Friday, November 03, 2006

An Interview with Dorchester author, Gemma Halliday

Because it's NaNo time and I'm too lazy to think of cool things to put in my blog, I decided to switch things up and am doing another interview today. You're in for a's my fabulous friend, Gemma Halliday. Her equally fabulous debut novel, SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, was released in August, and the sequel will be out in March.

You can read more about Gemma on her website at

Amanda: Welcome Gemma! Tell us all a little bit about yourself.

Gemma: Hi Amanda! Thanks for having me.

Well, currently, I'm writing a romantic mystery series, the High Heels Mysteries, for Dorchester's Making It imprint, which I'm honestlyhaving a blast with. It's a chick lit, romance, mystery, comedy, suspense hybrid. (Wow say that five times fast!) I've been really lucky that the first book, Spying In High Heels, has been received so well, and I'm contracted to do three more in the series.

Amanda: Yay! I can't wait for the rest! You've had a very eclectic career history, between actress, preschool teacher, and 900-number psychic. How did you begin writing?

Gemma: Some days I swear it feels like I get nothing done. I actually decided to start writing when I was reading a really bad book that was just chocked full of every romance cliché you could think of. I found myself laughing (and, no, it was not a comedy) and thinking, "Well, heck, I can do better than that."

Yeah. Little did I know then just how hard it was to write a full book – let alone a good one!

Amanda: Well, you've definitely succeeded in that. How did winning the Golden Heart change your life?

Gemma: It definitely got my name out there. And I think even just being a finalist gave my writing that much more validity in the eyes of agents and editors. I had pitched my manuscript to my now-editor at the RWA conference in Reno, and I'm pretty sure that winning the Golden Heart with the same manuscript the next night didn't hurt her opinion of it any. :)

Amanda: Yeah, probably not. LOL! I absolutely loved SPYING IN HIGH HEELS. Maddie is such a great character. How did you come up with this idea?

Gemma: Thanks so much! I have a lot of fun with Maddie, too. And it was really easy coming up with the idea for her character. She's me. Lol!

Okay, me to an extreme level. A lot of what she says and does are just things that I would say or do, but highly exaggerated. No, I've never stumbled across a dead body (yet!), but whenever I'm stuck in a scene with her, I just step back and say, okay, what would I do. And Maddie naturally comes out.

Amanda: Any teasers for KILLER IN HIGH HEELS?

Gemma: KILLER picks things up right where SPYING left off. In this one, Maddie and her friends leave the glamour of L.A. for glitzy Las Vegas, where Maddie is on a hunt to find her biological father. While there, she gets tangled up with a shoe smuggling ring, a group of aging drag queens, mobsters, tabloids, and, of course, a dead body or two. A lot of the wacky characters in Maddie's life are back again in this book, including Mr. Hot Stuff himself, Ramirez.

Amanda: Oh yes, he definitely is hot! You have a short story in Freya's Bower's upcoming Dreams and Desires anthology to raise money for domestic violence victims. Care to share what the story is about?

Gemma: The story is called "Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit" and centers around Carrie Cabot, who gets fired, robbed and evicted all in one day. But, instead of laying down and taking it, Carrie decides to geteven and, along with her best friends, hatches a plan to become a bankrobber. But of course, even the best laid plans have their glitches…

I have a book trailer in the works for this story, so watch for it appearing on my website soon!

Amanda: Sounds great! Do you believe all the hype about how chick lit is dead as a genre?

Gemma: I think that chick lit as a genre isn't growing by the huge leaps and bounds that it once was. It may have expanded too fast, flooding the market, and we're now seeing the backlash of that. But, what chicklit that is being published is still selling very well. Look at the success of The Devil Wears Prada. This is the single girl in the citywith the ogre boss and crappy love life story that typifies chick lit. Not only has the book had phenomenal success, but the movie has also recently done very well. So, I personally find it hard to believe that people don't want to read this kind of story anymore.

Amanda: I agree. I love these stories, as do most of my friends. I hope you're right! OK, a spin on the famous desert island question. If you had to get rid of all the books on your shelf except for one author, whose works would you keep around?

Gemma: Oh wow. Tough question. Well, I'm a huge Janet Evanovich fan, andhave read all of her books at least twice. (Okay, I admit it. Someof them I'm on the fourth or fifth time through.) So, I think I'dhave to pick her.

Amanda: An excellent answer from a chick lit mystery writer! :) And I agree, her books are fabulous.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Gemma. I know we'll be hearing more great stuff about your books!

If you'd like to buy Gemma's SPYING IN HIGH HEELS:

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 11:19 AM :: 4 comments

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