A writer all her life, Brenda Gayle returned to her love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications—although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. She holds a Master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. A fan of many genres, Brenda is drawn to contemporary romance and enjoys creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense.
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I interviewed Brenda Gayle and the following is what she had to say:
Hi Brenda, thanks for inviting me to Crazy Four Books. It’s always fun to meet another Brenda. I agree Brenda. :-) It was nice to meet you too!
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love the excuse to daydream, to lose myself in a fantasy world of my own creation. It may be my background in psychology, but the character development phase is definitely my favorite part of writing. In my daydreaming phase, I like to dig deeply into their backgrounds and figure out what makes them tick. I let them float through my consciousness for a week or more, and then make pages and pages of notes about their backgrounds, familial relations, and personality traits. Most of this information never makes it into the book, of course, but is crucial to keeping the characters and their actions real as the plot unfolds.
What do you hope people get out of reading your book?
Escape, pure and simple. The Doubting Heart is a romance with suspense. (Spoiler alert: the hero and heroine get together in the end.) I’m not trying to do anything except provide a bit of enjoyment, a way for people to put aside the reality of their daily lives for a few hours and read a story that ends in a happily-ever after.
What is your favorite day of the week?
Thursday is my favorite day because it means I still have another day to accomplish what I need to do before the weekend—I’m always behind—and it’s past the mid-week hump.
Do you prefer baked or fried?
Baked. I’ve never been a fan of fried foods, or maybe it’s just that my go-to foods aren’t usually fried (bagels, muffins, cheesecake). I even bake the French fries I make.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audio book?
I do love my e-reader, but there’s nothing like the tactile sensation you get from a real book. I prefer paperbacks because they are more portable and I rarely go anywhere without a book in hand. I'm the same way! :D
What type of music do you listen to?
Sad to say, but I tend to listen to those Boomer radio stations that play light rock from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Yes, I know, I’m dating myself, but I just can’t get into the electro club music that’s all over the airwaves. I have a fairly eclectic CD collection, everything from rock to country to jazz to classical—something for all moods and occasions. I am also a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and often listen to E Street Radio on satellite.
If you could talk to one person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
I’ve always been fascinated by Tudor England. I’d love to sit down and chat with Anne Boleyn about how she captured the heart of Henry VIII and kept him on a string for so many years. Hopefully, I’d also get some insight into where she went wrong. I’d probably also give her a head’s-up (groan) about what’s coming.
Do you have any hobbies?
I have two teenagers that are too young to drive, and as we live outside the city there isn’t public transportation. I spent most of my “spare” time chauffeuring them to their many and sundry sports and social activities. If I have to wait for them, I’ll use the time to catch up on my reading.
I’d really like to get back into knitting. I used to do that quite a bit and enjoyed it because it kept my hands busy while my mind wandered. As I mentioned before, I spend a lot of time “daydreaming,” which makes people suspicious about what I’m up to. If I was knitting, at least they’d think I was doing something. :-)
Do you have a favorite scent?
When my husband I were in Paris, many years ago, he bought me a bottle of Sun Moon Stars perfume by Karl Lagerfeld. I just love the exotic blend of fruit, floral, orange blossom, amber, and musk. Unfortunately with so many places being scent-free, I don’t get the opportunity to wear it as often as I’d like.
Pierced or not?
Ears yes, everything else no.
What food can't you live without?
Coffee. Does that count as a food? I hope so, because as far as I’m concerned, life wouldn’t be worth living (for me or for anyone unlucky enough to encounter me) without a steaming mug of strong black coffee each morning.
Brenda, you ask the most interesting questions. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I’d love to hear how others would answer some of these questions, especially the one about hardcover, paperback, ebook or audio.
***Brenda will be awarding one commenter at every stop a digital download of her new short story, Father of the Bride?, the first in The Wild Rose Press’s Dearly Beloved series, and one randomly drawn commenter on the tour will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.***
Here is a link to the Tour Schedule. You know the drill. The more comments you leave on the tour, the better your odds are of winning! :-)
The Wild Rose Press
A woman determined to prove her friend was murdered questions her sanity when his look-alike appears.
When Shelby Holt convinces a friend to work at Wildhorse Pass tourist ranch, she never imagines he will die there. The police say Michael's death was accidental, but Shelby doesn't believe it. Haunted by guilt, she puts her academic career on hold to investigate.
Just back from the Middle East, Chad Graham is guilt-ridden over Michael's death too. He poses as a ranch hand at Wildhorse Pass to investigate the woman claiming his cousin's death is suspicious. Were the police wrong? Or is Shelby hiding something?
Shelby knows she can't trust her heart, but when it comes to Chad, she can't trust her head either. He looks uncannily like Michael. Yet even as their distrust deepens, sensual attraction simmers between them. The closer Shelby and Chad get to answers—and to each other—the closer they get to danger…and to a killer who will stop at nothing to avoid discovery.
Here is an excerpt to tempt you:
Anxious to escape the ghosts of the place, she rounded to Copper, set her right foot into the stirrup and pushed off to mount her. The stirrup seemed to slip as she raised her left leg over the horse.
Suddenly, Copper shied back and reared up. Shelby lost her balance and slid down the side of the horse. The reins slid from her hands. She clawed at the saddle. “Copper! Easy girl. Easy up,” she cried, but her voice was too panicked to have any effect.
Then Copper began to run.
Shelby managed to grab onto the horn, but without the stirrup for support she felt herself slipping. She clawed for purchase yet each movement pulled the saddle further down the horse’s side. She grasped at the mane with her left hand and wrapped her fingers tightly through the coarse hair. The rocky ground seemed only inches below her and she struggled to hold her body rigid. Her loose leg dangled precariously close to the horse’s scythe-like hooves.
She called to Copper, tried to calm her. The horse sped up and edged closer to the water. Shelby panicked. Not the river. Not again!
As she fought to raise herself higher, she caught a glimpse over Copper’s back of a dark form approaching from up the canyon wall.
Another horse and rider!
Relief flooded her. Thank God.
She held tighter to the saddle and mane, willing every fiber in her being to hang on until her rescue. She counted the seconds. Waiting.
It was taking too long. She was afraid to turn her head to look for them. Where are they?
Then she saw them, a shadow on the ground, easily matching Copper stride-for-stride. That wasn’t right. They should be passing. Grabbing Copper’s bit. Slowing the pace. Stopping her.
The dark shadow was edging closer to Copper.
Closer to her.
Suddenly, Shelby realized what they were doing. Her mind exploded into a blinding fury of panic and shock. She heard herself scream.
The other rider was deliberately driving her towards the deadly torrent.
The Doubting Heart is the second book in the Heart's Desire series. It is a romance with a heaping helping of suspense. I felt like the story was slow at the beginning. It soon picked up the pace and offered lots of action, danger, and mystery in addition to the romance.
The plot consists of a murder, a friend with a guilty conscience, a tourist ranch, a guilt ridden family member determined to scope out the woman who said his cousin was murdered, horses, a bunch of accidents, and an attraction that won't be denied.
I was thoroughly caught up in the mystery of what happened to Michael and who was responsible. I was almost more interested in that than the chemistry between Shelby and Chad (almost). ;-)
I really liked the set up for the next book. You can bet I'll be reading it! Now I just have to go back and read the first book, The Hungry Heart.
I recommend this to anyone looking for a suspenseful romance to read.
I received a copy of this book from Goddess Fish in exchange for my honest opinion. It was intriguing and I enjoyed it!
As she stated above, Brenda would like to know your answers to the question about
which book format you prefer. Hardback, paperback, ebook or audio book?
I'd love to know what you're thinking. Please leave a comment!