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Interview with Gail Pallotta

Gail Pallotta's delightful personality and humor shine through in her stories, despite writing through the challenges of Lyme disease. With the release of her latest romantic comedy, she celebrates her small-town roots and the joys of lifelong neighbors.

What was your inspiration for Hair Calamities and Hot Cash?
My mother’s beauty shop in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains. Mostly residents frequented the salon, and they all knew each other. They had close friends, acquaintances, people they tolerated and those they kept at a distance. As in most little communities, they had disagreements, gossiped and could be nosey. However, when someone grieved for a loved one, suffered from an illness or any other crisis, prayers went up and casseroles went out no matter whether the person was a best friend or someone held at a distance. They all were God’s children. The walls of Mother’s beauty shop echoed the spirit of the community, and I wanted to bring it back.

Which character in the book was the easiest for you to write, and why?
The heroine, Eve Castleberry, is a hairstylist. I spent many hours in Mother’s beauty shop, so I know the ins and outs of running a salon and the ways of a hairstylist firsthand.

Which was the most difficult?
Philip, my hero, is from New York. I’ve never lived there, and have only made one brief visit. I do have one cousin who grew up there, plus two other cousins who lived there as adults. They helped me understand the city and its way of life, and I was able to ask one for help with specific questions. Philip is an important character, so I needed to make him New York savvy, but also with a heart for a small town.

What did God teach you during the writing of Hair Calamities and Hot Cash?
How very fortunate I am that He put me in a place like Triville, North Carolina, to grow up with the residents there, especially my schoolmates. There are many great, exciting towns and cities, and they’re all different. But the more I wrote, the more I realized how good that small town at the foothills of the mountains was for me.

What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I hope they finish it with a warm, happy feeling from visiting Triville and meeting the town’s characters. I’ll be happy if they embrace the theme of the book, accepting and caring about each other as God’s children.

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one?
Hit or miss on a dart board. I try to reserve a few hours in the morning, a couple in the afternoon and one or two at night for writing or things related to writing, but life doesn’t always cooperate.

What obstacles or challenges do you face in making time to write?
The usual day to day challenges everyone faces, such as house cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, blending my interests and needs with those of other family members. However, the biggest hurdle for me is Lyme disease. I never know from one day to the next what symptom might rear its ugly head. I’ve recently had a treatment to get rid of Lyme disease once and for all, but it’s a slow process with its own challenges, and I won’t know for a while whether or not it worked.

As you look back on your journey to publication, how did God open those doors for you?
I wrote and published magazine articles for a long time before I started writing books, but on the road to book publication, I believe God opened a door for me when I entered a Clash of The Titles Contest and won. They subsequently asked me to join the staff. From there I met wonderful writing friends, including Lisa Lickel, my current writing partner.

What event that may have seemed insignificant at the time ended up being enormously important?
Quite a few years ago my husband gave me the fee to a writers’ conference as a gift. I’d worked as an editor and freelance article writer, but he knew I’d always wanted to pen a book, so he surprised me.The conference was anything but insignificant. However, my readiness for the event was compared to the opportunities presented. I went with only a few pages of a book, unprepared to speak to editors or agents. But I attended a workshop on how to plot a novel with James Scott Bell. His words opened up a new world that clicked with me. I took detailed notes, and couldn’t wait to put them to good use. Years later a door opened, because I knew how to plot a book.

If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living or dead, whom would you choose, and what would you talk about?
This is difficult. I’m a social person, so I’d love to have coffee, tea and carbs with all of the writers I’ve met online, at workshops, and conferences! It’s even hard to narrow down those no longer with us, but I’ll say Agatha Christie. I’d love to talk about writing, Ten Little Indians, and whatever she might want to discuss.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Swim, power walk, go places with my husband, bargain shop, have lunch with friends, cook and spend time with my family. I’m not a crafts person, but I do enjoy making flower arrangements.

How can we pray for you?
Thank you! I would love prayers that the treatment I had this year will cure my Chronic Lyme Disease once and for all and I can heal from any damage it’s caused. Also, for a complete recovery for my husband who had a stroke last December.


Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. Her contest wins include first place in the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest. Also a professional cellist, Amanda has been spotted onstage with the worship team at the ACFW Conference. A lifelong lover of the flatlands, she lives in Kansas with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

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