Workshops and Book Talks

1. Researching Fictional Characters

Creating characters can be daunting, but in-depth research leads to well-developed heroines/heroes. With commitment and determination, we discover important facts from an era that enliven our stories with dimension and depth.

2. Memoir Writing

This two-hour workshop offers hands-on writing exercises to stir the imagination and motivate creative approaches to our life stories. In-session activities provide a taste of the writing process and strategies for further work.

Part II Memoir – a continuation of Part I, delving deeper into story-telling techniques and providing initial critiques. These two parts may compose a full-day workshop.

3. How To Stress Out Your Reader

Even a fantastic plot requires tension to keep readers engaged. Participants  explore ways to create and increase tension through description, dialogue and other means. Applicable to writing creative nonfiction as well as fiction.

4. Jumpstarting Our Creativity  

Participants revisit their creative powers and learn to think outside the box. These problem-solving techniques increase objectivity and broaden our approach to writing challenges.

5. Lassoing the Power of Setting

Setting plays an essential role in both fiction and creative non-fiction. employing the efficacy of setting details can revolutionize our writing.


Note about retreats: With my teaching background, I enjoy blending various topics with hands-on activities for retreat venues. 

Workshop Recommendations:

Gail is passionate about the art of writing memoir. She is friendly, warm, and attentive to attendees. Those who participate in her workshop will be inspired and encouraged to tackle their own memoir writing projects.

Allison Antrim, Adult Services Manager, Olathe Public Library, City of Olathe, KS. November 5, 2023

Gail Kittleson dispels the notion that the world is only interested in memoirs of the rich and famous. Every writer has a unique backstory, and since memoir writing is a healing journey in itself, it has value for writers and readers alike. 

She encourages using regular fiction techniques – show don’t tell, sensory details, description, dialog–but also focusing on an honest, non-judgmental rendering of the past so our stories reveal a greater truth. A healing memoir won’t be a woe-is-me tale, but instead a sensitive portrayal of real people – our people. 

When we step back and gain objectivity about our past, it loses its power to control our present. Along the way, we may gain invaluable insights into who we are and why the people we loved behaved the way they did. 

These insights, beautifully portrayed in her own memoir Catching Up with Daylight – a Journey to Wholeness. create a gentle, profound read. Kittleson explores her history while reflecting on other women’s stories, illustrating how an honest passage through the past ultimately produces understanding and resilience. When the writer grows, the reader will always benefit. 

Memoir workshop participant, Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference, May 2022


“Gail exceeded expectations. Her talk was relevant and packed with useful information. We want her back again!

D. A. Featherling, President, San Gabriel Writers’ League/TX November 16, 2021


We had the pleasure of hosting Gail for her Introduction to Memoir Writing Workshop for our Adult Summer Reading Program at The New Braunfels Public Library.  We received so much interest that we opened a second session.  Gail provided great information and engaged the audience to share their stories.  It was a happy surprise to see how many folks were willing to participate – a testament to Gail’s patient and reassuring nature.   We invited Gail back to do a follow-up fiction program, Using Research to Develop Your Characters, which was equally well-organized, informative, and insightful.   

Lori Krinkey Adult Services Librarian – New Braunfels Public Library, New Braunfels, TX summer 2021


Gail Kittleson is a consummate professional. She spoke to our ACFW-DFW chapter in March, 2020 and kept the audience involved and participating. She is a very personable, engaging speaker. I would highly recommend her. 

Stacy Simmons, President, Dallas Fort Worth ACFW


Gail has taught memoir for two large writing groups that I am involved in. She knows her topic and presents it very well. We’ve received a number of appreciative comments following her presentations. I highly recommend her to present either for writers learning craft, or for readers/book clubs. Gail is a joy to work with. 

Kathryn McClatchey – Social Media Consultant, and founder of Unleashing the Next Chapter 


I could see people were totally engaged by your presentation! (Yes, you can quote me). You left them begging for more. In fact, they would like you to follow up with a second presentation!

Linda Samaritoni – Indiana ACFW, January 18, 2021


What a joy it was to have you as our guest speaker! You provided so much insight into the element of adding tension to our writing. Your information was well-presented and valuable. Thank you so much for spending time with us.

Patti Shene, participant – Colorado ACFW, March 6, 2021


Gail was a delightfully engaging presenter for our group; well-organized and offering interactive writing exercises that kept the class on their toes. Both fun and informative! 

Diane Campbell (stand-in for President) – Colorado ACFW, March 6, 2021

I wanted to let you know that you got rave reviews from attendees at your Memoir Writing workshop on November 3!  Thank you so much for your preparation and efforts. 

Patricia Jarog, Lockport Branch Manager/White Oak Library District, Lockport, I, 2018


These usually last forty-five minutes to an hour, depending on the audience. I invite participation, and can focus on one particular book or an overall view of my publications.


I highly recommend Gail Kittleson as a public speaker. She commands the room with her passion and energy for the stories she tells. She brings to life the women of her stories, especially Dorothy Woebbeking from her book, Until Then. She is open and friendly with the attendees of her book talks and presentations. She communicates what she writes about in a way that reaches all of her attendees and encourages them to share the stories that move them.

Kathryn Kuntz – Davenport, IA 52801  October, 2019


Gail gave a great presentation on her World War II historical novels. Full of audience participation and interesting facts, Gail’s presentation gives her audience the heartwarming opportunity to reminisce, share, and learn together about an important part of the past. Kristy Hruska, Assistant Director, Clear Lake Iowa Public Library, July 2017

Workshops vary from 11/2 – three hours to a full day. Example below from an ACFW-DFW workshop on March 14, 2020.

Workshop participant comments: 

“Gail’s presentation was informative and inspiring. I gained several good tips to incorporate in my memoir writing.”

From participants at the Sioux Center Public Library/ Kari Ringelberg, Dir. 

“She really got me thinking! I am anxious to write now!” 

“She knows her stuff. Very creative!”