Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet Mystery Romance Author Gay Yellen

Posted by Susan B James on 3:30:00 AM with 7 comments
Hi. Thanks for stopping by. Gay Yellen's debut novel, The Body Business is  a 2015 RONE Award finalist in the Suspense category, AND here's your chance to win a copy!

With a great job and a fantastic boyfriend, Samantha Newman thinks she has it all. But when her best friend vanishes, doubt creeps in. Is there some ugly reality behind her company's success?

When she asks the FBI for help, they send a man with secrets of his own. How can she find her friend without getting caught in the web of deceit? 
Carter Chapman's on a mission. But it wasn't supposed to include a beautiful corporate executive with her own set of problems, until a terrible event puts them on the same path to discovery, and they each have to decide if some secrets are worth the price.
Gay Yellen began her working life as an actress in theatre, film and television commercials, then moved behind the camera to be the Assistant to the Director of Production at The American Film Institute. She is a former magazine editor and national journalism award winner, and was the contributing book editor for Five Minutes to Midnight (Delacorte Press), an international thriller. She also has extensive executive experience in marketing and media relations.
The Body Business is Book #1 of the Samantha Newman Series. I am so happy to hear we can look forward to more.

I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book.
I was full of questions like: Should I use a pen name? Do I have to join Facebook? What’s Twitter? Other existential issues kept me up that night: Do I need an “Author” wardrobe? (Until the contract, my writing ensembles were old PJs.) And then, of course, The Big Question: Should I color my hair? Eventually, things sorted themselves out, and I’m thrilled to be a published author.

If it isn’t too nosy. How about the first time you kissed your true love?
So many first true loves to choose from! There was Peter, an absolute dream of a first-grader, whom I chased down on the playground during recess and planted a smacker on. That was before I turned shy. Then there was John, a young gentleman who carried my books and walked me home from fourth grade. One day when we reached my house, he asked if he could kiss me. I really really wanted him to, but I knew it was forbidden. Long story short, I led him behind our garage and let him give me a peck on the cheek. That evening, I was so deeply wracked with guilt that I wrote a confession promising I’d never ever do it again. I gave it to my mother. She must have had a good laugh over that one.
I used to threaten my first boyfriend with kisses unless he did what I said. 

Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre?
In the mystery genre, you can’t beat Miss Marple for pluck. She faces sexism and ageism, yet remains fierce in her determination to solve crimes. Today, I admire the heroines of Pamela Fagan Hutchins books. She’s created three contemporary romantic suspense series, each one powered by a fully-realized and likable female character. Emily, the protagonist of her newest series, is vulnerable, smart and funny—someone the reader can really root for.
Sounds great. I have a new author to look up. 

What is the most exciting moment, so far, in your writing career?
I love book clubs! My very first one was hosted by a neighborhood club. Over forty people showed up. I had so much fun interacting with readers. We had a blast. Although I’ve been nominated for, and won, several awards for my writing, it’s speaking to a book club that gives me the biggest rush.
I want one of those. I need to pick your brain on how to get one.

What is your favorite pastime, other than writing?
My husband is an excellent nature photographer, and I love to hike with him. One of my favorite personal photos is a self-portrait he shot of us (well, our shadows, really) in the early morning at Death Valley.

 The shot is not only beautiful, it stimulates my imagination.

How do you motivate yourself when inspiration takes a vacation?
That’s when I take a mental vacation, too, and read. Almost anything from my to-be-read pile usually works. Sometimes it’s fiction, but even a magazine or newspaper item can unclog the creative pipeline. As long as the subject takes my mind off the issue at hand and keeps the circulation flowing into the problem-solving area of my brain, it helps. It also reduces the piles of reading material that gather dust around here.

Got a recipe you want to share?
I’m a food lover, but not a kitchen wizard. My critique group complains that reading my chapters makes them crave the food I write into scenes, and there are a lot of food scenes in my books. I plan to post recipes for some of them on my website.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Read. Study the craft and the business. Join a writer’s group to network with and learn from those who are further down the publishing road. Seek professional feedback at a conference, in a critique group, anywhere you can. Write, rewrite and rewrite again until it’s your best.

What genre or genres do you write?
While I was writing The Body Business, I didn’t aim for the romance genre, though there is a strong romantic thread in it, and it’s marketed as romantic suspense. I had just finished contributing work to another author’s very successful thriller, and I was comfortable in that genre, so I used it to structure my book. I’m more of a cross-genre writer; The Samantha Newman Series is a mash-up of danger and romance, with a little humor thrown in. I’ve also begun research for a historical fiction idea that has captured my imagination and won’t let go. And I dip into poetry—mostly children’s verse, but sometimes I tackle serious themes.

Here's an excerpt from The Body Business (I love the cover, by the way):

This is ridiculous. Stop being afraid. Put up or shut up. Get it over with.
Samantha quickly scanned the rest of the e-mail she’d written. You must find out what happened to Lista Pearson, the last paragraph began. Please, please help.
It still didn’t say all that it should, all that she knew. But she hoped it would be enough to get someone’s attention. If the FBI knew how much she really, really hated asking anyone for help - least of all them - they would take her seriously.
The clock on the oven blinked six-fifty. Derek would arrive soon to pick her up. It was now or never. Holding her breath, she gripped the mouse again and re-centered the arrow over Send.
This time, she clicked, and the message disappeared into the ether. Her pulse pounded in her ears as she blinked at the empty screen. She leaned back and shut her eyes. A jumble of thoughts sped through her skull at warp speed. She opened her eyes again to make them stop.
The kitchen seemed both familiar and suddenly strange. Like the eerie hush that descends as the eye of a hurricane hovers, she felt weirdly calm. The worst of the storm was sure to come, but for now, she had to drag herself upstairs and get ready for another dreadful day at the office, where the escalating hostility felt like a pair of clammy hands closing around her neck. 

Thank you!
 What’s your current WIP?
I’m winding down the sequel to The Body Business, and I can almost see through the tunnel to those two exquisite words: The End. Book #3 is in the wings, rarin’ to go.

And finally, where can we find  you?
Gay’s Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com/author/gayyellen
Gay’s Website: gayyellen.com
Twitter: @GayYellen
Facebook: Gay Yellen, Author
Thank you for being here, Gay. 
Gay is giving away an eBook copy of The Body Business. You know the drill, friends. Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This was a fun interview, Susan. i'm looking forward to giving a copy of my book to the winner.

  2. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Joanne. thanks for stopping in!

  3. Your book sounds very cool and very intriguing. I love cross-genre books. Thank you for sharing info about it.

  4. Thank you. It was fun to riff off of the questions Susan posed. Hey, Susan, we make a good team!


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