Gail Olmsted

11164802_581836918586428_6318508529834154232_nMy first visit to Sedona, AZ prompted me to start writing JEEP TOUR, my first novel.  I fell in love with the red rocks and blue skies. My second novel is Guessing at Normal, a rock and roll love story. I am currently working on a sequel to JEEP TOUR, which will be based in Ireland.  A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am mom to two young adults and three cats, and I enjoy reading, music and travel.

I am a professor in the School of Business & Information Technology at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, MA.  I was the recipient of the Deliso Endowed Chair Award and was recently recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Department of Higher Education as one of “29 Who Shine”.

1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?I worked in marketing in the telecommunications industry and wrote ad copy, brochures, scripts for TV and radio commercials, and training manuals for 16 years. When I finally admitted that I was working on a romance novel a few years ago, my BFF said, “Well, it’s about f*cking time.” I think I’ve always felt like I had something to say. The beauty and magic of Sedona is what motivated me to finally sit down and write. 

2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I get the bulk of my writing done on summer breaks and between semesters, but whether I spend hours at a time or as little as 15 minutes each day, I tend to sit with my MacBook Air in my lap, on a loveseat in my husband’s home office. I can see my own office from where I sit, but it’s comfortable and offers good light. Usually, one or more cats is with me and a source of caffeine is generally nearby.

3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?No, I haven’t really experienced writer’s block, but if I get stuck on a particular word (verbs are hardest for me) I just type in xxx and go back to it later on.

4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story?Hmmm. Can I be both? When I sit down to write, I have a very general idea of where the story’s going, but I let myself go off on tangents all the time. I honestly surprised myself with the endings of my first two novels.

5.Are you traditionally or self-published?I am proud to publish with Booktrope, which offers the benefits of both traditional and self-publishing. I originally self-pubbed JEEP TOUR via CreateSpace, but after working with Booktrope on Guessing at Normal, I made some changes and Booktrope re-issued JEEP TOUR.  

6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?Self-pubbing is tough. It’s really hard to get professional help with editing, proofing and formatting without spending a lot. My advice would be to check out Booktrope. You maintain control of the publishing process, but the teamwork and collaboration is fabulous!!

7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?Cue the violins, but it was actually when I handed my mom an autographed print copy of JEEP TOUR. She had already read the manuscript, but holding the finished product in her hands was a big deal for both of us. Unfortunately she died (at 90 years old) a week before Guessing came out in print. She loved James Sheridan, the rocker love interest in it!

8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? Guessing at Normal, my rock and roll love story was published in June. It’s Contemporary Women’s Fiction. I mostly seem to appeal to women of all ages, but I’ve gotten good response from men as well. The main character is Jill, a dreamy poet whose red hot love affair with a sexy up and coming rock and roller catapults her into the public eye. Under the glare of the media, Jill has to learn to deal with groupies, unscrupulous music industry execs, and the demands of endless touring as well as James’ wandering eye, drinking and drug use. To further complicate things, Jill gets a lot of mixed signals from James’ twin brother, fellow musician Alex. Sometimes it seems like he hates her and other times like he wants to well, go to bed with her. I figure this a PG blog, yes?

9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.)Wow, did I ever learn this the hard way! Find your peeps- writers in your genre. Swap blurbs and cover concepts, get and give feedback. Focus extra effort on your cover and your blurb. Look at titles in your genre and read their descriptions. Which ones stand out? Get reviews, but never pay for them!! Find amazingly talented bloggers like Sophia Valentine to help share your story with potential readers!! Develop a strong online presence. Amazon Author Page, Facebook and Goodreads are musts. You are building your brand!! Social media is more than just saying- buy my book. You’ve got to be social!! Get professional looking business cards, consider swag like bookmarks. Fiverr can design them and Vistaprint does a good job with affordable printing. Go to local bookstores and libraries and schedule readings. Develop a wicked thick skin. Learn from your mistakes and don’t take bad reviews personally. Be patient. You may need a few books on your author page before you really develop a following. 

10.How long on average does it take you to write a book?Great question. JEEP TOUR took ten years from original concept to being published, but actually less than two years once I got serious, and Guessing took about a year. So far, my WIP is about eight months in the making.

11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. I self-pubbed JEEP TOUR and at was pleased with the original cover, until a reviewer said it looked like a travel brochure. When I got to Booktrope, I was lucky to add Brenda Gonet of Gonet Designs to my team. I’ve given her input and made final tweaks, but I’ll let her do the creative. She’s already thinking about my third book!!

12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?What is this spare time of which you speak?? But seriously, when I’m not at my day job, writing or thinking about writing, I love spending time with my family and my girlfriends, going out to listen to live music (rock), travel, knitting and watching movies. And Water aerobics. Great stress reliever!!

I love to hear from readers!! You can reach me on Twitter @gwolmsted or email or on Facebook or check out my Amazon Author’s page at