BY MELISSA HUTSELL
In R.M. Gilmore’s world, anyone can be the hero, or even the villain. Her collection of fictional short stories, novels and book series thrill readers with the good, bad and ugly of life, liberty and the pursuit of the noise in the attic. 209 Magazine spoke with the award-winning author to discuss her nationally and internationally best-selling work.
Question: Did you always want to write novels?
Answer: Writing came into my life in a manner only to be described as serendipitous. One night, after many drinks and a discussion about my opinion of a popular book series at the time, a friend suggested I attempt to write something better. I went home that night and began writing the Dylan Hart series.
The process was long and arduous, but nine books and a handful of published short stories later, I have finally found my niche in the creative world. Writing, for me, is equal parts freedom and insanity all rolled up into one hearty creative burrito.
Q: How has growing up in the Central Valley influenced your work?
A: Without the experiences I had growing up in the Valley, particularly Fresno, I can honestly say I would be a different person.
Dark, gritty, calamitous tales call to me and without the background I have, I do not think I would have the same mindset to produce such stories. The Dylan Hart series in particular wouldn’t be the same without Fresno. Many scenes take place in the area, including some landmark places like Robertito’s Taco Shop. Who doesn’t love a California burrito?
Q: What inspires your storylines?
A: Twists and turns excite me. Usually to the point I don’t even know whodunit until the reader does.
Female protagonists are at the forefront for me. Each with their own story to tell, my girls travel different paths, face adversaries and bring with them strengths and flaws that are wholly human and relevant, even though they might be plunked down into a world in which the reader could never possibly experience in real life. Maybe.
The human experience, to me, is more thrilling, more terrifying, more intense than any fictional story I could come up with. Slapping characters across the face with real life stuff while they’re running for their lives from whatever demons haunt them darkens a story, roughs up its edges and gives the reader another layer to sink their teeth into.
Q: Your best selling occult, horror and ghost-themed series are based on fictional storylines, but there is an element of reality in each plot – how so?
A: Dylan is overweight, smart-mouthed, self-deprecating and in many ways just like most women out there who have gone unrepresented for far too long. Not the damsel, not the waif, not the girl next door. No white knight needed.
“Lynnie Russell,” a novella trilogy, is a fresh take on the classic shifter tale. Irish mythology abound, her story is both action packed and heartbreaking in the same quivering breath. Several characters, Nana especially, were based on people I loved and lost in my life.
The first in the Prudence Penderhaus series, “17 Marigold Lane,” is a quirky, coming of age mystery/suspense (in the thread of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman),that allowed me to create a character, Cassius Shooster, who is on the autism spectrum, but is so much more. With this story, I created the Viva Las Underdogs campaign, which sheds light on the lack of true “underdogs” in mainstream media.
For more information, visit RMGilmoreAuthor.com.
To grab a copy of R.M. Gilmore’s work: Paperbacks are available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. If your local bookstore or library is not carrying them, just ask!