Gail Gaymer Martin became one of my writing mentors (without even knowing it) several years ago when I stumbled upon her blog. She did not know at the time what an influence she had on me and how she helped me get my first novel published. But thankfully I was able to tell her and she has been gracious enough to let me highlight her on my blog as a thank you.
Gail is going to offer a giveaway of her new book so make sure to leave a comment with your email address below. We have to have ten people to make a contest so make sure and share!
Now…let’s get down to business. Gail, introduce yourself to my readers.
Born in Detroit, I was born into a Christian family and grew up in a rural suburb on a dirt road in a small farmhouse where my grandfather grew vegetables and my mom grew flowers. I was the oldest of two siblings—my sister Jan and, thirteen years later, my brother Dan. We attended church in the small town of Royal Oak, but when I was about ten, my family became involved in a new mission church. We were among the first members and remained in the church until it was merged with another church in the area. I now live in a northwest suburb of Detroit in a colonial style red brick house with dark brown shutters and front door. My office faces the front and looks out on a beautiful magnolia tree which is now in bloom. I’m married to Bob and I have two step-children. Brenda died in 2006 from ovarian cancer. Dave, our son, is a mechanic by trade but a musician by heart. He writes his own music and is the lead singer and guitar player for his rock band that performs all over. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter as Clay Adams Band. He also hosts open mics and performs at coffee houses in the Detroit area. My husband is a musician as well—tuba player and directs and plays handbells. I am also active in music. I am an active member at my church in both the worship committee and music ministry where I play handbells, sing with the praise team and the traditional choir, and also am a soloist.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
My parents loved to read so I grew up with the same devotion to the written word. My mother belonged to the Doubleday book club and when I was older I continued to read both my mother’s novels and huge piles I would bring home from the library. My favorite summer event was to bring home a stack of novels, lie on a blanket under a huge tree in our front yard and read. I read teen novels, the classics, and best selling novels of the time.
What is your favorite genre to read now?
Though I write romance novels, I have always read suspense novels (some romantic suspense) and mainstream fiction. I love stories about families in crisis, love stories with sometimes sad endings, people searching for their purpose or for the answer to a haunting question. I’ve read many of the classics, enjoyed gothic novels, and today I often purchase best sellers on the New York Times list. I recently read House Rules by Jodi Jicoult, The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks, Angel Falls and Night Road by Kristin Hannah and The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson, and The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson (Christian fiction).
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
When I was in third grade, my teacher wrote on my report card, “Gail is a good writer.” I wrote poetry and little stories way back then. I said that young that I wanted to write stories, but I let the dream be only that—a dream. Writing for publication didn’t come true for many years later.
Tell us about your journey to getting published. How long did you write before you sold your first book? How many books do you have published now? When I was in a position to retire from my counseling position and still young enough to want to do something with my time, I began writing. My first sale Kneel Before The Baby was a a book of worship programs using material I’d written for my church.I continued writing for Christian and secular magazines, periodicals and Sunday school materials. I sold most everything I wrote and realized the Lord was validating my childhood dream to write fiction.I began writing long fiction at the very end of 1996. I wrote fast and started submitting to publishers but received rejection after rejection. Soon the rejects were good ones with suggestions on what I needed to learn and what I did right. I listened and worked to hone my craft. A little more than a year later in 1998 I sold my first novel to Barbour for their Heartsong Presents line. After writing another novel for them, I sold a novel to Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Today I have had over fifty contracted books, including Writing the Christian Romance for Writers Digest.
Why do you still write?
I write because I have to. My mind is filled with stories, and sometimes I think my head would burst without releasing them. : ) I also write because I believe the Lord called me to write. Reader mail attests to the work of the Holy Spirit, the coauthor of my books. Beautiful letters and emails from readers tell me of the way in which a novel has changed their lives or made them have hope when they had none. I believe the Lord has blessed my stories to serve as a witness to God’s faithfulness, love, mercy, forgiveness and the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. I can’t walk away from that.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
As I stated above, I am a woman of faith and no matter what I write my Christian worldveiw would show in my work. God led me into Christian fiction through early writer contacts, and I believe it was where I was supposed to be. My own faith has deepened as a result of writing, and I have become a speaker who also has the opportunity to share my faith and my counseling expertise with listeners. I see the Lord’s hand in the lives of my characters, and though some are not Christian or weak Christians, my personal faith experiences come alive through them. I do not try to convert, but some are converted none-the-less—not by my will but by the power of the Holy Spirit. As I reflect on my characters, I witness some of them growing closer to the Lord and to believe in His promises. To me that makes my writing worthwhile. I can serve the Lord and do what I love to do.
Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?
So many scriptures touch my heart and give me strength for each day, but one of my favorites as a writer is the reminder that we were called not to write for ourselves but for others. 2 Cor 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. My words can touch readers hearts to help them change and assist them in their faith walk. This is my calling.
Tell us about your latest book.
The last few contracts with Love Inspired have been connecting novels. My upcoming release, A Dream Of His Own, is the last in the Dreams Come True series. The first novel was A Dad Of His Own and the second was A Family Of Their Own. These three novels are based on three women who belong to an organization for mothers of kids with serious illnesses. Dreams Come True is a foundation, as Make A Wish Foundation, that grants trips and events for these children. Each novel can stand alone, but the final novel answers one question unanswered in the other two books—who is the lone donor of this foundation and why. It has been an enlightening novel to research and a joy to write. The second novel is a finalist in Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence along with my Christmas novella, “Small Town Christmas” in a duet LI, Christmas Gifts.
Are you a plotter, a panster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I am a plotter in the sense that I know the beginning and ending of my novels and I know what the dark moment will involve. The middle of the book is an adventure. I have ideas about what will happen but I leave places where the characters can take over and help me know them even better. I am often surprised where the Lord guides these stories. Characters say line that I’m not sure what they mean, and after thinking about it, I realize it is setting up a new crisis or conflict or it is providing motivation for something else that will happen in the novel. Leaving places that characters can detour is important since the story then becomes a surprise for me as well as the reader.
What are you working on now?
I am presently beginning work on a new series that involves sisters. The first novel is complete with the title Her Valentine Hero to be released in February 2013. This novel involves Neely Turner who returns home for some family issues and is reunited with the bane of her youth, her best friend’s younger brother who has grown into a good looking, respected man in the community. The next books are in the proposal stage, but I have set up two of the stories in the first book so I am on my way with some good ideas. Now I just hope my editors like the ideas too. : )
Gail can be found at several places on the Internet.
Thank you, Gail, for joining us today!