? Although Bierstadt’s work is now noted as brilliant, I discovered that Mark Twain did not like Bierstadt’s work, I discovered that his teachers’ in Germany thought he was an inept painter, I discovered that he married his traveling partner’s wife. Oh, oh, oh no, simple times, innocent me. Did I really have to write a story, a book, a novel no less? I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

In my careers, I have written catalogs and lectures, and even letters, but a novel, not possible. I began writing, just for fun…it was not fun. How in the world do I do this?

All I wanted was to tell the story of this 19th century debutante, who left her husband for another man, in times when that kind of thing was unheard of. Sure, there was good reason, there had to be in those days when even the sound of the word, DIVORCE, had folks cowering and covering their ears.

Three writers writing

Then, on one fateful winter day, I heard about three writer’s giving a talk at my local library. I reserved a seat right away. It was the first time I’d been around other people who had writing on their minds. It totally changed my world.

When I decided to pursue writing, I studied every single thing I could find about the business, worked with a critique partner, critique groups and two editors, and studied as much as I could about the craft of writing.

A couple of months after releasing my first book, I made the jump into audio after an author friend recommended actor Jane Oppenheimer to narrate. It was something my busy readers wanted, another way to read a story, listen while you work.

Focusing a section of my marketing efforts towards the sale of my audiobook has helped with my success. Giving out the free download codes that ACX provides with each audiobook release is a great way to build buzz among your readers about a new release and to encourage reviews. You can find me on social media.

This huge, mural type 10’x15’ painting was finished in 1867 and hung in Mr. Lockwood’s Mansion in Norwalk, CT, until Mr. Lockwood died four years later. The painting was sold to an auction gallery for a measly $5100, originally Mr. Lockwood paid $25,000, that was in 1867, Imagine? I wanted to get it back from the St. Johnsbury Atheneum, Vermont, but that was not possible. The director gave me prints, pictures, and images and permitted me to photograph the painting.

My work is 24×36″, dwarfed by the original below.

Domes of Yosemite (Ode to Bierstadt) 24×36″ Acrylic/Canvas Ingis Claus

Amazon Author page:

Look at tiny me, next to the Bierstadt painting

Indigo Sky in 3 formats Print Book, eBook, Audiobook




Frances Brown

Claire Gem

During this time of Thanksgiving and Holiday joy, I’m counting my many blessings, from my health and prosperity, to my healthy/loving/prosperous family, to the incredible circle of friends my writing career has brought into my life. And thank you, dearest friend Gail Ingis, for hosting me today – but you don’t really think I’m a turkey, do you? 😉

After achieving an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, she settled in central Massachusetts with her husband of 37 years (yes, happily-ever-after really does exist). Always fascinated by the paranormal, she holds a Certificate in Paranormal Studies from Duke University’s Rhine’s Research Center. She writes contemporary romance with a ghostly twist, a genre she prefers to call New Gothic. An avid reader, she’s a fan of strong but sensitive heroes, spunky, sexy heroines, and a ghost story worth a few goose bumps. She loves creating characters so real that readers miss them when the book says THE END.

Chased by those pesky ghosts, Claire writes for her life.

  1. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Phantom Traces

Phantom Traces

I grew up in New York State, about 60 miles north of NYC. We lived about eight miles out of the small town where I went to school, with no neighbors with children close by. This left me with lots of time on my hands – to read, hike into the woods, and let my imagination run wild. I really feel this had a profound effect on my writing, that “alone time” where I created my own imaginary friends and scenarios. I also developed a deep affection for the mountains and the woods – I’ve always felt there was magic there. I still do.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a hybrid of both, though my debut novel, Phantom Traces, was written during Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) in November of 2012 – entirely by the seat of my pants. I knew where it would take place (in a haunted library) and I knew what my hero and heroine’s names were and what they looked like. Other than that, nothing, until I sat down in an old library near my home with my laptop on November 1 and began to write. At month’s end I had 54,000 words, a Chapter One and The End. But what was in the middle was a mess! It took me a year and a half to develop Phantom Traces into the novel that Soul Mate eventually published.

Now, I do more prep work. I interview my characters to get to know them, and sketch out a general synopsis of the plot line. But I still don’t outline, so I’m truly a hybrid of plotter and pantser.

  1. Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Hearts Unlocked

Hearts Unlocked

Music! Gotta have it or the words just stop flowing. I prefer instrumentals (so I don’t end up plagiarizing the lyrics of a song without realizing it!), and I try to match the tone of the music to the scene I’m writing. Soft, New Age piano solos for love scenes, movie scores for adventurous scenes, and since I write ghost stories, I’m particularly fond of the sound tracks for video games. Assassin’s Creed is wonderful, spooky muse music – and my best friend!

  1. Ocean or mountains?
Sunday Splendor Oil/Gail Ingis

Sunday Splendor in the mountains: Oil/Gail Ingis

I’m definitely a mountain girl, and actually have a kind of fear of the ocean. I almost drowned as a child, dragged out by the undertow at age three. My father rescued me, but I remember still how the salt water burned my nostrils and throat for days afterward. I also get terribly seasick, so although I love going out onto our nice, calm lake on our pontoon boat, ocean cruises are out.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

My wish for that time is to be retired from my daytime career in scientific research so I can write all the time. By then, of course, I’ll be a world famous author, right? 😉 So I’ll have my home in Massachusetts to enjoy the mild seasons and the beauty of autumn, and another home in Florida near my children and grandchildren in Tampa. I’ll have a wonderful fresh-air writing nook in the corner of our screen-enclosed pool. Right next to the Tiki Bar. The well-stocked Tiki Bar.

  1. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
My pile

My pile

Three key points: first, always have at least three books active in your reading pile – a craft book, a novel, and an audiobook to listen to while you drive. Don’t waste a single waking minute that you can be learning the craft by reading.

Second – Don’t be afraid of criticism, but don’t ever feel you have to take any of it seriously. Join a critique group, or buddy up with fellow writers you communicate well with. You will get some critiques that sting, and others will just plain make you mad. Pull on your big girl/boy panties, read the comments and really think about them. Sleep on them. Once you get over your initial reaction, you will find a nugget of useful, productive advice in every critique you receive to improve your writing. I promise. As for the rest, print out the pages, ball them up, and use them to kindle a fire under your writing mojo.

And finally – Don’t give up, and have faith in your talent. If you love writing, then your writing is good – or it will be if you work hard enough at it. Never pass up an opportunity to learn from other writers. Don’t let your gift, your creative muse, wither and die. He/she deserves all you’ve got to bring him/her out to meet the world of anxious readers.

  1. What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I am in the final days of Nanowrimo2015, sailing through another ghostly romance called Hearts Unloched. It’s set on the shores on Loch Sheldrake in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and involves an abandoned hotel, a sexy interior designer, and a gorgeous investor. And, of course, a ghost.

Spirits of the HeartMy next project will be to finish Spirits of the Heart, which I have put aside for Nanowrimo. Set in a haunted mental asylum, this story concept is presently up on Something or Other Publishing, LLC’s website for public voting. Please take a moment to check it out here:, where you can see the cover, synopsis, and trailer. The more votes I get, the closer I get to making this book a reality! Please vote for Spirits of the Heart.

Phantom Traces – available in ebook, paperback, & audiobook.

Amazon Link:

You can find Claire here:,

She loves to hear from fans – drop her a line.



I thought passion pushed the artist. A gargantuan gut tumult right in the center of your body and words whirling in your head.

Threads of Wisdom by Gail Ingis Claus 36x36 Oil on canvas

“I must paint, I must write, I must sing. The drive is all consuming.

In last Sunday’s April 22, Connecticut Post, was the article, Art, religion collide in ‘My Name is Asher Lev.’ The article addresses the Chaim Potok novel “My Name is Asher Lev.” It tells the story of a Jewish boy determined to pursue a life in the world of modern art despite the opposition of his parents and the New York City religious community within which his family lives.

Potok set the novel in a very specific time and place, but the tale of a son having to battle his father to find his own way in the world has resonated with readers of all faiths since the book was first published in 1972.

Asher’s deeply religious father is puzzled and then outraged by his son’s fascination with drawing – from a very early age – ultimately forcing the boy to choose between his religion and his passion for art.

Hasidic praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

You don’t have to be Jewish or an artist to identify with Asher’s quest to be his own man and the result is a coming of age classic that has been added to many high school reading lists over the years.

My issue with this article are the words “quest to be his own man.” The passion to do art and the quest to be your own person are two separate issues. Writers must write, painters must paint, sculptors must sculpt. But growing up, finding your way in the world, the quest to be your own person is part of life. I am an artist, I must paint, I must draw, I have a quest to do art in some form, design, create, fill the negative space, but I am still finding my own way.

The recent stage adaptation, written by Aaron Posner, will be receiving its Connecticut premiere at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Starting May 2.

Hasidic with Shawls

“It’s a universal story. It’s about Hasidic Jews and a painter, but I think  you could substitute almost anything you want,”

Actor Ari Brand

actor Ari Brand said of the way so many diverse people have related to the Potok tale for the past 40 years.

“The stronger the pull of the parents and the stronger the pull of a child’s passion, the greater the conflict,” Brand said of the battle so many young people have to go through over their career paths.

The quest to find your own way is a lifelong ambition. So tell me, are you still finding your own way? How, where, why?

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