Reading romance has been a big part of Brenda’s life. It began when her parents foolishly purchased a cottage on a quiet lake just as she was entering her teen years—who wants to leave their friends and go up to a remote cottage just when life is getting interesting? A woman a couple of doors down lived there year-round and was a voracious reader of romance novels. Each summer when Brenda arrived, the lady up the road would give her shopping bags full of romance novels. She loved losing herself in the wildly romantic exploits of heroes and heroines as they fell in love. Brenda was never without a book, and by the end of each summer she had pretty much read everything in the shopping bags.
Now that Brenda spends much of her day writing business documents, she relishes the opportunity to allow her creative muse to run free by writing deeply emotional stories of real women, real men and real romance and she still never goes anywhere without a book in-hand.
Brenda lives in Eastern Ontario with her wonderful husband, two fabulous children, a cat rescued by the Humane Society, and a Siberian Husky who wishes it was winter all year long.
5 Minutes with the Author
Brenda’s first book, SOLDIER FOR LOVE, is a Joyfully Reviewed Recommended Read. Although fictional, the setting was inspired by the geography, history and culture of Haiti. She is donating 25% of book and eBook royalties to Haitian relief and reconstruction as a way to give back to the men and woman who allowed her to share their world during the researching and writing of the book. For more about Brenda, visit her website at www.BrendaGayle.com or follow her on Facebook (Brenda Gayle) and Twitter (Brenda_Gayle).
Rayna: What project are you currently working on? (C’mon, give us a hint!)
I am currently working on a contemporary romance series entitled HEART’S DESIRE, which chronicles the difficult road to finding love and family acceptance for three cousins. In the first book, HUNGRY HEART, dedicated children’s advocate Nora Cross doesn’t appreciate her meddling sister’s attempts to set her up with Santa Fe’s new celebrity chef. Hunter Graham is too young for her and his playboy reputation will ruin her career, which is already teetering on the edge thanks to the ambitions of the chair of her board. When her apartment and office are ransacked on the same night, it’s Hunter who comes to her rescue. And he couldn’t be more surprised to find himself falling for the uptight workaholic executive. As the threat to Nora escalates and Hunter tries to navigate the minefield of his family’s expectations, a bond is forged between them. But will it be enough? Particularly when the greatest danger is not the present but a secret from Nora’s past.
Rayna: What is your favorite snack?
Very old, very sharp cheddar cheese on some sort of herbed flatbread cracker (ideally served with a nice, robust red wine).
Rayna : I have heard from numerous authors that chocolate is the staple of their diet. Is it in yours?
Can I pass? I’m afraid if the truth becomes known I’ll be drummed out of the romance writer’s club. No? Okay, here goes. Deep breath. I don’t really like chocolate. I rarely eat it and if I do, it has to be really dark and bitter.
Rayna :Will electronic readers ever take the place of the humble paperback?
Great question. I have an eReader, which I love. It is convenient to have a whole bunch of books available in a small, portable device. I also use it to read what my critique partners are writing. Nevertheless, I still love the feel of paper in my hands and the tangible sensation of actually turning pages. I don’t sweat it if my paperback gets sand in it at the beach or sprayed with water in the bath.
I don’t believe the terrible waste of the mass production/mass destruction model of the traditional print industry can be sustained. eBooks will continue to grow in popularity and once a standardized format has been agreed upon, they will put a serious dint in print sales for popular fiction–romance, scifi, mystery. However, I don’t think paperbacks are going to disappear any time soon.
Rayna : If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why?
There’s a secondary character named Libby Hunter in HUNGRY HEART, the book I’m currently writing. She’s a feisty sixty-year-old–the grandmother of the hero. I love her no nonsense attitude. She has a kind and gentle spirit so she’s never mean or malicious but she doesn’t put up with any crap, particularly from her grandson. She’s reached a stage in her life where she can say and do what she wants and doesn’t care about the repercussions. I’d love to be like that.
Rayna :Who or what influences you when you write?
My kids. It’s important for me that they see me doing something that I love–writing. I want them to know that they can pursue their dreams, too. Plus, I can’t tell you how good it feels to hear the pride in their voices when they tell their friends that their mother is a published author.
Rayna :When you have writer’s block how do you break free?
I’m deadline-driven. I think it’s my journalism/corporate communications background. When I have writer’s block I set a deadline for myself and just plough my way through the story figuring I’ll eventually get to a place where it will all make sense. Then I’ll fix it in revisions.
Rayna :Who is your perfect hero? And why?
Hands down it’s Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Here is a man’s man who genuinely likes women. He fully supports for his wife, Claire, even though he doesn’t always understand or agree with her.
Rayna :Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven’t yet?
I would like to write a first-person woman’s fiction; something along the line of the stories written by Karen White and Jodi Picoult.
Rayna :What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
I’m impatient to get to the writing and somewhat resent the time I have to spend researching. Still, it is important to me that my characters and the settings are as true-to-live as possible. I read a lot of books, scan the libraries for source material, listen to music, and search the Internet for information that I need.
Rayna :What is your favorite movie of all time? The one where you can watch it and still get affected at the same spots each and every time?
The Way We Were. The final scene when Katie, finally a happy confident woman, walks away from Hubell and he realizes what he has lost makes me cry every time.
Rayna :If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you have with you? *mind you, you do have a strong hunky man to help you with things* *grins*
Some days being stranded on a deserted island would be welcomed. Still, my first item would be a picture of my family because no matter how crazy they sometimes make me, I’d never want to be without them. Other items would be a fully loaded eReader so I’d always have something to read, a well-aged bottle of Lagavulin single malt scotch (do I need to say more?), my laptop with solar batteries, and last but not least, a large bottle of massage oil (to be applied by the strong hunky man).
Rayna :What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?
To sit quietly in front of the fire and sip wine with my husband. Kids? What kids?
Rayna :Have you ever faked sick?
Rayna :Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe in lust at first sight but love is something that has to grow over time.
Rayna :What is your perfect pizza?
A Louisiana special. Shrimp and hot sauce!
Rayna :Do you have a celebrity crush?
This week it’s Gerard Butler (I loved him in The Ugly Truth and PS I Love You)
Rayna :What character out of all your books is the closest to your personality?
I think there is a bit of me in all the heroines I write, but perhaps Nora Cross, the heroine in HUNGRY HEART, is the closest. A dedicated association executive, she’s a bit of a workaholic who is out of her element socially. She has strong convictions and will defend them, particularly as they relate to her work, but she isn’t as confident in her personal life. Plus, as she approaches her 35th birthday, she’s starting to wonder what she’s really accomplished. Nora is at a point in her life that I was 10 years ago. I’m hoping she deals with it better than I did.
Rayna :How much does reader response mean to you over your books?
Reader response is everything. I’m always interested in what the reviewers have to say but there’s nothing as satisfying as hearing from an average reader that they connected with your book. Wow. That really makes my day.
Rayna :What do you hope readers get from your books after they read them?
Pleasure, pure and simple. I do include big issues in my books but I try to do it subtly in a way that doesn’t take away from the escapism romance is supposed to provide.
Rayna :If you could make a movie of any one of your books which one would you choose and who would you cast at the h/h?
I always thought SOLDIER FOR LOVE would make a fantastic movie. It’s got action, suspense, romance, and a bit of voodoo thrown in for good measure. I think Sandra Bullock would be a dynamite heroine because she can play strong and feminine. I’m not sure what to do about her height, though. My heroine, Julie Collins, is six feet and Ms. Bullock is only 5’7”. I’m not sure about the hero. Maybe one of your readers could suggest a 40-something, hot Native American actor.
Rayna :Who is your favorite author?
Can I only pick one? If so, then I’d have to say Diana Gabaldon. She has a way of bringing history to life–plus there’s Jamie Fraser.
Rayna :What is the weirdest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?
I’m pleased that the vast majority of reviews for SOLDIER FOR LOVE have been positive; the reviewers really understood where I was going with the story. I was stunned, however, when one reviewer accused my hero and heroine of not being honorable people. She obviously didn’t get it. Here were two people who felt alienated from their world and were trying to find a way to resolve their problems in a respectful way. Oh well, you can’t please everyone. I just figured the reviewer had her own issues to deal with and I moved on.
Rayna :What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?
A review I received from Romance Junkies for SOLDIER FOR LOVE said: “I want to be Julie Collins when I grow up. Loyal, commanding, and surprisingly sexy, she is the epitome of one’s idea of a good soldier.” I struggled in writing my heroine for this story. I wanted her to be strong but not lose her femininity. She had to be tough because she had risen to become the commander of a unit but I needed to show a vulnerable side, too. I was so gratified to learn that I had succeeded.
Rayna :Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are 2 things on it?
To go south for the winter (it’s cold in Ottawa!) and to drive a really nice Porsche.
Rayna :What is your favorite color besides YELLOW?
Rayna :Boxers or briefs?
Rayna :Red Pill or Blue Pill?
Red pill. I have to KNOW.
I want to thank Ms. Gayle for taking the time to talk to us. Visit her at her website http://www.brendagayle.com/.
Major Julie Collins should be on top of the world. Finally promoted, she has just been given her first overseas command. But when one of her troops turns out to be the handsome Native American who has just left her bed, everything starts to unravel. And then she’s kidnapped by a deranged voodoo priest.