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Author of Medieval Romances
Born and raised in Erie PA. I have a wonderful, huge extended family that I visit whenever I can. I went to Catholic school growing up--and an all-girls high school. I met my husband at college. We were "brothers" in the same fraternity (it was a professional fraternity, so co-ed). After we married, we settled in central New York, which has been home ever since.
About my family
My husband and I have three kids. My son Jim works as a wine sommelier in Aspen CO; my daughter Michelle is in marketing in NYC; and my youngest daughter, Laura, is in college. We also have two wonderful dogs, Apollo, a boxer/lab mix, and Uma, an Alaskan Husky. They make us laugh--and keep me walking 2-3 miles every day.
How I started writing
I wrote my first book when I was thirteen, about teenagers in space. I was a science fiction fan before I found historical romance in high school. Can you say Trekkie? I continued writing a series of 50 or so books with the same characters (and then their kids) that all my friends read through high school. Though I majored in aerospace engineering in college, I took all my electives in English and creative writing. I wouldn't be published now if Tobias Wolf, my professor, hadn't said he thought he'd see my books on a shelf someday. His words gave me the confidence to try my hand at historical romance a couple years later, when my babies were taking long naps. It took me thirteen years to become published. I first sold to Avon Books under my own name, Gayle Callen. I continue to write Victorian historical romances under that name. As Julia, I write medievals, although Julia is temporarily retired right now. I also write contemporary romances set in Valentine Valley, CO, as Emma Cane.
What helped me succeed
The Central NY Romance Writers and all of my writing friends I met through this group. If you want to be a writer, find a group you can learn from, critique with, and share the solitary ups and downs of being a writer. Here's a list of my favorite writers, friends and organizations that helped me along the way:
I've had to replace my children's events with other hobbies. We hike in the summer, and snowshoe or ski in the winter. I've crocheted afghans, table runners, and baby sweaters recently. I also love to sing and act. I've done a few musicals, and now I've joined the church choir. I'd like to do some community theater again. And travel! When we visited our daughter in England a couple years ago, it rekindled my desire to see more of the world. You know--when I have time. <Snort>
Of course I love to read, but since I'm the kind of reader who reads the whole book in six hours, without cooking or paying attention to anything else, it's kind of limiting. Plus, I read my own work all day. But I do get in a lot of reading by downloading audiobooks to my mp3 player. Exercising and cleaning are almost fun this way! Most evenings I love to veg in front of the TV, watching Survivor, Amazing Race, So You Think You can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family, Grimm, and way too many other shows. Do you see the competition/reality show theme there? Love 'em.
Things I used to do
Taught aerobics and weight lifting, and programed computer-controlled machines. Dropped the aerospace engineering in college--it wasn't for me.
My favorite vacation
Need you ask? England! Ah, the Tower of London, the Thames, and beautiful rolling countryside with castles and thatched roofed cottages. When I was there, we even rented a car and drove from Warwick to Bath, and also from Derbyshire to Yorkshire. That's what I want to do the next time I go: drive through Cornwall and the other places I've set my books.
Books: anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but especially Nobody's Baby But Mine, Kathleen Woodiwiss's Shanna and Wolf and the Dove, Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. Movies: "Shakespeare in Love," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Dirty Dancing," "Good Will Hunting," "Terminator." Sports I watch: figure skating, Syracuse University football and basketball, and pro football.
I try to wake up as early as possible because I find I work better without distractions. After breakfast and e-mail, I head to my office and work until about 1:00. The moment I leave my office, my dog Apollo comes running and gives me the pathetic, inquiring look: "Is it time to walk now?" After our walk, I eat lunch and watch a show on my DVR.. I deal with errands, online work, and anything else that needs to be done that day. If I haven't hit my page goal (usually 15 pages), I work a couple more hours before parking my exhausted butt in front of the TV, unless I have an event to attend. I try to write enough so that my weekends are for my family, but sometimes I still have to work.
How to reach me
Well, by e-mail of course! And you can catch me on Facebook under my Gayle Callen name.
Because what is more special than the power of love? I love to write about two people, each strong-willed in their own way, meeting, clashing, compromising, and falling love. It's wonderful!
Whenever the Avon authors do a holiday recipe ring, I contribute one of my own. But then I don't want to take it down! So here are some links: Reese Bars Triple Chocolate Bark
For more recipes, check out the Recipe Archive at my Gayle Callen website.
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