Gayle, Stephanie 1975-
Gayle, Stephanie 1975-
Born June 12, 1975. Education: Attended university.
Home—Somerville, MA. E-mail—[email protected]
My Summer of Southern Discomfort, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including 400 Words, Charles River Review, Edgar Literary Journal, Ellipsis, and Fourth River.
Stephanie Gayle is a writer who started as a novelist and went on to write short stories. One of her short stories was even nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a contributor to a number of periodicals, including 400 Words, Charles River Review, Edgar Literary Journal, Ellipsis, and The Fourth River. When asked in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tech interview with Jillian A. Berry about her desires to become a writer, Gayle stated: "I'd always written ever since I'd been a kid, and I always loved to read, so I think it was pretty natural."
In 2007 Gayle published her first novel, My Summer of Southern Discomfort. New York lawyer Natalie Goldberg moves down to Macon, Georgia, to escape personal and professional problems and finds herself out of her element as an outsider in a highly insular community. Initially she finds her situation miserable but soon finds her professional career invigorated with a double homicide case and friends and coworkers that make her feel like she is home. When asked in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tech article the reasons why she chose to put Natalie in the South, Gayle replied: "It was more a question of sticking her where she wouldn't seem comfortable. And the South seemed kind of obvious given the background I created for her. Also, legally, it was a very interesting place to put her; Georgia's death penalty law was changing right about the time I was setting the book."
Reviews of Gayle's debut novel were mostly positive. Rebecca Kelm, writing in Library Journal, complimented the "engaging heroine and a cast of very believable secondary characters" in this "very appealing first novel." Linda Roberts commented in a Romantic Times Online review that "the author's use of language is captivating and rich with wry, self-deprecating humor." A reviewer writing on the LoveRomancesAndMore.com thought that "Stephanie Gayle's wit and wonderful way with words make My Summer of Southern Discomfort the perfect book for a relaxing afternoon read, regardless of the season." In a Boston Now Web site article, John Black wrote that "Gayle proves she is a master of detail in her debut." A contributor to Kirkus Reviews found the story "bland" and the setting "inauthentic, as if Gayle skimmed a travel guide for background information." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that "Gayle's economical prose is peppered with sharp sentences … and clever fish-out-of-water observations." Writing on the Romance Reader at Heart Web site, Kay James called My Summer of Southern Discomfort "a book that, once read, won't be forgotten. It points out that even when things look bleak, love and laughter aren't necessarily out of reach."
Gayle told CA: "My favorite research tool that I have used for my writing is watching old television episodes of The Muppet Show. It doesn't sound like research, but it was.
"My least favorite interview question is, ‘What is your favorite book?’ It's impossible to choose one book.
"The best perk of being a writer is that any crazy behavior can be explained away by saying these magic words: ‘I'm a writer.’"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort.
Library Journal, June 1, 2007, Rebecca Kelm, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort, p. 109.
Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2007, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort, p. 41.
Tech (Cambridge, MA), October 12, 2007, Jillian A. Berry, author interview.
Boston Now,http://www.bostonnow.com/ (June 20, 2007), John Black, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort.
LoveRomancesAndMore.com,http://www.loveromancesandmore.com/ (November 23, 2007), review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort.
Romance Reader at Heart,http://www.romancereaderatheart.com/ (November 23, 2007), Kay James, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort.
Romantic Times Online,http://romantictimes.com/ (November 23, 2007), Linda Roberts, review of My Summer of Southern Discomfort.