Gayla’s writing journey began with her hobby painting landscapes. In her imagination, characters and scenes came to life as she painted beautiful natural settings. Her inspiring novels combine her love for the great outdoors with romance, mystery and suspense.
Gayla and her husband often tour the country in their RV, visiting many state and national parks. She enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling, and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest.
To learn more and sign up for her newsletter, visit http://www.gaylakhiss.com/
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I’m a work in progress, but tremendously blessed.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
Camping in our RV, hiking, traveling, attending music concerts
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy. That’s what really sparked my interest in romantic suspense and mysteries. Second would be Victoria Holt’s The Road to Paradise Island.
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
I used to be as software engineer for NASA (but not a rocket scientist J). However, I worked on the Space Station program, writing software to control payloads in space.
I’m kind of a science geek
Due to my numerous food sensitivities, I’ve developed a big interest in nutrition and natural healing.
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
I started with contemporary romance. After camping in the national parks and developing a fascination with outdoor survival and wilderness adventures, I’ve set my recent books in and near the national parks and added more suspense and mystery to them.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I can’t think of one specific criticism, but I came very close to being published a few years ago and it didn’t work out. As a result, I was forced to re-think my writing and publishing goals. I think it was a blessing in disguise because I became a better writer as a result, and later I was offered a contract with another publisher that better fits my writing goals. Best compliment was being offered a multi-book publishing contract for my Peril in the Park series.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?
Historical romantic suspense/mysteries. I really enjoy reading books from the Victorian and Regency period, and also Sherlock Holmes and Victoria Holt books.
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?
I’ve been blessed to have two careers, one as a software engineer and one as an author. The author career is what I dreamed of doing while I was an engineer, so you could say I’m living the dream, but I didn’t count on how long it would take for me to really transition into being an author. It’s very different than working for a large corporation and it’s been a significant learning curve for me.
What is the most important thing you’d like readers to take away from your books?
A common theme in my books is getting back to the simple things in life like faith, family, and the land. I feel like we’ve become so busy and distracted we’ve lost touch with those three basic things. To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable and restorative than going camping outdoors and connecting with God, the Creator. We are so blessed to have our state and national park system. I want future generations to value and enjoy them too.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
Find writers’ conferences, writers’ organizations and critique groups. I’ve learned so much through all those channels, and have met so many wonderful writers who have shared helpful insights and encouraged me along the way. In fact, I met my publisher at a writers’ conference.
As the manhunt advances to the rugged back country of North Cascades National Park, Jenny is confronted with her past mistakes. But she soon discovers the greatest threat of all is losing her heart to Chase, who is obsessed with capturing the fugitive at all costs.
Risking everything to help Chase find the man who could kill them both, Jenny's faith is put to the test. Like an avalanche waiting to happen, their path is fraught with danger. Will the enemy get away with murder? Will Jenny and Chase reach freedom and safety, or be buried alive? They must tread carefully. One step in the wrong direction could mean the difference between life and death.
Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win a copy of Gayla's book, AVALANCHE! (U.S. only please.)