Interview with Author Gayle Ann Williams (Tsunami Blue)

by Maryse on April 28, 2010 · 17 comments

in News

Yay!! She’s here!! She’s here!! I’d love to welcome Gayle Ann Williams to my blog today. As you know I’m a big fan of her book (and character) “Tsunami Blue”, and have been so excited at the opportunity of having her visit. She has answered some questions, and will continue to answer comments and questions throughout the day. And guess what!? She will be giving away two Tsunami Blue books and four pair of earrings with cover flats!

To enter for your chance at getting in on the goods, just leave a comment about the interview, or a question for Gayle, and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win!

So without further ado, I’d like to welcome Gayle to “my island” :D

Hi Maryse, and first let me say thank you so much for having me here today. I love hanging out with you on your great blog, lol.  And now for some questions. . . I will try to be interesting, I promise. ;)
I know you would like a bit of background on the writing and inspiration of TSUNAMI BLUE. And your readers might find this interesting too. . .
On Christmas night, in 2004 I boarded a plane out of Seattle and flew right into the Southeast Asia Tsunami. In the air when the deadly wave hit, I knew that if I had arrived a few hours earlier, I might have been a statistic. As I continued to travel in the region over the next few months, I encountered a great deal of sadness. I listened and observed, hugged and cried, and yet through all the pain and misery something else emerged. Something stronger. It was hope. The resilience of the human spirit surfaced and along with it, hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better future. I did not know this at the time, but this experience, this life changing adventure, would become the foundation for my novel Tsunami Blue.
1) Will TSUNAMI BLUE be a series? How many books are you hoping to include in the series? And can you give us any insight as to what the next one will be about?
GW) Right now, I’m so happy to say, there is a book two set in the TSUNAMI BLUE world. Due out in March of 2011, the second book will take place in the same tsunami ravaged landscape. (My home islands of the San Juan’s in Washington State.) Six years have passed, the world has evolved some. . .but still, danger is everywhere. I will introduce two new characters (but don’t be surprised to see an appearance of Blue and Gabriel), and even though I can’t tell you much yet, I can tell you this.
    The deadly tsunamis have calmed. . .but the winds are starting to whisper.
    Will there be a third book? I’ll let you know where this “world” is taking me. . . just as soon as I know, lol.
2) This book is pedal to the metal throughout, what helped keep the plot line taut?
GW) They (whoever “they” are, lol) often say write what you know. . .and what you love. And I just LOVE a fast-paced novel. Like many writers, I “see” the scenes play out in my head. I can smell the sea air, taste the salt on the mist off the ocean, see saturated colors of greens and reds and browns after a storm. I imagine an image or images and they run through my mind in full blown color. Then I write it down.
    This breakneck speed may not be for everyone, but I love it. I’ve had readers tell me those wonderful words, “I couldn’t put it down.”  Or, “I finished it two days!” Or just yesterday a reader wrote to say she was “up all night,” with TSUNAMI BLUE in hand. I write what I love. And these type of novels that race along, that grab you by the throat and don’t let go, are just as they say, “my cup of tea.” Or in my case, “my cup of espresso.”
3) This book played out almost like a movie (and wow what a movie it would be). If you could see any actor play Gabriel or Blue, who would they be?
GW) This is a fun and wild question. And thank you!
    I would answer it this way. By not answering it, lol. And I’ll tell you why. I have a very distinct image of Gabriel Black in my mind. And I hope the readers have formulated their “image” of Gabriel too. If I were to mention this amazing dark-haired actor, or that hunky amazing one, it may totally be wrong for someone else. Why mess with the fantasy of who this man is for each one of us? Now if Hollywood came calling, then I would RUN to your readers and ask for suggestions. . . RUN.
    And as for BLUE? I think Dorchester did a find job with her image on the cover. My editor looked very hard for the “right” girl. She is very pretty, petite, and even though she is tough as nails, she is vulnerable. And I think that shows on the cover. But it would be fun to get your readers input on Blue. Who do they see in that role?
4) Did any person influence the way the characters were written? Or were they based off of anyone?
GW) Certainly not any “one” person. But an accumulation of many. Both fictional, and real life flesh and blood folks. I knew I wanted my characters to be honorable and heroic, even in the most challenging of circumstances. And what could be more challenging than a post-apocalyptic world where “survival of the fittest” and the most “brutal” seems to be the law of the land. What land is left that is. I wanted them to be flawed, not perfect, because really? Who of us are?  But in the end, I wanted them to find a way to do the right thing. . .to survive, and ultimately find each other.
5) Was there  a personal “music” soundtrack that you listened to while writing, that inspired you and helped set the mood for certain scenes?
GW) I have an iPod full on music, and iPhone that is loaded. . . I always have music on in the car and house. . .but-  I’m one of those writers who must write in silence. Like a “pin drop” kind of silence. It allows me to “see” the work, if that doesn’t sound too strange. And if I listen to music, I just want to sing along or get up and dance, lol. (And trust me, none of us wants that, lol.) Listening to music for me is not the best while I’m writing, but music so inspires. I did think of the Stones, PAINT IT BLACK” a lot and all my dark, atmospheric, Blues CD’s played a role too. Oh. And one song in particular by the Dresden Dolls. . .MISTER, MISTER. . .
6) Did you experience any difficulties writing this book?
GW) There are always “issues” in writing a book, whether it be from conception, to editing, to copy editing, to pacing, to characterization, and on and on. But for me, TSUNAMI BLUE was a very straight forward stream of writing for me. Oh there was lots of polishing, and scene changes, but the story from conception to end never changed. And it all started with a vision of a lone girl sitting on the beach listening to the water. . . 
7) When you wrote this first book, did you write it preparing it for a series? Do you write a book thinking only of it, and then continue into a series/story or do you go into it, writing and preparing it knowing it will be an ongoing thing?
GW) TSUNAMI BLUE was unusual in that it was a contest win, complete with contract, advance, and royalties. All the usual suspects. Dorchester Publishing in New York, was looking for another author for their SHOMI line, which might help explain the “edginess” and “urban” feel to TSUNAMI BLUE. Shomi has now been folded into Dorchester’s regular lines, and you can find this sort of “different” story being written there. Chosen as the winner by the editors, I wrote TSUNAMI BLUE as a stand alone single title, but I knew just a few chapters in there could and should be a second book. Luckily for me that has come to pass. But my other projects include an ongoing series. I have found a cast of characters that need to span more than one book. Their story is just that large.
8 ) What is your favorite part of the book?
GW) Well, I have many actually, lol. The kids in the book, Nick and Alec and Aubrey are my real life nephews and niece. (And yes, the boys really are identical twins.) So of course for me, that was great fun. And Max, Tsunami Blue’s dog, is the real life, “Beans,” and yes that is his real name. I met Beans at a party and he won my heart. . .and a role in my book. But one of my favorite parts is the opening of Chapter Three, where Blue awakes from a dream of her mother. Having lost my own mother, I often wonder if that longing on the page isn’t my own.
9) What are some of your favorite books? Anything you’d like to recommend in particular?
GW) I read fast and furious because time is always a factor. In fact, I often have three of four books going all the time. And I always remember exactly where I left off and I never have to refresh the back story. Crazy I know. I read anything and everything. Right now, this minute I’m on a YA kick, because I so enjoy the books.  I’m reading INCARCERON, by Catherine Fisher, a futuristic fantasy about a vast prison, that seems to be alive. . . I’m just loving it.  I highly recommend. . .  :)
Thank you so much Maryse, for having me on your blog. . . this was fun! I told you I liked hanging out with you. ;)   And a big thank you to your readers for coming by. 

And thank you again Gayle for being so entertaining!! 

So guys! What did you think? Do you have any questions for Gayle? Don’t be shy! Leave a comment (scroll down to the bottom of the interview for the comment box).

(also don’t forget, I’m still giving away Tsunami Blue bookmarks/collector card sets for comments left on my Tsunami Blue review found here):

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Lily April 28, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Awesome questions, and I love Gayle’s responses! I totally read more than one book at the same time too and most of the time I don’t have to reread to remember. Thanks to Maryse I have these awesome bookmarks and cards and I really want to read the book.

To Gayle I wanted to ask was the use of common goods (like coffee) as currency something you saw personally during your stay in Southeast Asia after their tsunami?

Please consider me in the drawing for one of the books!

Gayle Ann Williams April 28, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Hi Lily! (I just love your name. It is also the name of Tsunami Blue’s mother.)

You ask a great question. But no, this type of trade was straight out of my imagination. I thought, what would be of value in a post-apocalypic world with no infrastructure? What would people want most? And I thought of a world without coffee. . .lol, because I LOVE espresso (I live in the Seattle area), and it seemed plausible.

But what I did see was a generosity of the human spirit, folks giving away anything to help, even the clothes they were wearing. I saw aid workers from around the world fly in and out of airports bringing with them the promise of help and hope. It was wonderful to see how folks rallied.

Thanks for coming by, Lily.

gisele April 28, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Hello Gayle, I really enjoyed reading all the questions and your answers to them. It made me really want to read your books and I will be ordering them shortly. Have a great day!

Reena Jacobs April 28, 2010 at 5:59 PM

I’ve yet to read Tsunami Blue but have had it on my reading list since I heard of it about a month ago. I found it while doing a search on Southeast Asian novels. Not many out there. I’d love to be entered into the drawing.

Heather (DarklyReading) April 28, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Wow – I’m very impressed with your reason to get inspired to write the book was the SE Asia Tsunami – have you been back to the region since 2004? Thanks!

Gayle Ann Williams April 28, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Gisele! Thanks so much for coming by. And I do hope you enjoy TSUNAMI BLUE.

And hi Reena. I’m glad you came across my book.
I set TSUNAMI BLUE in my home islands in Washington State, the San Juans. About 60 air miles from Seattle, the islands are vintage Pacific Northwest. Rainy, green, beautiful. And whereas TSUNAMI BLUE is a work of pure fiction, the idea did indeed form from my travels. A truly life changing experience.

Gayle Ann Williams April 28, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Hi Heather! And no, I have not.
I was in the region for New Years, and we all prayed for a better 2005. But I must say, I so look forward to going back. My travels took me from Singapore to Thailand, to Malaysia to the island of Bali, to Cambodia. . .(a country that could inspire another book easily. Think Laura Croft, Tomb Raider). But for now my writing, my business, and, lol, my poker playing in Las Vegas keep me crazy busy. But the people of SE Aisa won my heart. And I will go back.

Bethie April 28, 2010 at 11:12 PM

I am also on a YA kick. There are so many good ones out there. Incarceron is on my wishlist too! Glad to hear you are enjoying it.

Jennifer Hilt April 29, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Hi Gayle,

I am bummed to have missed your Seattle area readings thus far. I love stories that have such thorough world building and non stop action. I am looking forward to reading “Blue!”
BTW, your energy about “Blue” is exciting and lends great inspiration to those of us still plugging away. Hope to see you at GSRWA soon:)



Gayle Ann Williams April 29, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Hi Bethie! Oooh, I agree, there is such great writng and storytelling going on in YA. . .and I think there always has been. My list is too long for this form, but I LOVE Lily St. Crow’s STRANGE ANGELS series, Melissa Marr’s WICKED LOVElY series, VAMPIRE ACADEMY books by Richelle Mead and I could go on and on, lol. But I won’t do that to you, lol. . .thanks so much for coming by!


Gayle Ann Williams April 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Hi Jennifer!

Aw, and thanks. . .it seems as though I have been everywhere, lol. And now I’m home on the island on a deadline and doing what I love the most, writing a story. :) And yes, we will see each other for sure. And you just keep “plugging” away. One day your phone will ring and I will be going to a blog YOU are on. I promise, lol.

All the best,

Theresa April 29, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Loved your book. Knowing your personal experiences of the southeast asia tsunami gives me a better insight of how you wrote the book. I plan to read it again, this time with a different perspective.

Rose Lerner April 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Hi Gayle! I’m still only a third of the way through Blue and loving it to bits–I’m wondering, do you sail? Have a boat? (I love boats! I took sailing classes as research a couple of years ago and loved it, although I haven’t really been able to keep up with it…)

Gayle Ann Williams April 30, 2010 at 12:07 AM

Thanks Theresa, and thanks so much for reading BLUE. So glad you enjoyed it. Of course TSUNAMI BLUE is a work of pure fiction, a “what if” reality- but my trip, about two months long, got me thinking. . .about waves and “what ifs” and memories. As writers you just never know where something will lead.

Thanks for coming by! Gayle

Gayle Ann Williams April 30, 2010 at 12:32 AM

Hi Rose!

Well we should go sailing, lol.
The answer to your question is yes, I sail. At one point in my life I lived aboard a beautiful Fuji ketch rig that we ordered straight from the factory in Japan. It was one of the most exciting days of my life when we took delivery of her at the port of Seattle.

Now I spend time on the water in a kayak or in a small, fast Trophy that flies around the island looking for salmon, lol. But ya know, once a sailor always a sailor. . .

And congratulations on your wonderful book IN FOR A PENNY. I couldn’t put it down. Really!! :)


Spav April 30, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Well, I’ve never read any of your books, but Tsunami Blue sounds interesting. By the way, Incarceron is on my wishlist, I’ve been meaning to read it but there are so many great books, I don’t have time!

Gayle Ann Williams May 1, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Hi Spav, thanks for coming by. TSUNAMI BLUE is my debut book and is just out with Dorchester Publishing. It’s been a fun, crazy month to have my “first ever” book hit the shelves.

And boy do I know what you mean by “time” and not enough, lol. My TBR list is, well, out of control? But I so love to read. And you will get to Incarceron soon enough, and when you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

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