Today I am excited to intoduce you to (and feature) Natalie Gayle, a recently self-published author from Queensland Australia who writes steamy romantic suspense novels; her debut novel Finding Trust was released towards the end of Februrary this year. Check back later on today to read my review of Finding Trust.
Welcome to the Never Ending Bookshelf Natalie, being a new author to the spotlight, can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? Did you always want to be a writer?
The answer to this question is probably. I took an occupational test in year eleven and it said I should be a writer. I ended up with a business degree and managing IT projects for twenty years. Now I’m writing as well and I love it. I guess it wasn’t the right time before.
Finding Trust is your debut novel; can you tell us a bit about it?
It’s a fast paced romantic suspense, set on the Gold Coast, Australia. The story is about Brayden and Rihanna. Brayden is an operative with the Centre, a quasi government agency that deals with agricultural, biological and environmental threats. He also has an interesting side job!
His latest assignment is to protect Rihanna Mason. A dedicated veterinarian researching the Hendra Virus. When she is targetted by terrorists because of her knowledge they must work together to prevent a biological attack. Along the way they realise they mean a lot more to one another than they first thought. Their path to a HEA won’t be an easy one though. Brayden has a few secrets that involve the Centre and Rihanna has some serious relationship issues.
Where did the inspiration for your novel come?
I’ve been involved in the equestrian industry for many years. In fact I rode dressage, showjumping and eventing very comptitively for well over twenty years. The Hendra virus is something that horse owners in Australia are threatened by. I guess my mind wandered to the “I wonder what would happen if……..?”
Tell us a bit about your writing practises: Are you a Pantser or a plotter? When and how often do you write? How long did it take to write your book?
LOL, mmm I’d like to think I’m a plotter because that appeals to my analytical side and the fact that I manage large scale IT projects in my professional life. The truth is I’m a total pantser. I have a very vague idea of where the story might go then I leave it up to the characters and they do the rest. And do they ever surprise me. Many times I sit there asking them “you want to do what?”. But in the end they seem to get their way and I diligently type up what they want. Nothing like being a faithfull servant to your characters!
I tend to write in fits and starts. When I get on a roll, I get on a serious roll and I can knock out 10,000 words in probably two, three hour sessions. My problem is getting the “bandwidth” to do this. I have a lot of other commitments in my life. What I am doing to remedy this, is not reading as much as I normally would. I’m trying to use that time for writing. I’m getting hounded by those that have read Finding Trust. Seems they want more of the Centre in a big hurry which is great.
I wrote Finding Trust in a bit of a funny way. I wrote the first 25,000 words in 2008. Then I wrote the next 90,000 words in September last year then I wrote the final 30,000 words over New Year. I kept getting busy!!! Now I’ve got disciplined. I’ve set myself deadlines so I’m accountable. I work best under serious pressure!
Can you tell us a bit about your publishing experience? Being an Indie/self-published author was it harder than you anticipated?
I’ve found my publishing experience to be realitvely pain free. I did a lot of research before hand and I am a project manager in my professional life – so all that helps. I’ve actually writen quite a comprehensive blog on this topic for WG2E (http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/natalie-gayle-on-what-i-would-and-wouldnt-do-again-as-a-self-publishing-newbie). I think the truly hard bit is now actually getting the product into the hands of the readers. They have to know its out there to want it.
There seems to be a lot of pressure for authors to promote their work online nowadays. What sort of strategies did you have in place to compensate for this? Did you find this hard to adjust too?
Professionally I am an IT Geek so I live online. However, the reading community is very different from other “professional” communities. I think it’s finding the balance. At the moment I’m trying to build an “Author brand”. Essentially no one knows me. I’m just another newbie self-published author. Hopefully I’ve produced a good enough product and the story has been interesting enough to capture people’s imaginations.
One of my biggest challenges is time. It takes time to spend on social media and on the web “getting noticed”. I don’t have a lot of it. I’m also trying to stick to my schedule and finish Finding Judgement.
So at this stage I’m running with the blog tour. I have some other ideas for online marketing around the release of Finding Judgement and a few other things in the pipeline.
I’m really conscious of quality. Just because I’m self –published shouldn’t mean that the book or any of my branding is less than, what you would get from a main stream published author. I’ve have spent a lot of time and energy on hopefully getting those aspects right. And I love feedback people!
How has the public received your novel so far and how does that make you feel? Does it change the way you look at your book and the process?
So far the reviews I have got have been incredibly supportive and far better than I ever dreamed. People seem to really be able to relate to the characters and their interactions. That’s a great feeling.
I guess one thing I’ve really noticed is how much pleasure I get from someone saying they couldn’t put it down or how much they loved it. You see in IT we generally only get whinges. No one ever says – “I love that new system.” So it’s great to put something out there that people are enjoying. Writing is a very personal thing and essentially you’re putting your deepest thoughts and feeling out there for peple to scrutenise. You kind of hope that you’re not going to be bashed but you just don’t know.
Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are thinking about getting their work published?
Just keep going. When you start writing you think oh my god how am I possibly going to write 80,000 words. Then you kind of get on a roll and you knock over another 10,000 words then another and so on.
The publishing side is a whole other thing. However, not much point worry about that if you don’t have a book to publish. So I would recommend focusing on the book first. You can actually pull the publishing stuff together quite quickly once you know what you’ve done a bit of research and planning.
Finding Trust is a romantic suspense novel set in Queensland Australia, do you read a lot of romantic suspense yourself? And if so, who are some of your favourites?
I read a lot of everything!!!! I do read a lot of romantic suspense and the category is so wide and varied. I guess some of my favourites would be: Kaylea Cross, Stephanie Tyler, Pamela Clare, Julie Ann Walker, Karen Robards – there’s so many I need to go get my iPad to flick throgh my library!
Romantic suspense is a thriving genre, more so internationally then in Australia, but it’s doing well here too. What do you think the appeal of the genre is as a whole?
Well going from my own experience I think readers fundamentally love the romance aspect of the story. But they want a bit more than just the boy meets girl, falls in love HEA thing. They want more to the story. They want to watch an action movie in words with lots of romance. (Well that’s what I want and my Beta’s seemed to be onboard with it – so that’s what I’m writing!!!) Always open to suggestions if anyone has any thoughts or comments????
I also like to learn about new things and I think most people do as well. So I’m messing around with a few obscure viruses and other concepts that will be the premise for the series. I’ve got a couple of doozies coming up. One from personal experience, in fact I was seriously ill with it for several months. Just not sure which couple will get to play with that one yet.
I guess the difference is that the “threat” in each of my books is planned to be a real thing. Hendra is certainly real and very deadly. Fortunately it now has a vaccine for the horses although incoculation is in its infancy.
If I can create a little learning and a little awareness through a romance novel then that can’t be a bad thing?
What made you decide to write a romantic suspense novel? Was it the story or form that first came to mind?
I wanted to write a romance story that was more than just a romance. Essentially I really didn’t have much of a plan for Finding Trust. Just some rough concepts in my head. I just started writing and that’s what came out. I think subconsciously I do a lot more planning than I actually realise but it does seem like I pants it a lot.
I tried to use a structured writing program a month or so ago. Lasted two chapters before the characters deviated from the plan!!!! See, how am I suppose to plan when I have the likes of Rory, Quade and Jazz telling me something else?
You try winning an argument with that lot!
What are you currently reading?
Mmmm what have I read lately? Better do a list:
- Own the wind – Kristen Ashley
- Thrill Ride – Julie Ann Walker
- Tactical Strike – Kaylea Cross
- Thrown for a Curve – Jaci Burton
- All In – Raine Miller
- Wait for Me – Elisabeth Nautghton
I’m actually in need of some good recommentdations – I’ve done my usual trawl around Amazon and a few other places and nothing is tempting me. Maybe that’s because I know I should be writing!
And lastly, are there any new writing projects you are currently undertaking?
Well I’m probably about midway through Finding Judgement. I seriously need to get my butt into gear and finish that one. It’s due at the editor on June 1st. I’ve got the story in my head and Rory is politely (because he couldn’t be anything but polite) demanding that I finish it.
He wants his HEA. He’s kind of got part of it already……..but I’m not going to give too much away. I couldn’t believe it, when he suggested at the beginning of the book what he wanted to do with Pixie. There was no way I could make all that happen and stil make it believable. But apparently I was wrong! Then it was my job to make it all work.
It was a bit like when Rihanna just went and did something that totally took me by surprise. If you’ve read the book you can probably guess.
As the one writing it all down, it really does shock you sometimes what they come up with.
Wow the demands of these guys!
Good thing they’re super hot, sexy and irrestisstable in their own right!
In celeberation of her debut, Natalie has kindly donated a signed paperback edition of Finding Trust to one lucky winner (Open to Australia only) and one ebook version of Finding Trust (open internationally).
To enter this fantastic give-away simply do one or more of the following.
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