Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Gwen M. Plano’s "The Culmination, a new beginning" is #230 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION

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****Gwen M. Plano’s The Culmination, a new beginning is #230 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I began writing it in January 2020, but in February my writing was interrupted by surgery. Once back on my feet, I wrote steadily and finished the first draft in May. I sent it to the editor during the summer, and then to the publisher in September. 


Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo? I live in the Midwest and am fortunate to have a small office in my home. It is there that I write.  Though I have a laptop for travel, I’m attached to my desktop computer when I’m home. 

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I usually begin writing very early in the morning, around 4:00 am, and that practice was true for The Culmination. Silence helps me focus and early mornings are particularly quiet. Often, I sip on coffee or tea as I write. Though I enjoy music very much, when I’m doing serious writing, I appreciate silence. (Left: Gwen M. Plano in her office. Copyright by Gwen M. Plano)

What is the summary of Culmination, a new beginning? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two heads of state who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family. 

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. Leaders from nine countries with nuclear arsenals gather in Reykjavik, Iceland to negotiate a nuclear disarmament treaty. Vice President Margaret Adler from the United States chairs the meetings. After an intense and heated exchange between two heads of state, Adler calls for order and addresses the group.

“If we’re honest with ourselves, or anyone else, we’d admit freely that we don’t trust, that we live in fear, and that we are always ready to impose a deadly strike. In fact, our power is measured by our ability to destroy. Isn’t that right?

“No one suggests that we abandon our need to protect our country’s boundaries and our people. Rather, today, we lay the foundation for an alternative way of relating. Shall we proceed?” 

Members glance one at another and nod their agreement.

For the next two hours, the leaders present and discuss their preliminary ideas for progressive nuclear disarmament. The Pakistani leader asks for a break, and Adler concurs.

“Let’s reconvene in fifteen minutes,” she says. 

As chairs get pushed back, and people stand, Adler walks out onto the deck. A chilly breeze brushes her skin, which she welcomes. This is her first visit to Iceland, and she smiles. What a perfect location. 

The Russian President interrupts her reveries when he stands by her side. “This is a day I could not have imagined, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Vice President of the United States, looking out on ...” 

Adler smiles, “I couldn’t have imagined it either. Here we are, the two most powerful countries in the world, nations who have hated one another for a century, marveling at natural beauty and a child playing with a kite. No, I couldn’t have imagined.”

President Smirnov gives a side glance and asks, “Where did it occur?” 

Adler realizes that he’s noticed her arm prosthesis. “Afghanistan.” 

“Ah, another reason to hate Russians.”

“Don’t we all have reasons? You wonder who holds the power—truly. Those of us who can destroy, or a child who plays innocently with her kite?”

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt?  I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and learned of the urgent need to become family. 

Growing up in Southern California, Gwen M. Plano loved learning and she loved imagining stories, some grandly epic, all personal and heartfelt. She taught and served in universities across the United States and in Japan, then retired and focused again on her stories. Her first book, Letting Go Into Perfect Love, is an award-winning memoir recounting some of her struggles in life while providing insight into the healing process. 

Gwen shifted to fiction after this first book and joined forces with John W. Howell in writing a thriller, The Contract: between heaven and earth. Its sequel, The Choice: the unexpected heroes, soon followed. The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book of the series. This summer the final book of the thriller series, The Call for freedom, is set for publication. Gwen lives in the Midwest with her husband, traveling and writing. Her four adult children and her four grandchildren are her pride and joy. 
(Right: Gwen M. Plano with her husband Larry in 2020.  Copyright by Gwen M. Plano)


Blog:  https://www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections  

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GMPlano 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano  

Amazon Author’s page:  https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt 


Letting Go into Perfect Love - https://amzn.to/3bToO7t 

The Contract between heaven and earth - https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv 

The Choice: the unexpected heroes - https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA 

The Culmination, a new beginning - https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9 

All of the Inside the Emotion of Fiction LIVE LINKS can be found at the VERY END of the below feature: 



  1. Thank you, Christal, for this lovely showcase. It's so kind of you to feature me on your beautiful site.

  2. So nice to see Gwen's books featured here and to know more about her writing process. Thanks for hosting, Chris.

    Gwen - I have this entire series on my TBR list and it's coming up soon.

  3. Wonderful appearance for Gwen. Best of luck with The Culmination.

  4. It was great to see Gwen here. I loved learning more about her and her latest release. Thanks for sharing.

  5. It is great to see Gwen here, Chris.

  6. What a fantastic interview, Gwen. And the excerpt is compelling, showing the contrasts, yet the similarities between the two enemies. Thank you for hosting Gwen today, Chris!

  7. It's wonderful to see Gwen featured here today. I loved her novel The Culmination, and enjoyed this behind the scenes look with her on the story and the writing. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Fantastic interview. I loved Culmination and look forward to the next book!