Friday, October 19, 2012

Holding off for a Hero


I want to welcome my friend Gail MacMillan to Believe! Her newest book will be released today, and we're celebrating the big event by asking her some personal and not-too personal questions about her life as an author. I've had the privilege of Beta Reading her book and will tell you that I enjoyed it thoroughly. For one thing, it’s humorous—which I like. Also, her characters are wonderful, especially Emma the heroine. But then the hero, Frasier, is pretty darn keep-able also. There's enough conflict to keep one interested, and a romance to make it perfect. In fact, it just keeps getting better until at the end....well, you don't want it to end!

Gail, Can you tell us about your new release?
October 19th was an exciting day for me.  That’s the day my romantic comedy “Holding Off For A Hero” was borne into both print and e-book.  Since the pivotal scene takes place on Halloween, the pub date couldn’t have been better.  With the ghost of a murdered lumberman, an ax protruding from his chest, haunting their wilderness retreat and a pair of thugs ready to murder them, hero and heroine are in for a harrowing October 31st. 
 I had such fun writing this story, I truly hated to see it end at 65,000 words.  I had many more adventures to relate about heroine Emma and her hero Frasier.  As a result, I’m currently working on a sequel featuring Emma’s twin sister Etta (short for Henrietta). 
One of the main reasons writing this tale was such a delight is because several of the characters are based on real people.  Emma carries within her fictional DNA the genes of a remarkable woman I’ve known for years and who embodies the spirit of generosity, trust and adventure coated in a wonderful sense of humor. 
Frasier MacKenzie, the hero, is a brave, let’s-just-get-the-job-done kind of guy who finds Emma with her infectious joie de vivre one huge crimp in his carefully laid out plans.  Emma loves a good time, which infringes no end on Frasier’s work ethic.  When he discovers he’s actually enjoying her antics that could spell an end to not only his current project, but also his career, he decides that the choice of fire or frying pan would be child’s play by comparison.
And then, of course, there’s the secondary hero and cover guy, my Pug Bruiser.  Bruiser has appeared in magazine articles for the past six years, but this is his first foray into the highly competitive world of cover model.  He’s definitely got one of those faces that, while it may not launch a thousand ships, he definitely catches attention with his good-natured grin or sagging-lip sadness.  Like Emma, he, too, possesses a love of adventure and proves to be her perfect companion in “Holding Off For a Hero.”  He’s also a natural comedian.  Since dog fanciers have been enjoying reading about his escapades for the past half dozen years in various doggie magazines, I decided he would be a perfect character to appear in a romantic comedy.
I’d love to hear from readers regarding “Holding Off For a Hero.”  If it gives anyone a laugh or a sigh, please let me know.  Bruiser and Emma will be delighted to hear from you as well at
You write in more than one genre.  Do you have a favorite?  Which one do you find the hardest? 
My favorite is always the one in which I’m currently writing. One of the negative things about writing in various genres is that it prevents branding that will allow readers to follow you more readily.  The good thing about it is that you’re never, ever bored or stuck in the proverbial rut.
Where do you find your story ideas? 
My first creative writing teacher always compared writers to magicians.  Writers can make stories appear out of thin air, she said.  And that’s where most of my ideas come from.  Sometimes a person, or an event, or even a scrap of overheard conversation can trigger a story, but mostly it’s just a spark in the brain.  Agatha Christie could never explain where her Poirot came from.  He just arrived, full blown, in her imagination. 
How do you research your novels? 
With my contemporary novel, I stick to the old adage of writing what you know…the lakes, woods, rivers, wilderness and mountains of our beautiful province of New Brunswick. Of course, my historicals require actual research, but I’ve always had a love of history, made it one of my major studies in university (which wasn’t all that long ago, since I graduated two years after my oldest daughter received her degree), and traced our family’s ancestors for years so it’s work I thoroughly enjoy.
  Do you have time management tricks to keep you on schedule? 
Not really.  The natural rhythm of my creative life pretty much dictates my schedule.  Sometimes I get on what I call a writing jag. Then I write and write and write.   I’ll hit an equally powerful reading one.  Now if I could just land on a housecleaning time slot…
What is it about your current release that excites you the most? 
I’m pleased with “Holding Off For a Hero” because two of the main characters are drawn from wonderful, real-life creatures.  I say creatures because while the first is Emma the heroine, the second is my Pug Bruiser. Both Emma and Bruiser have brought so much into my life with their courage, sense of adventure and humor, and joie de vivre, a book definitely had to be written about them.
Out of all your novels, which hero and heroine are your favorites?  Why?  At this time I have to say Emma and Frasier in “Holding Off For a Hero”.  They’ve been such fun to work with.  They’ve made the story almost write itself.  
Do you set daily expectations or goals for your writing?
 Not for writing exclusively.  Often a goodly portion of a day can be spent promoting a book, dealing with editors and publishers, and keeping up with the latest developments in the publishing industry.  That being said, there is never a day when I’m not somehow involved with writing and the creative process.
What do you know now that you wished you’d known when you started writing?
I wish I’d known that a story that doesn’t grab one editor’s interest might be the pride and joy of another.  Over the years, I’ve all too often let one editor’s opinion darken my way.  I was inclined to think that once one editor had rejected a story, that piece had no value.   It was a particularly cruel rejection that eventually made me see the light.  I’d written a story that would go on to win an award.  The first editor that I sent it to replied that I’d better take up gardening, that I’d never make it as a writer.  Twenty-six published books later, I wonder what he’s doing these days.  
Do you ever hit the wall or find you’ve written yourself into a corner?  How do you turn that around?
Fortunately that doesn’t happen to me very often. What does occur can be equally troublesome—finding what I call plot holes in your story on a fourth or fifth draft, just when you think you’ve covered all bases. 
Okay…enough with the business stuff!  How about some personal insider info? When you’re not writing or reading, what would we find you doing? 
Enjoying family, friends, and dogs.  I spend a lot of time outdoors and relax by walking and training my dogs.  They’re the ultimate exercise machine.  Unlike a treadmill that just sits quietly in the basement, they’re in my face, prancing, demanding “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”  Who can refuse such high-pressure invitations! 
Favorite food or recipe? 
No doubt there.  Cherry cheese cake. Yummm!
Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us…it can be a secret…we won’t tell.  
I’m a bookaholic.  I can’t resist buying books.  Last month, I decided to take a pledge and not purchase any books for the next thirty days.  Then along came Mimi Barbour’s “Roll the Dice” and, plunk, off the wagon again.  Bad, bad Mimi!ow abHo

Gail MacMillan www.gailmacmillan.caThree Time Maxwell Medal Winner
From The Wild Rose Press:
Lady & the Beast, Caledonian Privateer
Ghost of Winters Past, Holding Off for a Hero




  1. Fascinating interview, ladies1
    And LOL, Gail. I fear if I ever took that pledge to not buy any new books for a month, I'd fall off the wagon about as fast as you did. :)

  2. Love the blog and your new book sounds really good, Gail. I'll be adding it to my "must buy" list. I'm Reading Ghost of Winters Past right now and really enjoying it!

  3. Thanks for visiting Norah. I agree with you about the books...just glad it was mine that hauled her off the wagon :-)

  4. Hi Lina,
    You'll be glad you if you choose to read Gail's new gave me hours of enjoyment.

  5. You're such an inspiration, Gail! I really enjoyed learning more about you and can't wait to read this book.