AuThursday – Gail Ward Olmsted

 

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Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I spent my career in the field of marketing in the telecom industry and have now been teaching Marketing and Consumer Behavior at the college level for more than twenty years. I have been married to the love of my life for over thirty years, have two adult children (a daughter and a son) and two cats. I didn’t start my writing career until after AARP came calling. It’s been a wonderful life!!

How do you make time to write?

I really enjoy writing, so a better question for me is: how do you make time for anything other than writing? I also enjoy my day job- I have my summers free and I try to balance time with my husband, kids and our friends. We moved to a house on a lake a couple of years ago and do a lot of boating and entertaining. Multitasking works for me. I read while on a treadmill, listen to books during my commute and knit while watching TV with one or more cats on my lap. I don’t sleep all that much or clean my house or cook very often. My family would probably say that I didn’t clean or cook very much even before I started writing and they’re probably right!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Sure, it happens but I usually work through it fairly quickly. My writing time is limited, so if I’m stuck on something, I will read over what I’ve already written or do some research to get through it. If you sneak a peak at my search history, you would see just how crazy I truly am. Recent searches include: covers of Tiger Beat magazines over the past 20 years, signs of Erotomania (fans stalking celebrities) symptoms of clinical depression and life on the Upper East side of Manhattan. I love Google!!

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I write contemporary romance, which I absolutely love. There are no rules in dating these days, which is so refreshing. I grew up in a time where my friends and I spent hours waiting by the phone for a certain boy to call us. What a waste of time and opportunity! I like to write strong women characters, who don’t spend much time sitting around and waiting for anyone. A common theme of mine is second chances because I believe that we all deserve a second or even third chance at a ‘happy ever after’. When I wrote JEEP TOUR, I truly wasn’t sure until I was 2/3 of the way through whether my main character Jackie would ‘get the guy’ or a different guy or end up blissfully single. Any of these would have been satisfying endings.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Second Guessing is my 4th novel. I decided to seek a traditional publisher and was thrilled when Roane Publishing offered to sign me. In 2014, I self-pubbed my first book JEEP TOUR. The following year, I went with hybrid publisher Booktrope for publishing my second book Guessing at Normal and they also re-repubbed JEEP TOUR. They went out of business shortly before publishing my third title Driving on the Left. So I regained my rights and self-pubbed all three titles. In less than 4 years, I’ve experienced self-publication, hybrid publishing and now a traditional form of publishing. I have to say I truly enjoy the support I get from the Roane team.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Extrovert so I truly enjoy readings, signings and book club appearances. That being said, I also enjoy the solitude of writing quite a bit as well. I try to find a healthy balance which keeps me somewhat sane.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Do something now and do exactly the right thing later. What this means to me is- don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to do something. If you can’t make time to prepare a home-cooked meal for a sick friend, call for takeout or send a card. Don’t wait to lose that final five pounds to buy that dress you’ve been wanting. If it’s on sale, buy it now! If you don’t have the whole morning free to hit the gym, take a walk around the block. If you don’t have unlimited hours to devote to writing, take the hour you do have and get the most out of it that you can. If I waited for the perfect opportunity to do anything, I would waste so much time. You’ve just got to make the most of what you do have instead of wishing for more or better. I sound like a Nike ad- just do it!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write often. Talk to other writers. Listen to how people really talk and watch how they react to things. Join a group on FB or an actual writing group. Study what’s selling in your genre. Get feedback. Don’t quit your day job. Develop a really thick skin. Don’t expect your friends and family to be your biggest fans. They might be, but their feedback might be biased, because they love you. Find an editor and a proofreader and a cover designer. This is money well spent if you are self-publishing.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

All of my titles are available on Amazon, Kindle Unlimited and Barnes & Noble.  My author page on Amazon is www.amazon.com/author/gailolmsted and my website is www.GailOlmsted.com .  Readers can interact with me via Facebook www.facebook.com/gailolmstedauthor on Twitter @gwolmsted, on Instagram gwolmsted or via email gwolmsted@gmail.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

SecondGuessing_Cvr“Sure do!! This is from Second Guessing. Jill and Ben are on their first date. They saw a movie and are now in a Chinese Restaurant.”~Gail Olmstead

“I hope you enjoy it. I already ordered,” Ben began somewhat apologetically. “Well, actually it was my assistant Ian.”

Jill was already chewing a second dumpling and she nodded enthusiastically. As soon as she could swallow, she placed the uneaten portion of the dumpling on her plate and leaned forward to squeeze his hand. “This is amazing. I can’t believe you went to so much trouble just for me.”

“I don’t want you to think I always have to be in charge, you know? I mean tonight, it’s all been organized, but I usually like to be more spontaneous.”

“So next time, I get to choose?”

Ben’s gaze was warm and he grinned at her. “I hope there’ll be a next time.”

Jill looked at him and her heart did another in a series of little flips. What is this man doing to me? She felt herself blushing again, but managed to nod enthusiastically. Ben popped a dumpling into his mouth and chewed and they grinned at each other happily. They managed to make short work of the appetizers and Jill moaned with pleasure as, after removing the empty plates, their server replaced them with huge bowls of pork fried rice, shrimp lo mein and chicken in a garlicky sauce. Their dinner was served family style, and Jill helped herself to large portions of everything. They ate in companionable silence, punctuated by Jill’s moans of delight as she sampled each dish.

After she had eaten most of the food she had taken, she drank some water, and then sat back with a satisfied sigh. “Carly says I could have a food baby and no one would even notice.” God, where had that come from?

“No one, huh?” he said with a smirk. When he saw Jill blush, he sat back and smiled. “I’m dying to know more about you, Jill Griffin.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders. Always shy and intensely private, she had grown increasingly wary over the years and disliked talking about herself. She had been burned a few times by those claiming to be interested in her, when all the while they only wanted to learn something about James, as if she would relay some juicy bit of gossip about him, posthumously or not.

She knew that since Ben was well on his way to the level of celebrity James had enjoyed, it was highly unlikely Ben had any kind of ulterior motive. He was probably sincere in wanting to get better acquainted with her. But even though she felt comfortable with Ben, she was out of practice with any sort of personal narrative.

“Not much to tell. I was married to James and we had Carly and then James died.”

Ben frowned at her and his brown eyes looked sad. “I’m not asking about Jill the wife or Jill the mother.”

“Well, that’s all there is to me, I’m afraid.” Jill laughed nervously.

Ben was shaking his head at her. “I think you’re wrong. I see so much more than that. I see a beautiful woman. A talented woman. A woman I want to get to know much, much better.” Jill put down the cloth napkin she had been folding and unfolding underneath the table. She had regained some of her self-confidence and she watched him closely as she spoke.

“A mature woman. Ben, I’m 42 years old. I have an 18-year old daughter. I don’t know what you want from me. I’m not a ‘Mrs. Robinson’ okay? You’re so…young,” she ended weakly.

But Ben was not to be put off. “I like you Jill. Yeah, I’m a little younger than you, but so what? Just a number, am I right? I want to know what makes you tick. How you come up with all those amazing song lyrics. What you love, what you wish for. And more than anything, I want to know how it will feel to hold you in my arms. What it will be like to kiss those lips. What you taste like…” He stopped as he noticed Jill was staring at him, open-mouthed.

He pushed his chair back and slipped over next to her in the banquette. Jill needed to say something, before she started kissing him like she had been dreaming about all day.

“I just want to keep this private, okay? I haven’t been with anyone since, well, you know. Carly says she’s ready for me to start dating again, but I’m not at all sure I believe her. You and I kind of work together, and I have to keep it professional. And there’s going to be a big tribute concert for James this fall and there will be a ton of press. I can’t have this, whatever it is, taking center stage. So this is just between us, okay?”

Ben was watching her closely and at his nod of agreement, she continued. “And just for the record,” she whispered, “I imagine I taste like Whoppers and garlic sauce.”

 

Ben took her in his arms and just before he started kissing her, he assured her, “That’s my favorite.”

 

 

 

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