Wednesday, February 17, 2010

................Gayle Trent

Gayle Trent is a full-time author. She is currently at work on a new cozy mystery series involving her hobby, cake decorating. The series features Daphne Martin, a 40-year-old divorcee who has begun the second phase of her life with a new home and a new business venture—Daphne’s Delectable Cakes. Gayle lives in Bristol, Virginia with her husband, daughter and son.
Gayle previously worked in the accounting and legal fields, and her last such job was as secretary to a Deputy Commissioner in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. Though she enjoyed the work, it was a long daily commute and she felt she wasn’t spending enough time with her family. Now she writes while her children are at school; and thanks to a crock pot and a bread machine, can often have dinner ready when everyone gets home.
“I think it’s important to be here for my children…to take part in school functions and to be an active part of their lives,” Gayle says. “I can certainly sympathize with moms who work outside the home—been there, done that—but I would encourage everyone to make time to visit their children’s schools, to have lunch with them [at school] occasionally, to get a feel for who their friends are…little things like that.”
Gayle loves to hear from readers who can contact her via e-mail at or via one of her Web sites: or If you share an interest in cake decorating, please visit Daphne’s Web site, available via click-through from either of Gayle’s sites or at

Tell us about Dead pan.

Dead Pan is the second book in the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Mystery Series. When the book opens, a police officer is questioning Daphne about a cake she took to the Brea Ridge Pharmaceutical Company Christmas party. Many people at the party got sick, but most recovered after being treated with a vaccine manufactured by the company. Only one, Fred Duncan, went into a coma and died. Coincidence? Or did somebody have it in for Fred?

 What would you like to overhear people saying about your book?

"I laughed so hard when--" A local book club selected Murder Takes the Cake as one of their books; and when I attended the meeting, I was delighted to hear that they thought this or that part was funny. I also love it when people say, "I never guessed ______ was the villain." Also, there was a review where a woman said she loved the main character's relationships with various members of her family--that they were beautifully or realistically drawn. I felt like, "Oooh, she got it!" Actually, I'll take anything that's not negative. :-
What inspired you to write Dead Pan?

I was reading an article in Wired magazine about clinical drug tests. I did some further investigation, and I came across some fascinating stuff.
What do you advise new writers to do?

Read the genre they're interested in writing. For instance, when my agent pitched my first three chapters of the embroidery mystery to the editor, the editor said she liked it but didn't love it. I needed to revise it to make her love it in order for her to buy the book. I asked my agent who the editor had published recently. With two names in hand, I went to the bookstore and bought two books. I read them and found they were more descriptive than my own books. I went back, added more description and gave the heroine a bit more spunk, and the book sold. Sometimes you have to be flexible.

Tell us 3 interesting things about you

1) There is a feral cat who comes to visit us on holidays. We’re pretty sure he belongs to somebody because he’s always well fed. We think we’re his “other family.” We first realized his penchant for visiting on holidays when he came and cried at our door on Mother’s Day. He came back for Memorial Day and Father’s Day, and so on. Sometimes he’ll drop by for a visit, and we have to check the calendar to see what holiday it is.

2) I have an adorable cartoon Debbie Ridpath Ohi did of me with a cake (for “Murder Takes the Cake”) when her blog InkyGirl hosted me on my blog tour. The cartoon is framed and hanging above my desk. I figure I’ll never look that good in a picture again!

3) I once got to interview the famous criminalist Dr. Henry Lee via telephone for an article which appeared in Law and Order Magazine.

 Do you have any funny writing stories to share?

I once tried to "write" using my laptop's voice recognition feature while baking brownies and peeling potatoes. Great multi-tasking, right? BUT, there is a drawback to using voice technology gadgets when you have a Southern drawl. Although, the exercise helped me get unblocked and continue on through the chapter I was struggling with, the computer misunderstood most of what I said. AND, to add insult to injury, when I read back over what it said and laughed, the computer translated that as “a a a a a a a a.”

What exactly is a cozy mystery?
Cozy mysteries usually take place in a small community and involve a relatively small number of people. The reader knows that someone within the intimate group will turn out to be the killer. Think Desperate Housewives with one of the cast turning out to be the killer as opposed to Criminal Minds or CSI. Cozy mysteries also feature an amateur sleuth as opposed to a professional detective, and the heroine has an interesting profession or hobby.

Gayle, Thank you so much for stopping by today. I'm a big fan of cozy mysteries and love your main character.

P.S. Tour with VBT-Writers on the Move through February. New and famous authors,

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  1. Enjoyed the interview, Gayle's books sound good enough to eat!

  2. Thanks for another yummy book, Gayle. I love cozy mysteries like "Murder She Wrote."

  3. Gayle, I almost choked on my coffee because I thought using cake decorator and a cozy was a fantastic idea. Love the cover! Love the title! Must buy.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the interview and getting to know you.

  4. Gayle, I love the concept for your series. And now I must go eat cake. (Something about your books does that to me!)

  5. Gayle, thanks so much for stopping by and being the guest author today. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you better.
    Martha Swirzinski

  6. I agree that the title is perfect, but how many great ones can she think of? With a creative mind like Gayle seems to have, the number must be infinite.

  7. Wow, who knew cake decorating could be so dangerous! Wonderful idea--fun!

  8. I think the "Cozy" approach makes the story more believable and the characters more approachable. Who doesn't like a hometown mystery? Nice job Gayle. Thanks, Martha!

  9. Nice to meet you, Gayle. I like the cat story. We have an outside cat, and he is almost always there. Every time we open the door, every time we leave the house, every time we come home. Then he has been missing the last two days and we were worried. But, he showed up again today, and I think he was out chasing the girls.

    Good luck with your series. The books sound fascinating!

  10. I've always wondered what exactly a "cozy mystery" is. Thanks for the enlightenment, Gayle! Your books sound delectable.


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Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States