I have always wanted to be a published author. I wrote a science fiction story when I was about eight years old; had a neighbor read it; and then I threw it away. Apparently, I lacked confidence. Let’s face it—I was too young.
When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
I became serious about writing just before I retired from the workforce in 2011. I had started writing Master of Seduction and Ancient Martian Echoes before I actually retired. Retirement has given me the ‘time’ to write (inspiration to write has always been with me).
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Master of Seduction took about a year to complete. Ancient Martian Echoes took about nine months. Both stores flew from my little fingertips and ‘insisted’ on being written. It was as if I had no choice. I felt compelled to write them. I couldn’t believe it.
Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
For me, the writing process requires a ‘quiet’ atmosphere’. I find it is easier to develop my stories when it is quiet.
My writing mood hits me at the strangest times. For instance, I can be dining out at a restaurant and get an idea(s) for a new story or a story I am already working on. I write the idea(s) down on a pad of paper I carry in my purse for just that purpose. I refuse to lose or forget an idea, if I can help it. There are times motivation to write or new ideas will develop after I go to sleep. My mind doesn’t always shut down after I close my eyes—it seems my stories won’t always let me sleep.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
Life experiences that have infiltrated my stories would originate from exposure to the old Twilight Zone and Star Trek series that were (and still are) on television. These were truly inspiring television series by unforgettable creators/authors. I was inspired and still am.
Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”
Novels/stories that were a literary inspiration to me would have been: The Egyptian and Ben Hur and The Martian Chronicles. Granted, those novels/stories are not science fiction (with the exception of The Martian Chronicles), but they left me with the thought (‘Someday, I want to create something like that…’). Those novels/stories were compelling and well done.
Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
I don’t set the mood for romance, precisely. I expose my reader to the H/Hs as the story develops. My H/Hs are usually on guilt trips to a great degree. Whether they have chosen to go their separate ways and reunited by unusual circumstances, my H/Hs will handle their conflicts one way or the other. Most readers will be able to relate to my H/Hs, most likely because my readers might have experienced the same/similar conflicts in their lives.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
My shining moment in my journey came when Debby Gilbert, Senior Editor at Soul Mate, offered me two book contracts for the first two books I wrote. I was in shock for quite some time after I heard from her. To be added to a list of talented authors at Soul Mate was an honor for me. Talk about a shining moment—that would be mine.
Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
Five vital things that surround the writer when they create would be (in my opinion): hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing, and touching. I make every attempt to incorporate the latter in my stories. I want the reader to visualize what the H/Hs are experiencing.
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
Time-constraint challenges affect our everyday lives. It doesn’t matter if you work a 40-hour week or you are retired. You can only do so much. If I have an editing deadline, I make sure I set aside the time needed to meet that deadline. Nevertheless, I make sure I set aside ‘quiet time’ for me to do nothing, if that’s what I want to do.
What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
The whole writing process is thrilling for me. It’s challenging and exciting—and yes, demanding. What more could one ask for?
What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Fortunately for me, I have not found any aspects of the writing process to be difficult (at least, not yet).
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
My stories begin with the Title I have decided on. I take it from there. The story flows and my characters come to life magically (at least, for me they do). I’m lucky in that respect.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
I am working on eight science fiction and fantasy stories at present. I am taking my readers to planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. In addition, I am working on a sequel to Ancient Martian Echoes. It’s mind boggling, but there it is.
How about some faves of yours?
I’m probably a stick-in-the-mud because there isn’t much I can reveal about myself. Maybe I could say kudos to my son who has the patience of a saint. I constantly badger him with another one of my great story ideas (well, I think they’re great). Since reading science fiction and other genres is not his cup of tea, I cannot thank him enough. Oh, by the way, I do like nature and watch as many nature stories as time will permit.
Gerri’s debut release with Soul Mate, Ancient Martian Echoes:
The astronauts find the remnants of an ancient city and meet Icon, powerful leader of an elite Martian Administrative Council, and Carnac, leader of a band of rebels.
Carnac wants a position on the Council. He will resort to do just about anything to convince the Council that he deserves the position. He believes in taking extreme measures to accomplish what he wants. It becomes apparent that the Earth astronauts’ lives may be in grave danger. They may not be able to return to Earth.
Will Icon be able to save the astronauts from possible death, or will Carnac be forced to demonstrate just how much power he really has?
Gerri, thanks so much for visiting with us today!