Award-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday School teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler, a new anthology, includes her short story, “Stitches in Love.” Visit Gail’s blog at http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com and her Web Site at http://www.gailpallotta.com
Welcome back to my blog, Gail. Please tell us about your young adult romance.
It’s a mystery with a touch of romance and suspense reminiscent of a Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys book. It takes place in a small town in the North Carolina Mountains, but things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville.
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean. Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
This book sounds intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
From several sources. I wanted to write a fun-to-read book. As a youngster I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I made three characters in the book amateur sleuths reminiscent of the famous teens. The book’s message—we don’t have to be number one for God to love us—rattled around in my head a long time. Over the years I’ve seen instances in which the drive to always be the best grew into a destructive force. There’s a difference in being the best one can be and always having to be number one. When I thought of winning, I thought of sports and the present-day prevalence of steroids. I asked what if a young man took a steroid to excel in sports? That became my plot.
I love your message, Gail. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Extensive. For information on steroids I read quite a bit of material from library books, the Physicians’ Desk Reference and the internet. Also, I interviewed an undercover detective and a narcotics officer as well as an administrative policeman. Even though the use of steroids is going down, according to the latest statistics I could find on the internet there are around 125,000 who say they’ve used them. I imagine there are some who’ve used them, but didn’t say they did.
As for the swimming, my daughter was a high school and U.S. swimmer, so I had lots of experience as a Team Mom doing everything from timing to serving as a team coordinator. I swim also. Still, I consulted with a coach and a director of summer league swimming about the technicalities.
You love to write sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing love stories?
Love is such an important part of life. Love can motivate people and characters to do things they wouldn’t do if they weren’t in love. Because of love someone who’s serious can become silly. A person who’s conservative might take risks and face danger. Someone who’s a reserved, stay-at-home type might become a party animal. Who knows what love will make a person do? True love definitely brings out the best in us and spices up life and books.
So true! Love is an important part of life. I actually told someone that just a while ago. Without it, life would be so dull. Thanks for this awesome interview, Gail.