An Action Heroine for SoMD
By Barbara Geehan
You know the fiery bounty hunter who always gets into wildly humorous scrapes in the fictional book series by best-selling author Janet Evanovich? Well, we have our own version: Meet Gabby de Sales, Southern Maryland’s Stephanie Plum.
De Sales is the protagonist in the new book Fatal Mistake available on Amazon. She is single and an editor of a local county newspaper who accepts a job offer as public information officer at Patuxent River Naval Air Base. However, the job is not as advertised, not by a long shot. Soon, we are in deep woods on the base while a sweating Gabby, in body armor, trains to catch threatening terrorists and spies.
The plot may appear a bit far-fetched for our rural part of the country, but the artful facile writing by author CB Lovejoy and a chance to recognize our local landmarks makes reading it like eating potato chips. You just can’t stop.
We sat down with Ms. Lovejoy recently and were thrilled to discover a second book in the Gabby series, Critical Error, is currently being edited. And she is hard at work on the third.
“What I like about Gabby is she’s tough, and serious, without being a total jerk,” said the author. Ms. Lovejoy bears a remarkable similarity to Gabby: She was editor of the Calvert Recorder and recently took a job as public information officer for Calvert County. Plus, they are both runners. ”In fact, when I told the news staff I was leaving, they thought it was a joke, because it was the same as the book,” said Ms. Lovejoy, smiling. “But I had written that book several years before as complete fiction.”
There are other differences: Ms. Lovejoy lives in Charles County with her husband and has two daughters. And as to tackling large terrorists and aiming weapons? “I can hold my own with a shotgun — turkey shoots are a part of growing up in Oklahoma — but I could never aim a gun at a person.”
So, how does an inkster, with 15 years experience in print journalism get the patience to sit down and write a book? “It all started when a group of us were sitting by a pool and said, ‘hey, we can write one of those romance novels,’ “ exclaimed Ms. Lovejoy. The book never appeared, but she found she could juggle her time to fit in the time-consuming task of writing. “I just use any minute I can find; I don’t get to watch TV anymore, but that is no real sacrifice.
“I also find the story itching inside. The first one started from an actual conversation. Someone told me about a job opening on the base. I just began thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny, what if”¦the job transitions into a spy?”
Now Ms. Lovejoy cannot get plots out of her mind. The second book began to come together while on a family vacation in the Shenandoahs. “I looked around and thought this would be a good place for a kidnapping,” she said.
A native from Oklahoma, Ms. Lovejoy finds Southern Maryland a special endearing place: “It’s a faster pace than Oklahoma, but slower than D.C.; and the personalities, they are open, interesting, less judgmental.”
But she has not left her past completely behind. When asked how she came up with Gabby de Sales’ name, she said it came from Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalism.