Ms. Gayle Lee Author Interview | Author Q & A
Quote from your Book | Favorite Quote On my way down that familiar road heading for the freeway, I was thinking about all I did while living in that old house, how far I had come, and the special moments and memories. Then I blessed my memories and my time there and let it go. With a big breath, I let it go. I looked up and saw a rainbow that very moment.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? When I was a child, I dreamed of being a veterinarian because I loved animals and wanted to help them.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? I finished writing my first book, Dancing With Life, when I was 53. Five years later I finished writing Fortitude.
How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book? I always loved writing. One of my high school teachers told me I was good at it. Keeping a journal was a regular part of my adult life. I found writing to be a great mental/emotional release. It freed my mind getting my feelings and experiences on paper. I wrote Dancing With Life because it was an amazing true story. I thought it would also give other people hope of happiness in their life after experiencing the death of their own child. I wrote Fortitude because I felt it would be an inspiration to others going through struggles and diversity.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes with a word or idea in my head. I keep a pad and pen beside me to write it down. In the morning it gives me a seed idea or maybe just a laugh.
Do you like to create books for adults, youth and/or children? and Why? I like to create books that help people get through hard times. So far they have came from my personal experience. I would like to create a work of fiction next. I’m not sure if it will be for children or adults.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? Of the two books I have written, I can’t call either one my favorite. Both are an extension or a big part of who I am.
How long does it take you to write a book? It took me probably two years to write my first book. The second about a year and a half, I think, because it was shorter.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)? With my first book I wrote it all out by hand in a notebook first. Then I typed it up and did my editing. The second one I did more on the computer. I would write in spurts, when I got inspired. I didn’t dedicate a certain amount of hours per day. I let it flow when it built up, like a dam.
What does your family think of your writing? My family is proud of me. I think they might also be a bit embarrassed because I put it all out there and tell some family secrets.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? When I am not writing I like to be in nature. That’s my favorite thing. It helps me keep my life balanced.
What do you think makes a good story? I think the deep, dark truth makes a good story. Especially when it has a happy ending. People can benefit and grow by reading and relating to a good true story.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating/writing your books? The most surprising thing to me after writing my books was that I could actually finish them. And that I loved them after they were done.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing? I like reading spiritual stuff. I like to read books that help me understand myself or what I might be going through. I like spiritual reference books too; ones that teach me something. Ted Andrews, Esther Hicks, Paul Selig are a few of my favorites.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? One woman told me reading my book helped her a lot after the death of her son. She could relate to the things I went through. That makes it all worth it to me.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? My books are memoirs. They come from my experiences. I think my next book will come from my dreams. I get a lot of good ideas from my dreams. Maybe from a combination of both.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they I think people want to hear about the things that are hardest to write about. My advice for any new writer is don’t be afraid to write about what is most passionate to you.
Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events? I would love to meet my readers. I think most of my readers I know already.
Fortitude: A Quest Through Fear and Doubt is a story about overcoming the limitations we place on ourselves.
Fortitude is a spiritual memoir. It spans a four-year period when the author walks away from her stressful long-term job and embarks on a journey searching for security and her destiny. It’s about breaking unproductive behavior patterns and getting out of her comfort zones.
Some of her journal notes are added in with the text to show the inner struggles and triumphs as she attempts to figure out the keys to success and happiness.
Dancing With Life: Healing After the Death of a Child. Is the amazing true story about the supernatural occurrences and healing that took place in my life after the sudden death of my youngest son.
Dancing with Life refers to the ups and downs everyone deals with throughout life. The title embodies the struggles, the happiness, and the whole range of emotions we go through to become who we are. But the whole story of Dancing with Life: Healing after the Death of a Child deals with the true-life trauma of author Gayle R. Lee. “What inspires me the most is being able to turn an awful experience into a great gift. The death of my son has enabled me to help other people through their own grief process and perhaps give them some hope.” Dancing with Life “is the true story of my life after my youngest son, Eric, was killed in a car crash. After being a single parent for most of their lives, my kids, Shawn and Eric, asked if they could go live with their dad and stepmother. They moved over a hundred miles away. Nine months later, a police officer came to my door informing me that Eric had been killed in a car accident. Eric had snuck out of his dad’s house in the middle of the night to meet up with his friends. There were four of them in the car and three of them died.” She says, “After Eric died, I felt his spirit near me on a daily basis. On one occasion, I saw his ghost coming down the stairs and sitting next to me in a chair.”
Tell us about your most resent book? Fortitude: A Quest Through Fear and Doubt. The title pretty much says it. It’s about overcoming difficult times. It’s about tackling your worst enemy, which is usually yourself. It’s about taking chances and shaking things up in your life, trusting that you will find your highest path or your destiny.
What’s more important: characters or plot? The reader has to love both characters and plot.
How do books get published? I paid for self-publishing.
Do you write every single day? I don’t write every day. I write when I’m inspired, sometimes it’s only recording a dream I want to remember.
Ballpoint, uniball or fountain pen? I love a good smooth pen, one that glides over the paper.
Any writing rituals? When I’m stumped I summon my writing muse by taking a nature walk or drumming.
What’s the worst job you’ve had? The worst job I’ve had was as a waitress. I worked as a janitor for a few years and liked it more than being a waitress.
Tell us some more about your book/s.
They are amazing true stories that will uplift and inspire.
Are you planning to adapt any of your stories to the screen?
Yes. Dancing With Life. I have started writing a screenplay. It will take a while though.
How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in writing? I can’t answer that. I don’t feel like I have been established yet or that I am maintaining a career in writing. It feels like my hobby or passion.
Any last thoughts for our readers? If you’re thinking about writing a book, go for it. You can always edit later.