Lance Ringel


A journalist and writer for four decades, Lance Ringel has penned five novels and three plays. At Vassar College, where he has worked for 14 years, he served as principal writer for Vassar Voices, a staged reading honoring the college’s sesquicentennial. It debuted at Lincoln Center, starring Meryl Streep, Lisa Kudrow and Frances Sternhagen and subsequently toured America and London. Ringel also wrote the narrative for At Home in the World, a music-and-words collaboration directed by John Caird that recently played across Japan. Ringel has had an impressive career in politics as well, serving as Assistant Commissioner of Human Rights under New York Governor Mario Cuomo. A native of central Illinois, Ringel currently resides in Poughkeepsie, New York, with his spouse of 37 years, actor-composer Chuck Muckle. Flower of Iowa is his first published work.

Smashwords Interview

What was the inspiration for Flower of Iowa?
As a teenager, I was introduced to The Great War – as WWI is called in Europe – through two excellent sources: Barbara Tuchman’s masterpiece book The Guns Of August and a CBS-TV series called World War One. They both made a great impression on me, spurring a fascination with the war that changed our world so completely. Fast-forward three decades later. I was actually stuck in bed, recovering from a near-fatal bout of hepatitis, and the local PBS station began re-airing the CBS series. At the same time, controversy arose over Bill Clinton’s campaign promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I don’t know if it was inspiration or delirium, but an idea came to me: How about writing an historical novel in which two Great War soldiers fall in love? That hepatitis, I guess, was crucial to the genesis of my novel Flower of Iowa.
When did you start Flower of Iowa and how long did it take?
After I recovered, I spent the next six months researching the First World War, devouring everything I could learn about the battles, the generals, and above all the way people lived and died from 1914-1918. When I started this project, I quickly realized you can do one of two things with historical fiction: you can say, “Screw it, it’s fiction,” and completely use artistic license. Or you can try to make your story as plausible according to WWI history. I chose the latter route, which is much more work, but also much more fun.

But while being elbow-deep in books, articles, and photos, it dawned on me: I could spend the rest of my life researching and never writing a page. So I switched gears and started writing Flower of Iowa in spring 1993 while continuing to do research in libraries, in museums and on trips to Europe. (Friends claimed I got the idea just so I could travel to Europe!) I completed the first draft over the Atlantic, on a plane to London in the spring of 1997. Being a perfectionist, I have continued revising it for the last 17 years. But finally, with the centennial of the war upon us, it’s time to share Flower of Iowa with the world.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Lance Ringel online


Flower of Iowa
Price: $4.95 USD. Words: 238,070. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay, Fiction » Historical » General
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
Flower of Iowa takes place against the turbulent backdrop of 1918 France. During the final months of World War I, young American Tommy Flowers must navigate the challenges of life in the trenches and his unexpected attraction to British soldier David Pearson. "Accomplished, touching historical fiction" with "a remarkable amount of flavor and detail" and "a compelling love story" - Kirkus Reviews

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