Interview: Gail Priest Author of Soul Dancing

I would like to introduce you to fellow writer and friend Gail Priest. I met Gail at South Jersey Writers Group where she was named Writer of the Year.

Gail is passionate about women’s fiction and has published the Annie Crow Knoll Trilogy and Eastern Shore Shorts. Her fifth book came out this month:  


Women’s Fiction with a paranormal twist.

When ninety-year-old Shirlene Foster dies, she is shocked to wake up in another woman’s body. Even more surprising, she’s in a hospital delivery room, about to give birth. Fearing no one will believe her, she attempts to hide her true identity, but acting like a twenty-year-old proves impossible, and she realizes she must tell someone.

Cameron Michaels vowed to raise his niece after his brother abandoned his pregnant girlfriend, Rain. But after Rain has the baby, she changes… drastically. When Shirlene confesses she is inhabiting Rain’s body, Cameron hesitates to believe such a wild story, but it does explain Rain’s complete transition.

While adjusting to her new life and relishing her second chance at motherhood, Shirlene struggles to keep her growing attraction to Cameron in check. But Shirlene soon discovers that her new body may not belong to her for long.

Victoria Marie Lees: Congratulations, Gail. And thank you for visiting with me at Adventures in Writing.

Gail Priest: My pleasure. 

VML: Gail, what made you decide to become a writer and how long have you been writing?

GP: Since high school, I’ve been a theatre artist. I was an actor and a director but didn’t write much except a children’s play and poems in college. In 1994 my husband bought me Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way shortly after my mother died. The Artist’s Way is about recovery for any artist but especially for writers, and I began doing the assignments in the accompanying workbook. The following summer while I was working at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, I began writing Eva’s Piano, a semi-autobiographical play about a woman grieving the loss of her mother. That’s when I began to seriously write and to consider myself a writer.

VML: I love attending theatre shows. I performed in some community theatre myself. With your answer, you show the power a book can make in someone’s life. Your novels deal with family trauma and the power of forgiveness to move on in life. Why are these themes important to you?

GP: My favorite plays have always been about family issues such as The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley and All My Sons by Arthur Miller are others that come to mind. Also, I earned a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in family therapy. Most families have some degree of dysfunction. Forgiveness is essential to healing within a family or marriage. This process is something I’ve certainly encountered and it fascinates me.  

VML: Powerful stories here, Gail. Sometimes I feel dysfunction can seem like a cage we are trapped in and forgiveness is the key to move on in life. This process of writing and re-writing can be a tedious one—especially for full-length novels. How do you know when your novel is ready for the presses?

GP: After I’ve written a few drafts and think I’m ready for feedback, I ask several people to read the work as it is. These folks are called Beta readers. After I get notes from them, I rewrite again. It can take several versions before I’m ready to query the novel. Once I get a publisher, then the novel goes through three edits.

First, I work with the content editor, who helps me to improve the plot and characters. Then it’s onto the line editor, who has me make sentence structure and wording adjustments. The last edit is done by a copy editor, who looks for punctuation and spelling errors that no one else has found. Then the polished manuscript is ready to be published.

VML: It’s so important to have trusted readers look at your work early on to see how the story is flowing. And revise from there. Soul Dancing is published by Red Adept Publishing, a small press. How did you go about selling your novel and could you offer any advice to writers trying to sell their first novel?

GP: I queried many agents and small presses. I turned down three offers that weren’t the right fit for me. It took two years of querying before Red Adept Publishing offered me a contract that worked for me. I was especially happy with the editing process they offer their authors.

My advice is to keep plugging away. Don’t give up. There’s a lot of rejection. It’s important to take a little time to feel disappointed and even discouraged after a rejection, but then you have to dust yourself off and get back on the horse. Be prepared for a long and tedious process. Otherwise, you can always self-publish. That’s a lot of work, but it will take less time to get the book out into the world.

VML: Solid advice here. Thanks, Gail. But a writer needs to be a marketer as well in today’s publishing world. How do you wear these two hats? Can you offer any advice to other writers about marketing their books?

GP: I’ve become a better marketer with time. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it is necessary. What helped me was to read books on how to market your book and to attend a lot of classes and webinars on marketing. There are many free and low-cost marketing webinars and workshops offered by writing groups like the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, the South Jersey Writers Group, and others.

To prepare for launching and marketing Soul Dancing, I used The Ultimate Book Launch Workbook by Mary Helen Sheriff and read Launch Pad: The Countdown to Marketing Your Book by Mary Helen Sheriff and Grace Sammon. These took the mystery out of marketing, gave direct steps to take, and as a result, lessened my anxiety about marketing Soul Dancing.

VML: Thank you so much for sharing these references with us today. I know I’m going to look into them. Marketing scares me. And thanks for stopping by my Adventures in Writing blog. 

You can connect to Gail Priest online at her website. If you are interested in a paperback edition of one of Gail’s books, please go to your independent bookstore and ask them to order the book. We need to support indie bookstores. Otherwise, you can find her books online at:

Soul Dancing 

Annie Crow Knoll: Sunrise

Annie Crow Knoll: Sunset

Annie Crow Knoll: Moonrise

Entire Annie Crow Knoll Collection

Eastern Shore Shorts can be purchased from Cat and Mouse Press or Amazon 

Thanks again for sharing your insight. All the luck with your new release, Gail Priest. Bravo!

2 thoughts on “Interview: Gail Priest Author of Soul Dancing”

    • Gail is so generous in sharing her insight, isn’t she, Natalie? Thank you so much for visiting Adventures in Writing and “meeting” Gail. She is a wonderful writer. Her books are alive in their plot and pacing and detailed in her characters and setting.

      Have a beautiful week!


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