Gayle Carline was a software engineer for over twenty years before she chewed her way out of the cubicle to become a writer. When she's not entertaining her community with her weekly humor columns, she's plotting murder and mayhem in her mysteries. In the meantime, she tries to keep her husband and teenaged son fed and relatively content, and spend time with her two quarter horses, Frostie and Snoopy.
This week I am so pleased to welcome Gayle Carline as my guest for my Author Spotlight Feature. So without further delay let's go to the interview.
What hobbies do you actively pursue?
I have two horses and show one in AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) events. Horses are my muse. My first horse, Frostie, is responsible for my writing career. There's nothing that relaxes me as much as being with my ponies.
What do you think makes a good story?
Surprise me, with either character or plot. Make me think you are taking me down a familiar road, then yank me sideways. Or take me into well-known territory with someone who doesn't belong there. Who has that slogan "escape the ordinary"? That's what I want. Of course, it's a plus if the writing's good, too.
"Peri, you see my other sock?"
"In the kitchen, under a chair."
"And my tie-"
"On the printer in my office." She rolled over on her side and pushed herself from the bed. "Okay. I'm up."
Skip walked over and kissed her forehead. "Stay in bed, Doll. It's only six."
She stretched her long legs out before putting her feet on the cool wood floor. "And yet, we've already had such a lovely chat." Yawning, she shuffled toward the bathroom. "I should run before my meeting, anyway."
"I thought you had to leave early." She dug around in the refrigerator, moving last night's takeout boxes to get to the cranberry juice.
"I've got enough time to read the sports page. What's on your agenda for the day?"
"New client at ten. Don Keller."
"Don Keller? The developer?"
Peri closed the refrigerator, a small bottle of juice in her hand. "That's him."
"Why does he want to see you?"
"Oh, I don't know, because I'm a private investigator and he has something to investigate?" She frowned. "What's wrong with him coming to see me?"
Skip put the paper down. "Nothing. It's just that, he's kind of high-end."
"So was Mrs. Cheavers, but she came slumming to my part of town." She swallowed a handful of vitamins with her juice. "Of course, her husband shot me, which only proves you can never judge people."
Skip rose and picked up his badge and gun. "Well, if this is another cheating spouse case, maybe you should ask Keller if his wife is packing before you take it." He pulled Peri to him for a kiss, then took a step back to look at her.
"Shouldn't you get some new running clothes?"
Peri looked down at her gray tee-shirt and black spandex shorts. She grabbed the shirt and held it out toward Skip. "Property of the PPD. Don't you like it?"
"It's just looking kinda old and sad."
She laughed. "Since when do I care how I look when I'm running? As a matter of fact, why do you care?"
"You got a great body, Doll-"
She patted his cheek. "For a fifty-year old."
"Well you don't look more than thirty-five. But those shorts are all stretched out, and I'm pretty sure that's my shirt."
"Again, who cares? I'm running a couple of miles, after which I'll be a sweaty mess anyway."
"I just think you could look a little nicer-"
Skip's cell phone interrupted them. Peri wrapped a scrunchy around her thick, blonde ponytail and stuck it through an Angels baseball cap.
"That was Dispatch," Skip said. "They got a call from your neighbors. It's Mrs. Peters."
"Uh-oh. Is she?"
He nodded. "It's gonna be pretty gruesome over there. I guess no one noticed they hadn't seen her in awhile."
She winced. "Eew. Poor Dottie. Bob died of a heart attack just a few weeks ago, and now she goes."
"Sometimes it happens like that."
"Can I come with you to Dottie's?"
"I thought you were going running."
Peri leaned into Skip, tilting her face to meet his. "I was, but I'd rather visit the scene."
"You have that meeting at ten."
"It's not even seven. I just want to peek in, Skipper."
He grimaced. "Dressed like that?"
"Oh, dear God, what is it with you and my clothes this morning? Did you get up on the fashionista side of the bed?"
She threw the juice bottle into the recycle bin, causing the other plastic bottles to spring up and scatter on the floor. "Never mind. I'm going running."
"We on for dinner tonight?"
Peri turned to face her boyfriend. "I don't know - I gotta get my tiara out of the dry cleaners." Her final word hit at the same time as the slamming door. "Later."
How funny!! They really sound like an old married couple...How did you start your writing career?
What are you passionate about these days?
Libraries. I'm seeing a growing disparity between people who can afford all the new electronic gadgetry and the ones who are fighting to keep a roof over their heads. I've heard business leaders in our own community say that libraries are on their way out, and I think, well, how are the have-nots going to get access to information? Information and education to help dig them out of their situation - if they can't afford an internet connection, how can they afford a computer?
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
It wasn't a fan letter, but my sister-in-law's mother bought my first book and told me repeatedly that she doesn't read mysteries. She likes historical fiction. I assumed she'd put it on her stack of books and get to it, eventually. We met the next morning for breakfast and she said, "I stayed up until after one this morning reading your book. I couldn't put it down, it was so good. The only problem was, I had to go find something boring to read afterwards to help me go to sleep." High praise, let me tell you!
Do you have a Website or Blog?
Yes, I have both. My website (http://gaylecarline.com) covers my books, my humor columns, and a little flotsam & jetsam of everything I do. I actually have two blogs. My writing and everyday life blog is "On the Edge of the Chair of Literature," (http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com) which is a quote from James Thurber. My horse, Snoopy, also has his own blog, http://thatsmysnoopy.blogspot.com. He's quite the character!
Thanks so much, Gayle, for spending this time with me and our readers. It's been so nice finding out a little more about you and your books.