Gayle Roper has authored more than 45 books. She has won a Carol Award, the RITA Award and finaled repeatedly in the Christys. She has won the Holt Medallion three times and twice her titles have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Several writers conferences including Mount Hermon have cited her for her contributions to the training of writers. She has been chair of the MM mentoring program since its inception.
SS: Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been a writer for 45 years. My first book has a copyright of 1970 back in the time when copyrights were in the publisher’s name, not the author’s. I was married for 47 years, am now a widow, and my constant prayer is that I finish well. In case you think that makes me old, age is only a number. I’m about to leave for two weeks away, I have two books under contract, and I’m about to release my second independent book with two more planned.
SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
Becoming an author was a big surprise. I’ve always loved books and story but as a reader. I wanted to become a nurse until I became a Candy Stripper. Yikes! Then I wanted to become and did become a teacher. I loved and still love teaching. (My parents and brothers were/are all teachers.) I began writing just to pass the time and challenge myself when I became a stay-at-home mom. I found I loved it!
SS: What genre do you write and why? Are there other genres you’ve written or would like to try?
I have always loved to read mysteries and romantic suspense so that’s what I write. Even the eleven children’s books I wrote all have mysteries in them. I have also written several non-fiction titles, the most recent coming in March, 2015 and called A Widow’s Journey.
SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?
How characters come to be is something of a mystery, but there are concrete things I do to help the intuitive process. I always pick someone I know for the physical characteristics of my hero/ine. Right now Nan, my next heroine, looks like my granddaughter Bri. But she isn’t Bri in personality.
For personality I use a profile program that has four major personality types, sanguine (friendly, outgoing), choleric (leader, powerful), melancholy (thoughtful, sensitive), and phlegmatic (laid back, non-confrontive). I make sure my hero and heroine are opposites so there’s inherent conflict because they look at things differently, but there’s attraction because each has what the other lacks and needs.
For example, a sanguine who is interested in people and who’s a glass half full person is attracted to a melancholy sensitive thinker who’s a glass half empty person. They’re a good team to solve a mystery because she’s willing to ask all the questions and he’s able to think through all the answers. Of course her good humor irks him and his quiet nature makes her feel reined in. But she loves his depth and he is drawn to her joy in life. Opposites attracting.
SS: Tell us about your current release.
An Unexpected Match features Rachel, an Amish young woman who would be an academic if she were English. As a melancholy personality (remember the profile), she struggles with her beliefs and her intellectual curiosity. Her sensitive nature makes reconciling them a challenge with no good outcome.
Rob, our hero, is an Army vet, strong, a choleric, a leader. He likes to fix things, and Rachel isn’t easy to “fix” because of her background.
Johnny, Rachel’s brother, is phlegmatic and has let life just happen with the result that he’s fallen in with some very dangerous people. These dangerous people spill over onto Rachel and Rob, forcing actions and decisions.
SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?
Coming from a family of teachers, education was always emphasized in my home. I’ve long been fascinated and distressed by the Amish feeling that learning is dangerous and can take you away from family and faith. While there is truth and possibility in that, education can also lead to wonderful knowledge, new frontiers, and can strengthen your faith.
There are many intelligent Amish people, but they largely channel their intelligence to practical areas. I kept wondering what a good, law-abiding Amish person does if her mind is drawn to ideas, not practical wisdom. Enter Rachel who dares to get a GED and go to her first college class even as she fears God’s displeasure with her.
SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?
Rachel struggles with wanting to remain Amish while wanting to expand her intellectual horizons. Part of her journey is realizing that leaving the Amish community doesn’t mean leaving God. Knowing Him and loving Him are personal heart issues, not community dictated issues.
SS: What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on another Seaside book called Present Perfect. It’s romantic suspense. Nan, my heroine, owns a gift shop called Present Perfect on the boardwalk. Rog, my hero, is the cop who comes when there’s trouble at the store.
SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I was without a home for seven months when my house sold well before the place was built. I traveled during that waiting time.
2. I love to go shelling, visiting Sanibel Island, FL, every year to indulge that hobby.
3. I’ve been teaching at writers conference around the country for over forty years.
SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found at www.gayleroper.com and www.widowsjourney.com. I am also putting up videos on you tube about my widow’s journey. Video.
SS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
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