Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-08-05
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Flower of Iowa: E-book looks at WWI soldiers' romance
by Terri-Lynne Waldron

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of World War I, a global military devastation that took place between 1914 and 1918.

In his first published book, Flower of Iowa, openly gay author and writer Lance Ringel crafted a historical fiction that takes place during the summer of 1918. The book centers around U.S. soldier Tommy Flowers and British military man David Pearson, two young men in their late teens who share a close friendship that soon blossoms into romance, played out against the backdrop of WWI.

Windy City Times talked with Ringel about two soldiers in love, meeting war veterans and working with Meryl Streep.

Windy City Times: When did you start writing your ebook Flower of Iowa?

Lance Ringel: I came up with the notion of it way back and started writing it 21 years ago in 1993. It took me four-plus years to do the first draft, and I had been tweaking and revising it ever since. It's felt like it has come of age and it needed to get out in the world and now it is.

WCT: As you moved forward in life since 1993, were there changes you made to the book?

LR: Actually, no. It's more about how I've been received because there were a lot of people who found the topic kind of controversial when I started shopping it after I finished the first draft. Another wonderful thing that happened to me—that made everything possible—is that there are now ebooks and there wasn't such a thing in the 1990s.

WCT: Have you ever met any WWI veterans?

LR: I was actually working at Windy City Times during a time when I was writing this and I was living in Chicago. I had gone to the 75th-anniversary observance of the end of the First World War; [the event] was held in suburban Chicago. At that time, in 1993, there were still people alive. There were about 70 vets there and they were all in their 90s and they're all gone now. The last doughboy [the nickname given to members of the U.S.Army in World War I ) died a few years ago, so that was the most striking difference where people with first hand memory of this war—in terms of having been in uniform—are gone. Anybody else that is still alive is in their 100s and was a very small child.

WCT: Did you talk to any relatives of men who had been involved in romantic relationships with other men during that war?

LR: I've not met anybody personally but in the research I came across, a reasonable amount of evidence shows—given how much we've been erased from history—that there was that kind of activity and romance in the First World War.

I took several trips to Europe to research this. I was on a plane coming back from Iceland and there was this woman on the plane sitting next to me; she asked me what I was doing and I told her. She then said, "My aunt was one of the only American women who went over to France during the First World War and served as a nurse." I've got copies of her letters. I had already been thinking about a character like Sister Jean [the Canadian nurse in the book], and that really helped me solidify part of what I wanted to do around her character.

WCT: Tommy and David do not refer to themselves as "gay" or "homosexual." Would there have been another label put on them?

LR: You have to keep in mind that the period that we are writing about—most people don't even have words for it. On the flip side of that, most men, amongst each other, were much more physically casual and comfortable with each other. When Tommy and David first meet, they literally sleep together—all they do is just sleep together—but soldiers did that because there wasn't any label that anybody put to things like that.

WCT: Neither of these two soldiers feel any sense of regret after being intimate.

LR: What's interesting about what happens in the book is that they cross the line while in England but it doesn't happen while they are at the front. The morning after they have to learn to come to terms with it. In some ways they do and in some ways they deal with it the way a lot of soldiers may have dealt with it. They don't have a sense of being part of a different group; they just realize that this is something that makes them happy.

WCT: Was it difficult to write a historical fiction book?

LR: It was challenging but rewarding. WWI is very well-documented and when you're writing historical fiction, one way you can do it—which is the way I chose to do it—is to really do your research about what happened and weave your characters and your plot with what happened. That is a lot more work and it is also more fun.

WCT: Did you pull from your own life to write Tommy and David's story?

LR: I lived in a very different time and I came out later than these two did and I also think of coming out as a continuous process, from the time you first tell one person to the time you tell the world.

WCT: You are a writer at Vassar College. What does your job entail?

LR: The job is to write primarily for the president of the college. I have also had the good fortune of being the principal writer of the stage reading that we did all around the country and in London for our 150th anniversary. We premiered it in New York, with alums like Meryl Streep and Lisa Kudrow reading.

The ebook Flower of Iowa is at or .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

NATIONAL Anti-trans killings, surveys, 'Trans Care' book, gay-bar news 2020-08-05 - Gay City News reported that an individual who the NYPD said was fatally stabbed at a Bronx apartment building on July 26 was ...

Gay News

BOOKS Yvonne Zipter: Looking at Chicagoan's life, poetry collection 2020-08-05 - Writer Yvonne Zipter nurtures nature and other ideas in her new book of poetry Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound. Zipter ...

Gay News

BOOKS In fashion: Jay Manuel dishes on 'The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown' 2020-08-04 - Jay Manuel has been many things, including an make-up artist and a creative director—and he is probably best known as taking on the ...

Gay News

House members demand LGBTQ Pride flags be allowed on military installations 2020-07-31 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair and 30-year Army veteran Congressman Anthony Brown ( MD-04 ), Subcommittee on Military Personnel ...

Gay News

U.S. House of Representatives votes to end Trump-Pence transgender military ban 2020-07-30 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Modern Military Association of America ( MMAA ), the nation's largest LGBTQ military and veteran non-profit organization, released the ...

Gay News

Wizard World postponed until June 24-27, 2021 2020-07-29 - Wizard Entertainment, Inc. announced that its Wizard World Chicago convention, originally scheduled for Aug. 20-23 at Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, has ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE TV: Ashley Romans bites into juicy role on AMC series 'NOS4A2' 2020-07-26 - Based on Joe Hill's novel of the same name, the AMC series NOS4A2 spins a vampire's tale in unexpected directions. Out actor ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Bill T. Jones book, Music Box thriller and more 2020-07-22 - —Story/Time: The Life of an Idea: This book came out in 2014, but this is an excellent time to appreciate this tome. In ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINTS 'All Boys Aren't Blue' is the audacious memoir of a Black queer man 2020-07-22 - George M. Johnson could not have known about this moment in history when he wrote his memoir, All Boys Aren't Blue, but for ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man 2020-07-21 - By Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. $28; Simon and Schuster; 227 pages. You hadn't seen that container in ages. You really can't remember ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.