1. I hear you have a pet in your series. Tell us about the books.
I write a series called Pet Rescue Romance in which I weave pet rescue and adoption into the love stories. The books can be found in e-book and paperback formats on various sites, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and Apple Books.
There are five books in the series:
Rhiann’s Rescue – series prequel. FREE through Book Funnel: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g828yqfh5h
Rescue Road (Book 1) – a full-length novel
Paws-ing for Love: A Christmas Story – a novella
Amazon and other e-book platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3RJdPj
My Montana Love – a novella
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch – a short novel
2. Why was it important to you to feature rescue pets your books?
I’m an advocate for pet rescue and adoption. My romance series weaves this theme into each book. I began adopting rescued pets more than 30 years ago, and currently, three rescues live in my home: two dogs and a cat. I’ve worked for two different humane societies, and I continue donating my time and funds to rescue organizations, including a percentage of monthly book sales to various groups, like Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, National Mill Dog Rescue in Colorado, Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska, and my community’s Humane Society.
I’ve been blessed to have wonderful pets in my life. Currently, I have a long-haired black and white cat named Murphy; she will be 18 years old in a few months. (Her sister, Bailey, passed away in early March from acute kidney failure.) Both kitties came to live with my husband and me when they were 10 weeks old.
Our dogs are a 12-year-old springer spaniel named Sadie, whom we adopted more than three years ago from English Springer Spaniel Rescue, and
Jeremiah, an eight-year-old black-and-white shih tzu that was rescued from a puppy mill when he was three. We adopted him five years ago from Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska, an organization that often takes in puppy mill survivors. Jeremiah has been with us more than five years, and he is the mascot for my Pet Rescue Romance series. I based a primary dog character named Jax on Jeremiah, and he often goes with me to signings and speaking events.
I love animals of all kinds! If I could wave a magic wand and have all the money needed, I’d open a pet rescue sanctuary, like my primary female character, Rhiann!
3. What other books have you written?
I’ve written children’s books, including a trilogy based on another dog my husband and I had before we adopted Jeremiah. Her name was Mary, and she was a lovely springer/cocker mix. Her books teach children life lessons, such as kindness and appreciation for nature. A Kind Dog Named Mary is about kindness toward pets and people and is geared for younger children, PreK to 2nd grade. A Dog Named Mary Visits Yellowstone National Park and A Town Dog Named Mary Visits a Ranch are written for older elementary-aged kids. Each book shows photos of Mary and the people she’s met and the places she visited and includes activities in the back of the book, thereby being educational and fun as well as sharing stories of our dog.
I began my author life writing for children. A blind springer spaniel named Sage, whom my husband and I adopted in 2001, was the catalyst for my early work. I wrote a chapter book for older children sharing her story of courage, perseverance, and trust, hoping to encourage young readers to face life challenges with those same qualities and characteristics. I also wrote a friendship story about Sage and the other animals living with us at the time.
I’ve written other children’s stories as well, including an activity book titled Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest, that encourages kids to go outside and explore based on the adventures of a cocker spaniel named Cody, and BobCat Goes to School, a humorous tale of a cat getting locked in a school and all the mischief he gets into (that story is based on a true story about my parents’ neighbor cat). All of my children’s stories include educational components such as nature observations and writing activities.
The books are available as print and e-books on Amazon through my Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/author/gayleirwin
I’m also a contributing writer to eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including the January 2023 release “My Dog Did That.” It’s Jeremiah’s rescue and adoption story.
4. Tell us about your kudos or reviews.
One Amazon reviewer said of Rescue Road, “What a clever idea for a sweet, clean romance. Bringing people together through rescue pets, second chances for both pets and people.”
Another stated, “This story accomplishes what it sets out to do; an easy, pleasant read about cute animals, adoption, and romance. Even the setting has that feel of quietness. A great book for when you want to turn down the world outside and relax.”
About Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, one reviewer said, “I really enjoyed this tale of ‘older’ love…. Ms. Irwin’s writing style is very readable, which is a good thing because I plan to read more of her books!”
About a few of my children’s books, buyers have said, “Encouraging exploration and appreciation of the outdoors in a fun way. Rules are emphasized for safety. Easy reading and lovely photos make this a good book for dog lovers, outdoor lovers, Yellowstone lovers and as an introduction to exploring with your senses.”
And “My four-year-old granddaughter was engaged in this story and the lively photos from the beginning. When I read her the part about Mary seeing a squirrel, my granddaughter jumped off the couch, got on all fours, wiggled her little butt and said, ‘This is how Milo acts when she sees a squirrel.’ Even after the first reading, she is still interested in the story. My son read it to her, and she asked him if he could find the rabbit. She remembered what was coming in the story and remained eager to engage.”
5. How do you promote your books?
I promote my books primarily in three ways: on social media, through my twice-monthly newsletter, and with Book Funnel. I’ve also used a few paid promotions, including the Fussy Librarian, Book Raid, Bargain Booksy, and Romance Devoured to promote special sales of my romance books. [Readers] can also join my newsletter through this link or via my website.
Any readers interested can download my Pet Rescue Romance prequel, Rhiann’s Rescue, for FREE at Book Funnel here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g828yqfh5h.
The free novella highlights my main female character, Rhiann, who helps pet rescue organizations while also caring for her elderly grandmother and working as a freelance writer. Here is a short description of Rhiann’s Rescue:
She has dreams and goals–but could those be interrupted?
Freelance writer Rhiann Kelly dreams of starting an animal rescue sanctuary. Her beloved grandmother supports her vision. However, they don’t agree on when or where that goal should transpire. During their annual winter trip to Arizona, the two women once again clash over relocating…and Rhiann’s reluctance to date. However, when art gallery owner and nature photographer Elias Griffin steps into her life, Rhiann reconsiders. Can she protect herself from another heartbreak and maintain her goal to help animals and care for her grandmother, or will she decide Elias is worth the risk?
6. Where can readers learn more about your books and connect with you online?
As mentioned, people can sign up for my newsletter via Book Funnel when they download the free novella. There is also a sign-up form on my website: https://gaylemirwin.com/author
Amazon Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/author/gayleirwin
Social Media Links
I appreciate the opportunity to be a guest on your blog! Thank you for showcasing my romance and children’s stories and my passion for pet rescue and adoption and appreciation for nature and animals! – Gayle
From Marcia: Gayle, thank you for being my April interviewee! I love discovering novels that feature rescue pets, and I look forward to reading your books!
MONTHLY BLOG EBOOK CONTEST! Would you like to win a Marcia James’ ebook? Visitors to this pro-pet blog can join in the fun, comment, and/or share photos of their pets for a chance to win one of my ebooks!
Each month, I’ll randomly pick one commenter to win. To leave a comment and/or a photo, click on the word “Reply,” which is just below the social media icons for THIS interview. (Don’t scroll past this interview to the next interview.) Go Pets!