Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle’s fascination with crime stories began when she first met a policeman at the age of 4 and outsmarted him. After flirting with the idea of becoming a defense attorney and then suffering through a few years as a paralegal, she decided writing crime fiction would be a lot more satisfying -- and fun. Gayle’s first novel, My Summer of Southern Discomfort, released in 2008 (William Morrow). By day, she's a financial assistant at MIT’s Media Lab.

Gayle's new novel is Idyll Threats.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Gayle's reply:
The last book I read was Pointe by Brandy Colbert.

Pointe will be inextricably linked in my mind to staying in the hospital, by my mother’s bedside. She was recovering from heart surgery. I’d volunteered to relieve my dad from nurse duty. My mother has Alzheimer’s and she kept trying to get out of bed. So from 3:00 pm to 11:00 a.m. the next day, I read Pointe. I slept only one hour in ten-minute naps. By novel’s end my eyes felt like they’d been filled with sand, but I kept reading (and convincing my mother she was in the hospital, not home) during the long, terrible night. I’m not sure most books would’ve held my interest in that situation.

I wanted to read Pointe because it’s about an African-American teen pursing ballet while finishing high school - and there aren’t many books like that. The protagonist, Theo, is recovering from anorexia and a broken heart. Theo discovers the man who abducted her best friend Donovan, missing for four years and now returned, was her former boyfriend - a man who lied to her about many things.

The reader follows Theo as she goes to school, ballet lessons, and parties. She makes questionable choices, just like any seventeen year old would. Theo’s voice is genuine, as are the depictions of drug use and sex - nothing is glossed over. She discovers that her ‘relationship’ was nothing but abuse, which is also the source of all her control issues.

Few books I know tackle pedophilia from the victim’s viewpoint with such authenticity and lack of voyeurism. This was Colbert’s debut novel. I look forward to reading more of her work, at home, far away from the hospital.
Visit Stephanie Gayle's website.

My Book, The Movie: Idyll Threats.

The Page 69 Test: Idyll Threats.

--Marshal Zeringue