Gayle Hayes, Author

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


This is my first blog hop, but I was easily persuaded knowing that Susan Russo Anderson was taking part in it.  She is an award-winning author of the historical Serafina Florio Mystery Series.  You can find her blog hop post at Susan Russo Anderson.

The following questions will be answered by all the authors who have been tagged and agree to join The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  I hope my answers will give you a better idea of who I am and why I wrote The Scrimshaw Set: Books 1 & 2.  Please feel free to leave comments.

What is the title of your book?
The Scrimshaw Set: Books 1 & 2

Where did the idea come from for the book?
After I published The Scrimshaw Set, two readers encouraged me to write a sequel so they'd know what happened next.  Although I wrote The Scrimshaw Set as a character study and meant it to be one short novel, I could not disappoint those two readers, especially after one wrote, "Pretty Please."  The original idea came out of the blue.  I wondered what might happen if someone left an inheritance with strings attached.  One idea led to another, and I settled on the character of Frances Favager, who leaves her assets to the granddaughter she was never allowed to see.  The girl, Emma Lou Favager, must travel to Montana and spend time with Frances' old friends.  My intention was to write about the manipulative, controlling character of Frances and the effect her death had on those who knew her.

What genre does your book fall under?
I chose the Amazon categories, Contemporary Women and Family Stories based on reader tags and the comment of a reviewer that my book would appeal to those who enjoy family stories.  The novel has a little bit of everything in it, but it is not strictly a romance, mystery, historical fiction, or thriller.  I spent years not writing because I didn't think I fit into the niches out there.  Now, I just write the story and let others worry about where it fits.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I do not picture actors when I write.  If the story was made into a film, I would prefer unknown actors, because I think they would lend believability to the parts.  I don't want someone judging whether George Clooney is as sexy as he used to be when they are watching the action.  However, in keeping with the spirit of this blog, I did spend some time familiarizing myself with actors whom readers might recognize.  The main characters in order of appearance:

Phyllis Carle:  Kelly McGillis with dark hair and the right eyebrows;
Carole Wylie:  Kim Cattrall with a little makeup to age her;
Harold Lowe:  Joe Don Baker because he fits the description/age;
Emma Favager:  Rachel McAdams, without needing to explain;
Eric Knudsen:  Channing Tatum (ditto Rachel McAdams);
Jack Hennessey:  He looks like Sean Connery in Dr. No.  I'm guessing there would have to be a search of unknown actors who resemble Connery and a terrific makeup artist involved;
Jerry Dolan:  Dennis Quaid, except that I can't picture him bald, so I'm open to suggestions.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Emma Lou Favager travels to Montana to claim her inheritance from the grandmother (Frances) she was never allowed to see and confronts her own values and life choices as she discovers the reason behind the rift between her parents and Frances; resolves her dilemma of having to choose between staying in Denver, teaching law, and Jack Hennessey or moving to Montana, taking over Harold Lowe's law practice, and Deputy Eric Knudsen; and keeps track of the scrimshaw set. (Phew.  That was a long sentence!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published at  You can select the image of the book on this blog to go directly to Amazon.  If you belong to Amazon Prime, you can borrow the book free for a month.  If there is enough interest, I will publish in print, also. 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Book One took 37 days to write and 24 days to edit.  Book Two took 24 days to write and 12 days to edit.  Books 1 & 2 took 18 days to edit and format.  I research as I write and discover what I don't know or what facts I need to check.  It is amazing to me that I wrote these in so short a time.  The work is painfully slow when I'm writing.  I do not produce thousands of words each day.  I learned early on that it is more difficult to eliminate unwanted words than to avoid writing them at all.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I can't answer this question.  I have not written to fit into a genre.  I chose a genre only because I needed to do that when publishing at Amazon.  After surveying the other books under Contemporary Fiction and Women's Fiction at Amazon, I have not found anything that looks similar.  If you know of a similar book, please leave a comment so I can check it out.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The idea to write about the repercussions of a woman's will just popped into my head.  That was Book One.  The two readers who wanted to know what happened next provided the motivation for Book Two.  The events that took place followed logically, in my mind, from those in Book One.  I have always been fascinated by an author's ability to string events together into a story.  Even though I have written several of my own stories, I have no idea how this happens.  I think it is similar to dreaming.  Ideas, people, events, fears, longings, etc. populate our brains and reveal themselves when we are relaxed and receptive to them.  While I might be able to point to something concrete like an idea about a woman's will as the impetus for the story, the rest is a mystery.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
I think I'm in a unique position to write about Montana, since I was born and raised here and have spent most of my life here.  Also, I have lived long enough to have been the age of most of my characters, so I can write convincingly about their activities and desires.  I write about topics of current interest and include enough history and observation to advance the story without engaging in a long essay on a favorite theme.  Even though my books are not technically mysteries or thrillers, I like to include elements of both to keep the reader wondering what lies beyond the next bend.  My characters range in age from children to the elderly.  While my characters are flawed like real people, I hope they inspire us to be the best we can be.  I don't believe it is my job to convince readers what to believe on any given topic.  It is my job to write interesting characters in interesting predicaments.  Although I love writing, I would not continue to write novels if no one read them.  Please take a moment to let me know whether or not you enjoyed this novel and what you liked or disliked about it.  You can leave a comment here or send an email to the address at the end of the book.

On January 16, 2013 the following authors will post their answers to the above questions.  Please take a look at their sites in the meantime and bookmark their blogs. 




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