My most recent book is The Quick and the Thread: An Embroidery Mystery. It centers around Marcy Singer, who has just opened an embroidery specialty shop in Tallulah Falls, Oregon–on the coast. She throws a soiree to celebrate her grand opening. Soon, Marcy’s sign- up sheet for embroidery classes fills up and everyone in town seems willing to raise a glass-or a needle-to support the newly-opened Seven Year Stitch. Then Marcy finds the shop’s previous tenant dead in the store-room, a message scratched with a tapestry needle on the wall beside him. Now Marcy’s shop has become a crime scene, and she’s the prime suspect. She’ll have to find the killer before someone puts a final stitch in her.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m from Southwest Virginia, and I’ve been writing forever! (grin) Okay, I guess it only seems like it. I actually got my first novel published in 1998 by a small press that later went out of business (hope it wasn’t because of my book!). I continued writing for small presses until I finally opened my own publishing company. I published my books and the books of other writers for a few years but realized my own writing was suffering under the strain of running a company. I closed the company, reverted the writers’ rights back to them, and began concentrating on my own writing career. And now I’m writing two cozy mystery series under two different names for two different companies!
How did you publish this book?
Actually, this book was requested by Jessica Wade, an editor at NAL/Penguin. She spoke with my agent at that time, Jacky Sach, who asked me if I’d be interested in developing the series. It sounded like a lot of fun–which it was–so I decided to go for it.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I think I really got started in my high school creative writing class. We had a great group of people and we did improv and wrote in several different genres. It was a blast.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Edits. It’s so hard to go back and rewrite something you thought was pretty good to begin with! But, in the end, you can look back and see that editing makes the book better.
How do you do research for your books?
I use online newspapers, the library and talking with other people (my favorite). For The Quick and The Thread, I was even able to use YouTube as a research tool. I wanted to find out about whale watching. I typed in the search bar “whale watching on the Oregon coast” and found videos.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned a lot about Oregon! In order to be accurate, I had to discover how far Portland is from the coast, what whale’s fluke prints are, and peak whale watching time in Oregon (the period between Christmas and New Year’s).
What are you reading now?
The Bible every night before bed.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love mystery fiction. I like thrillers, but I’m not so sure I could write one. I love Jeffrey Deaver, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Joel Rosenberg…. I’m sure I’ll think of half a dozen more after I press “send”. I love books that keep you guessing. In Jeffrey Deaver’s books I inevitably have at least one jaw-dropper. I love that even though I’m looking to solve the mystery, I can’t. I strive for that in my own books.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m actually working on my next two books. I’m working on Killer Sweet Tooth, the next book in the Daphne Martin cake decorating mystery. I’m having so much fun with it–it has Elvises and pink cadillacs and a dead dentist with Myra and Daphne the main suspects in the dentist’s death. And I’m working on Thread Reckoning, the third book in the embroidery series. I haven’t got as far along it that book yet, because the KST deadline precedes it!
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Just keep on writing and don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. I know that’s so much easier said than done. But you have to develop a thick, thick skin in the writing world. I’ve even finally learned to laugh at bad reviews…sometimes. Not often, but occasionally.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I’m having a virtual launch party on August 3 (the book’s release date) on Facebook. I’ll be giving away prizes all day, so please stop by!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Please visit my website at http://www.gayletrent.com