AUTHOR INTERVIEW 23

Gayla Hill

Cincinnati, Ohio

This is my first book.  It’s the best little Novella you have ever read.  I’m currently working on my second book DARKNESS.  I’m the mother of two fascinating people; Keyla Hill and Daniel Hill. I seek new challenges to tackle and new stories to tell.  I started writing because I had stories to tell. I initially started with writing stage plays. I wrote a total of five beginning in 2012. I wrapped them up by 2016. Later In 2016, I was encouraged to turn my plays into Novellas. PORCH SCENE was my first transition. 
My mother Donna J. MacGowens is my biggest supporter, and cheerleader when it comes to my work. She advises reads, re-reads, edits, and listens. She is so excited for the next chapter in whichever story is being worked.
I see myself after being published as the one looking for the next thing. It’s like, ok, did it, NEXT! I don’t really see myself any differently. It’s just another entry into my life’s resume.
Not a one. I have my favorite authors to read, but, I never saw myself on their level and still do not, as far as writing. I still don’t really know how they do it.
I write any time I feel a character trying to tell me something. I jot down thoughts or mere words even in the middle of the night. To me, I’m writing a character or a scene when I’m just thinking them through. There is no scheduled time for me. I’m not that organized.
I can get the story out. However, because I’m an amateur, I second guess myself. Then I tend to overthink my scenes. After I write a scene, sometimes I pick it apart. It keeps me from moving on. I literally have to yell out loud at times, „GAYLA LEAVE IT ALONE!” What has helped, is learning to calm down and be patient with telling the story. Remembering this is fun; something I like to do.
Take a roller coaster ride through this funny, intense dark tale of shady friends, sneaky family members,  and suspicious neighbors, who are gathered on a porch due to tragic circumstances. Neighbors Tracie; a forty-five-year-old bank manager and Amber; a thirty-year-old wage earner, have lived across the street from each other for well over a year and have never met. This evening, under dubious circumstances they will meet for the first time.


As the evening progresses, old neighbors and former friends stop by the porch to exchange greetings and dredge up memories preferred forgotten. Recollections not only from the occupants on the porch but also from stories their elders told decades ago, along with ghosts from their pasts, reveal secrets that will shock and forever change the life of at least one of the porch sitters on this quiet residential street in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

Gayla Hill: Organizing my scenes. Trying to decide what should come first and where is sometimes difficult.

Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

Gayla Hill: Absolutely. My family members are very encouraging. My mother; Donna MacGowens, is my loudest cheerleader.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Gayla Hill: I would had paid more attention in English classes and would have studied writing in college. I wish I would have kept diaries and journals as an adult.

Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

Gayla Hill: It takes me about two years to write a book.

Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

Gayla Hill: Absolutely. If I don’t know a character that well or how to write a scene, I shutdown. I literally put the work away. I can’t move any further until I figure it out.

Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

Gayla Hill: If you have any type of written works, published or not, you should call yourself a writer.

Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?

Gayla Hill: An author is the next step for a writer.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

Gayla Hill: It hurts. I try to take the concerns of the author as a means to be more articulate. I try to learn what I can do better through their criticism.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

Gayla Hill: Detailing my scenes is the hardest part for me. I’m still learning to be patient with my work. It takes time to describe a scene. I’m working on taking my time to capture all the details.

Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

Gayla Hill: I started writing 2012 in Detroit.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

Gayla Hill: Don’t worry about character development, structure or even grammar.  Just get from „once upon a time” to „the end.” Once you know what you want the reader to walk away with, you can then go back and write your story. Also be patient. It’s a process. Develop your characters on separate sheets of paper and get to know them. Put to much description in your scenes. You can always delete what you don’t like.

Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Gayla Hill: Having a lot of patience, details, and commitment. Doing the research and having fun with it.

Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

Gayla Hill: The plot comes first for me. I need to know the direction of the story. Then I can build the characters around it.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

Gayla Hill: I decide what I want my readers to know at the end of my story. I write my characters accordingly.

Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

Gayla Hill: I’m not sure that I do… lol.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

Gayla Hill: My work has a Facebook page called Gajah. I post excerpts of my current work on my personal FB page and Instagram.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

Gayla Hill: My favorite is the finished product. My least is the editing, book structure, and cover decisions.

Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

Gayla Hill: Go for it!

Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Gayla Hill: I’m currently writing my second book; Darkness. My one and only published work is Porch Scene. Porch Scene would be my favorite.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

Gayla Hill: My construction scenes are the hardest. It so much technical information that I have to make understandable to the average reader.

Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

Gayla Hill: I love my buzzard characters; Betty and Wanda. They are so funny and fun.

Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

Gayla Hill: Sure. There is a scene in PORCH SCENE when Walter is shot and killed by his wife. She pulls the trigger because she believes he’s been unfaithful with her mentally retarded young daughter. She goes to jail. The sequel would pick up with her being released from prison after twenty years. She can’t wait to get back to the old neighborhood. Her popularity from shooting her no good cheating husband brought her great status in prison. She was treated well and received tons of letters from strangers and neighbors from her neighborhood and her very own street. She has some wrongs to right and axes to bury as she returns to her home.  Her grandson has resided in her house his entire life. He wasn’t the product of rape, but he was a secret all his life. Yes, she thinks to herself, his daddy will pay for how he treated him. Will pay dearly she amuses as she return to her home on Dorchester Ave.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Gayla Hill: What I hate about the world is the evil that Social media has given an unlimited outlet to. We were better off when we didn’t know.

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