Hello Gaynell! Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m happily married to a wonderful man; we have 7 children and 4 grandkids. When I’m not writing I’m painting – and try to read as much as possible. I love nature, especially flowers and birds. I live in a lovely area of Utah, but I’d love to live on the beach or way up in the mountains so summer would be cooler!
Now, can you describe your story in 5 sentences or less?
Maddie writes a lovelorn column for a local paper. It’s decided that she has to run a contest for a date with her. Picking the date is the most difficult thing she’s ever done, and then she falls for the winner. It’s a sweet romance that has a few twists.
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?
Yes, I work for a school district, so summers are my favorite time of year. I discovered a site almost 15 years ago called NaNoWriMo that encourages aspiring writers to write 50,000 words in a month. That has taught me a lot about meeting a set goal of words each day.
Is this is the first book you’ve published with Anaiah Press?
This is my debut with Anaiah Press, yes.
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
Yes… I had fully intended for a different character to be the love interest. But as the story went on, I didn’t like him as much and had to create a new one.
Here’s your lovely cover and back cover blurb:
The public turns to her with their relationship woes, but does she really know anything about love?
“Dear Maddie – My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years, but…”
Maddie never dreamed she’d be writing a newspaper column to the lovelorn. Her co-workers think her nights are filled with glamourous dates, but in reality, her life is boring. Until the day her boss insists on running a contest to win a dream date… with her.
Now Maddie is searching for someone genuine in the mountain of letters from fame- seekers, braggarts, mama’s boys, and stalkers. Does God’s plan include finding true love through a marketing stunt? Or will she only have more loveless fodder for her column?
Excerpt from Chapter 1:
Ever thought you knew what God’s plan was for you?
As I gazed at a letter—I think it was number 4,075—asking for boyfriend advice, I found myself questioning that plan.
I eyed the ceiling. “Surely You didn’t intend for me to end up here?” At least, this letter wasn’t from a guy asking me on a date.
I swiveled to look out my small window at the rainy streets. Growing up, I had known for sure that He was in my life and guided me. I wasn’t feeling guided now.
As I turned back to my computer, the large framed letter on the wall caught my eye. The one that had started it all.
I am so frustrated with men. I finally find the guy that makes my heart pound, and he turns out to be a player, just like all the other men I’ve ever met. What is a girl to do? How am I ever going to find Mr. Right? Am I doomed to be a spinster the rest of my life? Please, help!
The door to my office burst open, and Jayne, my best friend slash boss’s secretary, bounced in.
“Hey! Aren’t you excited?” Her big blue eyes sparkled with excitement. Jayne was a petite blond who managed to be everyone’s friend.
I stared as she perched on the corner of my desk, wondering what news I’d missed on the walk to my office. “Jason’s getting hair implants?”
Jayne giggled and whacked my shoulder. “No, silly. About you and the date contest.”
I blinked my confusion.
She rolled her eyes. “Jason just said you’re running a contest for someone to win a date with you. Whoever wins takes you out on the town. Limo, dinner, the works.” She almost bounced off the desk with enthusiasm. “Won’t that be amazing? The best date ever.”
“A date contest? You mean, as in picking someone from the applicants and actually going on a date with him?”
Jayne focused on my expression of total shock, and her excitement level went down a couple of notches. “Didn’t you agree to this with Jason?”
I shook my head. “I haven’t agreed to anything. This is the first I’ve heard about it. I mean, Jason’s really been on my case about accepting a date with one of these guys that keep writing, but that’s all he’s ever said. No one suggested a contest.”
She licked her lips, obviously realizing she’d let something out of the bag, and slipped off the desk. “Well, maybe, I heard wrong.” She stepped over to the door. “I have to get back to work.”
She was gone before I could gather my wits. A date contest? With my dating record, how was that even a possibility? The previous night’s date flashed through my mind, and I blinked. No way did I want anyone to know how miserably they always ended. I stomped out of my office and down the hallway to the elevator.
Jason saw me coming, as his corner office opens to a clear view of the elevator. He was standing in the doorway, wearing a cheesy grin. “I was just coming to look for you.”
“I’ll bet you were,” I said through clenched teeth. “What is Jayne talking about?”
He chuckled but pulled me inside and shut the door. The better to block the screams.
“Sit down and let me explain it before you go off half-cocked.” He retreated behind his desk.
“Half-cocked?” I repeated, my voice rising as I stood—no way was I going to sit calmly—and put my hands on my hips. “I think someone else went off in that department. In our brief conversation the other day, you never said it was a possibility. You wanted me to think about it. The next thing I know, it’s for real, and I’m gonna have to date some dweeb?” I flung my hand toward his large office window, indicating the general population of men.
Jason gulped, and I swore his ears were turning red. “I know this came as a surprise—”
“Surprise?” I flopped down in one of the two chairs in front of his desk. “Surprises are roses from a handsome guy. Surprises are cupcakes your mom bakes for the class on your birthday. This is an ambush.”
Did you enjoy this excerpt? You can buy the book here: https://amzn.to/37MUZp6
ABOUT GAYNELL PARKER
Gaynell Parker has been writing since she was 12 years old and read the Diary of Anne Frank. With a brief hiatus when she had her children, she’s continued putting pen to paper. With the advent of the computer she found the keyboard much more to her liking! When she’s not writing, she’s painting (see her illustrations in Sorry, the Stork Takes No Returns) or playing with grandchildren. She’s happily married to her wonderful husband of over 30 years, has seven children, four grandchildren, too many cats and three dogs. Her greatest desire is to spread happiness in her books.
My Website: Gparkerartwork.com