J. Gayle Kelly, a Gold Miner’s DaughterI was born a gold miner's daughter in a dusty old mining town in Nevada a long time ago. My paternal grandparents came to America through Ellis Is. from Italy. My great maternal grandparents crossed the plains in a covered wagon to Utah. It is said I am related to President George Washington through his wife, Martha. That would make me also related to President Thomas Jefferson, Martha's half-brother. With so much history behind me, is it any wonder I became a writer? I have always loved to read and create, inspired in my writing by my family, animals, life experiences, anything and anyone in general. I have written hundreds of newspaper articles and features from WA to NV, and had my own column in one newspaper I called, The Way I See It. I am a self-taught writer and most of my seven novels were written on the typewriter. I am a deep thinker and a deep writer but find a lot of joy in getting my readers to laugh as well as cry. The Watermelon Patch is my first published novel, set in rural Nevada in the 1950's. An Apple for the Teacher, my second, is a contemporary romance, set in Wenatchee, WA. My third, Dust Devil Darlin, another contemporary romance, is set in central NV and Bishop, CA. I am currently penning an historical fiction I am having a lot of fun with: The Outlaw(s) and the Mail Order Bride. I wish I could say that life is perfect; alas it never is. Death has taken two adult sons from my husband and me and there was that dratted flood, and other challenges. Life has certainly been busy; we raised four great kids, many dogs and cats. I love being with people, those who are pleasant to be with and make me feel good about 'me.' Life can be--and is--good.
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
I have been writing something most of my life. I have written seven books, published three. Except for my last book all were written on the typewriter and then retyped to a computer. I have published hundreds of newspaper articles and features; some of my human interest stories have appeared in national magazines.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
My characters are mine until I begin writing. As I continue writing, I realize I am not completely in charge of them. They take me to a far different place than I planned; they lead me. They can change right before my eyes.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I never outline to begin with. I know that is not suggested, but I guess I do it a little backwards. Most of my story ideas come to me in the middle of the night. I do my best “writing” then.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
My historical novel is titled The Outlaw(s)and the Mail Order Bride. My heroine crosses the sea from Yugoslavia to marry a man she has never met. He takes her to a mining camp in the wilds of Nevada. That may sound mundane, but not for Katarina! The title gives a hint. A book I am currently retyping I call Guns and Roses, a romantic suspense, set in Las Vegas, Nevada and involves the Mafia.
What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
My website address is: http://www.gaylescreations.net/. My email address is: email@example.com. I am also on Facebook. I write under the name of J. Gayle Kelly.
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?
Best: Write what you know and believe in yourself. Worst: Change your writing style.
Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?
I belonged to three critique groups at one time. Two were helpful, one did more to discourage than encourage. I am mostly a self-taught writer, but people I have met along the way have inspired me to keep writing.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
If we’re talking about my first published book that would be TheWatermelon Patch; it was published in 2009. I believe it was my best effort and a book I longed to write for many years. It is a story set in rural Nevada in the 1950’s, a coming-of-age mystery. A high school English teacher in Las Vegas uses my book as a writing tool, which is the highest compliment I have ever received on my writing.
Is there anyone who really mentored or inspired you to keep writing until you were finally published?
Jennifer is an eight-year-old girl who is different from most kids. She was born with hemophilia, a blood disease. She is a lively girl and a bit rebellious. When she hurts her ankle while barreling down the slide at the neighborhood park and has to go to the hospital, she feels very sorry for herself. Mostly, she is confused and doesn't understand this thing she has. A Junior High boy also in the hospital wheels himself into her room after hearing her sobs. She is shocked to see that he has huge red scars on his face and bandages over his eyes. Jennifer realizes that she is not the only one with problems. Can these two youngsters help each other?