Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Meet the Author: Bellamy Gayle

 I first met Bellamy Gayle, browsing through new releases on the Sisters in Crime website. What drew me into Keep Me Safe first was its setting -- New Orleans, and its characters -- of course, a feisty female lawyer. Beautifully written and full of unexpected twists, this story is classic suspense and an entirely satisfying read.

Which led me to reach out to the author. Surprise! She graciously answered my questions! Thank you, Bellamy.

1. When did you realize you wanted to write mysteries? Why? I spent a week every summer in my childhood with my grandparents, who lived only one long block away from their city’s library, which was like paradise to me. The building even smelled bookish, you know what I mean? And, though hushed, I could always here a few shuffles, rustling, and clearing of throats. I made my choices, and Murdear checked out the maximum number of books allowed. I identified with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, loving the process and thrilled with the stories. Mysteries and suspense became part of the fiber of my being then, and that has never changed.

2. You’ve mapped out two more books following Keep Me Safe. How did you get the ideas for these next books? 
Not very far into writing Keep Me Safe, I realized the manuscript had to become the first book of a series, which I dubbed "The Sazerac Series," because other characters in the novel seemed to be asking me for their own stories. 

Cecile Dumond, the protagonist in my novel, is raised by her great aunt, Hattie Dumond, a fascinating woman born in 1914, who finished her degree at the Sorbonne in Paris as WWII broke out, and she…well, you’ll have to read her story, which is that of No Ordinary Woman

Hattie does the neighborly thing and takes a plate of goodies to welcome her new neighbor, Odette Lattimore. It was highly unusual in those days, even in a city as cosmopolitan as New Orleans, to have a black couple settle in a white neighborhood, but Odette is bright and capable of taking care of herself while her riverboat pilot husband is plying the Mississippi, and she and Hattie become best friends. She is a worthy protagonist in Odette: Run For Your Life

3. About how long does it take you to write a book? What strategies work to help you be most productive? Do you consider yourself a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plodder’ or something else?

Writing is truly my vocation, but it’s fun, too, and I don’t want that to change. I do write every single day, with rare exceptions. Extra-large cup of cafĂ© au lait in one hand, yogurt in the other, I head to our office and spend about four hours a day. It looks like a book takes about a year to complete, including 2-3 drafts and at least one round, if not more, of copy and line editing. 

Mostly, I’m a pantser. Save The Cat comes in handy to adjust the flow of the narrative and increase the story’s tension when it’s necessary. In my tiny brain somewhere, there’s a sneaking suspicion that I’ve mentally begun to plan, if not plot, out my stories. I’ll never learn everything there is to know about how to write the best possible novel, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.

4. One question I always try to ask: Do you have a pet? Any funny story to share? Pet? Certainly! Over the years we’ve had just about every kind of pet from songbirds to fish to black labs and raising litters of Russian Blue kittens. With time comes wisdom and reason, and we now have only Baby, who walked up our driveway as a kitten a few years ago and has stayed with us ever since. 

Baby had been neutered and had a little notch in one ear, so we knew he’d been “in the system” and adopted by someone. Guess it didn’t take. His “meow” seems damaged, but his purring works just fine. Baby has this lovable quirk. 

I listen to “Dinner Jazz” on Pandora at night while I read, and that sweet cat has become addicted to the music, curled up on the floor at my feet. He cannot abide vocals and will stare at the speaker, tail swishing, until I change to an instrumental so he can return to his reverie.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fans and/or other writers? Like so many of us who love to write, I had little formal training in creative writing—only one Tulane University class way back in the day. Writers today, including me, have a world of free, or nearly free, resources at our fingertips because of the Internet. I Google, use Wikipedia, spellcheck, a thesaurus or two, etc. Chrome extensions of Pro Writing Aid are of immense help. There are fabulous FB groups who are generous with their time and expertise. Don’t be afraid to search for help. It’s out there waiting for you.

Thank you, Bellamy Gayle, for talking with us today. I can't wait for your next books to come out. I'm more than ready to explore once again the fascinating history and mystery of New Orleans!

Check out Bellamy Gayle's website at 

You can find Keep Me Safe on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


  1. An excellent interview. I learn from each interview you do. It is interesting to find out what makes other authors tick. Belamy seems very organized, practiced, talented and inventive AND productive. I loved the information about Baby, her cat. Bravo Belamy and Beth!

    1. Thank you, Sandy. I enjoyed meeting her online and found her to be an impressive positive person as well as a fascinating author!

  2. Anonymous7:26 PM

    May I just say, “Yay”? Ms. Gayle has a beautiful writing style and presents with a very self deprecating manner. It’s nice to hear that she relies on research and advice from others like the rest of us, and it’s even nicer to know there are other novels in the works! Thanks for sharing!

    1. And thank you for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed this interview with Bellamy Gayle.