Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Author Q&A: Gail Ward Olmsted

Today I'm chatting with Gail Ward Olmsted, author of Jeep Tour.

When her marriage falls apart and she loses her job, Jackie Sullivan decides to start over among the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. Is she chasing a dream or Rick, the dreamy tour guide she just met?

Jackie’s efforts to reinvent herself in the tight-knit desert community are complicated. Does Rick want a relationship or just a friend with benefits? In the case of her ex, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Is it her imagination or is Rob more amazing than ever? Fueled by an unflagging sense of humor and lots of caffeine, Jackie sets off to discover a whole new life- she’s had her happy, now she wants her ever after.

 Author Q&A

1) How did you come up with the idea for JEEP TOUR?

My family and I took an impromptu trip to Sedona while staying in Phoenix years ago. We all fell in love with the beautiful scenery and the wonderful people. Of course we took a Pink JEEP TOUR and I asked our driver how he found his job, which he clearly loved. He told me that he had visited on vacation, went home, quit his old job and moved to Sedona. It struck me just how compelling it would be to consider starting over in a magical place like Sedona!
2) What was your favorite scene to write?

I loved writing the chapter describing Jackie’s drive to Sedona after she leaves her job and home back east to move there. The reality is hitting her about the enormity of what she’s doing. She describes the experience like this:

I would later blame fatigue, white line fever, heavy traffic. But the truth of the matter? I was scared shitless. I was way beyond having second thoughts. Tenth thoughts, infinity thoughts. What was I doing and why? I would try to fix on Rick’s face and sometimes I couldn’t really remember what he even looked like. Would he remember me? Hell. Would I even recognize him?

Most of JEEP TOUR is pretty easy-breezy, but that chapter, titled Time for Me to Fly, has a bit more angst. And yes, the chapter title, like all of the others, is the title of a pop song from the era. 

3) Describe JEEP TOUR in five words.
Starting over, turning 40, love
4) What genre have you never written that you would like to try? 

I would love to pen some historical fiction or perhaps a cozy mystery, and have ideas for both!!

 5What do you order at Starbucks?

Everywhere else, I order plain old black coffee, but at Starbuck’s, it’s a Grande Light Mocha Frappuccino.  It’s essentially a milkshake for adults, but I tell myself it’s ‘just a coffee’. So good. I blame my friend Eve for getting me hooked!

6) What place in the world do you most want to visit?

I have only been once, but the town of Dingle on the west coast of Ireland is the most amazing seaside village I have ever seen. The sequel to JEEP TOUR, which is my WIP, is based in Ireland, so I think I need to go back there for a prolonged visit to check out a few things, don’t you agree??

       7)  What new projects are you working on?

See above! My daughter Hayley and I went to Ireland last year. It was her first, my third trip. We took a Vagabond Jeep Tour with a very good looking and charismatic tour guide. I knew Jackie Sullivan had to take one too!!

Author Bio 

My 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”.