Monday, August 20, 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Multi-award-winning author, Gail Gaymer Martin writes for Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Gail has signed forty fiction contracts and has over 1 million books in print. Her last three novels, In His Eyes, With Christmas In His Heart, and In His Dreams have been Top Picks! In the Romantic Times. With Christmas In His Heart won the 2006 National Readers Choice Award for the Inspirational Gail is a keynote speaker and teaches writing at conference across the U.S. She has a Masters degree from Wayne State University in Michigan. Look for Gail’s December release from Writers Digest, Writing The Christian Romance.
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Writing was a childhood dream. My teacher wrote on my third grade report card, “Gail is a good writer.” I had no idea what that meant, but I continued to write poetry and stories—even my own Nancy Drew-type series—when I was about eleven years old. I continued to write for two local newspapers when I was a teen, one was a weekly column for which I received payment. When I was an educator, I wrote skits for the teachers, humorous poems about our staff, and many writing projects for my church—puppet scripts, newsletter articles, and dinner theater shows that we performed, but I never thought of writing professionally until I was able to retire in my early fifties. I knew I would want to do something interesting with my time, and so my “I want to be a novelist when I grow up” dream returned. I began writing fiction in 1997 and sold my first novel in 1998. Before that I sold my first church program book and hundreds of articles for Christian magazines, Sunday school materials, and other periodicals.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
I love writing and creating, and I enjoy meeting readers and receiving their letters.. Sharing my faith in stories that entertain is a blessing for me, and touching people’s lives with the message in the story is an honor. I am awed that the Lord has blessed me in this way. What I don’t like are the pressures of deadlines when they overlap. Then my life becomes so very stressed, especially when I find myself working on two or three books at one time. Then it’s not fun.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
Balancing my life is very difficult. I try to use wisdom when accepting book deadlines, but besides deadlines, I will have copy/line edits, galleys, cover art forms to complete and sometimes revisions. They can begin to pile up, especially for someone like me who writes for more than one publisher. I’m also a keynote speaker at church events both in
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
How a story comes to me is not consistent. I might hear a Bible verse in church, notice something in a stained glass window that strikes me. I can get a story idea from song lyrics or an article in the newspaper. I might hear a real life event or situation that brings a story to mind. I might meet someone who has an interesting take on life. Sometimes I visit a place and think that I’d like to set in a story there. Whichever comes first, close behind are the other aspects of what I need. If I have a setting, the plot will be on its tail and then the kind of characters needed to make the story work. My last three book series proposals were based on location. I have completed the
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
My books all contain romance. I write basically Christian romance, romantic suspense and women’s fiction with romance. I was never a reader of romance, but I happened to meet many writers who wrote in that genre, and it just happened. Since I sold my first novel in one year, I believe that’s what the Lord meant me to do. I have always read suspense and romantic suspense—older authors such as Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney, and I love suspense.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
The biggest misconception is of being a writer is that you’ll be rich. That’s far from the truth for most writers, except for a very small percentage of people who just happen to hit it. Another is that you can write the books that you want to write. Editors and publishers have their own ideas of what they want and how they want it. If you aren’t willing to revise your books, you will not sell them.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
The characters I create are mainly from my imagination. I have taken attributes from people I know, including myself, and given them to characters.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
It’s very difficult for me to name one character that’s my favorite. As an author writes, she becomes friends and close confidants of the main characters in a book. They are the people with whom you spend many hours, talking and digging into their hearts and minds, so selecting a favorite is nearly impossible. I have characters who stand out more in my mind. Probably the one that does the most is Mac, the eight-year old boy with Down syndrome, in my novel, The Christmas Kite. More people wrote to tell me how much they loved Mac.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
Choosing an actor for a movie of one of my novels would depend on which story, and since I’ve written forty novels (a few are novellas), that’s really a difficult question. When Greystoke Entertainment optioned, The Christmas Kite, for a Hallmark TV movie, I thought of Roma Downey as the heroine because the heroine Meara Hayden was from
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
My takeaway message is always one of faith but varies with each book. If I were to give a blanket statement, I would want readers to know that they are not alone, but God is with them and offers them forgiveness, love, mercy, comfort, and eternal life if they believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ, and His sacrificial death for our sins.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
My advice to writers is learn the craft and never stop learning. If you write Christian fiction, know who you are writing for and don’t rush the process. Too many people want a book published now, so they rush their work and use vanity presses in the form of self-published or POD, and they forget that God said, “All things are made beautiful in His time.” We are published in God’s time, not our own. God knows when our writing is ready, and when each story is needed to touch readers in a special way. I put my work in His hands.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors are:
Secular: Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Debbie Macomber, Kristin Hannah, and Anne Tyler. Christian fiction is much more difficult because I have so many friend whose books I enjoy. If I had to name one author, I’d name Lisa Samson. If I named one book, it would be Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love.
What are you reading right now?
Presently I just started, a novel by missionary and surgeon, Harry Kraus’s All I’ll Ever Need. Before that I read, Ron and Janet Benrey’s cozy suspense, Glory Be! I have books stacked to the ceiling to read. When I’m writing, reading time is limited.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Escape to beautiful Beaver Island could be the answer to Marsha Sullivan's need for a fresh start. Since her husband's death four years ago, Marsha had lost her way, but on Beaver Island, she had good memories to help guide her. Running into Jeff, her brother-in-law, in this paradise turned out to be a blessing. Not only did they share grief in losing their spouses, but also a warm bond began to form between them. Did God want her to love again? The only thing she knew for sure was that being with Jeff and his daughter felt like family.
Marsha drew in a lengthy breath of clean island air and headed for her car parked on the gravel driveway. A pebble slipped into her sandal, and she stopped a moment, leaning her hip against the car, to remove a pea-size stone. Amazing what tiny things could cause such irritation, she thought, then realized that seemed to be a truth for much of life.
As she stepped from beneath the shade of a cedar tree, the warm sun fell on her arms. She opened the car door and slid onto the hot seat cushion, raising her legs and wishing she’d worn slacks instead of shorts. Back home, she’d never think of wearing shorts in public, but here, no one knew her, and she enjoyed the freedom.
She followed the narrow road, and through the passenger window, Font Lake flashed between the evergreens. She and Don had rented a boat one summer and paddled around the lake, watching the turtles sun themselves on the lily pads. She recalled one day when they’d run into Don’s brother Jeff and his wife rowing toward them on the lake. They’d teased back and forth, singing There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, each taking turns to add another line. Jeff’s pleasant voice still rang in her head. He’d been such a handsome man, and Marsha wondered if she’d met him first what might have happened.
Guilt nudged at her for the thought, and she let it slip and filled her mind with the silly song. "There’s a frog on the bump of the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea." She sang into the wind.
Marsha threw her head back, enjoying her bolstering spirit. She wondered if Jeff remembered that day. Regret rolled over her. She hadn’t seen Jeff in so long. Too long. She and Jeff had spent so much time together, but after Don’s death, she’d drifted away from the entire family even though they’d tried to stay connected. It was wrong. Jeff could have used her support when his wife died so suddenly in a tragic car accident and left him with their emotionally impaired daughter Bonnie. She should have offered Jeff some help instead of clinging to her own loss for so long.
As the last view of the lake flashed past, Marsha pulled herself from her doldrums and breathed in renewed vigor. Maybe she’d rent a boat one afternoon, even if she had to rent it alone. Trying to think in a positive light, perhaps she could convince Barb to go.
With her spirit wavering, she shrugged off her attitude and enjoyed the scenery. The thick woods changed to buildings as she drove into St. James, the island’s only town. Nearing Main Street, Daddy Frank’s caught her eye, a small gray and white building with a blue awning. In front, two white open-air tents had been erected for customers to sit beneath at picnic benches and enjoy their famous waffle ice cream cones.
As if her car were in control, Marsha veered to the right and put her foot on the brake. Ice cream. It could raise the most flagged spirit. She exited the car and went inside to order a double dip of peanut-butter cup.
She strolled outside and slid onto one of the picnic benches, licking the creamy dessert. The afternoon sunlight blinded her, and she dug into her purse for sunglasses. Apparently she’d left them back at the cottage with her dramatic exit. She shook her head at the recollection. I need patience, Lord, she thought, as she shifted further beneath the covering to avoid the direct rays. When she looked up, a man and young girl were climbing from a car parked beside hers. She felt her pulse skip, realizing it was her husband’s brother.
He turned and stared at her a moment as if he didn’t recognize her. Then familiarity filled his eyes. "Marsha." He strode toward her, his arms open in greeting.
She rose and walked into his embrace. Her gaze shifted from his warm smile to his full head of dark hair that framed his classic features. Good-looking and always so nice. She realized how much she’d missed him. "I was thinking about you when I passed the lake."
A grin flickered on his lips for a moment. "The boat rides and that silly song."
She nodded. "You remember."
He grinned and gave her another squeeze.
Marsha searched his face, unable to get her fill of him. Seeing him on the island seemed so right. So real. It took her back to the good times years earlier.
His gaze swept her face. "I wondered how I’d entertain myself while I’m here, and here you are."
She felt unnaturally ill at ease. "That would be fun."
Marsha chided herself on thinking she’d have to scout the island alone. Having Jeff there might give her the lift she needed.
"And look at Bonnie. You’re getting more grown up everyday." Her niece had her mother’s light brown eyes, but her dad’s slightly turned nose, and those darling dimples, but the child’s maturing form gave Marsha pause.
Bonnie gave her a shy look but moved closer and focused on the creamy treat in Marsha’s hand. "We’re getting ice cream, too." She motioned to Marsha’s cone.
Marsha gave the ice cream another lick. "It’s really good."
Bonnie looked at the treat a minute and dragged her tongue over her lips before tugging on her father’s arm. "Let’s go, Daddy."
"In a minute, Bonnie."
"I want to go now." Her voice rose to a piercing whine.
Jeff cringed, then sent Marsha a telltale look that was probably supposed to be an apologetic grin. "We’ll be back." He took Bonnie’s hand and led her toward the building.
Marsha understood his look. From the past she recalled that Bonnie tended to go into a tizzy when she didn’t get what she wanted, and Jeff apparently had difficulty dealing with it. Having a disabled child was difficult enough for two parents. One parent seemed an unfair task—-almost a punishment.
Top Pick! (4-1/2 stars) In His Dreams touches on sensitive issues, including the problems of an emotionally handicapped child. But Gail Gaymer Martin outdoes herself with the romance she threads throughout.
In His Dreams by Gail Gaymer Martin
Mass Market Paperback: 251 pages
Release Date: August 1, 2007
$5.50 from Amazon.com
Purchase In His Dreams by Gail Gaymer Martin HERE!!!