Multi-award-winning author, Gail Gaymer Martin, writes for Steeple Hill, Barbour Publishing, and is the author of Writing the Christian Romance from Writers Digest. Gail has signed forty fiction contracts and has over 1 million books in print. She is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conference across the
How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I began writing for publication in 1994, the year before I took an early retirement. In September, I submitted a book of four Christmas programs I had written for my church. The book, Kneel Before the Babe, was contracted in January 1995. I continued to write articles and short stories for magazines and sold most everything I wrote, but in 1997, I also began to write fiction, my little kid dream. I sold my first novel to Barbour in 1998. Six months later, I sold my second novel to them which was released in 1999 and that year, I sold my first book to Steeple Hill Love Inspired.
Why do you write?
I must. It’s as simple as that. My mind is filled with stories that I want to see in print. I love being blessed with so many sales, forty contracted novels, so I truly believe the Lord has deigned me to be a writer of Christian fiction. Since I am a teacher to the bottom of my toes and know that Jesus taught using parables, I also believe that my novels are modern day parables that can touch people’s hearts and make a difference in their lives. For these reasons, writing is a must.
What inspired you to write the non-fiction book writing book?
I wrote WRITING THE CHRISTIAN ROMANCE for two reasons. For years, I've been a romance columnist with either The Christian Communicator (TCC) or Spirit-Led Writing, an ezine. Lyn Johnson, editor of the TCC, suggested a few years ago that I consider writing a book on Christian romance. I'd give it thought earlier, but her comment brought it into my mind again, but not until three years later, as I mentored writers, was I struck by the need for a book on writing Christian romance. No book exists that deals with this specific genre in full-book length, although you can find numerous books on writing secular romance and some on writing Christian fiction. Since the genre is very different from secular romance, I wrote a proposal and my agent sent it to Writers Digest, the biggest publisher of how-to books on writing.
I agree, Gail. I’ve found the same to be true. I couldn’t find a book which taught specifically on writing Christian romance and so appreciate that you’ve addressed that felt need, as they say. What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
I hope the book WRITING THE CHRISTIAN ROMANCE will provide writers with a better understanding of the nuances of the genre and specific reader and publisher expectations. I hope writers will grasp the importance of three-dimensional characterization brought to life with realistic emotion, meaningful dialogue that moves the story forward, hooks that turn the book into a page-turner, an understanding of the elements of sexuality and spirituality expected in Christian romance, and ideas on networking and connecting with fellow authors, as well as finding an agent and publisher. If they gain this kind of information from excerpts of well-known Christian author and the examples and exercises I provide, I will feel very blessed.
How is writing non-fiction is different from fiction.
Writing non-fiction is a different talent than writing fiction. I think non-fiction needs a teacher’s heart. A writer needs to know how to explain details clearly, precisely and with good examples and excellent organization. Although creativity is needed to provide an interesting writing style and sometimes a storytelling approach, the creativity is very different from fiction. You have no characters to take over and march to their own drum. You have to be the drummer and march to a well-defined tune so that others can comprehend and learn from your book.
I understand you have a new fiction release too. Tell us about it.
My novel, FAMILY IN HIS HEART, is a January release, and it's in stores until the end of January, then still available from eharlequin or Amazon.com. This is the last book set on
Congratulations on that review! Do you have any advice for writers?
Helping writers is one of the blessings of a being a novelist. Since one-on-one is difficult when I’m on book deadlines so often, it motivated me to write the book on writing romance. I have also begun a new blog, Writing Fiction Right which is at: www.writingfiction-martin.blogspot.com Both the book and blog offer all kinds of help for writers, but my final thought is to be patient. Don’t take the easy way out and self-published or POD publish. Instead wait until the Lord wants to bless your work when it and you are truly ready and when those who need the book are ready to read it. As the Bible says, a man can plan his course but God guides his steps. We often want to push God instead of waiting for His quiet voice to answer us. My motto is a whole list of Ps for writers---patience, perseverance, planning, preparing, polishing, and prayer. Prayer is the best advice of all.
Thanks for inviting me to be a featured guest on your site. Blessings to you and to all writers. Gail Gaymer MartinThank you, Gail. Readers--her website is packed with helpful information for writers. If you have a moment, go take a peek.