Starting next week on the Cozy Chicks blog, we're having giveaways each weekday of July. Since I'm new to the Cozy Chicks blog, I wanted to answer some questions readers might have for me as an introduction to those of you who might not know me yet.
Kelly H.: Do you write your books from the first chapter to the last? Or start at the end or middle?
Gayle: I'm a linear writer, Kelly. I have to start at page one and go through to the end. It's almost as if I'm watching a movie in my mind. I've heard other writers talk about writing scenes and then putting them all together, but that simply doesn't make sense to me. It would be like watching the middle or end of a movie and then going back and watching the beginning. Often, I learn things about my characters when my readers do. In fact, a friend read a copy of my first novel and told me, "I didn't suspect HE was the bad guy!" I told her, "Neither did I!" LOL We also spoke about a character that I killed off in that same book but was depressed about it for two days and couldn't work on the book again until I had him survive the shooting. He went to the hospital rather than the morgue, and the entire trajectory of the book changed. I simply couldn't kill the guy.
Sandy G.: How did you get started writing mysteries?
Gayle: I think all authors write what they're drawn to. My love of mysteries began with Encyclopedia Brown, The Secret Seven, and Nancy Drew. I just felt so smart when I could solve those mysteries before the big reveal. And I grew up watching strong women--The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Batgirl on Batman--on TV, so I wanted to create smart, strong, capable women who could run their own businesses while outsmarting bad guys.
Betty T.: How are you doing with the virus? How is your dog? What are you writing right now?
Gayle: I'm doing all right with the virus. I find it scary sometimes. I've got about half a dozen cloth masks now, so I feel ready to go out into the world again. My family and I ate out at a restaurant for the first time since the quarantine to celebrate my husband's birthday in late May. It was wonderful. We'd had some takeout, but we'd kind of forgotten how nice it is to have people bring the food to your table so you can eat it while it's still hot! My husband works in healthcare. That was worrisome at first, but the hospitals are taking strong safety precautions.
Ah, Betty, you had to ask... Kidding. You're too thoughtful not to ask. 🙂 Dear sweet Cooper...we had to say goodbye to him at the end of April (the week after our children's birthday). Our hearts have been broken, and we're all dealing with it differently. I bought a tiny Great Pyrenees figurine to put on my desk a few days ago, but my son can't even look at it. I haven't mentioned Cooper's death online or in my newsletter because I haven't been able to talk about it yet. Cooper was one in a million, and I don't think I'll ever stop missing him. Even now I'm weeping on my keyboard, and, like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.
Right now, I'm working on Book Eight of the Victoria Square series, tentatively titled Dead Man's Hand with Lorraine Bartlett; and I'm working on Book Five of the Down South Cafe series, tentatively titled Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets. As you might guess, the cafe book is a Christmas cozy. If you saw my post a few weeks ago about Rosemary Galpin, then you might remember that in this book, Amy will be making an enormous decorated dummy cake to put atop her Volkswagen Beetle and drive through Winter Garden in the Christmas parade. Today, I worked out what will be on each tier of that cake. I'm having fun with that. I even did a shout-out to Daphne of the cake decorating series and to Grandpa Dave and Amanda from the Ghostly Fashionista series in the scene. I hope to also have a Christmas cozy for the Ghostly Fashionista series out this fall. 🤞
Sue R: When will the next fashionista book come out? Are there other series you're continuing and if so which ones?
Gayle: I'm hoping to get the next Ghostly Fashionista book out in the fall. That's going to be pushing it because I'm currently working on the next cafe book (also for fall), but I really want to do this one and think I can. While I was doing the groundwork for the Christmas cafe cozy, which is the one I'm writing now, I had some fun ideas for a Christmas Ghostly Fashionista cozy. Since the two series are set in pretty much the same area, I think it would be fun to have them taking place at the same time--much like Apples and Alibis and Perils and Lace. So, to answer your second question, Sue, the Ghostly Fashionista and Down South Cafe series are the primary ones I'm working on at present. I have so many ideas though! I have another plot in mind for a Kinsey Falls book, but I simply can't find time to write it yet.
Kai V.: You are a very talented Mysteries writer. If it was not Mysteries, what type of books would you like to write?
Gayle: Thank you, Kai! You're always so sweet and encouraging! I've tried my hand at thrillers a couple of times. My book In Her Blood got good reviews, but it had few sales. I got my rights back to the book from the publisher, and I might have the cover redesigned and republish it. Listening to the audiobook The Silent Patient reignited the thriller fire for me, and I have another idea I'm toying with.
JuaNell G.: How do you have time to respond to posts and write so much?
Gayle: JuaNell, it's readers like you who keep me writing! I love interacting with you. It's hard not to get distracted by social media, though, so I try to limit the number of times a day I check my posts.
Thank you all for your wonderful questions! We'll have to do this again soon.