Find a Christian store

Interview with Gail Pallotta


Gail Pallotta isn’t worried about running out of ideas because the world is full of interesting people with plenty of experiences and dreams. She also not afraid of getting the job done, whatever it is. Read on as she shares about a time she conducted an interview while making dinner, and find out what she thinks writing and swimming have in common.

You've published a variety of works—articles, poems, books—is any one format your favorite?

I’ve wanted to write books for as long as I can remember, but started later in life. As I suspected all along, writing fiction is my favorite format.

What are the challenges of writing in these different formats?

Each is different, but I picked up each of them in a different phase of my life. In college I studied creative writing under an award-winning poet and short story writer, so he emphasized those formats. When I graduated, I worked as an editor under a retired Associated Press editor, who taught me how to write articles and press releases.

I floundered with writing books until I joined ACFW, but through this organization I’ve met quite a few people willing to help. I had studied novel writing briefly in college, but it was done entirely differently.

I imagine it would be hard to keep the formats straight if I’d tried to tackle all of them at once, but for me it was a progression, similar to that of a person in a corporation who starts out in one position, learns that skill then moves to another. I do remember working as a freelance article writer and having someone I needed to interview return my call while I cooked dinner. I stirred gravy and asked questions at the same time. That probably doesn’t count for format difficulty, just such is the life of many writers.

Beach sunsets—swoon—what are some of your favorite beaches? What draws you to them?

My favorite beach is Destin, Florida, with its white, powdery sand and emerald water, so clear you can see right through it. The community is a peninsula with the Gulf on one side and the bay on the other. The two meet at the harbor.

I once heard a visitor say, “The minute I pull into Destin stress rolls off me.” It’s difficult not to relax and marvel at God’s creation in a place this beautiful with tranquil, soft waves, unless of course, there’s a storm. But I enjoy any beach. I like driving on the hard sand in Daytona Beach, Florida, and I love the beach at St. Thomas.

According to your bio, you enjoy swimming. Does swimming play a role in your books?

Yes, I’ve heard “write what you know,” and I have an extensive background for the sport. I learned to swim at an early age. Then, my daughter was a U.S. swimmer, and I performed every duty one could imagine at the U.S., high school, and summer league meets. I have swimmers in two of my books, so far.

The heroine in my teen novel, Stopped Cold, is a high school swimmer. The heroine in Barely Above Water is a summer league swim team coach, who was an award-winning U.S. swimmer in her teens. Her job draws on experiences I observed when my daughter coached summer league swimming.

How does swimming affect your creativity?

According to some health experts, exercise makes our bodies manufacture endorphins, which can produce a euphoric high. I’m not sure it’s all that involved for me. The sport revitalizes me, and I think more clearly and creatively when I’m refreshed. And, of course both writing and swimming require focus and discipline.

When did the writing "bug" bite you?

I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t think about it seriously until I enrolled in a creative writing class in college. Then, I learned I might be able to earn a living as a newspaper reporter, copywriter, magazine editor, or public relations employee in a corporation and write articles, poems, and stories on the side.

How did you get started on the path to publication?

I published pieces in my grammar and high school newspapers, but professionally, I worked as an editor and copywriter when I graduated from college. After I married, I helped my husband with his business and sent out freelance articles.

You list "romantic comedy" as one of your genres. How do you incorporate comedy into your writing?

Sometimes it’s in humorous situations and other times it’s in the characters. I’m working on a romantic comedy series. The genres I have published currently are young adult with mystery and romance and contemporary romance.

Are you looking for a laugh-out-loud line or to bring a smile to a reader's face or both?

I don’t set out to do either. I think from somewhere inside, I just want to brighten life a little.

I attended a meeting the other day where the people printed nametags for the guests. We signed in on a tiny touchpad, and a mini printer created our names. However, the apparatus malfunctioned and spit out bunches of names at random.

I looked at them and the stressed-out lady overseeing the operation. Then I said, “Let me see which of these I’d like to be,” and she laughed. I had wanted to take her mind off the mechanical failure.

How do you decide what's funny?

I don’t plan to write something funny. I don’t realize I have until the manuscript gets cold. Then I go back and read it. If it makes me laugh or smile, I think it’s funny.

Do you test your lines on your family or other writers?

No. I have a writing partner, my husband, and a beta reader go over my manuscripts before I send them out. If they like or don’t like something, they’ll tell me.

What inspires you?

Events, situations, and people. Sometimes an event will hit a nerve, or a situation will touch my heart. Also, I love to talk to folks about their accomplishments, dreams, and the things in life that are important to them. Someone asked me once if I worried about running out of ideas for articles. I said, “Not unless we run out of people.” It’s the same for books.

I get ideas from experiences, conversations, news items, or occurrences that cross my path. I’m a people person, so I’m interested in what makes us tick. There’s so much going on in my little corner of the world, plus in society in general. I have more ideas than time to write them.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from Barely Above Water?

That Chronic Lyme Disease is real, there are doctors who understand it, and God’s faithfulness never fails. But the book’s not all serious. There’s a sweet romance and an adorable bunch of kids on a swim team.

What's in the works next?

I have a book, Breaking Barriers, that released on June 24th. It’s part of Prism Book Group’s Love Is...Series, and I’m working on the romantic comedy series.

What kind of books do you enjoy?

I love to read, so I don’t need a particular genre, just interesting material. If I had to choose, I’d narrow it down to mystery and romance.

Thank you for having me and thank you to American Christian Fiction Writers for opening doors for Christian writers in many ways.


Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family and the unexpected turns of life at

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.