10 Questions for Gayle Roper…
Gayle writes for people like herself, readers who enjoy both good writing and a good time reading. Her novels are full of suspense laced with humor, with romance and with a bite as she looks at the various issues that touch our lives and a Christian response to these issues. Though she writes about things like unwed pregnancies, spousal abuse and homosexuality, they are so integrated into a story that brims with suspense, mystery, laughs and romance that readers do not feel lectured to or preached at. Gayle knows that story telling is the first responsibility of a novelist.
Here is Gayle on her wedding day in 1963!
1.. Tricia: Tell me a little about yourself and your writing.
Gayle: I’ve been writing for over thirty-five years. My first book, a mystery published by Moody Press, has a copyright date of 1970 in it. Just thinking about it makes me feel old. (: The truth of the matter is that I never planned to be a writer. It’s one of those God-things where He opens up parts of you that you never even knew were there.
2.. Tricia: I first met you in 1994 at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. You were such an encouragement to me. Why is it important for you to give back to new authors?
Gayle: I come from a family of teachers, and I love to teach. Originally I taught junior high English. It was natural to want to teach writers when I became one, and it’s great fun because they come to conferences on purpose to learn. I think of it as extending that right hand of fellowship in a very practical way. I love taking a new writer and helping him or her hone the talent that is there. I get great joy when one of my students lands a contract.
3.. Tricia:You’ve been a finalist for both the Rita and the Christy awards, and you won the Rita. Congrats! What is the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
Gayle: The awards are fun and encouraging, but the best reward is when what you write touches someone, like the lady who wrote that she laughed out loud in the collapsed bed scene in AUTUMN DREAMS, and said she hadn’t laughed much recently. After she signed her name, she put a PS: I’m divorced. Her life had been hard recently, and laughing was a wonder to her. How wonderful to help make that happen! That’s the kind of “compliment” I treasure.
4.. Tricia: You often write and speak about life’s little interruptions. What is one interruption that you at first complained about, but later saw it as a gift from God?
Gayle: When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a total hysterectomy because of a run-in with cancer and a severe case of endometriosis. That meant no kids for Chuck and me. In time we adopted our sons, Chip and Jeff, now young men with families of their own. What was a definite interruption in what we expected to be the pattern of our lives was God’s provision for Chip and Jeff and His gift to us of a family.
5.. Tricia: As you know, Gayle, my husband John and I are in the process of adopting a child. I know you’ve adopted two boys. How has adoption helped you understand God’s love on a whole new level?
Gayle: When Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, he was put in the palace to prepare him for the call God had on his life. I see something similar in God’s placing of our boys. Here they got a strong Christian background, the opportunity for higher education, etc. They had the opportunity to prepare for God’s call on their lives. But the great thing to remember is that when we believe in Jesus, God adopts us as his sons and daughters, loved as He loves his Only Son. What a special thing that is!
6.. Tricia: Umbrella, sunscreen, or snow boots, which would you pack for your “dream vacation.”
Gayle: Sunscreen, though anywhere interesting is fine with me. My ideal would be a place on the beach somewhere. In reality we have a cottage in the Canadian woods on a lake my husband’s been going to since he was 10 or 11. Summers there are warm and lovely-the beach without the sand. We love it, and better yet, so do our kids and grandkids.
7.. Tricia: Allah’s Fire is a bit different from some of your other novels . . . or is it? How do they compare and contrast?
Gayle: Allah’s Fire differs in a couple of ways. First it’s the first thing I’ve ever co-written. I wrote all the women and my co-writer, Chuck Holton, a former Army Ranger, wrote all the men who are part of a Special Forces explosives unit. It took TIME! I couldn’t write my next chapters until Chuck wrote his and vice versa. Secondly it involves the military and current events in a way my other books don’t. No one in my family has been in the service, so it’s not an area I know in any detail in spite of reading military thrillers. I learned a lot from Chuck in the process of writing. But on the other hand, the book is the same in that it’s about people’s struggles with their relationships to God and each other. It’s about finding that special someone who comes to mean so much to you. It’s about seeing God’s hand where you saw only chaos and tragedy.
8.. Tricia: If you had a week’s worth of free time to kick back and relax, what are the top three books on your to-be-read pile?
Gayle: My to-be-read pile always reaches to the ceiling. I’m what a friend calls a serial novelist-meaning that you finish one, set it down with one hand as you pick up the next with the other. I enjoy mysteries and romantic suspense. I just finished listening to a JD Robb (I love to listen to books on tape.) I’m reading a Lisa Scottoline right now. She’s local and I love the local color. In non-fiction I’m reading Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.
9.. Tricia: If you met a new novelist today and you only had time to offer one tip, what would it be?
Gayle: Persevere. There are many more of us (writers) than there are of them (publishers). More writers fail because they give up than because they can’t write.
10.. Tricia: Finally, a common saying states, “Behind every great man is a good woman.” What is behind every great writer?
Gayle: For one, my mother. Mom was a great reader, and she taught me the joy of books. Reading and reading and reading, especially what you write, is so important to a writer. For another, my husband Chuck whom I call my own personal patron of the arts. He has been supportive of my writing, no easy task for a Ph.D scientist who likes to see absolutes. As anyone in the writing field knows, there is nothing cut and dried about this industry and nothing stable about the income level. But he’s always been there, and I am very appreciative!
ALLAH’S FIRE, now available!
She wanted to save her sister; he wanted to save the world.