Welcome to Halu-Halo's new series: Author-ish. Halu-halo, as a blog, has always focused on inspiration, and our interviews will ask authors about theirs. Author-ish is named as such because these interviews won't be about the craft of writing, but all the feelings behind it.
FEATURED AUTHOR :: GAIL NALL
Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail's middle grade debut, BREAKING THE ICE, will be out from Aladdin/S&S on January 13, 2015. She is also the co-author of the upcoming YOU'RE INVITED books with Jen Malone (Aladdin/S&S, May 2015 and Spring 2016). She's represented by literary agent Julia A. Weber.
BREAKING THE ICE - Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, January 13, 2015
Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after having a totally uncharacteristic and decidedly NOT figure-skating-approved tantrum after getting her scores at a major competition, she’s dropped by her coach and prestigious skating club.
When no other club in town will have her, she's forced to join the ridiculed and rundown Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the Fall Down Club. At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters, including a boy (who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen) Kaitlin thinks it might actually not be so bad.
But when she’s tasked with learning a whole new program right before Regionals and figures out that almost all the other skaters target Fallton, she thinks joining the Fall Down Club may just be the second biggest mistake she’s ever made.
In this figure skating themed debut, Kaitlin learns that when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up – even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd.
Tif (halu-halo): I'm so excited to have Gail here on Halu-Halo . As one of the most consistent members of #5amwritersclub, she is a testament of doing great work even in the wee hours of the morning. Her debut, BREAKING THE ICE is coming out mid-January, and I cannot wait to have it in my hands and share it with my 9 year old. Gail, what was your inspiration for BREAKING THE ICE?
Gail Nall: I grew up skating, and I really wanted to write a book set in that world. I wanted a unique plot, and it hit me while watching a skater receive not-so-great scores at a competition on TV. I wondered what would happen if that skater said how she was really feeling rather than smiling at the cameras. And ta-da! – that's how BREAKING THE ICE was born.
Tif: I often wonder what performers are thinking of while staring into the camera. Under that enormous pressure, no less! How did you keep this inspiration forefront while you worked?
Gail: The story starts with Kaitlin saying exactly what she thinks to a group of judges – and then she clams up for most of the story. She struggles with learning to speak her mind, and doing that quite so honestly at the beginning and suffering the consequences hasn't exactly convinced her that it's something she should do again. But as she starts to figure out, she needs to speak up sometimes. It's that need for honesty in her life that translates to her skating. So the inspiration is really there throughout the story. I also watched a lot of skating competitions. :)
Tif: I love watching skating competitions, though I watch it slightly wincing, worried for the performers. I can't wait to join Kaitlin in her journey...sometimes speaking up is still a tough thing to do! Writing her character must have given you bravado, especially as she began to change. When do you do your best work? Do you have a routine?
Gail: Early morning! Sometimes I work in the evenings if I'm on deadline, but usually my brain is fried by then. I work a day job and am a single mom to a three-year-old, so by eight p.m., all I want is the TV or a good book to read. So I (attempt, at least) to wake up at five on the weekdays to write.
Tif: I can always count on your being there at five a.m., Gail! Your presence is definitely support for other writers struggling to find their footing that early in the morning. What fuels your spirit? What fills your tank?
Gail: A hike in the woods, a good skate, reading to my daughter, lunch with a friend, and well, a massage at the salon isn't so bad either.
Tif: No, that's not bad at all! Speaking of things that can recharge us...what are your biggest distractions and how do you stay focused?
Gail: Netflix and Hulu Plus! I love to bingewatch a good show (current faves: Nashville and Hell on Wheels). Twitter is a huge distraction. And I have a penchant for reading travel blogs. Sometimes I have to set myself goals – edit five pages and then check Twitter – in order to get anything accomplished.
Tif: I do the same! I give myself a scene before checking in with folks. Sometimes it works...*winks* . I'm in love with Netflix!
Give me five words that describe BREAKING THE ICE.
Gail: Honest. Exciting. Fun. Different. Inspiring (or so I hope!).
Tif: I don't have to hope...I know it will be! What do you love most about this book?
Gail: Oh, the skating! Definitely. I loved pulling apart a jump or a spin and describing the effort and the emotion that go into making it happen. I have two very favorite scenes in BREAKING THE ICE, and they both happen at the rink.
Tif: Ah--you're teasing us! I have a feeling my daughter and I are going to be giggling and gawking over your words and scenes. I have some tough questions for you now. Ready?
Are you a gym/rink rat or do you prefer an outdoor workout?
Gail: Rink rat, definitely. Skating is the best workout because you sweat in the cold, so it doesn't really feel like sweating. (Although I never turn down a good hike in the forest!)
Tif: Are you a Front and Center kind of author or a Behind the Scenes one?
Gail: I'm a little of both. I'm an introvert, for sure, and I get uncomfortable with too much attention. But I did have a love for theater in high school, so I don't mind all eyes on me—on occasion—and only if it's for a good reason.
Tif: Do you prefer just made popcorn or a big juicy hotdog?
Gail: Popcorn! With lots of butter. Mmmmmmm...
And now, I'm pining for movie popcorn.
Thank you, Gail, for spending time with us! I can't wait for January 13. Happy Holidays and I will you and your family an exciting time ahead with your upcoming book birthday!