Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and
bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, shewon Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. Sweet Freedom with aSlice of Peach Cobbler, a new anthology, includes her short story, “Stitches in Love.” Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles.blogspot.com, at her blog, http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com, and on her Web Site,http://www.gailpallotta.com.
Stopped Cold is a teen mystery with suspense and first love. It’s set in a fictitious town in the North Carolina Mountains. But things aren’t what they seem in Mistville. Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.
Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
What was my inspiration? I’d almost say I was nudged to write the book. The theme for it, “We don’t have to be number one for God to love us,” rattled around in my head quite a while. Too many times my path crossed with those who suffered because they weren’t able to live up to always being number one. Whether the pressure came from within, peers, siblings or parents, the need to be “better than everyone else” rather than “the best one could be” often hurt and sometimes led to destruction.
I wanted the book to be fun, and I most enjoyed Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys mysteries as a youngster. I made the heroine, hero and their friend amateur sleuths reminiscent of them.
Many main characters are a reflection of the author or somebody the author knows. Are there any tidbits that you’ve put into your characters that mimic people around you?
I wouldn’t say the main character, Margaret, mimics myself of anyone I know, but she has a swimmer’s personality. I know the type well, because I am one, and my daughter swam year-around from age nine through her sophomore year in college. Margaret likes competing against the clock and works hard to improve her times. She’s loyal to her teammates and shares a close-knit bond with them.
How did you decide on the setting? Did you do research?
I wanted the setting to be a place I knew well, because I was already putting quite a bit of time into researching steroids. I grew up at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains and lived in that area for four years as a young adult. However, I did some research to double-check my memory on a few things, such as the seasons for certain types of foliage.
Many authors say the novel has a voice all its own. Did the plot change once your characters started forming the story?
Yes. Originally Margaret and Jimmy were just friends. As the book progressed, they established a first love relationship. Emily’s character changed too. At first, she was just someone Margaret knew outside of the swim team, but she ended up being a best friend.
What was your favorite chapter or part to write and why?
The last chapter, because it has a happy ending.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers about your book?
Right after Stopped Cold came out, I was excited to learn it was a best seller on All Romance E-books. Also, there are several reviews on Good Reads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17879103-stopped-cold
I’d like to thank you for having me on your blog, Mary.