I’m super excited to welcome today’s guest blogger — Gayle Roper! Gayle is one of my really-long-time writing buddies and one of my mentors, both in writing and in directing writers’ conferences.
Gayle has a new book out and we’re celebrating with a story behind the story and a book giveaway. Please welcome Gayle!
WHY THE JERSEY SHORE? WHY SEASIDE?
As I drive across the 9th Street Causeway into Ocean City, NJ, I take a great breath of the crisp sea air. I love coming here, and am glad for my high school class reunion lunch being held here. Any excuse to visit one of my favorite places. I will sit on the balcony of my hotel room, enjoy the sun, watch the ocean, walk the boardwalk, and buy some outstanding Johnson’s caramel popcorn.
When I was a kid, my maternal grandparents had a boarding house, the Brookburn, in Ocean City, and for years I spent every July with them. A family who had a daughter my age also spent July at the Brookburn, and I would go to the beach with them every day. I still remember the ditty the daughter made up about me.
Gayle the whale was very pale
Because she drank some ginger ale.
If I had been overweight, I’m sure I’d have been scarred for life, but I was a skinny kid. I could never decide if I should be honored to be the subject of her poetry or offended at the mockery in it.
When I was in college, I worked four summers in Ocean City as a waitress. I loved spending my free time at the beach or with the college age kids who gathered at the Baptist church in town. One Tuesday night a guy named Chuck Roper came to the group. Since I was going with someone at the time, it was a year and a half before he and I went out for the first time, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The wonderful coincidence to my meeting Chuck in Ocean City is that my mom met my father there too. She went on a date to dinner at a restaurant on the boardwalk that had live music. The trumpeter was a handsome guy who took one look at Mom and played his solo directly to her. The name of Mom’s date is unknown, but Mom came back every night to hear Dad as he played to her.
Is it any wonder I have set several of my novels in Seaside, my fictional version of Ocean City? Seaside Gifts, released in August, is a fun romance with a touch of mystery. It takes place in a boardwalk gift shop called Present Perfect. Someone keeps leaving valuable things at the shop, and Nan calls the police because she doesn’t know what to do with these things. Our hero Rog comes to her rescue.
I also visit Seaside in a novella called Special Delivery and found in The Boy Next Door, released in October. A package with the right address but the wrong name is delivered to Kelli who is spending her first Thanksgiving away from family. Dane helps her survive the holiday as well as find the proper recipient for the package.
If you’d like to visit Seaside with me, I would love to give an electronic copy of each book to two lucky people.
Have you ever been to the Jersey Shore? Ocean City? Seaside?
Include your email address with your comment for easy notification. The drawing takes place Sunday, 11/8/2015, at midnight. Gayle is giving away an electronic copy of both Seaside Gifts and The Boy Next Door to the winner of the drawing. NOTE: Please include your email address with your comment on the post.