Guest Author Interview – Gigi Gossett

header1_An Author Writes

The Midwife Factor_Cover

Title: The Midwife Factor: A Lynn Davis Mystery

Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: Only a kindly midwife knows that Nicola Moldovan, a fifteen-year-old Romanian teenager living in Cincinnati, gave birth to identical twin girls nineteen years ago. The twins, separated at birth, have grown up on different continents, unwittingly sharing thoughts, feelings, and dreams with each other without any idea they are sisters. But just as the now elderly midwife, Flossie Walker, decides to pen a tell-all letter to the families involved, a sinister plot unfolds in a Budapest prison.

Morgan Wellington, the adopted daughter of a Nobel Prize winning physician and his wife, has always secretly yearned to know her true biological identity-even more so after her Hungarian roommate tells her about a look-alike in Budapest and invites her to visit the country to see for herself. Meanwhile, Morgan’s parents, curious as to why their daughter has spontaneously traveled to Budapest, hire private investigator Lynn Davis to discover the truth. While Lynn tries to make sense of several perplexing scenarios, a habitual criminal puts the final touches on an evil plan that will change everything.

In this international mystery, past secrets are revealed as two girls separated at birth attempt to find their way back to each other, with the help of a private investigator and the midwife who brought them into the world.

GiGi Gossett (1)

Author: Gigi Gossett

CH: Welcome Gigi Gossett, PhD to my blog. Gigi is a fresh, new mystery writer, who is interested in the subject of twin telepathy because of twins in her own family. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world with my audience.

CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for the story? 

GG: The Midwife Factor is an international mystery that traces the trajectory of one family across continents and explores the phenomenon of twin telepathy.

19-year-old Morgan Wellington, an adoptee from a prestigious family in Cincinnati, Ohio, sets off on an innocent adventure to Budapest to find a look-alike she’d only recently heard about to see if she can explain the flashes of another’s thoughts, feelings and dreams that she has privately experienced since childhood.  Meanwhile, in Budapest, 19-year-old Ivona Palaki has had similar unusual flashes as Morgan.  Traversing from Cincinnati to Paris to Budapest to Bucharest, the book unveils lively characters along Morgan’s Path, including Flossie Walker, the kindly octogenarian African-American midwife who holds the truth of Morgan’s birth; Lynn Davis, the savvy, kick-butt private investigator; Nicola Palaki and Corina Moldovan who turn out to be Morgan’s biological mother and grandmother; and a sinister sociopath, just released from prison with an evil plan to capitalize on the family wealth—a plan that puts many lives in danger.

Fascinated with the notion of twins, and the ancient art of midwifery, I elected to combine these elements into my story.  For the storyline, I chose to focus on the actions of a memorable nurse/midwife, Flossie Walker, who delivered the twins.   An important part of the plot is that this book deals with mental telepathy among identical twins.  The midwife also had an identical twin with whom she shared a telepathic relationship.  I dedicated this book to my older identical twin sisters, both now deceased.    

CH: What made you decide to write an international mystery?

GG: As a global consultant, I have traveled extensively to several countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and the Middle East.  I wanted to share some of my experiences outside the United States with my readers.  During my first trip to Budapest, Hungary, I remember riding from the airport to my hotel through both new and old parts of town and admiring the gothic architecture of the older sections.  Being there almost made me feel like I was stepping back into medieval times.  Budapest seemed an ideal setting for my story.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?           

GG: I look for situations and people that I, myself, find alluring and that are not your every day topics.  For example, my first novel, By Any Other Name, was about a powerful billionaire family.  The story had a strong inter-racial twist.  Based on the popularity of old television programs like Dallas and Dynasty, I believed that readers would find this storyline enticing as well.

Regarding The Midwife Factor, since so many people have twins in their immediate or extended families, I thought the idea of multiple births would appeal to the masses, especially, with the element of twin telepathy introduced.

CH: Your cover tells the story, twins with an international plot and the midwife in the background. Who designed the cover?

GG: My book was produced by iUniverse.  They gave me a website from which to select the stock photos for the cover.  I found the perfect face to represent the kindly, old midwife and the twins.  I also wanted the midwife’s picture on the cover, but not featured prominently.  The globe represented the fact that the twins grew up on different continents.  I presented the photos and my concept to iUniverse, and voilà!  They designed what I felt was a magical cover.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book? 

GG: So far, I’ve had a very enthusiastic response from my readers.  My vision is that people would love the book so much, they wouldn’t be able to put it down.  So far, several readers have “complained” complimentarily that they couldn’t put it down.   My book has been referred to as a page-turner, thrilling, exciting, and fast paced.  One reviewer said after reading it, she passed it on to her granddaughter as she wanted her to see an example of powerful relationships among women and how strong women handle their problems from an empowered position.  Another reviewer said she didn’t want the phenomenal story telling to end:  It was masterfully crafted, from start to finish, with all kinds of twists in between—danger, romance, family ties, the unique world of twins on two sides of the coin, triumph over life circumstances, sadness, joy and so much more”  I have been very happy with the reaction.  It inspires me to write more and more.

CH: Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?

GG: I do not presently have a book trailer, but intend to have one developed.  I believe a trailer is an extremely effective way of showing what your story is about and getting people excited about it.  A video, like a picture, is worth a thousand words.  When I see other well done book trailers, it increases my interest in those books.

CH: The twins in the story are so alike; yet, so different. Was it hard to create their characters?

GG: It really wasn’t too hard.  I developed a profile for each twin based on her upbringing and culture and was able to stick to it.  What was a challenge was writing in the voice of a 19-year-old—one a spoiled rich American and the other a studious and at times defiant Hungarian whose characteristics I believe I was able to realistically frame due to having traveled to Budapest and Bucharest.   Whenever I wrote as one or the other, I put myself in her shoes and could see her mannerisms, hear her voice, and see her behavior.

CH: What sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?

GG: The diverse characters and interactions in my book reflect the makeup of our world, racially, culturally, ethnically, and age wise.  Furthermore, there have been a number of books about twins, and likewise, about midwifes.  However, I am not aware of a book about twin telepathy, nor one in which the midwife plays such an important factor in so many lives.  The Midwife Factor essentially contains three stories in one—the midwife’s life and times, the twins’ telepathic relationship and their search for each other, and the criminals’ who were intent on capitalizing on their “find.” As the story unfolds, I have been told that readers could actually “visualize” the events as if taking place before their very eyes.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your type of writing?

GG: With the complexity and intensity of my storyline, I give the reader the opportunity to become emotionally involved, entertained, and mentally stimulated.  There are parts of the story when I want the reader to feel the emotions experienced by my characters, ranging from excitement, to joy, to fear.  Furthermore, no matter how grim the circumstances, my stories tend to be uplifting, giving people hope, usually in a win/win fashion.   Because the story has many facets are intertwined, I keep the reader on his or her toes having to think about and wonder what is next.

CH: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?  

GG: This is where I may get too wordy.  I happen to believe that everyone has a story in them—either about their own life and experiences, or from their imagination.  First, come up with something unique to write about.  In fiction, create interesting and or unusual characters, because, after all, who wants to read about someone who is ordinary.  You have the power of the pen and with it, you can make your character do anything you want, even win the lottery.  You are only limited by your imagination.  And your plot should be impactful.

Next, start collecting your thoughts on paper.  Once you start this process, you will be amazed at the number of times when ideas will come to you in some fashion—either through magazine articles, random conversations, newspapers, television, events you’ve seen or heard about, etc.  And when you run across something related to your topic, capture it immediately.  Any of these ideas may have a place in your book.  Keep all your notes in one place so that when you are ready to begin, you will have many ideas to draw from as substance for your book, as chapters, events, characters, or developments.

Finally, it’s all done.  Now. edit, edit, edit.  Your work is never really finished.  If you are willing to acknowledge your imperfections, you will find many things to change with every reading.  And then, a professional editor will find much more.  In my first book, a non-fiction diversity book entitled Diversity Blues, How to Shake ‘Em, a professional editor cut my 240 page book down to 200 pages due to redundancies, wordiness, and things that were not necessary to say.  Do not get discouraged.  Make the changes and continue.

CH: Can you tell us about your publishing journey? 

GG: With Diversity Blues, How to Shake ‘Em, I knew nothing about getting published.  I sent a query letter to the Harvard Business School Press (HBP) and they wanted to take a look.  After reviewing my manuscript and making several recommendations for changes which I complied with, HBP had a personnel change and my new contact was not nearly as enthusiastic about my work. Ultimately, they declined it.  So I sent it out to other university and traditional presses. When I continued to receive rejection letters, I still had confidence that my book was worthy to be published because of the interest HBP had shown in it originally.  So I decided to self publish.  I taught myself the ins and outs of self publishing, spent a small fortune on things like editing, cover design, page layout, printing and promoting, but eventually the book was out and it turned out to be fairly successful among people in major corporations. I’m sad that the book is still needed in that we have made very little real change in eliminating racism and sexism or other isms since 2000, but I am very proud that that book is still in the public library system today.  I have continued to self publish, and my two mystery novels can also be found in the public library system.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?
What is your next writing project?

GG: My first book was published in 2000.  It started as my doctoral dissertation but before it could be published, I had to convert it from a research document into a publishable manuscript. This book was non-fiction.  An agent who reviewed it commended my writing style and recommended that I try fiction. She told me that I had the ability to discuss difficult subjects (racism and sexism) in a non-accusatory; yet, compelling manner. She told me it was clear that I was passionate about diversity, and she wanted me to know that in fiction, I could still teach.  So, I embarked on my first mystery which had a diversity twist. The Midwife Factor is my second.  I will definitely write more, but I believe my next book will be non-fiction as I have a very meaningful topic to write about.

CH: Are there any books that influence you as an author?

GG: Books with storylines that are interestingly unique, unexpected and exciting and that enable me to feel, love, or even strongly dislike the main characters are the kind of books that influence my writing. I try to make my books memorable in this same way.  Not all books can do this, for I have read quite a few books that were merely enjoyable, but then, I forgot the plot, or even the author’s name or the book’s title. However, even these books have influenced me in a reverse manner by showing me what I do not want my books to be.

CH: Which writer, living or dead, do you admire most and why?

GG: I can honestly say that my most favorite writer of all time is Ken Follett.  I have thoroughly enjoyed his books, and I have read most of them. Pillars of the Earth was over 900 pages long and I was deeply sorry for it to end. I love his writing because he puts you into the story right away and makes you feel everything, plus you learn a great deal. A classic example is Eye of the Needle which was made into a movie. His main characters are charismatic, fascinating and bold and he makes you know them right away. I usually experience an emotional reaction or attachment to his characters and his plot. His vivid descriptions and conversations are stimulating and electrifying, his topics are extremely diverse and very interesting and the settings for his books cover the globe, ranging from St. Petersburg in Russia to Egypt to London to the U.S. and other locales.  His work is sometimes current and sometimes historic and always fascinating.

CH: What was the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

GG: I was very pleased when my first book, Diversity Blues, How to Shake ‘Em was purchased by Walmart to put in a large number of its U.S. stores which is quite significant because Walmart has more than 2,500 stores in the U.S.  At one time, my book was on Walmart’s 100 best selling books list. As an author, and particularly, as a self-publisher, that was thrilling.  I was equally thrilled when I was contacted by an agent who was interested in pursuing my first mystery, By Any Other Name as a movie.  He is still working toward that end.

CH: Do you have a website?

GG: Yes.  www.gladyshankins.com. A second website will be launched soon under the name www.gigigossett.com.

CH: Where is your book sold?

GG: Presently on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, iUniverse.com, and other online booksellers.  It is also available in e-book format.

CH: Any closing remarks?

GG: First of all, please note that GiGi Gossett is my pen name.  I use my full name, Gladys Gossett Hankins in my non-fiction writing.

It is important to me to write about characters and events that represent the world we live in. We all interact, sometimes daily, often intimately, with other races, cultures, ethnicities, religious groups, and genders, and the diversity of my characters will always reflect that.

Finally, Cheryl, I want to sincerely thank you for inviting me to be featured as one of the authors on your blog.  It is quite an honor to be among your chosen group, and I take it as a great opportunity to extend my reach to many that may not be familiar with me and my writing.  For that, I am most grateful.  I hope readers are pleasantly interested.  I wish you the absolute best in all your journeys.

CH: Thank you Gigi Gossett for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you about your book and writing journey.  We look forward to following your writing career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of Gigi Gossett and the Internet.

 

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