Tuesday, February 22, 2011

S - Interview with Author Gale Sears

Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

Gale: Around age seven or eight. I would hide myself away in the backyard shed with a supply of paper and pencils, and write stories.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?

Gale: I have a Bachelor's Degree in Playwriting from BYU, and a Master's Degree in Theater Arts from the University of Minnesota. I actually came to writing novels late in my carreer.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?

Gale: It's actually more of an irritation than a passion. These thoughts and stories bump around in my head until I get them down on paper.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Gale: I sent my first manuscript,The Route to several national publishers and received many glorious rejection slips. I then switched gears and wrote Autumn Sky, which had an LDS theme running through it. Because of some awesome serendipity, I met a former Managing Editor from Covenant--she read the manuscript, and made indroductions with the new Managing Editor.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Gale: I was discouraged during those times I was getting rejection slips from publishers. I kept educated about the "business" and how it is a business, and you must not take book rejections personally.

Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?

Gale: Since I write historical fiction, I like to research and write in the morning. On a good day of writing I'll put in 5 or 6 hours. By two or three in the afternoon, my brain is mush.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Gale: If I have scenes popping into my mind, and if those scenes are reoccuring and persistent, then I usually write them down.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your newest book, The Silence of God.

Gale: The setting for The Silence of God is 1917 Russia during the Bolshevik revolution. In my research I found the first (and only) LDS family in Russia during that time period. I wove the story of the Lindlof's into the history of the day.

Deirdra: How does playwriting compare with writing a novel? How does it differ?
Gale: Playwriting is dialogue... talk, talk, talk. Writing a novel is mostly description with a good sprinkling of dialogue. I often use my theater acting skills when I'm creating characters.

Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?

Gale: I hope they get information about another time. I also hope the stories strengthen their faith in the Savior. And, of course, I hope readers will enjoy the story.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Gale: Since I write historical fiction I have to do extensive outlining so I can weave the story into the history. That's not to say the story doesn't take some unexpected twists.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Gale: Ugh! The dreaded writer's block! Yes, I've experienced this many times. I usually have to walk away from the writing for a day or two. If it's a little block, sometimes dark chocolate helps. :)

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Gale: Quiet.

Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Gale: I usually surround myself with pictures of the country and the time period in which I'm working.

Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Gale: My mom, my husband, my editors.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?

Gale: As I mentioned before, my acting classes come in very handy. When I had to bring a character to life onstage I went through extensive exercises in social and emotional motivations. We also had to change our appearence to fit the character. I find these processes helpful in creating characters for a novel.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Gale: I really admire the majority of LDS writers who write great fiction while maintaining standards.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?

Gale: Raw almonds, dark chocolate, apple slices, carrots, dark chocolate...

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Gale: I like to hike. Is that a hobby?

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?

Gale: I would have loved to be part of a reading group when I was trying to get my first book published. A group of writers evaluating each others work...good stuff. If that's not possible, have people you trust read your work and give you feed-back. Be willing and eager to rewrite. Don't give up. Publishing is a wacky business and you never know when a manuscript might strike an editor's fancy.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?

Gale: A book about China during the Cultural Revolution.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Gale: Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Amazon.

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Gale: I'd love to share this quote.

"Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." -Mary Oliver-

Thanks so much Deirdra for all you do for the writing community!


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