Author Spotlight: Gayle Roper

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Kathleen Fuller is Angela from Kentucky! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week Gayle Roper is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Gayle’s latest book, Shadows on the Sand, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’m a widow after 47 years of marriage. The adjustment is coming along. I’ve written fulltime since I began writing, courtesy of my husband Chuck, my own personal patron of the arts.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I write mysteries and romantic suspense which are the genres I love to read. Even my Amish stories have a touch of mystery in them.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I never planned to be a writer. I come from a family of teachers, and I taught junior high English before we adopted our sons. It turned out teaching that topic to those grades was great prep for writing since much of that subject matter was grammar. I still teach a lot, usually at Christian writers conferences and women’s retreats though I’m going to France in a couple of weeks to teach MKs at an English Camp.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published? 

I can’t answer this question specifically because I’d fiddled with writing for fun before I decided to try and market my material. I know the first short story and the first novel I sent out were published.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

I am terribly undisciplined. I’m also a procrastinator. It makes a routine difficult for me and deadlines the chief motivator for getting things down on paper. I like to work either at my computer desk which is lower than a traditional desk or on the small sofa in the great room. I have a lap protector from Staples that keeps the heat of the laptop from becoming hot against my legs when I’m on the sofa. I also love writing at our cottage in Ontario with the lake as my view whenever I look up.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

I have to give my mom credit as the one who taught me to love reading and story. She gave me my first Phyllis Whitney title when I was about 14. That moved me into adult stuff, leaving Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton behind.

I wrote my first novel before I found out about writers conferences, but since my first year at the St Davids Christian Writers Conference back in the early ‘70’s, I’ve made most of my business contacts and many of my professional friends through writers conferences. I love teaching and mentoring at them. Today they are the primary means of making productive contact with agents and editors.

I have to give my critique group high marks too. We’ve been together for years, and everyone is very insightful and knowledgeable. Just a couple of months ago they told me how to fix the first chapter of a novel when my editors couldn’t. Wonderful women!

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

Since I never planned to be a writer, I had no expectations of the writer’s life. It was more a what-happened-happened type thing. But I love looking back and seeing how one contact led to another to another to another. The thing I didn’t expect was becoming friends with all the wonderful men and women in Christian publishing I’ve met through the years and being part of the Christian writing community which has so enriched my life.

What are your biggest distractions? 

My biggest distraction is my poor attention span. I have an unquiet mind, always jumping from topic to topic. I’m always thinking of something to do before I actually sit down to write. And then there’s email. Love email, but it’s a great distraction.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

One of the best was at RWA the year I won the RITA for Best Inspirational Romance. It’s like being at the Oscars, and then they call you name. Evening gowns, glitz, and an acceptance speech.

Or maybe it was just two weeks ago when I got a note from a reader saying one of my books changed her life. What a thrill to know that some spiritual truth that I’ve learned was passed on to a reader through a story I was privileged to tell. Or maybe it was the lady who said one of my scenes made her laugh for the first time in a year.

One of the worst times was the five year stretch when I couldn’t place anything after I’d sold seven books. Nothing clicked anywhere. I still remember the pain of the day near the end of that five years when I went to the mail box and found two rejected manuscripts.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like? 

I like most the thrill of seeing a book finally finished, first as a manuscript sent to my editor and then as a finished product in my hand. I also like getting to share ideas that I think are worthwhile with people I’d never get to do that with any other way.

What I like least is the plodding that writing sometimes is. I dislike the original putting of words on a page. No great inspiration strikes; no dialogue sparkles in the mind. It’s just words being forced out. But the next day there’s the pleasure of rewriting those plodding words into something worthwhile. I love rewriting. It’s where the book comes alive, where the dialogue comes to life, where the humor develops, where the spiritual arc clarifies.

What is the role and importance of an agent? 

A writer’s agent is her business partner. Most of us aren’t business savvy. We don’t want to push a publisher for a better deal because we’re afraid we’ll lose the deal. And we don’t know what is reasonable to ask for. Agents are industry aware. While we’re holed up writing, they’re reading industry news, meeting industry professionals, finding out what deals are being made and how much a company can be expected to give their authors. They study contracts for writers of all levels. They do for us what we aren’t informed or brave enough to do for ourselves.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

I would caution a new writer against jumping the gun. Sending out material before it’s ready can harm you before you even get started. Study the craft. Read the how-to books. Go to writer’s conferences to make the contacts and attend the classes. There are Christian writers conferences all across the country. Pick the one that matches your time frame and finances.

And be wary of jumping into e-publishing without a great editor and cover designer to make your book what it should be. The last thing you want to do is have to send out corrected versions of an ebook to disgruntled readers who complained of errors. Talk about ruining your reputation as a writer of quality material!

Just because someone thought up a good story doesn’t mean he or she knows how to tell that story. Every craft, every profession requires learning how. Learn how.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book. 

First Jase is found murdered and now Andi is missing. How will two wounded souls like Carrie and Greg solve the mystery while saving each other?

What’s on the book horizon for you?

SHADOWS ON THE SAND releases mid-July. It’s a return to Seaside, NJ, the locale of my prize-winning Seasons series, Spring Rain, Summer Shadows, Autumn Dreams and Winter Winds. Spend a summer day at the Jersey shore with Carrie and Greg.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

You can find my books on line at christianbooks.com or amazon.com. Many of the titles are ebooks as well as paper. Some of the older titles can be found on the used book site half.com. Bookstores may have them on the shelves and can certainly get them if not.

As for me, I’m at www.gayleroper.com.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Marianne says:

    Hi, Suzanne and Gayle. Thanks for the great post, interview and giveaway!i love Gayle's books, but have not read this one yet. i would love to win. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta…
    sorry for your loss, Gayle. wish i could give you a hung

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book.
    Angela from KY

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can identify with some of the same things Gayle went through, so I would LOVE to read it.

  4. Carol Q. says:

    Hi Suzanne and Gayle, i am an avid reader of both your books. i always find myself as the charecter in the story and have to finish the same day i start. thank you both so much for your wonderful stories.

  5. Kim F says:

    What great thoughts Gayle shared – I never thought about how hard it is to write a book, even for accomplished writers. Grew up going to the Jersey shore so look forward to reading this new book

  6. The Garretts says:

    Love Gayle's books and enjoyed the interview.

  7. Kim S says:

    Hi Suzanne and Gayle, your interview was heartfelt. Like you I am a widow was married 28 years, he has been gone 2 1/1 years, I am only going to be 50. Reading is a great get away for me. hard after all these years, being by yourself. reading is a comfort. Your books sound great, I love and only read christian fiction. So happy you have found your happiness in writing. May God bless you in all your future endeavers. Hugs to you, Kim

  8. Nanof4 says:

    Enjoyed the interview..I love both of your books and have them all up to date so far!! Please keep up such inspirational writing, your books bring something new to my days 🙂

  9. Judy says:

    Good Afternoon, Suzanne and Gayle! I loved the interview.

    These are some of the books of Gayle's that I have read, A Stranger's Wish, A Secret Identity, A Rose Revealed. All great reads.

    I am sorry for your loss Gayle. I know a little of what you are going through having lost a husband to brain cancer in 2003. I was not married nearly as long as you were, but it still hurt.

    I would love to win a copy of "Shadows on the Sand". Thank you for this giveaway.

    Blessings!
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

  10. lanore_lewis says:

    Oh my goodness when I saw the front cover of her book I knew right where it was taken. My family and I go to the jersey shore all the time, actually it is one of my favorite place to go. Would so love to win this book,thank you for the chance.

  11. Mrs Tina says:

    Hi Suzanne and Gayle,
    This is a great interview, thanks for sharing with us Gayle. Sorry to hear about your husband.
    One of my favorite pass times is to read Christian fiction and I love your and Suzanne's books. I would love to win a copy or your book. Blessings, Tina

  12. Kristie says:

    Hello! I find it interesting that you had a five year dry stretch. I wonder why. I'm glad that you kept trying and writing anyway. Your books are wonderful! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  13. Lenijay says:

    I'm always looking for new authors! Winning a book would be great! Thanks for the opportunity!

  14. Karen says:

    Looking forward to reading your books in the future, glad to read about so many books on Suzanne's blog. I have discovered some new favorite writers.

  15. karenk says:

    a wonderful posting/ thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel 🙂

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  16. Ola says:

    Great interview! I love reading Gayle's books. Recommend them to other readers often.
    Ola
    onorman@wilkes.net

  17. multiplemom says:

    I have read Gayle for years now…even own both the original Amish books and the rewrites! I'm thrilled you are revisiting Seaside–those are some of my favorites!

  18. Roberta Tucker Brosius says:

    I love the Jersey shore and I loved the stories Gayle set there. I definitely want to read the new one.

  19. Eleanor says:

    This book sounds great. What a coincidence, I did some research on our library website under "christian fiction" this morning and Gayle Roper's name came up!! And now on Facebook, there's her name again!! I went to the library to see if they had any of her books available. I just took out "See No Evil"!! I really can't wait to read it now after reading your "Author Spotlight"…and thanks for the chance to win her latest book to read next. Fingers crossed here in PA.

  20. Ginny Jaques says:

    Scathingly brilliant, eh? Hmm. Is that a requirement for entering the contest? 😉

    Loved reading about Gayle's writing life. Gayle is special to me. She was the first professional who told me I was a good writer. That 5-word pronouncement was a turning point in my "career." For some reason it was just what I needed to hear at the time. She's going to get a complimentary copy of the book I'm publishing in September. I so appreciate her willingness to give to other writers.

  21. where’s my post? not writing the whole post out again lol you missed a typo mods