Gloria, it's so nice of you to take time to talk to us about your budding career.
Let's get started.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? How long have you been writing?
I would say I've been writing since I was about 10 years old. I was at a Catholic nun's
academy and to tell you the truth I didn't get many awards at the end of the year. They
had this annual event where they gave out the awards for merit. I was saved by at least
getting the art prize every year (I could count on it like clockwork) which saved me from
going home without any award! Anyhow, they gave a prize with each award and that year I
got a novel. I didn't even know such a thing as a novel existed! I only knew about
schoolbooks and such. Reading that novel was a revelation! Immediately I thought, "I
can write a book!" That book I began to write then and never finished was called "The
Pearl" and it started this way "I'm preparing for my second expedition and this time I'm
going in search of adventure." So as you can see I was in search of adventure even way
back then. In the early years of my marriage I wrote a gothic novel (Midnight at Malabay)
not published and I wrote to Daphne Du Maurier asking her about "Rebecca" and how it was
that she became inspired and did "Manderly" really exist. She wrote back telling me all
about how she was inspired to write Rebecca and sent me pictures of the house that
inspired her to write it, etc. etc. Needless to say that letter with her pictures became
one of my most prized treasures and inspired me to continue writing. But the novel,
Midnight at Malabay came very close to being published - the editors, in fact, wrote to
tell me it was in the final decision meeting. I lost! I couldn't believe it. I always
wondered if I had lost for one vote (one editor who voted against me). Anyhow, having
that novel "almost" published by Dodd Mead & Company gave me renewed strength and belief
in myself to continue writing.
I became a stringer (a stringer does not work as an employee of a newspaper but does
articles on a regular basis for a set amount, as I mentioned to you the other day. I'm
really a jack of all trades as far as writing goes because I have worked and written for
2 weekly newspapers. For one of those newspapers (The Reminder) now long gone, I also
did artwork and wrote the horoscopes! Around that time I also published a confession
type story in True Romance.
You're also an artist. In fact, the artwork on the cover of your book "First Season",
is a painting that you, yourself did. How does one go from being an artist to a romance
As I mentioned above, I became a writer around the age of 10. But I became an artist
even earlier. This is to illustrate how important encouragement is to a person's
decision to become a writer or an artist, poet, musician, etc. When I was in
kindergarten (in San Benito, Texas) the teacher put up a picture of a scene in Alaska,
a little boy dressed like an Eskimo, and told us to copy it. We all went to work and
when we had finished she looked at all of them and she only put mine up on the wall!
That drawing of mine stayed there on the wall for a long time, because it seemed the
teacher really liked it. That was how I became an artist.
You also told me that you write poetry, which is nice to know, as we've just started a
new feature on ARR called "Poet's Corner". Have you ever had any of your poem's published?
I'm going to have a poem entitled "Babi Yar" published in Writer's Journal in the
May/June 2003 issue. I have been notified that it will be that issue or the one
immediately before it. That poem is certainly not romantic. It deals with the
Holocaust. But I have written many romantic poems, the latest one being "The Moon Molten
Gold". I have not had one published before this one. I had another poem accepted for
publication but the magazine folded before it published it.
When you sit down and start writing a new book, what process do you go through to come
up with an idea for plots, characters and what ever else it takes to write a book?
I have a pretty unusual way of arriving at ideas. Usually a scene suddenly pops into my
head and it sort of gives me the idea for the book. I believe conflict between a man and
a woman starts things going very nicely so I can say I arrive at an idea when the
"conflict" appears full blown in my mind. I then begin to write and shape around that
conflict. I could never sit down and write an outline. Usually if the conflict is good
and strong enough, it gives me the direction of where the plot is going. When I am two
thirds into the book I already have a bare bones structure of the plot but it still has
many structural problems at this time. But by now my characters have been developed to
such a point that they themselves give me an idea of what to do, simply because they "act
in character." So, in reality, I go back and forth between "character and plot and they
sort of feed on each other. There are always villains in my Regencies. Have you read
"First Season"? You'll know what I mean if you read it.
Your book, "Forced Offer" started out as an ebook. Do you have any other ebooks? How
long does it usually take for an ebook to be released into paperback form? Do you ever
have to do any re-writes for the paperback version?
Only "Forced Offer" is an e-book. It can be downloaded through Booklocker.com and no,
no rewrites are required for the paperback form. Both e-book and print versions were
released simultaneously by Booklocker.
The order of my books is
1. First Season (print only)
2. Forced Offer (e-book and print)
3. Canceled Courtship (print only)
Your next book, 'Canceled Courtship', is still in the revision stages. Are you going to
be doing the cover art for that book as well?
I have finished a painting that will be the cover of "Canceled Courtship". And also,
I am in the last "typo revision stage"
Can you give us a little taste of what the book is going to be about?
Cecilia Sentennel is chosen by the Earl of Arandale to be his bride. He has had his
solicitor research a family that meets his requirements. Long ago the girl he loved,
his betrothed, died violently and now he lives a wasted life with a fast "Brighton Set".
He wants a girl that will not disturb his life, who will be a nice source of heirs and
stay in the background. But Cecilia Sentennel has other plans. Having an independent
fortune she doesn't need to get married if she doesn't want to and she certainly doesn't
want to get married to Lord Arandale whom she saw kissing his mistress in Hyde Park and
for whom she developed an instant dislike. Well, needless to say, Cecilia's rejection
sends the earl into a tailspin! The Earl of Arandale rejected! And by someone he
considers insignificant! Well, the earl's first lesson in humility was long overdue as
his uncle notes. All this is complicated by the fact that Cecilia's father's heir to the
estate, an unpleasant man called Alex Shackel, also wants Cecilia, but for other more
sinister reasons. He wants Cecilia's fortune along with the estate and will stop at
nothing to attain it. Lady Rolande a society matron who is always in trouble with
gambling debts, helps Shackel in exchange for money by befriending Sir Geoffrey,
Cecilia's father, who is ill and in need of the miraculous medicine only Lady Rolande
Being a self-taught writer, whom did you look to for advice or influence?
Mainstream writers I go to again and again for inspiration and to learn from them are
Collette, D. H. Lawrence, George Elliot, Jane Austin and Thomas Hardy. For Regency and
historical novels I would say that apart from Jane Austin, Marion Chesney would be #1.
I actually decided to do a Regency novel after reading a whole lot of Regencies by
Chesney and following on that would be Mary Balogh and Barbara Metzger (more modern
What types of books do you like to read? Any favorite author's?
Those mentioned above, among many others such as most of the classics like The Count of
Montecristo, A Tale of Two Cities, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Vanity Fair, The Old
Is there any advice that you would give to a person who is considering writing a book?
Do as I do, imagine a strong, conflict scene between a man and a woman. Start to develop
characters from that scene, loosely. As you form your characters they themselves will
churn and shape your plot.
Please be sure to check out the 4 sites that Gloria belongs to.
As a writer: www.athorsden.com/gloriagay
As an artist: www.justoriginals.com/gloriacaballero
As an artist: www.w3art.com/gloriacaballero
For writing tips and advice from Gloria Gay, please go to: www.historicalromancewriters.com
Click on HRW Partons and then Gloria Gay.
Thanks you so much for answering my questions. Everyone at A Romance Review wish you
the best of luck in your romance writing career.