A Conversation With Gayla K. Hiss
Gayla’s inspiring novels combine her love for the great outdoors with romance, suspense, and adventure. She and her husband often tour the country in their RV, visiting many state and national parks. She enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
What’s your go-to when you need a pick-me-up to keep writing?
Gayla: Writing for long hours can be very challenging, so I like to treat myself when I finish a chapter or a major revision. Sometimes it’s a latte at my favorite coffee shop, a dinner out, or even a vacation after I complete a significant milestone. I also like to go shopping.
When I need a break, I take a walk outside and that usually refreshes me enough to get back to work and recharges my creativity. Many times, the right word or phrase comes to me while I’m walking or exercising. It’s a great way to relax and rejuvenate.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
Gayla: Recently, I was hiking in Yellowstone National Park and new book ideas suddenly flooded my mind. Being in the great outdoors always inspires me with story ideas. That’s why my Peril in the Park series is set in the national parks, and since I like to include romantic suspense and adventure in my stories, I look for specific national parks that have interesting features with plenty of avenues for adventure. My first book, Avalanche, is set in North Cascades National Park. The second book, Dangerous Ground, is set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and my third and latest book, Wildfire, is set in Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve been to all three national parks and each is spectacular and unique in its own way.
How do you ensure your books are accurate?
Gayla: I do a lot of research. For my most recent book, Wildfire, I read several nonfiction books about wildfires and wildland firefighting. I researched those topics online as well. I also developed a list of specific questions and consulted experts who could answer them. For the settings, I try to pick places I’ve been to and am familiar with. For example, before I wrote Wildfire, I had visited Rocky Mountain National Park several times. Even so, I still researched the national park maps and websites to make the scenes in the park as accurate as possible.
What is absolutely essential for you to write?
Gayla: A quiet space is essential, as well as long periods of uninterrupted time. Sometimes I use instrumental music to help me get into the mood of a scene.
Last winter, I was wrapping up my third book in an RV on a road trip with my husband, so it was a bit of a challenge to finish my work-in-progress between traveling and living in a small space. However, we were in warmth and sunshine, and that energized me, which made up for not having a private space. As a result, I would say that, for me, having an agreeable climate can be as important as a quiet space.
Current book: Wildfire
A female wildfire scientist and a firefighter team up to solve the mystery behind the outbreak of wildfires in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Amazon Author Page: https://goo.gl/WrzGcD
August 8, 2018 @ 1:16 am
Thank you for the interview.
I just finished reading Wildfire and learned so much about forest fire firefighting. I appreciate all the work Gayla puts into her books to make them so authentic.