Author Interview – Gina Mulligan

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

For the first novel I didn’t use an outline. I wrote a full draft before stepping back to consider the storyline. That’s when I realized how much longer and more difficult I’d made the editing process. For the second novel, I developed a detailed outline and then wrote my draft. Much easier!  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?  


Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice? Why or why not?

The act of being creative is innately human and often feels spiritual. There’s a transcendent element to the work when I finish writing a section, review it, and it feel like it was written by someone else.

How many hours a day do you write?

I write about 5 hours, 3-4 days a week. I don’t write daily because I also run a charity.

What are your favorite literary journals?

The Atlantic
The Kenyon Review
I don’t read a lot of journals because I spend more time reading books – both fiction and non-fiction.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

I really struggle with the first draft. Story development is a challenge for me. Plus, I love to edit. Once I have a draft done, I’m ready to dive in.

Do you believe in writer’s block? Why or why not?

No, but some days are harder than others. I don’t see this as writer’s block as much as times when I’m distracted or can’t concentrate as I’d like. It’s frustrating when I just don’t know why I can’t put a sentence together. Days where the words just flow are much more fun.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

About two years.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? 

I love the writing community in Sacramento and have many writer friends and supportive acquaintances. In particular, I work with three talented women in a critique group. We review each other’s drafts, give feedback, commiserate about writing, and generally share our lives. Writing is very solitary and so having support is extremely important.

What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?

I think every writer should get Publisher’s Lunch, a daily emailed newsletter that is great for following the industry. I also like Poets & Writers, Writers Digest, and Jane Freeman’s blog.

Gina L. Mulligan began her writing career over twenty years ago as a freelance journalist for national magazines. Her short stories have appeared in Star 82 Review and Storyacious, were performed at Stories on Stage Sacramento, and were included in the anthologies Tudor Close: A Collection of Mystery Stories and Not Your Mother’s Book…on Dogs. She’s won awards from the Abilene Writers Guild, San Francisco LitQuake, and the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition.

After her own diagnosis, Gina founded Girls Love Mail, a charity that collects handwritten letters of encouragement for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She was honored for her charitable work on the nationally syndicated talk show The Steve Harvey Show.

Publications – Novels       
Remember the Ladies – May 2016
From Across the Room – September 2016

Publications – Short Stories & Anthologies        
The Slingback – Performed Stories on Stage
Stop Thief! – Not Your Mother’s Book on Dogs Anthology
Webb of Lies – Tudor Close: A Collection of Mystery Stories
The Gadabout –
Sub Night – 82 Star Review

To learn more about Gina, please visit her website.