When Gabi and Jay first fell passionately in love, they lived on different continents. Separated for nine years by circumstances and distance, they eventually found a way to marry. Over three decades though, alcoholism tore them apart, and Gabi moved on.Then a fatal diagnosis forced them both to make decisions. Without love, Jay’s final journey would be lonely and hard, and Gabi knew she had to return to care for him.
But she never expected to fall in love again.
This moving memoir doesn’t shy away from the realities of life, but the relationship between these two lovers, tested by separations, alcoholism, and to its ultimate limit by pancreatic cancer, proves that love—and a sense of humor—can conquer anything, even death.
Author interview with Gabi ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I’m British by birth, though I’ve lived in America for over half my life. Work brought me here, and love was why I stayed. I always liked reading and writing. Beginning in elementary school I had to write weekly short stories, and that was my favorite subject. Later, as a working single mom, I had no time for writing, so I started again once I had time to take a class, and never looked back. This book took me five years to finish, because it needed so much polishing and I wasn’t writing every day. But the pandemic changed that, so now I join daily Zoom write-ins with fellow members of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, which has saved my sanity!
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
If I’m not reading, writing, or traveling, you’ll find me in my flower garden, wondering whether to weed, and holding a cup of my preferred beverage, strong English tea. The rest of the time she’s working on her next novel.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
I do yoga every morning and have done since my twenties. It keeps me limber and ready to go. Yoga, followed by a cup of tea, and I’m ready to head for my desk.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Apart from tea, of course, I need a window in front of me, so I can look out and daydream a little.
What career did you think you’d have as an adult?
I thought I’d be a newsreader on the television, which was odd, since there were no women newscasters (as they called them in England, at the time). I guess, as one of five sisters, I just wanted to be seen.
What is something about you that people would surprise people?
They might be surprised to know that I speak several languages, including, French, Spanish, some Russian, and fluent Polish. (My father was Polish and I studied it in college.)
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
Who has time for a day job?
Where do you get your ideas?
With a memoir, life gives you the story, of course. When I’m writing a novel, I’ll use something I’ve heard or seen as a starting point, and set the book in a place I know – even if it’s an imaginary town made up of several real ones.
Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?
I have at least two novels in a drawer, and I may get back to them one day, though I’d probably have to rewrite them completely!
If I wasn’t an author, I might be…?
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
I have a group of writing friends who read every single word and explain to me why I need to make it better before it is good enough to send to my agent. 😊
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
I love a good storyteller above all. The classics, like Austen and Dickens, fall into that category for me, though my writing is nothing like theirs, of course.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published (or this book?)
This is my first book, and although I already had an agent for my novel, I knew she wouldn’t be able to make enough money on it to make it worth her while to take this on. After all, I haven’t been abducted by aliens, and I’m not a celebrity – not yet, though you never know. So I shopped it to small indie publishers, and got offers from two of them. I went with Atmosphere Press in Texas.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your memoir or getting it published that you’d change?
I think I needed all the writing and publishing experiences I had along the way to help me build my writing and marketing skills. Plus the resilience and perseverance that any writer needs if they’re going to succeed in this world of books
How do you market your work?
Largely through social media, and through online interviews, (like this one, or on podcasts). I have videos of me reading extracts from the book on YouTube, giveaways on Goodreads, and I publish extracts on my blog, so a reader can get some idea of how I write and what the book’s about. I think that’s helped readers to get to know me, and perhaps to want to find out more by reading Love’s Journey Home.
What are you working on now?
My first novel is doing the rounds of traditional publishers via my agent, so I’m working on the sequel.
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
That’s a tricky question, because my memoir is a mixture of romance - when I first fell in love with my American husband – reality, when marriage to him didn’t turn out to be a happy-ever-after as I hoped—and then a return to loving him when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. So the tone of the book varies, but there’s humor threaded through all of it.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? I always advise any writer to begin by writing badly. What I mean by that is: if you aim to write badly, you’ll succeed! A lot of writers get stuck and don’t write because they think it won’t be good enough, which it probably won’t – to start with. But at least you’ll have something on paper that you can fix!
What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
The hardest thing to do for me is to send my work out – in case someone doesn’t like it! But I’ve gotten used to not worrying when my work is rejected, because I realize that not everyone will ’get’ it. I remind myself that it only takes one person who believes in it to make things happen.
Favorite book and/or movie?
I’m loving Ted Lasso on Apple TV right now, because there’s so much kindness in it, and from a writer’s point of view, the character development is as good as the storyline. As for a favorite book…I love books by Kate Atkinson, and my go-to comfort reading is anything by the queen of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer, for her elegant writing and sense of humor.
Place you’d like to travel?
I’d like to go back to Egypt to the Valley of the Kings. I visited Alexandria, Cairo, and the pyramids on a school trip when I was seventeen and would love to go back.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Without readers, a book is not a book. And there are a lot of wonderful books out there, I know. Which is why I appreciate so much anyone who wants to read my memoir, and even more when they let me know what they think of it (good or bad).
To connect with Gabi or to purchase the ebook or audiobook https://linktr.ee/GabiCoatsworth