Interview (& Giveaway): Gayle Ann Williams, author of Tsunami Blue and Riders on the Storm

I’m so thrilled to have the lovely Gayle Ann Williams on the blog today! Gayle is the author of the awesome Tsunami Blue, and its sequel, Riders On the Storm (just out!!). She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions, and is offering a killer giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Gayle to the blog!

Gayle, I absolutely loved Tsunami Blue, and the next book in the series, Riders On the Storm, is out now! Have you always wanted to write? What made you decide to take the plunge and write a novel?
Thanks Kristin, and first of all, thank you so much for having me here today. You have a beautiful site. This is great fun.

The short answer is yes. I have always written, sometimes just scribbles here and there, sometimes really bad poetry, and in my college days, long rambling essays filled with angst, mainly about me, lol. But there was always that pull, that need, to put words on paper, to find a home as it were for all the stories in my head. From the time I was small until now, that has never left me. I don’t think it ever will. I’ve always know that one day, my words would become a novel.

How did you celebrate when you sold your first book?
Actually? I had a mammogram. Really, lol.

When the call came from the amazing Leah Hultenschmidt (now Senior Editor with Sourcebooks Casablanca), I jumped out of the shower to answer the phone. I dropped the phone, caught it in midair, had to ask Leah to repeat who she was and how did she spell her name. Embarrassing I know! After receiving the news, I raced out the door with wet hair, my T-Shirt on inside out, and two different flip flops. Hey, don’t judge, I was late, lol. The technician at my appointment said she had never seen anyone so happy to have a mammogram in all her life.

Fast forward to the release of TSUNAMI BLUE. There is a photo on my website with the book TSUNAMI BLUE, a lemon drop martini, and Friday Harbor as backdrop, taken at my favorite bar on my little island. That celebration went on all day. . and most of the night. 🙂

Tsunami Blue takes place in a world made of water, and your love of the ocean is obvious. What were some of your biggest influences in writing it?
On Christmas night, 2004 I boarded a plane out of Seattle and flew right into the Southeast Asia tsunami. In the air when the deadly wave hit, I knew that if I had arrived a few hours earlier, I might have been a statistic.

Traveling in and out of the airports during that time period, passing walls and walls of photos of the missing and lost; I would sometimes pause, tracing a picture with my fingertips of a bracelet or a ring. These small mementos, begging to be found, hoping to lend a clue and lead a path to a lost loved one, broke my heart.

And even though my TSUNAMI BLUE SERIES is most certainly a work of pure fiction, an adventure of fictional characters, I took away from this real life experience, an underlying current. A theme, if you will. And that was, that even through all the sadness, all the tragedy, the resilience of the human spirit, of never ending hope for a better future, remained. I felt it in every hug I received; saw it in every shy smile. There it was. Hope.

Later, when I envisioned a lone woman, sitting by the ocean’s edge, listening to a message only she could hear, The TSUNAMI BLUE SERIES was born.

What was your favorite character to write in Tsunami Blue?
Even though I LOVED writing Gabriel Black, a man I hoped was every woman fantasy (he sure was mine), my favorite? Was Blue.

I love her innocence, her naivety brought about by her extreme isolation. And yet, she is fearless, strong, and brave. She struggles to do the right thing every day, guided by a strong moral compass that has nothing to do with the knives she wields, or the language she uses. In short, she is a good person, with a big heart, and I love that about her. If I was lost in a dangerous post-apocalyptic word, I would want Tsunami Blue to be my friend. My best friend.

Can you give us an idea of what’s in store for Blue in Riders On the Storm?
I’ve always envisioned a cast of quirky characters throughout the series, each with a new journey as they travel through this dangerous world that has been changed forever by the deadly tsunami waves. In RIDERS ON THE STORM, you will meet Sage Pasco, known as the Tracker, a beautiful young woman with a hidden, secret gift of her own. Along with her handful-of-a- kid sister, Sammie, they will play an important role in Blue’s life. And without giving away too much, Blue will find some closure in book two. Something that brought tears to my eyes when I wrote it.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
No. And yes. I LOVE music. My iPod is full, I blast music in the car and at home. Plus? I sing in the shower. Loudly. Badly. I’m in Las Vegas right now, and I search venues for live music every chance I get. Music inspires my stories, my characters and me.

But? When I write?
Silence. (Can you hear that pin drop?)
Always, silence. No music, no TV, no conversations, no writing in a busy coffee shop, (even though I’m addicted to espresso). I just can’t do it. I need quiet. And because I’m a night person, silence is fairly easy to come by. I like to chomp on something when I write, and rather it be my fingernails, I try to do something like raw carrots. But what I really want? Are M&Ms. Sigh.

What are some of your favorite authors or novels?
Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite author, simply because he influenced me at such an early age with his dark tales and heart pounding stories. And A WRINKLE IN TIME’s author Madeleine L ‘Engle. Who can forget Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which? And give me Anne Rice’s vampires any day . . . or night.

Also, I read as many of my writer friends as I can. I find it such fun to “see” and “hear” my friends in their work. I just love it.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
Like the rest of the world, I’m on a big YA surge right now. I just love these stories that speak to readers across all ages. I just finished CINDER by Marissa Meyer. Loved it. And I can’t say enough about THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater. Such beautiful, lyrical writing. And it takes place on an island, which I love. Right now, I’m reading DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, by Laini Taylor. In a word? Amazing.

When you’re not busy at work on your next book, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a poker player. I love this game. It is so challenging, and there is so much strategy involved. It really is a game of skill, and it took me a number of years before I started to learn the subtleties and nuances, before I started to win. (And, no, I don’t always win, lol.) I spend a great deal of time in Las Vegas, honing my skills. But writing is my first passion, and always comes first.

If you could pack your bags and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Back to Cambodia.

First the country is beautiful. And even though it has a tragic past of violence and war that will tear at your soul, the people are still so resilient and welcoming. It is the home of the ruins of Angkor Watt. (Think Lara Croft, tomb Raider.) There are no words to describe seeing the temples in person. Breathtaking. Life changing.

But it was the people, especially the children that won my heart. I’ll never forget when our driver pulled the car over so I could get out and shake the hands of a group of kids and give hugs all around. When we left, he thanked me for, “What I did for his country that day.” I’ll never forget it. It was such a simple thing that meant so much.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to struggling writers?
This is your unique journey. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, because there is only one of you. And the way you see the world, the way you tell your truth, will be unique to your writing and yours alone.
Keep learning your craft. That part? Never ends. Keep an open mine always, if enough people tell you the same thing, they could be right. But mostly, keep at it. No matter how long. You can do this. And it is worth it.

Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Yes, there will be a third book in the TSUNAMI BLUE SERIES. The working title is RING OF FIRE. You can only guess what that involves, after all the San Juan Islands which are home to the series, are in the volcanic region of the Pacific NW, known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire.” The book’s theme? When a good girl, goes bad. . . Look for it late summer.

Kristin, thank you again for having me today. I love your site and your readers. This was such fun.

Keep up with Gayle: Website | Twitter
Read my review of Tsunami Blue!

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 signed copy of Tsunami Blue AND an ebook of Riders on the Storm by Gayle Ann Williams to 2 winners
3. Giveaway is open to US addresses ONLY
4. Must include a valid email address with your entry
5. You must enter on or before 3/30/12
6. Giveaway book generously provide by the author.
7. Please see my Giveaway Policy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Priscilla Pomeroy

    This sounds like an interesting series. I am excited to read it! And BTW Friday Harbor is gorgeous! I love visiting there! We are in Anacortes quite often. To me, it is one of the most beautiful places!

  2. Priscilla,

    How fun. And yep, Friday Harbor is amazing, right now I’m in the desert, in Las Vegas and will be home to the island in a few weeks. And as mcuh as I love this city, boy, do I miss the water, lol. You must be from Washington? Like me. 🙂

  3. I love LOVE Gayle Ann’s books. Have read the first two and am excited to know a third is in the works. This lady is one talented gal.

  4. I have read Tsunami Blue and absolutely loved it!!! My husband even read it! It Has just enough high speed action to hold a mans attention lol!! I cannot wait to read the second book. I tell myself I am not going to burn through this one as I want to really enjoy the ride I am confident it will take me on!!! Please keep up the writing… It really love your style and characters!!!

  5. Victoria Zumbrum

    I would love to read this series. It sounds very good.

  6. I read Tsunami Blue and absolutely could not put it down!  The characters and setting are facinating!  I’ve downloaded Riders on the Storm and am so excited to read it!  More please!!!

  7. Thank you for stopping by and having a read, all. Everyone is so busy, I know, lol. And thanks to Kristin, for the great questions. Tons of fun. 🙂

  8. Loved Tsunami Blue. Bought 3 copies for our daughters, 4 copies for friends and even a copy for the exwife’s sister. Can’t wait to read Riders on the Storm. Hope book three is just around the corner. Keep on writing Gayle.

  9. You guys rock! Thanks for giving Gayle such a warm reception!!

  10. I have wanted to read about Blue ever since I read the review posted here on My Bookish Ways. love the sound of it. And congrats, book two is now out! Hope it does well for you.

  11. Great interview! I know what Ms. Williams means about music – if I have music on, I don’t get as much done ’cause I have to stop and bop every now and again … X-D I have “Tsunami Blue” on my “to read” pile and will definitely be watching for the next books to pick ’em up when I have a chance!

  12. Wow, I’m glad that you came to the airport later! God bless those souls. It’s great that you’re here with us today to publish such a great book!

  13. I would love to see you play poker. Are you completely dead pan? I can’t believe you would be, but I see the hidden worlds in your book so I know they are in your too, mysterious lady!

    Can’t wait for Blue Three!

  14. I enjoyed the interview. Your series looks great!


  15. Jeanine, Tami, thank you so much.So happy you are enjoying the TSUNAMI BLUE SERIES. And I will try to write faster, lol.

    Thank you Victoria, for coming by. 🙂 it is a fun story, promise.

    Candi! Thank you. So many folks are reading my stories, thanks to you. Love it.

  16. Welcome Gayle! Gayle, you are a new author to me and I find the Tsunami Blue series to be very interesting. I enjoyed the interview.


  17. Ashley! Thank you for buying RIDERS ON THE STORM. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it as much as you did TSUNAMI BLUE.

    And thank you Lexi, for the good wishes. so very nice.

    And Katy, I’m with you. I would never get any writing done, I’d be dancing. . . lol.

    Thank you so much, LeDerpy, for you kind words.

  18. These books look really interesting!

  19. This series sounds amazing. I hadn’t heard of it before and can’t wait to dive in to it!

  20. I want to know where you got your boots?? Cute! Thanks for the giveaway!! I am looking forward to the series!

  21. Lol. Thanks Jessa. If you only knew. Dan pan? No, I tend to talk too much, laugh, and try to do chip tricks, badly, lol. Hey, I just got Hotter On The Edge on my Kindle. 🙂

    Thank you Robin, for stopping by. It is a fun series, promise.

    Becky, there are so many wonderful authors out there, I find new ones every day, too. I’m glad you, found me.;)

    Thank you Galena,(what a beautiful name).

    Thank you Poppy! And please, do dive in. 😉

    Thank you Kelly. Lol, on my website, under fun stuff, you can read all about my boots, that I wrote into TSUNAMI BLUE. The back cover copy starts out, “With Her Badass rainboots. . .”

  22. Kristin! Thank you for having me. Loved it. All the very best, Gayle

  23. I enjoyed learning more about the author. The series sounds very good.

  24. This sounds like a fantastic series and what a wonderful interview. I’d love to see Cambodia in person someday.

  25. Gayle, thanks for stopping back to comment to everyone. It is so nice when an author takes the time to reply to readers. =)

  26. I loved Tsunami Blue and can’t wait to reread it so I’ll be ready for Riders on the Storm.

  27. A mammogram as a celebration? Man, not something I was expecting at all. I love the books on your nightstand. All of them are on my wishlist and I heard the Daughter of Smoke and Born will become a movie soon, so exciting. Thank you for the gorgeous picture of Cambodia. What a great choice. I haven’t been outside the U.S., but that seems like a great place visit. Adding it to the list. I am looking forward to this, the story and that amazing cover are all I need. Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for the amazing giveaway.

    • Thank you for coming by, bn100. 🙂

      And thanks Tami, I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Kristin came up with some really fun questions for me. And Cambodia is worth the visit, promise.

      Lexi, you are so welcome. I love talking with readers, anytime. 🙂

      Aw, Lisa. So glad you enjoyed BLUE. I think RIDERS is great fun too. Just wait until you meet Sammie. 😉 Thanks for reading.

      I know, Diana, lol. I live on a little island in the Pacific NW, and the technicians fly in or come by boat (ferry)so appointments are long awaited. Little did I know I would get “The Call” just before, lol.
      And you can thank Kristin for the great photo of Angkor in Cambodia, she found it for my interview. Really great, gives you an idea of the size. And it sounds like we have the same taste in reading, fun. 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by, this has been great.

      Thanks Kristin!!

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