Monday, April 26, 2010

Interview with Author Gayle Roper

Author Gayle Roper

Gayle Roper was the speaker at a writer's seminar that I attended some years ago, and let me tell you, she was fabulous! From developing characters to writing great fiction and beyond, the info was helpful and  memorable. I still have my notes from that conference, it was that good. Imagine how pleased I was when she agreed to an interview.

Karen: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Gayle: Becoming a writer was one of those God-surprises that turn out to be absolutely perfect. I come from a family of teachers and was a teacher after I graduated. When our boys came, I stayed home with them, but I quickly got bored. I started to write to keep my mind active. I’ve always liked to read, so writing seemed something I might like too. Needless to say, I loved it and have been doing it ever since.

Karen: How did you get into writing for publication?
Gayle: At first I just wrote little scenes or descriptions for the fun of it. Then I thought I might as well try something of value and see if I could sell it. I wrote a short story for teens based on something that happened when I was teaching, sold it to a teen magazine, and made ten whole dollars! I was a writer. Then I tried a mystery novel since I loved to read them. It actually sold too. I was off, though the ride hasn’t been nearly as smooth along the way.


Karen: What kind of research did you do for the Amish Farm Trilogy?
Gayle: As someone who has lived in this area for more than forty years, I have watched and read and thought about this fascinating culture for a long time. When I see a young Amish woman gliding along on her inline skates, I wonder if she knows they are a product of the very technologically dependent petro-chemical industry. When I watch a buggy with Mom and the kids fighting heavy traffic on US 30 so they can go to Walmart, I wonder if keeping the legalism is worth the danger. When I see the little schoolhouses and think about education stopping at eighth grade, I wonder what an Amish child with a high IQ and an inquisitive mind does to scratch the yearning for knowledge itch.
To make certain that my observations and thoughts were accurate, I read material by sociologists like John Hostetler and Donald Kraybill. I asked questions all over the place. I had lunch with artist Susie Riehl and her friend and agent Shirley Wenger to learn Susie’s story.

Karen: What kinds of characters are your favorites to develop?
Gayle: I like characters with a past, flawed people who have found and are still finding freedom in Christ. If they are also a bit eccentric, all the better, but the eccentricity has to have a direct effect on the story or it’s just fluff.


What book (to date) was the most difficult to write?
Gayle: Whatever book I’m writing at the moment. Certainly some have special issues, like Allah’s Fire which I co-wrote with a former Army Ranger. I’d never co-authored before and was used to being in charge. It’s hard to learn to play with others. That special challenge aside (which I think we resolved into a very fine book), it’s whatever I’m currently working my way through.
Karen: Thanks for sharing with us, Gayle. 
Gayle: It was my pleasure.

Gayle's books include the Seaside Series, mysteries set in a seaside town much like where I grew up. I bought Book One at the conference and of course had to buy the other three. :) I highly recommend them.

I'm looking forward to checking out the Amish Farm Trilogy. Book One is out; Book Two will be released in September 2010. Visit Gayle's website for more info.

Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you all. Happy Writing!


  1. Morning Karen, another great interview.

    Thank you for taking the time to do it and blogging it.

    You are such an encouragement. Have a beautiful week my friend. Blessings and big hug. ♥

  2. Thank you for the interview! I haven't read Gayle's current books but they sound wonderful.
    Great questions about the Amish culture too. I hadn't even thought about the skates thingy. Very interesting.

  3. Dear Karen: Thanks for the great interview. The books about the Amish sound very fascinating and written from the heart.

    By the way, YOU are the winner of the 200th post Giveaway at Writing Straight from the Heart. I need your address again to send out the box! CONGRATULATIONS, Karen.

    I cannot even tell you how happy I am that you are one of my very faithful Followers. That means so much to me. Sincerely, Susan

  4. Raymonde,
    Good morning to you too, although by now it is probably afternoon or evening in England! :) Thank you for coming by; glad you enjoyed the interview. Gayle is a sweet lady and such a blessing.

    You are welcome. Yes, Gayle is a great writer and speaker. I thought that the skate thing was interesting too. My grandparents used to live in the Lancaster, PA area, so I spent alot of time there growing up. I've always been fascinated with that way of life.

    Susan W.,
    Glad you enjoyed the interview. I think Gayle is a wonderful writer and I am sure that her Amish books are a good read. Thanks for letting me know about the giveaway. I'm excited to hear that I won! What a treat.

    Thanks and blessings to you all,

  5. Ooo, seaside mysteries? I think I need these books.
    Thanks for sharing, Karen. :D

  6. I've read her books before and love her work:)) Thank you!

  7. Hi Karen -

    I met Gayle at a book signing a couple of years ago. She's one of the authors I'm determined to read because I love mysteries.

    Fascinating. I didn't know she collaborated with someone on a book. I got a chuckle out of her line about "learning to play together."

    Susan :)

  8. Emily,
    If you like a good mystery, I think you will like that series.

    You are welcome. Glad to hear that you are a fan of Gayle's.

    Susan R.,
    Yes, I think you might enjoy her books. Thought that (about collaborating) was funny too.

    Blessings to you all. Thanks for coming by,

  9. I always wondered how some suthors did research for amish culture.
    Very interesting.
    will put Gayle's books on my TBB list! :)

  10. Great interview! I especially love Gayle's answer regarding characters. I will definitely check out her new book!!!

  11. Jennifer,
    This culture has always interested me
    too. I think you may enjoy Gayle's books when you get around to it.

    Thank you. I thought her take on characters was interesting, too. She knows her stuff!


  12. Great interview, Karen! Thanks for dropping by, too. :)

  13. Karen,
    Thanks for sharing about Gayle's books!

    LOVED the visit!

  14. Great interview Karen, one of my favorites!! I'm going to be looking into Gayle's books!

    Happy Tuesday!

  15. Victoria,
    Thank you! As for stopping by your blog, it was my pleasure.

    Glad you enjoyed it. Appreciate your visits:)

    Thank you. I think you might enjoy her books.

    Thanks and blessings to you all,

  16. Karen, I love Amish mysteries and can't wait to read Gayle's books. Thanks for this great interview!
    Hugs and blessings to you,

  17. Can you imagine? Selling your first story AND your first book? She's somehin' else all right!

    Great interview, you two!

  18. Great interview. Thanks for sharing. :)

  19. Katt,
    Glad to hear it; hope you enjoy Gayle's books. She's a great writer.

    I know! I thought the same thing. What a fabulous way to start.

    Thank you, you are very welcome. Always good to see you.

    Blessings to all of you,

  20. A great entry and very interesting.

    My husband grew up in Amish Country and I have had some of the same thoughts about their way of life.

  21. Brit,
    Thanks! Appreciate you coming by. It is an interesting way of life. But then, they think the same of us, most likely.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!