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 is your favorite spot for reading or reflecting on your current work-in-progress?
Gayla: Visits to state and national parks always inspire me with new story ideas. Since all my books are set in the national parks, it helps to experience those settings in person. Just recently, I took a vacation with my husband to Yellowstone National Park. The beautiful scenery and our experiences there stimulated my imagination so much that I had to take copious notes so I wouldn’t forget all the new ideas. I also like to spend time away from writing to get to know my characters and think about their family history, what it is that motivates them, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Usually, when I return from my trips, I’m eager to get to work incorporating the new ideas and insights into the story.

Why do you like writing romantic suspense?
Gayla: That’s a great question! I’ve always been drawn to redemption stories, where good triumphs over evil. I also love romance. The romantic suspense genre allows me to combine all of those elements, but it’s also very challenging to write. I enjoy thinking of plot twists and mysteries. In many ways, it’s like designing a complex puzzle, and sometimes I’m not sure how all the pieces will fit together until the very end. I’m constantly researching and learning new things, so I never get bored.

Where do you get the inspiration for your plots?
Gayla: The idea for Avalanche, the first book in my Peril in the Park series, came when I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains. I noticed some trails were closed due to the avalanche danger. At the time, I thought that was odd because I didn’t know avalanches could occur in summer, so the idea intrigued me. I chose North Cascades National Park for the setting because it is the perfect place for a wilderness adventure. Its spectacular mountain scenery and rugged backcountry are a hiker’s dream, but there are a few hazards too. Naturally, the heroine had to be a park ranger.

Dangerous Ground is the second book in the series and is set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Having grown up in Tennessee, I’ve always been drawn to the Smokies. I have many happy memories of fun hikes in the mountains and leisurely strolls through Gatlinburg. In writing this book, I drew from those experiences as well as the times I spent at my grandparents’ farm in Kentucky while growing up.

My books blend romantic suspense with outdoor adventure. A common theme in my stories is getting back to the simple things in life, like faith, family, and the land. It’s hard for me to visit a national park and not be inspired. These books are really an expression of that wonder and awe of God’s creation, as well as the danger that lurks in the wild.

Current book: Dangerous Ground (Peril in the Park series)
Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Smokies after her uncle’s suspicious death and finds herself in a land dispute with handsome neighbor David Jennings.

Connect w/Gayla
Website: www.gaylakhiss.com
Facebook: https://goo.gl/BrIW6P
Goodreads: https://goo.gl/sB3R0d
Amazon Author Page: https://goo.gl/WrzGcD
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gaylakhiss
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gaylakhiss/