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.
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.