Thursday, March 24, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Gail Pallotta!

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Gail Pallotta!

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. I love a good mystery, and your Cooking up a Mystery sounds very fun. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot? 

Gail: Thank you for having me, Linda. I wanted to show a woman entrepreneur succeeding in business in spite of great odds. The inspiration for her tea house and catering service stems from my grandmother, great aunt and mother’s kitchens, where they created delicious Southern dishes to the delight of those who ate them. 

When I was ten years old, according to my father I needed to learn to cook so I’d know how to prepare them when I got married. I didn’t marry until I was thirty. By then, I’d received lots of instruction, so I knew how to serve some pretty good dinners. After we tied the knot my husband said, “You could start a restaurant.” I wanted to do other things instead, such as write, but I started one in this book. 

LM: You’ve written several novels and well over 200 articles. How is writing fiction and nonfiction the same? Different? 

Gail: They both require research, organization and good writing skills, such as correct grammar. Good description enhances both articles and fiction. However, articles use direct quotes from people as opposed to dialogue between characters. Fiction and non-fiction have a beginning, middle and ending. However, the author of non-fiction organizes whereas one of fiction plots. I wrote non-fiction articles not books, but the people in my articles were real, so I couldn’t put words in their mouths or make statements about them that weren’t factual. 

Even though I was told once by someone interviewing me that she didn’t need to quote me exactly because she would interpret what I said and put it in her words, that definitely was not the case when I wrote articles. Misquoting would have gotten me fired. Also, the emotion shown by fictitious characters doesn’t exist in non-fiction that I’ve read or written. An article or a chapter in a non-fiction book can have emotion, but it should stem from facts or appear in quotes, such as a real person who says something like, “The tragedy ripped my heart.” 

LM: Research is an important element in writing. What did you do to research for Cooking up a Mystery and was there something you found you knew had to be included? 

Photo: Pixabay/Robyn Wright
Gail: I did quite a bit of research for Cooking up a Mystery. I either refreshed my memory or dug up information on the following: Crime scene investigations; guidelines for cooking in a commercial kitchen; historical homes; the history of the Roller Derby; why some homes in the South were saved during the Civil War; Greek mythology; the care of broken bones. I also worked with Pam Nichols Griffin, editor at the Destin Log and author of Heavenly Delights to put recipes in the back of the book. 

As far as something I found I knew had to be included, after I found articles about running a commercial kitchen, I wanted to incorporate the sanitary procedures to make Laney’s kitchen authentic. 

LM: What draws you to writing mysteries? 

Gail: I enjoy solving them. Even if I’m reading a book or watching a mystery on television, I try to figure out who did it and what happened almost from the beginning. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Gail: It’s hard to choose just one, but I wish I were a computer guru to make social media and marketing online easier. 

LM: What was your favorite childhood book? 

Gail: Before I could read, I enjoyed hearing The Wizard of Oz most. Once I started reading I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries. 

LM: What is one piece of advice you have for fledgling writers? 

Gail: Save pieces you’ve written whether or not they’re finished and whether or not they’re rejected. If there’s a little piece of your heart in there, there’s probably a gold nugget to use another time. Sometimes a portion of an earlier work turns out to be just what’s needed for a current one, and trends change. What’s rejected one year may one day be exactly what an editor wants. 

LM: What is your next project? 

Gail: I’m finishing a mystery with suspense and romance and have a draft of a romantic adventure. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Facebook Author page – 
Facebook Personal page –

Cooking Up a Mystery

Laney Eskridge worked to put her husband through dental school. Then he left with another woman. She's on edge from the emotional scars and her parents' deaths. Then she hears unexplained noises in her new tea house, and her anxiety is tripled. Add a budding romance with Eric—a guy with a fear of commitment—and it's all too much to handle. She cuts ties with Eric and plunges into making her business pay off. 

When Eric discovers that Laney's in danger, he vows to protect her. But can he make a lasting promise? Will she trust him? . . .and when they overhear a threat that could cause national turmoil, will anyone believe them? There's more brewing than herbal tea in Cooking up a Mystery.

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