INTERVIEW: with author, Gail DeYoung. Conducted by Lucille P Robinson

LPR: Gail DeYoung is the author of Leaves in the Wind. Ms. DeYoung, please give us a brief summary of your book.

GDeY: Tara Singer is a social worker who has special gifts of empathy and telepathy which she uses to help her understand what her patients are going through. When she meets Dan Turner, he is a man on the edge of hope. His five year old daughter, Amy, lies in a coma in the hospital and his wife passed away six month ago from cancer. Tara realizes the only way to reach the child is to go into her coma telepathically to convince her to come out. She discovers that it will not be an easy task as the child is spending time with her deceased mother in her dream world. Thanks to her patience and persistence, she is able to bring the child back to her father.

Tara deals with many patients who have difficulties in their life and always encourages them to believe that things will be better. She gets so wrapped up in other people's lives that she really doesn't take time for herself and she's always adopted a stance that one should not get involved with a patient. But Dan Turner is such a sweetheart that when he informs her that he's got feelings for her, she doesn't handle it very well. It's only when she realizes that she's about to lose the one thing she's always desired that she takes her own advice and gets her happy ending.

LPR: Do you have personal experience with this type of sickness? Tell us about it.

GDeY: I had a good friend survive a coma as I mention later. As far as cancer, yes, I've had several people in the family who have gone through it – Hodgkins, breast cancer and liver cancer. It is a horrible way to die.

LPR: Being a caretaker for my daughter who is also in a coma, I'd like to ask: How much do you know about comas, Ms. DeYoung?

GDeY: My best girlfriend went into a coma after she became ill with Encephalitis of the brain and her temperature went up to 106 degrees for several days. I visited her in the hospital almost every day after work, spending time next to her bed, holding her hand and talking to her. It took five weeks, but she finally came out of it. The unfortunate thing is that she lost all long-term memory and has no idea who any of her friends or family are anymore. She had to be put in a nursing home for she experienced great, irrational fear.

LPR: How did you get the idea for and develop a romantic story with a comatose child as one of its characters?

GDeY: I'm always thinking "What if?" One day, I was driving home from work and a little girl was crossing a busy street without a school crossing guard. Though she made it all right, in my mind I worried, "what if she hadn't made it? What if she was struck by a car and her father was notified at work that his daughter was in the hospital? What if an angel was assigned to help him go through the trauma of seeing his daughter that way?" I didn't use that idea right away, but it surfaced when I started this story. I sat at my computer and wrote "There was so much blood." Then asked why, and the rest is history.

LPR: About your writing preferences, Ms. DeYoung. What authors and/or books have inspired your own writing?

GDeY: I have many favorite authors as I have been involved with the romance genre for over fifteen years. Heather Graham, Jayne Ann Krentz, T. J. MacGregor, Marilyn Campbell, Shana Abe, Kathleen Morgan and Sunny are just a few of my favorites. I've been caught up in reading "The Smoke Thief" and "The Dream Thief" by Shana Abe and am enthralled by her writing style. Though I love any type of story as long as it captures my interest, when I write, I think of how I might inspire someone with the theme of my story.

LPR: How do you fit writing into your daily life? In other words, do you have to fit writing around a day (or night) job?

GDeY: I work a full-time job and several part-time jobs to help pay bills. But my first love is reading and writing, so I find that disciplining myself to write a couple hours a night and four or five hours a day on weekends is vital to continue the story flow.

LPR: Do you write an entire first draft before editing or do you edit as you write?

GDeY: I mostly write the entire story as it plays in my head like a movie. Sometimes I'll go back and edit as I'm re-reading the last section before I begin the next day, but I find that editing really stalls the process.

LPR: Concerning writing, what would be a most important piece of advice you can give an aspiring writer? .

GDeY: ? Don't be afraid of the volume of pages you need to produce. Give yourself reasonable goals, such as x number of pages per day or x number of words. Don't give up and don't get discouraged if your first works need a lot of revisions. Some day your dream will come true.

LPR: Can you offer two or three writing prompts to your writing fans?

GDeY: "Once upon a time" and "It was a dark and stormy night" are two timeless, but well-worn story starters. But they do prompt you to say, now what? And that's how any good story starts. You want to capture your reader's attention in the first paragraph, or on the first page, for that's about all the time they'll give you to hook them into reading your book. Time and place setting is also a very important consideration. A fairy tale starts out different than a ghost story and readers are sticklers when it comes to details. And if you are going to write erotica, you better make the pages sizzle!

A few starter ideas are:

"It was a night she'd never forget."

"Who's there?"

"She was hot, so damn hot that she wanted to strip off her clothes right there, and it was all because of the way he looked at her from across the room."

LPR: Will you give your readers an idea of what your next book will be about or what you're working on now?

GDeY: I've just finished the first draft of an Angel Guide To Go book for The Lotus Circle which will be in the bookstores for Christmas.

LPR: Ms. DeYoung, I understand that is called the publisher of Leaves in the Wind. Is this a subsidiary or imprint of Jasmine-Jade Enterprises? Are there any connections between and ? If so, please explain them.

GDeY: You are correct. The Lotus Circle is a subsidiary of Jasmine-Jade Enterprises. There is no connection between The Lotus Circle and, however.

LPR: Thank you for your time, Gail DeYoung, and for the story Leaves in the Wind. Personally, I needed it to feed my hope for my own daughter's healing. Thanks, also, for the story prompts. We wish you the best for your future writing endeavors.

GDeY: Thank you for reviewing it. The theme I tried to bring across in this book was that all things are possible if you only believe. Have faith. I pray your daughter will return to you as Amy did to Dan.

Lucille P Robinson

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