Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Spotlight: Brenda Gayle
Today, we have Romance Author Brenda Gayle visiting us at Just Write! Let's ask Brenda a few questions . . .
~ What kind of stories/books do you write?
I write contemporary romances. I love reading historicals but I just don’t think I have the voice for it. Whenever I’ve tried in the past, my heroines end up sounding too smart-mouthed for the times.
I really like stories about women who have done well for themselves but are plagued by self-doubt. The hero doesn’t necessarily “come to her rescue” but he helps her realize she really is as strong as she pretends to be.
~ How long have you been writing?
I can’t remember when I didn’t write. I was one of those geeky kids in school who was thrilled when the teacher gave us creative writing assignments. And as if that wasn’t enough, my best friend, Sandi, and I would write stories for recreation when we were in high school (I told you I was geeky!). We would take the same opening sentence and write our own short story, comparing results when we were done. Surprisingly, back then, my stories were very dark and depressing, and usually ended up with everyone dying at the end (all that teenage angst!). Suffices to say that is no longer the case. There’s enough bleakness in the world; a little more romance and happily-ever-after are always welcome.
~ How long have you been writing and seriously pursuing publication?
I have a Master’s Degree in Journalism and have spent over 20 years in corporate communications, writing and editing anything that was required--articles, newsletters, press releases, annual reports, websites, etc. From the time I was in university until about five years ago, all my writing was for business; I had essentially given up writing for pleasure.
I returned to creative writing as a way to rediscover my muse. I was feeling stifled in my job and needed to find some creative outlet. However, like many of us who juggle full-time jobs and family responsibilities, I rarely made the time for myself to write creatively. When I complained about this to a friend of mine, she suggested I approach creative writing the way I did my business writing--set deadlines and aim for publication, including going through the process of actually submitting to editors. Once I did that everything changed.
~ How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?
SOLDIER FOR LOVE was my first completed manuscript. It took me about two years to write the first 30 pages. When the “First Meet” scene placed second in the Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association’s annual contest, I was given the opportunity to have a published author read and critique the first three chapters. I hustled to get those chapters done and Brenda Harlen, a Harlequin author, gave me a fantastic critique. I never looked back. The book was completed six months later.
~ Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”
I pitched SOLDIER FOR LOVE to Kathy Cottrell, a Senior Editor for The Wild Rose Press, at the New Jersey Romance Writers’ conference. She liked it so much she asked if the heroine, Major Julie Collins, could be older so she could have it for the line she was responsible for, The Last Rose of Summer. I told her I’d see if it was possible.
When I started looking at what would be required to make Julie older, I realized that adding some years to her age actually made the story stronger. I rewrote the necessary sections and sent three chapters and a synopsis on to Kathy.
Kathy sent my submission to one of her editors, Maggie Johnson, and Maggie got back to me a short time later and requested the full! A month later I got “the e-mail” offering me a contract to publish the book.
~ To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email? Scream? Faint?
I think I just stared at the computer screen dumbfounded for a long time. It felt surreal. No one gets their first manuscript published, or so I thought.
~ How did you feel when you found out you sold?
Receiving the offer of publication was a huge thrill but what really pleased me was how Maggie started the email:
As the old TV commercial says: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature. In the same vein: It's not nice to make your editor cry. But you did, and that's what makes me feel we've got a success on our hands with Soldier for Love. It is truly a beautiful and well-written story. It not only involved me emotionally, but I felt I was learning something about another culture.
To have an editor feel this strongly about your work is an author’s dream.
~ Who was the first person you told?
I called my husband at work and told him. He had been wonderfully supportive through the entire writing process, even taking the kids away for entire weekends so I could have large uninterrupted blocks of time to write. He was really happy for me and sent flowers to my office in congratulations. That, of course, got my office talking and soon everyone knew.
~ How did you celebrate?
We went out for dinner as a family. My kids, 9 and 7 at the time, were so proud it was almost embarrassing. I shed more than a few tears over the next few days. It really was a dream come true.
SOLDIER FOR LOVE, is now available in print and as an eBook, and was named a Recommended Read by Joyfully Reviewed. (ISBN-10: 1601544014; ISBN-13: 978-1601544018)
She’s his Commanding Officer. So why does he seem to be in charge?
Major Julie Collins should be on top of the world. Her long-sought promotion has finally come through and she has just been given her first overseas command. But when one of her troops turns out to be the handsome Native American who has just left her bed, everything starts to unravel.
Lieutenant Matt Wolf’s exploits with the opposite sex are legend—if only they were true. His larger-than-life persona masks deep loneliness and isolation. He has every intention of obeying Julie’s order to stay away, but what’s he to do when she follows him and then gets herself kidnapped by a deranged voodoo priest?
Suddenly, all orders are belayed as Matt mounts a one-man rescue, risking both of their careers, and the only home he has ever known.
Click here to read an excerpt
Please visit my website at www.BrendaGayle.com or contact me at Brenda@BrendaGayle.com. I’d love to hear from you.
Great interiew, Brenda!!!