Interview for Gayle Roper

» Posted on Aug 5, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Interview for Gayle Roper

Gayle RoperThis week I’m hosting Rachelle McCalla with Dead Reckoning, Sharon Dunn with Her Guardian, and Gayle Roper with Shadows on the Sand. If you want to enter the drawings, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (August 7th) evening.

Interview for Gayle Roper:

What made you start writing?

I began writing because I liked to read. I’d always liked writing and I’d even been accused of plagiarizing in high school because my writing was “too good”. When my kids were little, I thought it might be fun to try and write what I liked to read.

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I sold my first book back in 1970. It was a mystery that Moody Press published. Christian publishing was another world back then! 

How do you handle rejections?

I hate rejections just like everyone else, but they’re a fact of the writer’s life no matter how long you’ve been writing. You either learn to swallow the hurt, or the hurt will swallow you. Taking yourself out to lunch is a good cure for the rejection blues.

Why do you write?

I write for three reasons. One, I have stories I want to tell. Two, I have things I want to say on various topics, though I’m careful to hide my thoughts in the story. And three, I feel called to share Jesus through stories, to show readers how every choice, whether for good or ill, has consequences.

What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Reading someone else’s story, no doubt. Or watching a movie of someone else’s story. Or gardening. Or eating out. Or going some place interesting. I’m going to a guest ranch for a week this summer. Riding, rodeos, and Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. But I’ll have my Kindle along for the down times.

What are you working on right now?

I’m awaiting the release of my newest, Shadows on the Sand: a Seaside mystery. I have proposals out for my next project (rejection ahead?), and I’m writing a couple of novellas for the first time. Working with 20,000 words instead of 90,000-100,000 is interesting and challenging. A whole story is so few words. We’ll see.

Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I don’t ever write trying to make a character me. I’m sure some of me comes out in unexpected ways like Merry in the Caught series who drank Diet Coke with her Oreos like I used to. But my characters are uniquely themselves. I determine their personality at the beginning of a project and hold true to that through all the angst and excitement and change they face. I will admit to stealing incidents from my life and giving them to a character, like the bed collapsing on Cass in Autumn Dreams. But Cass isn’t me.

Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Shadows in the Sand is a return to Seaside, NJ, and tells the story of Greg, the cop who showed up in the first four Seaside books. When I first wrote Greg, I never anticipated him having his own book, and I gave him a wife and two kids. When he became the lead, I had a problem because the books are all romantic suspense. That meant Greg needed to be single, and that meant goodbye family. So he’s three years a widower, and he gets involved with Carrie, the woman who owns the café where he likes to go for breakfast. Greg and Carrie deal with murder, kidnapping, post-traumatic stress, and love. Great summer reading!  

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I do. Three P’s. PREPARE. Learn to write well. Study the craft in how-to books and conferences. Read what you want to write. Learn to understand story structure and what makes a good sentence. Don’t jump prematurely, whether it’s in presenting a poorly crafted proposal or putting an amateur book up in e-format. 

PERSEVERE. More writers fail because they give up than because they can’t write. It’s risky putting your heart out there, and a few stomps are inevitable. Persevere as you seek excellence.

PRAY. Wash your well-prepared story in prayer. Offer that work of your hands to God to bless as He sees fit. Chances are He doesn’t plan on you becoming famous, but He does plan on using your work to touch lives—if you’ve prepared yourself and persevered. 

How important is faith in your books?

I’m always amazed that most secular writers never touch on the area of faith. It’s like they don’t acknowledge that people think about God, but people do. To be able to present a positive picture of what living a godly faith is like is something I love. 

All actions have consequences. Sometimes the consequences are small. Crossing the street gets us to the other side. Nothing to write home about. But some choices have grave consequences—think choosing who to marry—and faith can help overcome the pain of poor choices already made or strengthen the resolve to choose well even when it’s costly to do so. Biblical principles are so practical! 

Then too I strongly believe our faith also effects our eternity.  

What themes do you like to write about?

Choices and consequences. Second chances. God’s timing is a major theme in Shadows on the Sand.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite beyond the one I just finished, whatever that happens to be at the moment.

What is your writing schedule like?

In this area of my life, I’m a do-as-I say-not-as-I-do individual. I do it all wrong. I have no schedule. I’m a procrastinator. Deadline times are always catch-up times. I should know better. In fact I do know better. I just don’t do well with the 5 pages a day model. It makes me feel stifled. So I stumble along, somehow getting things done. Not very impressive, is it?