Landscape of a Marriage by Gail Ward Olmsted / #Interview #BlogTour @maryanneyarde @gwolmsted



A marriage of convenience leads to a life of passion and purpose. A shared vision transforms the American landscape forever.

New York, 1858: Mary, a young widow with three children, agrees to marry her brother-in-law Frederick Law Olmsted, who is acting on his late brother’s deathbed plea to “not let Mary suffer”. But she craves more than a marriage of convenience and sets out to win her hus-band’s love. Beginning with Central Park in New York City, Mary joins Fred on his quest to create a ‘beating green heart’ in the center of every urban space.

Over the next 40 years, Fred is inspired to create dozens of city parks, private estates and public spaces with Mary at his side. Based upon real people and true events, this is the story of Mary’s journey and personal growth and the challenges inherent in loving a brilliant and ambitious man.






When and where do you prefer to write?

I love to write at my desk preferably with a cup of hot coffee or iced coffee and at least one of my two cats lounging nearby. I have also scribbled notes to myself during meetings at work and on take-out menus while sitting in my car. I always have a pen and something to write on! I think about dialogue quite often when I am driving. As far as when, I think my most productive time is early to mid-morning, before the challenges of the day take over.

Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?

What is this ‘peace and quiet’ of which you speak? All kidding aside, I’m fine with some background noise, although I have to say I have never written a single word while sitting in a coffee shop. I know writers who do, but that’s not for me.

If you had the chance to co-write a book, whom would it be with?

One of my favorite authors is Dennis Lehane: The Given Day, Gone,Baby Gone, Mystic River, Shutter Island and so many more. I have met him twice (stalker much?) and heard him talk about his writing process. If I were able to shake off my fan-girl nerves, I think we would make a fantastic writing duo.

Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?

The ‘bad one’ for sure. They have all the fun and get the best dialog and storylines.

Who would you like/have liked to interview?

I would have loved to meet and interview John Lennon. He was my favorite Beatle and an inspired writer and artist. He had so much to say and only 40 short years to say it. His songs and message are timeless.

Where can I find you when you are reading?

I tend to read on my kindle propped up in bed, usually at night with my husband sleeping beside me. I also like to listen to audiobooks while I knit and sit on my deck.

Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?

I spend a lot of time on our lake kayaking or sailing. I also love to spend time with family and friends sitting around the firepit and enjoying good food and music.

What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?

It’s hard to describe the feeling. Landscape of a Marriage is my fifth book so you might think that opening that first delivery of books gets old, but it doesn’t. It’s like Christmas and your birthday all wrapped up in a pound of paper with a shiny new cover. It’s magical!

How do you come up with a title for your book?

I put a lot of thought into titles and generally come up with the one I will use fairly early in the process. In my latest, Mary Olmsted is married to a landscape architect and I love how ‘landscape’ fits with the concept of marriage- rolling hills, green pastures and a few jagged edges to shake things up a bit. A little bumpy terrain never hurts!

How do you pick a cover for your book?

I always have a concept in mind, but I do a fair amount of research to finetune my vision. For Landscape of a Marriage, I went to a few bookstores and looked at every book on the historical fiction shelves and made notes of what grabbed my attention. Then I shopped online to see what looked good in miniature on bookseller’s websites. The beautiful photograph on Landscape’s cover was taken by my favorite photographer- my son Conor. We visited Central Park in NYC last fall and he captured the Gapstow Bridge on a truly glorious day. It made for a terrific cover and a wonderful memory..

Thank you, Gail Ward Olmsted and The Coffee Pot Book Club


About the Author 

Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writ-ing fiction on a fulltime basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Three

more novels followed before she began Landscape of a Marriage, a biographical work of fic-tion featuring landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, a distant cousin of her husband’s, and his wife Mary.


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