A conversation with Deeanne Gist,… via Booktalk Nation!

Posted Thursday, 9 May, 2013 by jorielov , 0 Comments

A real-time conversation, via video feed on Booktalk Nation, with Deeanne Gist!

Inspired to Share: As I am always humbled and amazed at how giving authors are today of their time! They write engagingly witty blogs, encourage their readers to participate in bookaways or giveaways, inspire us to continue to keen on their works through their author newsletters, and either make appearances at book signings, bookish conventions or festivals, or find new and clever ways to interact with their readership! I was fascinated by this invite that I received via Ms. Gist’s newsletter, on Tuesday 6th of May, and quickly clicked over to reserve my ‘spot’ to take part in the interview on Thursday, 9th of May! This will be my first Book Talk Nation event, and I cannot wait to absorb what she has to share and listen the answers of the questions other readers’ like myself have proposed to her!

The Details:

Deeanne Gist, participated in a real-time conversation on Book Talk Nation.

Once you’ve reserved your spot via email registration, from the author’s sign-up page, you return to the url they provide you at the time they specify. In this instance, 7:00pm (EST) / 4:00 (PST). The interviews typically run for thirty minutes.

Question that I submitted on Tuesday: Ms. Gist: Do you intend to write more psychological suspense novels, such as Beguiled? As it was a departure from your regular faire of historical romances, but contained within it a sense of adventure and intrigue that held my breath throughout the story! Wicked pacing! I’d be keen to know if you have any other suspense novels in the wings with J. Mark Bertrand? Or, was this a one-off?

{NOTE: I re-submitted my question via the live chat interface where we could log in as a guest {thankfully! as I am not involved in social media and hadn’t thought that that could be an issue!} to ask questions directly to Ms. Gist during the Q&A session at the end of the interview. My question was the first one that posted and was happily the first one asked! I choose to re-submit the question, as Jen {who moderated the internet side of the chat} mentioned that she’d take questions pitch through this interface ahead of the ones originally submitted at sign-up!}

And, she replied {at approx. 20 minutes}: It was the first suspense, the first contemporary, and the first collaboration that she undertook. She had such a fun time writing this book. She chose to work with Mr. Bertrand due to the fact he’s an up-in-coming author that she believes we should all keep an eye on as his writing starts to take off. He wrote the suspense bits and she wrote the romantic bits. She is not planning at this point in time to write another romantic suspense, as the rest of the books that are mapped out at this time are historicals.

Background Insight on my Thursday: What I wasn’t expecting when I signed up for this author chat & the RWA Historical Romance one that follows it at 8pm, is that the virus I came down with late Sunday/early Monday would take a turning for the worse! I am plumb miserable dealing with it, but I have a fresh mug of echinacea tea and a heaping pile of ricola’s {the cherry dual-action lovelies!} to keep me company, which I am making a vain attempt to curtail the worse of my symptoms so that I can fully enjoy my FIRST EVER live author chats online! Fingers crossed this is not an effort in futility!

A few seconds ahead of 6:50pm, I opened up the url for this chat, and discovered that the chat interface was already *LIVE*, for which I was thankful, as it gave me a chance to get my feet wet! I clicked on the ‘join the conversation’ button, keyed in “Jorie” and signed in as a guest! As thankfully, I wasn’t alerted that most would be using social media outlets to log in — which would not have been an option for me, as I am not social media inclined {save this blog and the blogosphere in general!}! So far, the window reflects myself and Jen, who is most likely the chat mod! The sick girl ends up being the early bird! Now that is something for the memory books! Inwardly laughs, as otherwise to do so would be devastating this close to the chat going live!

I clicked Play, at 6:53pm and was alerted to stand by as the discussion will start soon,… okay, now I’m growing more excited! Especially since this is an author that I discovered whilst getting back into reading after quite a long hiatus, and came to love the way she writes and builds her characters! I pitched my question about “Beguiled” because it was such a departure from her other books,… and one that I was pleasantly wrapped up in! When I first read it, it was through the library, but I happily picked up a copy of “Beguiled” whilst walking through a big box store having a rockin’ sale on inspirational fiction! Don’t you simply live for those sorts of sales!? I brought home “A Bride in the Bargain” that same day, as well! Fast forward a few years, and I am about to meet her through a video chat hosted by Booktalk Nation!

My recollections of what I overheard throughout the conversation that evolved between Ms. Gist, the interviewer Karen Holt, and the chat interface feature online for those of us tuning in, Jen. I am relaying what I felt was pertinent to share as much as what I found the most interesting to be revealed.

Question about the sexual tensions and situations in her novels: She gets a lot of responses from readers who appreciate the balance that she has struck in her novels, and yet, at other times , she admitted to receiving feedback where readers were appalled by the amount of romance in her books. She related the film “The Blindside” as a plausible example of how you can write a heart-warming story without having to add shock value, and how this inter-relates that when she goes to write a novel, she writes the book she herself would be happy to read. She laments that she respects everyone’s right to choose what is right for them, as far as to read her novels or to avoid them.

Apparently, I was not quite aware of the issues revolving around inspirational fiction novels that contain romance and romantic situations! I can stipulate that I applaud her response to this series of questions, that started off by the interviewer beginning by saying, “Let’s talk about sex,… ” With the apparent preconception that most women who read romances, want to read erotically charged stories. *expand* Although, The Word Wenches did make mention of this recently, in this post of theirs, so apparently I should take stock in this current thread of thought!

Curious Tidbits I Learnt:

  • Ms. Gist is shifting away from the inspirational market and is moving into the mainstream market.
  • Ms. Gist loves to host special parties or functions whilst she attends conventions for her readers. She doesn’t generally go on book tours, as she’d rather have readers come to her instead.
  • Ms. Gist reads and writes historicals, because it gives way to a simpler and slower paced time of life. No matter what time period she immerses herself into, she had noted that the issues and struggles that people were facing are the same as what we face now in modern times.
  • Ms. Gist likes to give her historical characters the more unique opportunities for careers.
  • Ms. Gist loves marriage of convenience books and is nearly certain that more will come to be.
  • Ms. Gist is blessed to be included in the process for the creation of her book covers. Originally in the beginning, she didn’t have as much say, but currently she has a bit more.
  • Ms. Gist says the hardest part to writing novels, is the first draft where she has to face 500 blank pages. Eight hours a day facing that is the hardest hurdle she has to overcome.
  • Ms. Gist doesn’t usually give advance notice of the time period or setting of her next story. However, she said she wrote a short story “Tempest in the White City”, in print at Wal-Mart “It Happened At The Fair” for a limited time. A prelude to the characters in her next book, with a connection to the World’s Fair but will take place in Chicago.
  • Ms. Gist’s writing schedule is: September 1st deadline, Labour Day off, September-December (she conducts research); January-June (she works on the first draft); June-August (polishes the manuscript); Turn-in by September.

Insight into the research behind “It Happened At The Fair”: She originally felt that the Chicago World’s Fair was a Carnival sort of event, rather than what it really was: a showcasing of the world’s greatest inventions and innovations. Frank Balm the author of the Wizard of Oz, was deeply influenced by the Chicago World Fair, which led to his infamous novel. Helen Keller attended the Chicago World Fair at age of 13, alongside her teacher and Alexander Grand Bell {of whom unknown to me was an advocate for the deaf}. Ms. Keller was the only person granted access to ‘touch’ the ‘untouchable’ exhibits in order to giver her the ability to understand what was on display. Walt Disney’s father was also in attendance, and Ms. Gist believes this is most likely what led his son to create Epcot, due to the layout of the Park’s individualised exhibits, such as how you can go country by country as you walk through Epcot. When it came to inserting the Fire, she kept the realism of the tragic event but fictionalized the accounting and role of the fireman in order to pull in her readers to the climax of the story. She was fascinated by the products that were debuted at the fair, such as picture postcards, which she took time to hold one up, as she found an original Chicago World’s Fair postcard off of eBay.* She liked having a heroine who knew how to lip read, because it would add a new dimension to her story and to her character’s arc, which led her to realise you need to know both sign and lip reading to make it in society.

NOTE: *to her newsletter subscribers, she relayed that she spend many hours upon hours collecting all the memorabilia that she could on the Chicago World’s Fair! So much so, that she thinks she has one of the largest private collections! I had to smile inwardly, how research for a book took on a whole new meaning!

Advice she gives to aspiring writers: Learn your craft and finish the novel that you are writing. Read books on writing and start joining organisations, like the Romance Writers of America. Attend their workshoppes and learn everything that you can.

My 2nd Question which I pitched inside the chat interface that the audience had to interact with Ms. Gist: When you make the shift into mainstream, what will the focus be in your books? Will you keep to historicals or expand to other subjects!? {she replied at approx. 27 minutes} She isn’t going to change anything, because she always had written with the general market in mind. She will be continuing to write historical love stories, but she has ideas in mind for contemporaries, yet finds it scary to make the switch at this time into that arena and chooses to stay with what she knows.

What stayed with me long after the conversation concluded: Noting how lovely of a woman Deeanne Gist is , as up until this evening, I only knew of Deeanne Gist, the novelist who pens the books that I love to read! Smiles.

{NOTE: I attempted to paraphrase Ms. Gist’s actual responses and words, as I wanted to recollect this interview as I overheard it. In a few places, I might have caught her words more exactly than in other places. This is not an attempt to record a transcript, but rather one listeners observations of what she heard.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 9 May, 2013 by jorielov in Booktalk Nation, Live Author Event

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