© 2013 Clive Eaton
Gay Ingram began her writing career with a passion for herbs. This led her to share her hard-earned knowledge through self-published informational booklets and a newsletter which ran for five years. During this interim, she served as editor of the Ark-La-Tex Herb Society’s newsletter.
A creative writing course offered by Tyler Junior College sparked her fiction writing and in 2000, she published her first novel ’Til Death Do Us Part. She has since published Troubled Times, Twist of Fate and her latest, Second Time Around.
Her non-fiction publications include Tracks on the Sand (a history of her hometown,) A Stirred Pot (a collection of short stories,) and Walking in His Steps (stories about her father’s progress into Alzheimer’s.) Tate Publishing produced Living With a Depressed Spouse, a personal account offering hopes for others.
As an active member of East Texas Writers Association, Gay Ingram served as editor of The Roughdraft, their monthly newsletter for two five year periods. She presently serves as editor of With Pen In Hand, the monthly newsletter of North East Texas Writers’ Organization
She has served as Editorial Assistant for the Big Sandy & Hawkins Journal, a local weekly newspaper and contributed a monthly column for a period of time.
Her past publishing credits include both fiction and nonfiction. Herb Quarterly, Texas Gardener, and Backwoods Home have all carried her work. Her articles on writing have appeared in Writers’ Journal, Fellowscript and other publications.
Book title: Second Time Around
Brief Synopsis: Recently widowed, Dolly Summers steps in to take her husband’s position in the family business. When her best friend, Sophia is killed, Dolly assumes guardianship of a rebellious teenage daughter
An accident connects Dolly with a stranger, Douglas Martin, and her emotions go awry. Is it possible? Could he really be Robert McGoodall, the man Dolly first loved who supposedly died twenty-eight years ago on his way to propose?
Will Amanda’s growing rebellion thwart Dolly’s second chance at true love?
What do you do to relax when you are not writing?
At the moment, I’m responding to the call of spring and spending lots of outdoor time gardening. Another relaxing pastime is to create quilts/blankets to be distributed to the homeless.
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer?
I’m not sure there is any one person who inspired me. I have always preferred to communicate by the written word rather than spoken. I recall having an overseas pen-pal when in school and writing 15-20 page letters when first I left home to start my adult life.
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
Second Time Around came about as the result of a challenge to have a manuscript to present at a newly formed critique group I agreed to become part of.
Tell us three interesting facts about your book which are not covered in the synopsis.
1)I chose Dallas, Texas as the setting for my story because I was familiar with that city. I was living there during the time period the story takes place.
2) I’ve never heard of a whip being used to torment a kidnapped person; the imagery just came to me and I had to write it in.
3) The most difficult part for me to write was making the fact of Douglas Martin’s amnesia believable.
What research did you need to do for this book?
I drew on my memories of this city a lot. Then I was fortunate to find a website that featured a forum for Dallasites reminiscing about their young adult activities and memories of that city. This gave me a plethora of details to incorporate into my story.
Are any elements/characters of your book based on real life experiences or people you’ve met/known?
I wouldn’t be surprised is some elements of my characters’ personalities were recognizable to some folks. After all, we fiction writers are forever retaining distinctive details from the world around us and incorporating them into our stories. But I have to say I never intentionally used any element/character…pure fiction.
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
At the moment I’m enthralled with the research required to maintain two blogs. I do a historical vignette of an American city for VentureGalleries.com and post a bit of origin about the interesting idioms of our English language.
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
My stories usually begin with a character that makes him/herself known to me. I tend to write American Historical Fiction which means a great deal of research is involved to accurately portray the period in which the story is set.
As the character speaks to me, the plot evolves and I just write everything down in a spiral notebook to begin with.
When the story line becomes clearer, I then turn to the computer and begin to shape the incidents and scenes needed to progress the story.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
I’m fortunate to have a small building on our farm that is dedicated to my work, be it writing or sewing. There’s an answering machine to catch the calls and I usually have either classical or Christian music playing on the radio.
What prompted you to self-publish your current book?
My most recent novel was produced by a small publishing house begun by a writer friend. Although not self-published, I was allowed lots of input in the format and cover design.
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) I’m not sure one would consider it a challenge, but I make myself do a tremendous amount of research. First, because I love the process and second because I’m a stickler for being historically accurate.
2) The challenge really comes after the book is written and published. I dread the necessity of submitting and marketing.
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point. How do you overcome it?
I’ve come to realize, for myself at least, writer’s block comes because there is an unknown in the story that is yet to be discovered. In the past, I’ve tried to force the writing and ended up being frustrated. I’ve learned to draw back and leave it for a bit, allow my self-conscious to dredge up that puzzling thing and bring me a solution.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Read, read, read and learn the craft. You may write a fabulous story but if your writing skills are not the best, the reader will be turned off. Don’t be hesitant to have your work edited – it will only improve…and so will you as a writer.
What genre does your book fall into?
I would have to say Second Time Around would be classified as Women’s Fiction.
How did you get interested in this specific genre?
Actually, I prefer to write in the American Historical Fiction genre as my other novels show.
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) The first author whose work deeply impressed me was Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth.
2) At present, I’m always eager to read anything Maeve Binchey brings out. She does such a good job of creating interesting characters involved in life situations.
3) Elizabeth Goudge’s books are some I read over and over. Her ability to weave the spiritual aspects into her stories enthral me.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I don’t recall having any children’s books in our home when I was growing up. Since I read constantly, I suspect I was a voracious borrower.
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
Gosh! I’ve read so many great books recently I don’t think I can point to just one.
What was the last book you recommended to a friend, and why did you think it was worthy of recommendation?
The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. A prophetic message we would do well to heed.
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
I have a Kindle app on my computer but can’t get in the groove. I still prefer paper books.
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
Dolly – Susan Sarandon Richard Gere as Douglas. Both are mature actors who personify the characters I envisioned when writing the book.
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
John Groban’s style seems to suit my story. Don’t know if he is a composer or not.
Drink – coffee
Meal – spaghetti
Holiday destination – New England or Hawaii
TV programme – The Mentalist
Film – don’t see films but would have like to have seen The Life of Pi
Method of travel – I love flying because of the immediacy but also enjoy taking solo auto trips.
Sport – not into sports
How can people connect with you?
Where can readers find your book?
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