What Was Her Story?

Gail Ward Olmsted
Gail Ward Olmsted Author Interview

Landscape of a Marriage follows a strong woman who sets out to win her new husband’s heart as he tries to create beautiful parks throughout the U.S. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The real life story of Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO) inspired me. FLO is an ancestor of my husband’s- they’re actually distant cousins- and we’ve always enjoyed visiting his parks in Boston and New York as well as the grounds of the private estates he designed, including the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I read a few of the well-written biographies about FLO  and discovered that, acting on a deathbed wish from his brother, Fred married his widow Mary, adopted her three children and together, they had four more. It got me thinking about Mary- what was her story? How did she feel about all of this? Was theirs a marriage in name only or something more? I couldn’t find a story to read, so I wrote it!

Mary is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Although much has been written about Mary’s husband, renowned park builder Frederick Law Olmsted, there is relatively little known about Mary herself. I hoped to present her as much more than the little woman tending the home fires while her husband is out there transforming the American  landscape, one park at a time. I wanted to portray an intelligent and passionate woman impacted by society and its’ social restrictions, but curious and loving and deeply committed to her husband, their children and her best friend Anne. I saw Mary as a practical person determined to make the best of her situation as a frequently single parent who was inspired to join her husband on his quest.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Although Landscape of a Marriage is my first historical novel, the theme is consistent with my first four contemporary works. I continue to be inspired by the idea of starting over and second chances. All of  my main characters share that fervent desire for a happy ever after despite their current circumstances.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on two projects- the first is contemporary fiction- Miranda is a disgraced former Assistant State’s Attorney seeking a career comeback when a missing witness from the case that derailed her career resurfaces with a story of bribery and coverups involving Miranda’s ex. I am hoping to see it published within the year. The second is at the very early stages. It is biographical fiction set in the early 20th century, featuring the South’s original power couple. More  to follow.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to “not let Mary suffer.” But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her husband’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a ‘beating green heart’ in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.

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The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on September 8, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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