The Importance of Imagination | Denise of Ingleside


 Today I have the pleasure to welcome one of my dear friends, Denise of Ingleside aka Denise Maclennan Bruce. This lovely lady is as sweet as her favourite story, Anne of Green Gables with a warm heart and a childlike spirit. Today we discuss all things from Anne of Green Gables to picture books to self-publishing to NaNoWriMo. This is a multi-talented lady who writes, paints and designs gardens. amongst all that she is also mom to 4 children, wife and a loyal friend. Where she finds all the energy, well…let’s ask her today. 


Please pull up a seat and join me in giving a warm welcome to

Denise of Ingleside. 

girl with a quill: Introduce us to Denise Maclennan Bruce?

Denise:  Hi Kim , Thanks for including me in your blog.  I’m known as Denise of Ingleside.  I’m from still freezing, Prince Edward Island in Canada.  I love to garden and help others garden as well.  I love reading, which I haven’t had time for lately, I’m sad to say.  I love to collect paper dolls, do you remember those?  Cardboard dolls with paper clothing that you bend the tabs to hold the clothes on   I just love to look at them and dream.  Let’s see; I’ve been married 23 years on the 19th  of this month.  We’ve 4 kids.  I named my home Ingleside, after my very favorite author, Lucy Maud Montgomery.  More of her later 😉 lol I also like to paint, but again, time is not on my side. I’ve started a new job maintaining and landscaping a fifty year old garden , which I thoroughly enjoy, 3 weeks ago and it, home chores, my gardens, and my children are totally eating my time, which I’m thankful for, but now I’ve got to set a plan for writing now  I miss it a lot when I’m working.

girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Denise:  I think I’ve always been writing something or other, as well as drawing, but nothing special, just kid drawing back then.  I remember a teacher in grade 9 wanted us to write a story.  I was thrilled!  I wrote my heart out and put a lot of thought into it.  I got a 75% in it, but was saddened by his comment that the names of the 3 characters all started with “M” because it mixed him up.  I now know this is a big no no, but oh my little heart was broken back then.  I kept at it, though.  I wasn’t letting anyone tell me otherwise.  It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I started doing something about my love for writing.

girl with a quill: Who or what influences your writing?
Denise:  Definitely Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I felt so akin to her books and characters.  I first read Anne of Green Gables when I was 12, I think.  I was immediately hooked.  It was like Anne was myself.  I felt a part of her.  I wanted to be just like this wonderful author and thankfully already had the love for writing.  Lucy Maud’s books are all around my Ingleside, urging me on.  Nice, dear old friends.

girl with a quill: What aspect of the writing life do you find the most challenging?
Denise:  finding the time to write and fit family life in.  It’s so hard to do everything.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Write time of day set aside or do you write when the inspiration strikes?
Denise:  I write when I get any spare minutes.  I write if a thought comes into my brain too, so it’s a bit of both 

girl with a quill: Tell us what inspires you as a writer?
Denise:  again, it’s Lucy Maud who inspires me, and her “Anne” character.  Trees and flowers also inspire me.  I love to sit and just watch them, esp when there is a breeze blowing.  The trees seem like dear friends of mine, always talking and telling me secrets.  When I feel stuck with my writing, I sit by a window and let my mind go where the trees and flowers want it to go, then write again.

girl with a quill: Do you have a Muse?
Denise: I think you know who my muse is now, eh? lol

girl with a quill: Where do you write? Describe your place of writing to us?
Denise:  I write where ever I can find to sit lol  My 6 year old daughter is very shy and close to me.  I write where she plays  It works 😉

girl with a quill: Are you a pen and paper writer/typewriter/digital writer?
Denise:  I’m definitely a pen and paper gal!  I can’t stand typing on a computer, but oddly, I love typing on a typewriter lol  I think using a pen and paper makes me feel like a real writer 

girl with a quill: Do you have any writing superstitions or traditions that you follow?
Denise:  I say a prayer to God to help and guide me as I write; before I write 

girl with a quill: What genre do you write in and why?
Denise:  I think I’m a mixture of different genres.  I write whatever idea comes in my thoughts, then put it in its genre when it’s finished.  Now if I had to choose my favorite.  I’d say picture books  The kids and I love picture books.  I want to inspire kids and help them to reach for the stars!

girl with a quill: Do you have any beta readers or critique partners? Do you think they are a necessary resource for writers?

Denise:  I do not.  I wish I did.  PEI is a small place.   My writer’s group is online at our wonderful Warrior Chat group  I’ve had a few ladies read some of my work, thankfully and had one lovely lady even critique for me and I’ve learned a great deal, which I’m very thankful for.

girl with a quill: You belong to Warrior Chat, an online writers group seeded in NaNoWriMo. Do you find it useful to belong to a writers group? Why?
Denise:  I find it very useful!  I’d be so lost again if it weren’t for Warrior Chat.  The people there are the kindest people ever and oh so helpful!  I’m so glad to have found it.  I have learned tons and tons of information, something I’d never had learned if it weren’t for our home away from home 

girl with a quill: Would you describe yourself as a panster or a plotter?
Denise:  I think I’m a bit of both.  I try to plot my story out , then find myself falling away from it and just writing what is inside me and write til I can’t write anymore 

girl with a quill: You competed in NaNoWriMo2010. Tell us about your experience? Would you compete in NaNoWriMo again?
Denise:  I would absolutely LOVE to compete in NaNo again, BUT, I found it very hard with the house, the kids, and Christmas.  I wish they would use a different month.  I became sick afterwards mostly due to the strain.  I’m not sure if I’ll do it again this year, but would love it.  I never would have gotten that story out if it weren’t for NaNo, and I’d not have met all of YOU!

girl with a quill: Tell us about your process of getting a new idea for a novel or story?
Denise:  I could be driving along, or sitting at the table eating, listening to a song, or even reading a book, when POOF!  An idea comes to me and I have to rush to write it down before I forget it.  It’s mostly when I’m trying to sleep that the stories come to me.  I get great ones that way.  My writing journal for ideas is almost full lol

girl with a quill: Are you working on anything now? Can you share a little about your latest WIP?
Denise:  I’m always working on a few stories at a time  There’s one story I’m working on, but can’t say anything about it yet.  I’m also working on my self published book, Rilla’s Ramblings – a children’s picture book about a little girl and a fairy.  I made a mistake by self publishing and am redoing that story.  I’m also working on a couple other ideas for picture books.  I like to write in verse, I find.  I’ve been told I have a feel for it and I love it.  I’ve sent out an idea out a few weeks ago and am awaiting responses   I also have my nano story that I love love love! Lol  I would love to work on it, but haven’t had much time for that lately.  I am also working on another project with a friend in India which I am very excited about.  I’m also working on a business entrepreneurial book for a US based friend.  I’m quite excited and a bit timid over this one, but am taking up the challenge.  Very full with ideas, now I need the time to do it all 

girl with a quill: What publishing market are you aiming for?
Denise:  I think I’ll stick with the Children’s market right now.  I’ll work on my other story in the fall.  It’s for paranormal/woman’s

girl with a quill: There is a lot of talk right now about Digital Publishing (Ebook) versus Traditional Publishing?
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Denise:  I’ve done self publishing and wouldn’t want to do it again, UNLESS I had a great proof reader and time to work on the story.  Mine was rushed… way too rushed.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Denise:  I think both.  You can’t have the story without a great character, and where would that great character be without the wonderful, gripping story?  For me, I think I come up with both for my stories.  Sometimes a great story idea will hit me, and sometimes a character that I have to work a story around 

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Denise:  That’s easy  Rilla from Rilla’s Ramblings… she’s my daughter who was 3 at the time I wrote it.  The story started off with one of Rilla’s own stories that she’d tell me, and we snowballed it into a fairy story 

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Denise:  Anne of Green Gables, hands down   As I said earlier, I felt like a part of her was inside me.  I still feel the same way to this day.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Denise:  Henry David Thoreau, because he loved nature.  He lived in a cabin by Waldon’s Pond and loved all that was around him.  He didn’t need much to make him happy.  Lucy Maud Montgomery  for reason’s mentioned above and all over lol.  Mark Cullen, a fantastic gardener who I’ve admired for many years.  Diana Gabaldon, the writer of The Outlander Series. LOVE HER!  And last but certainly not least, Susan Branch.  Her recipe books and other books are THE most beautiful books I’ve ever seen.  Tasha Tudor, because she’s sweet, old fashioned and down to earth, absolutely no airs with her. .. (sorry, couldn’t help but choose another lol)

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Denise:  Anne Shirley, because she could help break the ice with her mishaps 😉 … Pollyanna, because she’d make sure everyone was glad to be there 😉 … Jamie from The Outlander series, because he’s just THAT hunky lol… Pippi Longstocking… we might need some strength ;)… and Heathcliff fr Wuthering Heights.  I want to talk to him and tell him a few things 😉

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Denise:  Take the time to write.  Don’t stop.  Don’t think you can’t do it.  If you want to write, then write.  NO MATTER WHAT… WRITE.

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Denise:  Don’t you dare give up!  YOU CAN DO IT!  Believe YOU CAN fly … to the highest of awards!

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Denise:  I want to make a difference.  I want to make people smile.  I want someone to love the message I’m sending out.  Even the message I don’t mean to write, but somehow it gets in there.

girl with a quill:Tell us where we can find you on the World Wide Web?

Facebook:  HYPERLINK “”

Twitter:  HYPERLINK “!/DeniseBruce22”!/DeniseBruce22

My Blog:  It’s quite lonely for the time being with work, but soon I’ll get back to it 

So that’s me  Nothing special.  Just like everyone else.  Like Charley Pride titled one of my favorite songs, that fits me like a glove…”I’m Just Me” 

Thanks so much for the chance to be on your blog, Kim.I enjoyed it so much     

Thank You Denise. It has been a pleasure chatting to you today. We look forward to hearing more about this “secret” book when you are ready to share it. 









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Writer | Poet | Wanderer | Insomniac Writer.In.Procaffeination ... between real deadlines and imagined deadbodies Survives on coffee. Eats Poetry for Breakfast.

6 thoughts on “The Importance of Imagination | Denise of Ingleside

  1. Mary Lou, I didn’t realize we had so much in common 🙂 right up to Susan Branch 🙂 I’ve heard so much of Gladys Taber, that now, I must join that site too.

    I’d love to go to Concord so much. I was actually hoping to do that this spring, but that didn’t happen. You live close to Concord?

    Paper dolls too, mary Lou! I have a paper doll google group. I am not there a lot lately, but have great moderators to help with it. We have lots of sets on the site, it’s a wealth of information on paper dolls and scans of those old, dear, long forgotten sets.

    Ballyshannon 🙂 I like that. I love naming houses. I’ll take some pictures of the gardens I’m working on this week. I meant to last week, but didn’t get the chance.

    I am the same. I don’t watch TV. I can’t find the time for it, but did when Lost was on 🙂 My favorite show ever lol

    I’ll have to look that book up, thanks Mary Lou. I’m working on a picture book but just need a rainy day to work on it more. Haven’t been working on it since i was sick last month.

    I didn’t know Thoreau and Emerson were inspirations for Louisa’s male folk in Little Women, Mary Lou. I love finding out tidbits like that. Have you read American Quartet? Loved learning all about them in that book.

    Thanks so much to you too, Ree 🙂 Anne has brought so many dear people into my life. and now, NaNo is doing the same 🙂

    Thank you, Dear Kim. I had fun with the interview 🙂

  2. I enjoyed learning more about fellow Warrior, Denise of Ingleside! I, too, love Anne Shirley and nature. I agree that November is a difficult month for doing NaNo, but I am so glad that I met Denise and other Warriors through participating in 2010. Thanks for another insightful interview, Kim!

  3. Dear Denise,
    I have to say I loved this interview. It is so like you; you remind me so much of my earlier self…That is a compliment, by the way. I love your innocence…the way you are behind the pillow in your photo, your description of your daughter. I, too, used to be the one clinging to my mother’s skirts!

    I, too, loved paper dolls…my aunts threw mine away behind my back when I was twelve. One of my friends made her doll die because mine wouldn’t marry him, and I cried and cried with guilt!

    I always said if I ever had a cottage I would name it Ballyshannon after a place I loved. Imagine when I discovered it was the home of Tony Blair, a man I really admire. I do think places have a lot to do with forming a character. Location has a lot to do with destiny.

    I am so waiting to hear more about that fifty year garden. I love gardens too, and used to go to this famous herb garden to escape from the care of the world.

    Do you realize just how much you do everyday? My mother had four, and never had time to sit down, even to watch a TV program! Maybe short stories would work. Ever read Tillie Olesen’s “I Stand Here Ironing”? It’s my favorite short story; I used to teach it sometimes with tears in my eyes.

    I, too, loved Thoreau: though I have to say I loved Emerson more. Both were inspirations for the male characters in Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women. I hope someday you can visit the US; stay with me and we can visit Concord.

    Funny, I dated a guy about three years ago, a teacher, who looked like and emulated Thoreau. It was then I realized that looking backwards wasn’t the answer.

    Susan Branch loves my favorite author, Gladys Taber. I think you would love the latter, too. Because of mentioning Glady in her newsletter, 150 new members have been added to the group Friends of Gladys Taber….One never knows the power of one’s words.

    Mary Lou

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