I’m delighted to have as my guest today noted author Gayle Roper. Gayle taught the mentoring group I attended at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference early in my writing journey, and I will always be grateful, not only for what she taught me, but for her support in the years that followed.
Gayle is the award-winning author of more than forty books. She has been a Christy finalist three times, has won the prestigious Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, had a book named Inspirational Readers Choice Book of the Year (tied with fellow author Brandilyn Collins), won the Holt Medallion three times, and won the Reviewers Choice Award. To top it off, Romantic Times Book Reviews has given Gayle the Lifetime Achievement Award.
RM: Gayle, I’m in awe, having as my guest a writer who has accomplished so much. In your years of writing, what has been your proudest achievement?
GR: I think I’m proudest and most thankful for the fact that my writing career has lasted for over 40 years. That’s a long time to be published. I consider it a gift from the Lord. I find it hard to imagine what my life would have been without this longevity. How much I would have missed!
RM: Outside of writing, what does Gayle Roper do to keep herself busy?
GR: We have a lake cottage in Canada, and I spend my summers there. It’s great for writing. I have always been very involved in my church, and now my main contribution there is organizing the annual women’s silent retreat the last weekend in January. But my sweetest involvement is with my family and friends. I have two great sons, two lovely daughters-in-law and five grandkids who are the best. And I’m blessed with wonderful friends, some in the profession and some not, all of whom have been so supportive over the last couple of hard years.
RM: Having been down that road myself, I know how devastating the loss of a spouse can be. After Chuck’s passing you started a blog about your experiences. Would you tell my readers a bit about TheWidow’s Journey?
GR: For over a year after Chuck died, I didn’t write about it. I didn’t want to. Then one day I was sitting on the dock at our cottage, and I started thinking of these little pieces about how I felt and what being a widow did to your life, and I went inside, grabbed the computer and started to write. It didn’t take long to realize I had a blog developing here. I’d resisted blogging because I didn’t feel strongly enough about anything to commit to writing about it regularly. Now I had a topic and a desire to touch other widows and widowers, to let them know that while our experiences and situations may differ, our emotions are very much the same.
RM: You have written so many books, covering a wide variety of subjects and settings. Do you have a favorite book or series?
GR: You know, I really don’t. I like all my books for different reasons. I like the Caught series because I love the heroine and the humor mixed with the mystery. I love the Seaside books for each unique story and the chance to wrap timely topics from cults (Shadows in the Sand) to a gay brother (Spring Rain) to an overwhelming parent (Summer Shadows) in a story of suspense and romance. I love my Amish novels because I live where they live and watch them all the time. It’s great to present them as real people with real problems. When you get to know the people in these books and others, they become real, their problems and solutions become real, and I love them all.
RM: Would you tell my readers about your latest novel?
GR: Shadows on the Sand is set back in Seaside, NJ, my version of a Jersey shore town, based on Ocean City, NJ. Carrie, after a rough start in life, has settled in Seaside and runs a café. Among her customers is Greg, the cop who showed up in all the other Seaside books and who now gets to be The Guy instead of a peripheral character. Andi, a waitress—or server if I want to be PC about it—is hiding from some very bad guys, and through her Carrie and Greg get drawn into the mystery. We’ve got cults, missing mothers, murder, the twisting path to true love, forgiveness, and a time for every purpose under heaven. Do you think that will whet appitites?
RM: And what’s on the horizon for the prolific Gayle Roper?
GR: A lot of my time right now is going into my blog, The Widow’s Journey. My vision for the blog is that it will become a book. The comments that have come show that many women get what I’m saying. They are where I’ve been and still am. I’ve also got a couple of book projects in the development stages. Nothing firmed up yet, but much that is promising.
RM: Finally, as I always ask, any last words for those who read my blog?
GR: I was just reading today about the 10,000 hours that we need to practice our chosen field to gain expertise. It brings home to me the three P’s for success as a writer or as one who does well in any field. Perseverance. Prayer. Practice. It’s a three legged stool, and if you remove one of those legs, the stool cannot stand. So don’t give up. Ask God’s help and seek his will. And practice so that by constant use you may prove yourself. That way you’ll get to the point of giving Richard and me a run for our publishing money!
Thanks, Gayle. As always, great to be with you (even in cyberspace). Readers, do you have any questions for Gayle?