Q&A: Gayle Roper
What led you to write Shadows on the Sand?
The original thought came from my editor who suggested I write another Seaside book. I love that setting of a Jersey shore town like Ocean City, NJ, where my parents met and where I met my husband. I did the four Seaside Seasons books in that setting, and since I was out of seasons, I hadn't thought too much about more until Julee suggested it. I lifted Greg, the cop in the first four books, and made him my hero. Carrie just came alive in my imagination.
Starting out, who were the authors who inspired you? Who inspires you now?
When I started, there was very little Christian fiction. I loved Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney (after I outgrew Nancy Drew). Romantic suspense continues to be my favorite genre for reading and writing.
How does your faith influence your writing?
Many people write good stories but even though they are writing of life and death, too many don't even consider the deeper questions about God and the meaning of life we all have. It's my responsibility and my joy to add the spiritual arc to a book, to consider life and death, relationships and our relationship with God in light of Scripture. If I have some answers to offer and some questions to ask about the spiritual areas of life, I can't not write of them. The trick is to write such a good story with characters so real that there's no sense of lecture or sermon.
How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
Being a writer is one of those wonderful God-surprises that sometimes appear in our lives. I was a teacher until we had our kids. Then I wanted to stay home with them, but I missed the intellectual challenge of being with adults. I started to write just to fill that void and found I loved it. I thought I might as well write something I could sell, so I did. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It was probably more a case of ignorance on my part and grace on God's.
What do you most hope that readers get from reading your work?
I want people to have a great read, a given for a novelist, but I also want them to think about the questions my characters ask and the answers they seek. The thing I like about fiction is that it shows patterns of living and the consequences of the choices the characters make. Right now I am writing a blog, www.widowsjourney.com, a different kind of writing that grows out of my life and my recent experience.