Gayle lived her whole life in California working in the banking industry, so when her company was sold at the turn of the century she found herself looking for a job very close to retirement age. It was a shock to realize she might have to relocate to find an appropriate position. She accepted one in Houston with her husband assuring her they would regard it as a “foreign assignment” and they could move back to the San Francisco Bay Area when she was ready to retire. That move to Houston meant they left all their family and friends back in California and it was no longer possible to continue the traditional family get-togethers they habitually hosted. Her children were even more shocked, always thinking they might relocate but never expecting their parents to do so. They whined, “Who’s gonna cook?” and called at all times of the day and night for recipes and instructions. This panic inspired Gayle to write “the book.”
“The Book”, Gayle’s Legacy, Recipes, Hints and Stories Culled from a Lifelong Relationship with Food made it possible for the family traditions to continue, albeit, with other people now hosting the meals. This cookbook is more than a collection of recipes, it’s a “how to” book, including detailed steps for creating the family’s favorite recipes while entertainingly telling family history through vignettes and photographs. It is currently available in hardback, paper back and e-book formats. One of our sons and his wife have bravely and graciously hosted Thanksgiving dinner, by the book, since we left, and my husband and I have frequently enjoyed being at their table.
When the company Gayle moved to Texas to work for was sold a couple years later, Gayle and her husband found they weren’t ready to move back to California. Instead Gayle decided to retire early and write and publish mysteries similar to the ones she loved to read.
Gayle developed a concept for a mystery series where the protagonist, Claire Gulliver, a librarian-turned-travel-bookshop-owner is a nice person who, somehow while traveling, becomes embroiled in situations that are not nice; in fact, sometimes these situations are downright terrifying.
The first book in this series, Tea is for Terror, is set on a tour for novice travelers in England and it placed second in Mayhaven’s Awards for Fiction (2002). The sequel to that book, Washington Weirdos finds Claire in jeopardy with a new cast of characters in our nation’s capitol. This book placed third in Mayhaven’s Awards for Fiction (2004). The third book in the series entitled Intrigue in Italics sends Claire to Northern Italy with her mother and soon finds them each on a separate chilling adventure before they meet up again in Venice. A fourth book, Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ is the story of Claire, her mother and two of their friends on a girls’ adventure, cruising to Alaska. They’re only looking for fun and maybe a little romance, but they find something much more deadly. The fifth in the series, Malice in Mexico, finds Claire and Jack vacationing in the beautiful picturesque town of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. It turns out that someone mistakes that vacation for an active investigation and the trip turns deadly. The last book in the series starts in New York City, Carnage Goes Coastal, and ends in California with danger following closely every step of the way.
During the years she spent writing Gayle found she had to constantly choose between the time she spent writing and the amount of time her pottery was taking. She was an expert potter, spending many years turning out beautiful pieces she used in her cooking and gifted to friends. But sadly, she no longer had the time to devote to this hobby. To help her through the withdrawal period she wrote the mystery she made up in her head when she first started working in a studio. Mud to Ashes, is about a middle aged woman whose life completely changes when her daughter moves across the country to go to university, eventually taking a position in the same area. When she and her husband find themselves alone again, they also find they no longer have anything in common. She doesn’t lie around whining, or turn to wine or pills to blunt the pain in her life. She takes charge and makes the changes she needs to survive. Unfortunately, she innocently becomes embroiled in a heinous crime that catapults her into national headlines.
Gayle then fell in love with a character in a short story, I Love a Parade, she wrote for an anthology. She developed that character into the protagonist in the first book of a new series, The Glenda at Large Mysteries. This book, Murder Most Mysterious, finds former business woman, Glenda Wheatley, house sitting in a fictional town on the Oregon Coast. She becomes friends with a kooky old lady neighbor who is a psychic. While Glenda doesn’t quite believe in the paranormal she ends up embroiled in situations that make her wonder.
Gayle is retired from banking but is still very active in writing and promoting her books. She is currently working on the second book in the Glenda at Large series and thinking about possible additions to both the Claire Gulliver Series and another adventure in the pottery series. Who knows what will develop? Gayle and her husband didn’t expect to love Houston Texas where they lived for fourteen years before recently relocating to the Pacific North West where they currently live close to their youngest grandchildren.
She still spends her time writing, reading, traveling, cooking and playing grandmother. You can see her at many of the mystery book conferences promoting her mysteries, occasionally she will conduct a cooking class to promote her cookbook and once in a while she will do some contract consulting in the banking world.