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Interview With Gail Gaymer Martin

Meet Gail Gaymer Martin
Interview by Sandra Moore

Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

My name is Gail Martin. Gaymer is my maiden name and I used that when I first began to write so I decided to continue using it with my inspirational fiction. I'm married to Bob Martin, best husband in the world (he's my proofreader and major supporter). We have two adult children (I'm a step-parent).

I am a retired educator. I taught high school English and public speaking for a number of years and finished my master's degree in counseling. A few years later, I took the position of high school guidance counselor and developed support groups for teens: Children of Divorce, Drug Abuse, Self-Esteem, Suicide Intervention, Grief groups.

I did a great deal of writing for my church: worship services for special occasions, puppet scripts, children's programs, and articles for the church newspaper. When I decided to retire from education, I formatted four Christmas services I'd written and sent it to CSS Publishing. Four months later I sold my first book. I have written fifteen such books to date and I am published with a variety of houses besides CSS: Standard, Concordia, Educational Ministries, and Contemporary Drama.

I also write freelance and have sold hundreds of articles and short stories to parenting, teen, and children's magazines. Many of the articles were based on my counseling background. Now, I've been doing much more writing about writing.

I started writing novels in 1997 and sold my first to Heartsong Presents in 1998, another in 1999, and since then five novellas, two published and three to be released - "To Keep Me Warm" in Home For Christmas in September 2001, "Apple of His Eye" in The English Garden, Dec 2001, and "Once A Stranger" in German Enchantment.

Besides the two Heartsong novels, I have sold four novels to Steeple Hill Love Inspired - Upon A Midnight Clear (Oct 00) just received the Holt Medallion for the best short inspirational. My next releases are Secrets of the Hearts (Aug 01), A Love For Safekeeping (Jan 02) and Loving Treasures (June 02). As well, I've sold two sweet romances to Silhouette Romance, a secular publishing house that does not require content that goes against my Christian morals and spiritual beliefs. My first, Her Secret Longing, will be released in Sept 01 and I don't have a release date on the second. I also sold one novel to the e-publisher StorybookSeries in was a February release.

How did you become interested in writing?

I have written all my life. As a young child, I wrote poetry to my teachers' astonishment and began writing short stories as a pre-teen - - Nancy Drew type mysteries. I wrote professional articles and papers in my career, skits for teachers, and fund raiser programs for my church for many years. I'd never thought about publishing anything - although that was always a dream.

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

I think many of us have self-doubt. That and lack of patience are my downfall. I also think that time is a major factor for many people. I have learned that I must give up much time that I used for leisure, entertaining, and enjoying other hobbies so that I can keep up with all my writing demands. My husband does many of the household choirs so that I can spend my prime time writing.

What has been the highest moment of your writing career?

Although learning that I'd sold my first book was certainly up there at the top, I think when I sold my first Love Inspired novel and saw it at Borders, K-Mart, and so many bookstores was a high point. Also seeing my first Heartsong cover was thrilling - I cried. And learning that my first Love Inspired novel won the Holt Medallion was another high point. It's so hard to pin it down to one. I pray that God gives me many more "high" points.

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write?

Sharing my faith and the blessing of salvation through Jesus' sacrifice woven into a beautiful love story is probably the greatest inspiration. The next inspiration is the love of my life - my husband who as I said does everything he can to support me: from laundry to grocery shopping, cooking, proofreading and cheering the loudest when I meet another success. God has blessed me so much - my life is an inspiration.

Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

Stories live in my mind and heart - moving from bones to flesh - until I am driven to write it down on paper. A variety of things trigger a story from a title idea to characters in conflict to a setting. Then it grows. I always know my beginning and ending - and often conflict points but exactly how I get there happens as I write although I do begin with a synopsis to try to keep me focused.

What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

That they were so caught up in my characters and story that they couldn't put the novel down. I'm also pleased to hear that people laugh and cry as they read my books.

Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

I have so many favorites - but it is often my secondary characters that really capture me. In my fourth Love Inspired, I have a character named Claire who is a real "characater." I patterned her after someone I knew who has died. The book is a tribute to her eccentricity. I also have a character named Aunt Winnie in a novel yet published. She has a cat named Whimsey and I love them both.

How do you balance a writing career and being a mother?

As I mentioned earlier, I started my career late and so I write full time with much support from my husband.

How do you juggle your work between ABA and CBA and not compromise your Christian beliefs?

If writing for the ABA required me to compromise my faith, I would not. I love writing for the CBA, but I write too fast to keep myself busy and I thought I might enjoy the opportunity to write a sweet romance - one that holds the same guidelines as an inspirational except for the faith/spritiual message - no explicit sexual content, no cursing, no violence. I am able to refer to God and prayer in the secular writing and to demonstrate my faith in my story lines.

If you ask yourself who buys books in a Christian bookstore, I believe you will say a Christian. My ministry is to touch Christians with a wonderful romance filled with God's abundant mercy and blessings, but even stronger, I want to touch lives of weak Christians, even non-believers who might learn about the power of prayer or the promise of heaven. I feel the same way writing for Steeple Hill. Though a Christian line that's no different from any other Christian lines - it is found in secular settings - Borders, K-Mart, drug stores, grocery stores, Walmart, Target. Here I can write a strong spiritual message of God's love and salvation in Christ that might be picked up by a non-believer. I praise God for the opportunity to touch those who might be lost or who need to hear God's promise.

If you could tell a beginner one thing, what would it be?

Lots of Ps - Practice (write, write and study), be persistent (don't let a rejection discourage you - - Keep submitting), and Patience (remember a sale is in God's time). And never think you know it all. Even the best author can learn something. Strive for perfection - that's the least we can give our Lord.


You can find more information on Gail at her website.

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