- Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Well, let’s see. I was born and raised in middle Georgia so I’m southern to the core. And country to the core, I’m a country girl. I’ll have been married forty years come tomorrow and yes, that would make my anniversary Halloween, and no, we didn’t get married in costume, it was just the last Friday in October in 1975. I’ve been in a law office for forty years, too, I’m a paralegal and that’s been a great field for plot material. We’re very proud of our three children and son-in-law (my two sons aren’t married yet) and our two grandchildren. They’re my masterpieces. My daughter’s in management at one of the “Big Five” insurance companies, my middle child and oldest son’s a computer specialist in the Tech Department at that same “Big Five” insurance company, and my youngest son is a Navy Corpsman, a Field Medic for the Marines, because heaven forbid he pick anything as safe as pharmacy or x-ray tech or surgery tech to specialize in. My son-in-law’s a K-9 officer with our County’s Sheriff’s Department and yes, I absolutely pick his brain unmercifully. I’m sure the boy hates to see my name pop up on his cell phone. We prefer small-town simple life and live in the middle of the woods outside a little town so small it doesn’t even have a caution light, just stop signs, and we love it.
- When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
I never actually thought of it in terms of wanting to write “professionally”. Writing for me has always been an escape, a pleasure, and something I did for personal entertainment. I even referred to myself as a “closet writer” who wrote books and threw them in the closet. Very few people even knew I wrote at all. In the back of my mind, I always thought it’d be nice to have a book or two published, more to leave a part of me behind for my children and grandchildren than anything else. I loved the thought of my grandchildren pulling out one of my books when they were seventeen or eighteen and exclaiming “Grandmama?!” in mingled horror and disbelief. My daughter’s actually the one who suggested I check out the e-publishing world. She’s an e-book addict. So for me publishing and turning professional just sort of – happened.
- Can you tell me a little bit about your book and what inspired it?
Back in the days before I ever published, or ever thought I would, my friends used to pass my books, both those already written and those in progress, back and forth. One of my friends asked me if I’d mind if her mother read them. I wasn’t too sure about that, actually, I still had trouble believing even my friends weren’t just being polite, but I said okay. Fortunately, my friend knew her mother better than I did, and Miss Louise loved them. She sent me a message: “Tell Gail to write something funny on purpose, ‘cause she’s so funny sometimes without even meaning to be.” So I did. And that was the origin of these books, the first two in the War-N-Wit, Inc. series.
- What do you hope that readers take way with them after reading your book?
Satisfaction and anticipation. I want readers to feel they’ve been royally entertained when they reach “The End” of any of my books. I want them to feel they’ve been on a vacation to another place, that they’ve made life-long friends with people—not characters, people—they’ve actually heard talk and seen walk. And I hope they look forward to picking up another book by Gail Roughton.
- I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
Laptop at the kitchen table. I’ve been on a computer in a law office for so long, I’m geared to think while typing in the midst of noise, bustle and chaos. My husband actually set up a little typing desk for me in our bedroom, bless his heart, “so nobody’ll bother you”. I sat down at it for about five minutes and moved my laptop back to the kitchen table. I can’t think if I’m not where I can monitor everybody’s comings and goings, follow the action on the tv show in the great room, hear the timers dinging for the oven or microwave, and see the pots if they start to boil over.
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’m not overly sensitive as a writer, and the longer I’m in the “pro” world, the less sensitive I get, because I’ve found astounding scenes come from taking suggestions from those folks you’ve corralled into serving as “first readers”. But I guess the hardest thing to hear initially (from the pros, that is, your non-pro writer friends will seldom offer any criticism at all, which is why they’re not the most reliable indicators of how good your writing is) was that I was taking too long to get into the action. For a “newbie” writer, that’s harsh. That somebody doesn’t think those beautifully descriptive, mood-setting, flowing sentences you worked so hard on (which your friends just loved) don’t make the reader dive right in and read straight through. And no, they don’t. I read somewhere that you’ve got five pages tops to hook a reader. I don’t believe you’ve got that much. I think you’ve got the first one or two paragraphs tops. So I learned pretty quick – I hope – how to go for the jugular at the start, dive right into the action. Now the greatest compliment is easy, it’s from an Amazon reader review. “Mrs. Roughton has a writing style all her own that to me is reminiscent of Charlaine Harris meets Janet Evanovich.” And I can’t imagine any compliment – EVER – topping that.
- What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
I grew up reading and I’ve been an inveterate and eclectic reader all my life. But at the moment, I have to confess I don’t read very much. I still work full days in a law office, and my grandchildren are at my house when I get home and are usually with us until 8:00 p.m. or so, due to their parents’ work hours and my husband being “Granddaddy Daycare”. He’s already retired and does a fantastic job with them because frankly, he was always better with babies and young children than I was, including ours, he’s got a gift for them. And what everybody says is true. No matter how much you enjoyed your own children, grandchildren are a lot more fun than raising your own. I’m not passing up those fascinating conversations with my grandson, Austin—that’s him in my author picture—nor am I am passing up baby hugs from my not quite two year old granddaughter, Kinsley. So for me, because of limited time, writing’s sort of replaced reading. That being said, I grew up on the classics, branched out into Mary Stewart (that woman was magic), Victoria Holt, Allistair Maclean, discovered Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Diana Gabaldon, Robert Parker, pretty much all the big names. And I have lots of writer friends now, so usually when I read, I’m reading their works in progress, we writers are very dependent on our fellow writers and we’re not looking for praise so much as “catches”. Catches of misspelled words, typos, boo-boos in the timeline, plot holes, and the like. My standby writer friends to read (and the writers I depend on to read me) are Stuart R. West, Roseanne Dowell, Jude Pittman, Jamie Hill, and Graeme Smith. And I might also add—pretty much any book you pick up by a Books We Love, Ltd. writer won’t disappoint you.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
We’re a very simple crowd at my house. Family rules. We all spend a lot of time together. We try to be on the lookout for fun things and special events geared to the grandchildren on the weekends, and we make them family affairs. We’re a big movie family, we have a huge collection of older VHS tapes mingled with an equally huge collection of DVDs so we keep one of those duo players that can play both. We can all pull out an appropriate movie line for just about any occasion, and pretty much duplicate the tone and accent of the original. I’m a few years from retirement from the law office, so I have to confess I’m really fond of just “vegging” when I’m not at work and not writing. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’ve always had a talent for being lazy because honestly, I’ve seldom had time in adulthood to be the lazy, but I truly do have a real talent for it. I actually do enjoy doing nothing sometimes and don’t get to do it near as often as I’d like.
- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The world’s not holding its breath, just waiting for your debut novel. Lose any ego you’ve got and lose it quick. Ego prevents you from listening to the pros, the ones who’ve already been there and are doing that, and not listening prevents you from learning. Nobody has ever written or will ever write the perfect book. Nothing you’ve ever written or ever will write can’t be improved. Never think you know it all. You don’t. What’s more, you never will. Always be the best you can be today, which, if you’re learning as you write and not just congratulating yourself on what a wonderful writer you are, is very likely better than you were yesterday. But never think you can’t be better tomorrow. Because you can.
- What can we expect from you next?
Right now I’m working on a paranormal thriller by the name of Black Turkey Walk. A pretty dark, one actually, I sort of switch-hit. I’ve written everything from humor to action to thriller to horror. I’ve got another War-N-Wit plot brewing that’ll be out sometime or other but I’ve learned not to give myself deadlines, they hinder rather than help. And I’ve got a few other plots brewing off to the side. My plots tend to brew quietly for a bit, sometimes unnoticed even by me before they come to boil.
- Do any animals share your life? Please tell us about them.
Oh my! Yes, we’re a pet family. I can’t imagine life without them and I feel sorry for folks who don’t have any. Over the years, we’ve had cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds and turtles. Right now we have three dogs, none of them “purchased” and none of them with “papers”. Two of them are actually rescued strays. Our oldest, Max, is almost eleven. He’s a mix, has some bulldog, some Labrador. He actually looks like a miniature Gold Labrador and he has melting golden brown eyes and natural eyeliner in deep black that any woman would kill for. Maya’s eight, a stray puppy my son-in-law picked up. He thought she was a German Shepherd, my oldest son and I took one look and knew she’s as near pure Doberman as makes no never mind, except her ears and tail aren’t cropped, and she’s the most intelligent, gentlest girl you’ll ever be fortunate enough to meet. Both grandkids sat on her, slept on her, lay on her. Austin’s too big for that now but she’s still Kinsley’s couch of choice. Murphy’s five, and our only “little” dog. He was maybe six weeks old and weighed maybe four pounds when my oldest son claims he found him by his truck in the parking lot at work. He seemed to conveniently forget showing me a Facebook picture of a friend’s litter of puppies a few weeks before, all of whom bore a striking resemblance to this particular little furry ball of black and white. He’s a twenty-two pounder and the runt of our pack, as Max is a 60 pounder and Maya weighs 110. Murphy, by the way, teethed on Maya’s tail. She never uttered a protest and never put a scratch on him, even when he stuck his head in her mouth, which he did frequently.
And now for a little bit of fun:) This or That?
Coffee or Tea? Coffee! Hot when it’s cold out, and iced when it’s hot out.
Sweet or Salty? Salty.
Beach or Lake? Lake.
Winter or Summer? Could I take Fall instead? But if I had to pick one, I’d take summer.
Cats or Dogs? Dogs. But I do love cats, too.
Zombies or Vampires? Vampires.
Country or City? Country.
Shower or Bath? Shower.
Morning or Evening? Evening.
M&Ms or Skittles? M&Ms.
Trains or Planes? Trains.
Comedy or Drama? Both. It just depends on my mood.
Title: Witch Resurrected
Series: War-N-Wit, Inc. #1
Author: Gail Roughton
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Length: 192 pages
Publication Date: September 21, 2014
Buy It: Amazon
Ariel Anson thinks she has her life in order. She’s young, smart, and beautiful, even if she doesn’t believe the beautiful part. She’s a paralegal with a great career and a fiancé who’s a CPA. You just can’t get any steadier than that. Then she meets private investigator, bounty hunter, process server Chad Garrett.
What does War-N-Wit, Inc. stand for anyway?
Warlock and Witch? For real? Oh, yes! For real.
Her life as she knows it is over! Instead of organizing corporate documents and pleadings, she’s chasing bail jumpers and taking down serial killers. And investigating secret societies. Like Resurrection.
Not everyone can join, just the elite few who remember their past lives. Only the Seer knows if those memories are truth or fabrication. There’s just one problem. The new Seer is missing in action. War-N-Wit’s new assignment is a blast from the past! But whose past?
Title: Mean Streets
Series: War-N-Wit, Inc. #2
Author: Gail Roughton
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Length: 194 pages
Publication Date: October 17th 2014
Buy It: Amazon
Daytona Bike Week. Biker’s paradise. The perfect place for Chad and Ariel Garrett to take a few days off and relax with Chad’s buddy Spike and Ariel’s little sister Stacy.
But nothing ever goes as planned with that magical duo. Trouble just stalks them like a black cat. A missing agent riding with an outlaw biker gang, a call from Chad’s past, and War-N-Wit, Inc.’s riding again, with romance blooming in the midst of danger. From Daytona, the crew heads back to Vegas and another family wedding. Spike and Stacy are ready to say “I do!” In the Tunnel of Love Drive-Thru at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Vegas, of course. It’s become a family tradition.
But what’s supposed to happen in Vegas just refuses to stay in Vegas. And you’re not going to believe this side-trip!
Excerpt from Witch Resurrected
I came abruptly out of total black but not into full light. Candlelight, that was it. And firelight. I was upright and could pass as a duct-tape dispenser, my arms secured at wrist and elbow bend to the arms of a chair. For good measure, another swatch of duct-tape ran on top of and across my fingers, rendering them immobile too. From the curve of the arms and what I could see, I was in a straight-backed chair of the Empire style. And just in case that didn’t hold me, another few turns of duct tape ran under my breasts and around the back. My ankles were crossed and looped with the damn stuff, too. Well, standing up and taking the chair with me was out. At least for now. Taped as they were, I couldn’t stand flat and didn’t think I could balance on the sides of my feet.
I looked around the room. I knew I was in the Bull Street house. The Empire style chair itself was a dead give-away and so was the room. It was wallpapered in dark red that seemed almost black in the muted candle-fire glow. It had been almost five o’clock when I’d seen the newspaper. It had to be full dark by now though the heavy velvet drapes, also dark red and trimmed with gold edging, wouldn’t have let much light in in any event.
It was a bedroom. Against the far wall stood a heavy canopied bed matching the décor of the last century that dominated the whole house. There was an antique washbasin, complete with a water pitcher in Wedgewood blue and white. The knick-knacks on the fireplace mantel looked like somebody’d robbed the British Museum. Not to mention the andirons holding the burning logs looked to be the original cast iron ones placed there when it was built.
But the kicker was the man sitting in a matching chair across from me. He was dressed in a three piece suit, complete with watch fob and chain. He wasn’t stuck to his chair with duct-tape. I didn’t think he needed to be. He was a lot more immobile than me. He stared straight ahead, but I was pretty sure he wasn’t seeing anything. I’d never seen anybody in a catatonic state. Until now, that is.
“Hello, Mr. Hedgepath,” I said. “We haven’t met before, have we? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure you haven’t left this room in a while, have you?”
No response. And no surprise.
The door opened. It creaked. Surprising, really, in a house this recently restored and so well-maintained.
I wasn’t surprised to see Oliver Hedgepath walking in. Or at least, the Oliver Hedgepath we’d been seeing.
“Well,” he said. “Ariel Garrett. The new Seer of the Tear of Isis. You’ve led me a merry chase.”
I didn’t respond.
“Cat got your tongue? Oh, dear, where’s that caustic repartee I’ve come to know and hate? Can’t think of any new names to call me?”
“I know exactly what to call you. Dead man walkin’.” I deliberately spaced out my next sentence, punctuating each word. “My. Husband. Is. Going. To. Kill. You. You know that, don’t you? Whoever you are?”
Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in much of her work. She’s worked in a law office for close to forty years, during which time she’s raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She’s kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet.
A cross-genre writer, she’s produced books ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror and is never quite sure herself what to expect when she sits down at the keyboard. Now multi-published by Books We Love, Ltd., her credits include the War-N-Wit, Inc. series, The Color of Seven, Vanished, and Country Justice. Currently, she’s working on Black Turkey Walk, the second in the Country Justice series, as well as the Sisters of Prophecy series, co-written with Jude Pittman.
Another War-N-Wit plot always seems to be brewing on the back burner, too, whether she’s actually trying to brew one or not, and usually boils quicker when she’s trying not to brew one at all.
5 print copies of Witch Resurrected