Romantic Suspense Author

Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,
But Lust´s effect is tempest after sun;
Love´s gentle spring doth always fresh remain,
Lust´s winter comes ere summer half be done;
Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;
Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.
--William Shakespeare, "Venus and Adonis"

Four Letter Words: Love and Work

I'm a workaholic. I write full time, and I write every day. I do a certain number of new pages each and every day, and I always polish, edit, and revise the previous three or four chapters before I begin to add new material. That process gets me back into the flow of the story and helps with continuity, I think.

As for ideas--I think most of us who write have more ideas than we have time to get them down. I used to worry about running out of ideas, but now it seems that everywhere I look, there is the germ of a story staring me in the face. Most of my romantic suspense plots come from the news. Something in a current event will trigger a creative chain reaction that will eventually lead to a story premise.

I did a trilogy set on the Texas/Mexican border which was sparked when I read a newspaper article about an 80-year-old woman who was guarding her Texas ranch against drug runners. There was a picture of her patrolling her ranch with a rifle, physically protecting her property. Since I had lived on the border for three years, that article had a strong emotional impact on me. I developed a series about a border family who must fight the increasing violence drugs have caused in that area. And by the way, people will tell you with a perfectly straight face that you just can't write about something like drug running in category romance.

I did not really know anything about this genre of writing until buying one of Gayle Wilson's books, thinking it was a typical mystery thriller, (finding out otherwise) at a nearby Goodwill store, The Inquisitor, (it will link you to my review). I then was piqued to look into her biography, and realized the area of romance novels is more multidimensional than first thought, and this author has earned her money working and writing, whether one likes the books or not.

Alabama Bound

 Many of Gayle Wilson's contemporary novels or stories, when not stuck in the Regency Period of England, are set in Alabama, where she was born. She still lives in Hueytown (a half a mile from her mother), with her Vietnam vet husband of 40 plus years, she met on a blind date. This is where she was raised and where she brought up a son, and a history teacher, who in turn blessed them with a granddaughter, Madeline Elizabeth, (Maddie).

High School Romance

After high school Gayle went on to the University of Alabama to obtain a Master's degree in secondary education, with additional certification in the education of the gifted. While she was in grad school she was turned on to Georgette Heyer's work. She admitted to reading Nora Roberts and Linda Howard at home after finishing a day's worth of teaching high school students history or the literary greats.

Three Rs: Reading, Writing, Revelation

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
--Wm. Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

During this time of not only helping those with need of remedial reading, but also honor students reading Shakespeare, she began to wonder if she could not join the Bard in this area. So somewhere near the end of her 27 years teaching, she wrote her first in 1990.

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer:

Paperback writer!

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here,
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer:

Paperback writer!
--John Lennon, Paul McCartney

She explains the initiation into this world:

Finally, after many years as a reader, I decided to write my own romance. My favorite authors just weren't writing as fast as I could read! I sat down and wrote what I thought was a Regency, and then I had no idea what to do with it. I wasn't a member of RWA. I didn't even know it existed. So I went to the library and checked The Writers' Market for publisher addresses and mailed my 75,000 word Regency off to Walker, who at that time was the publisher of Sheila Simonson, one of my favorite Regency writers. They rejected it because it was 20,000 words too long for what they published.

I went back to the library, discovered that Fawcett published Regencies of about that length and sent it to them. They also rejected it, telling me it wasn't really a Regency, but a Regency-set historical. Back to the library, where I discovered that no one (this was in 1992) was accepting 75,000 word historical submissions. The publisher who took manuscripts nearest that length was Harlequin Historicals, who published books from 95,000-105,000 words. I blithely added 20,000 words to the end of my book and sent it off.  

Harlequin asked for revisions, I made them, and they bought the book. No one mentioned that add on! The book was my first RITA finalist and will be reprinted in April of 2001. If you read it, you can tell exactly where I expanded the story. It must have worked, but of course, I can't imagine doing that now. I guess ignorance really is bliss!

Harlequinning Around

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns,
When they all come down and did tricks for you.
You never understood that it ain't no good,
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you.
--Bob Dylan, "Like A Rolling Stone"

Ack! Accolades

She writes both of what are called in the trade, either historicals or contemporaries, and began to win awards as early as 1995 being a finalist in the Best First Book category in 1995 for her debut historical, The Heart's Desire.

The RITA is an award given by Romance Writers of America honoring their first president, Rita Clay Estrada, receiving several thousands of applicants a year. Also in 1998 and the 1999 she was given the Kiss of Death Awards for Outstanding Romantic Suspense, and those same two years the Laurel Wreath Awards for Excellence. 1999 was a good year with winning the Reviewers International Organization's Dorothy Parker Award for Category Romance, and a RITA finalist spot in Romantic Suspense for Ransom My Heart. But of course, her not winning the 2000 RITA in Romance, Lady Sarah's Son, but Romantic Suspense for her 1999, The Bride's Protector.

You see, if you take pains and learn in order to get a reward, the work will seem hard;
but when you work... if you love your work, you will find your reward in that.
--Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
RITA now presents a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence:
This contest was conceived in honor of multi-RITA Winner Gayle Wilson to award excellence in published romance fiction. The contest is judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and/or librarians. The winners of each category are awarded a bookmark engraved with the author's name and the book's title. Winners will also be included in a full-page RWR advertisement.

 Four years Gayle served on the Romance Writers of America (RWA) board of directors. In 2006 she was RWA's president, the biggest genre-writers’ group on the globe. And her most recent accolade is the Daphne du Maurier award.

What's Next? the Suspense is Killing the Romance

Her last message to her fans lets us know what she has been and will be doing recently:  

As I'm sure you all know, occasionally "real" life gets in the way of our best intentions. Since I wrote Victim, that has been the case with me. We've moved from the home we built and lived in for 30 years to be closer to my son's family. We've welcomed a new grandson, for whom I'm being day- care. Add a couple of surgeries and the vagaries of the book business, and you can, I'm sure, understand that writing took a back seat for a while.

The good news is that I have two new historical works out very soon. The first, Claiming the Forbidden Bride, is Book #4 in a continuity called Regency Silk and Scandal. The first book is out in June. If you'd like to read more about this exciting project, please visit Silk and Scandal. Then, in October, I have a novella, entitled "The Soldier's Christmas Miracle" in the anthology Regency Christmas Proposals.

I'm so excited to be writing again, particularly to be writing Regency historicals, my first love. I really hope that you'll look for these two new works. And I especially hope you'll enjoy them.

And this,
Our life,
exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees,
Books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones,
And good in everything.
Wm. Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

Gayle Wilson's Comprehensive Book List
* denotes a book is part of a series
** denotes a book is part of a multi-author series 

The Heart's Desire *
Harlequin Historicals #211
Book 1 of the Hearts Trilogy

The Heart's Wager *
Harlequin Historicals #263
Book 2 of the Hearts Trilogy

Echoes in the Dark
Harlequin Intrigue #344

The Gambler's Heart *
Harlequin Historicals #299
Book 3 of the Hearts Trilogy

Only A Whisper
Harlequin Intrigue #376

The Raven's Vow
Harlequin Historicals #349

The Redemption of Deke Summers
Harlequin Intrigue #414

Heart of the Night
Harlequin Intrigue #442

His Secret Duchess
Harlequin Historicals #393

Ransom My Heart *
Harlequin Intrigue #461
Book 1 of Home to Texas Series

Whisper My Love *
Harlequin Intrigue #466
Book 2 of Home to Texas Series

Remember My Touch *
Harlequin Intrigue #469
Book 3 of Home to Texas Series

Honor's Bride
Harlequin Historicals #432

Never Let Her Go
Harlequin Intrigue #490

The Bride's Protector *
Harlequin Intrigue #509
Book 1 of Men of Mystery Series

The Stranger She Knew *
Harlequin Intrigue #513
Book 2 of Men of Mystery Series

Her Baby, His Secret *
Harlequin Intrigue #517
Book 3 of Men of Mystery Series

Lady Sarah's Son
Harlequin Historicals #483

Each Precious Hour **
Harlequin Intrigue #541
Book 3 of The McCord Family (Multi-author Intrigue continuity series)

Her Private Bodyguard *
Harlequin Intrigue #561
Book 4 of Men of Mystery Series

My Lady's Dare *
Harlequin Historicals #516
Book 1 of The Sinclair Bride Series

"My Darling Echo"
Novella in Bride by Arrangement
Harlequin Single Title Anthology

Renegade Heart *
Harlequin Intrigue #578
Book 5 of Men of Mystery Series

Midnight Remembered *
Harlequin Intrigue #591
Book 6 of Men of Mystery Series

Anne's Perfect Husband *
Harlequin Historicals #552
Book 2 of The Sinclair Bride Series

Secrets in Silence
Harlequin Single Title Special Release
In a volume with Barbara Delinsky's Bronze Mystique

Night and Day *
A Two in One Harlequin Intrigue #637
Connected Novellas by Gayle Wilson and Anne Stuart
Book 7 of Men of Mysteries Series

The Cowboy's Secret Son **
Harlequin Intrigue Multi-author Continuity Series
Book 5 of Texas Trueblood

Her Dearest Sin *
Harlequin Historicals #607
Book 3 of The Sinclair Bride's Series

Rafe Sinclair's Revenge *
Harlequin Intrigue #685
Book 1 of the Phoenix Brotherhood Series (A continuation of Men of Mystery Series)

"Prisoner of the Tower"
Novella in The Wedding Chase
Harlequin Single Title Anthology

Rocky Mountain Maverick **
Harlequin Intrigue #685
Book 1 of the Intrigue Colorado Confidential Continuity (A multi-author continuity series)

Under Surveillance *
Harlequin Intrigue #743
Book 2 of The Phoenix Brotherhood

In Plain Sight
Harlequin Single Title Special Release

Sight Unseen *
Harlequin Intrigue #784
Book 3 of the Phoenix Brotherhood Series

Rules of Engagement
Harlequin Intrigue #802
(Book 4 of The Phoenix Brotherhood Series)

Wednesday's Child

Take No Prisoners
Harlequin Intrigue

Double Blind

Only A Whisper
Harlequin Single Title

The Inquisitor
Mira Single Title

Mira Single Title

The Suicide Club
Mira Single Title

Mira Single Title

Claiming the Forbidden Bride
Harlequin Historical

"The Soldier's Christmas Miracle"
Novella in Regency Christmas Proposals
Harlequin Historical

Harlequin Intrigue

Sources: Gayle's Bio

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.