Gabriella West


Gabriella West was born in Santa Barbara in 1967. In 1969, her parents moved to Ireland, and she grew up in Ireland, studying English and Italian at Trinity College, Dublin. She graduated and left Ireland in 1988.

She earned an MA degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University in 1995.

Wolfhound Press published her novel "Time of Grace" in 2002. It's the story of a young English governess who travels to Ireland in 1915 for work and falls in love with an Irish maid who is secretly caught up in plotting for the upcoming Easter Rising in 1916. "Time of Grace" is now available in e-book form.

"The Leaving" was first published as an ebook at Smashwords in 2011.

Gabriella West lives in San Francisco, CA.

Smashwords Interview

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was stuck in my writing career. I had a book traditionally published in 2002, but the press declined the next novel I offered them. I had a novel sitting in a folder on my computer that I thought would NEVER get published, but I thought it deserved to because it had gotten so much positive attention years earlier, when I was going through the Creative Writing program at San Francisco State. So I read about Mark Coker and Smashwords in 2011 on SFGate, the online news site for the SF Chronicle. I thought.... hmm.

Something about the way Mark Coker talked about the process made sense to me. So I took the leap and published my novel "The Leaving" in May of 2011. I published it on Kindle a few months later. And then things took off for me when I started publishing shorts on both platforms.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Starting with Smashwords was a good choice for me. I got a bit sucked in by Amazon's platform when I started making quite a bit of money there (it didn't last, though!). I find that I have to carefully navigate through Amazon's constant changes, some of which don't seem to have indie authors' interests at heart. Smashwords is more like a fair parent, who says "this is what I will do for you" and then delivers.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Gabriella West online

Where to buy in print


Connecting the Dots: My Midlife Journey with Adult AD/HD
By Gabriella West
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 8,480. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
Most of us have heard of ADHD, so why is it so common for women not to be diagnosed until they are in midlife? Novelist Gabriella West is refreshingly candid about her journey towards a diagnosis of ADHD, which started a few years ago when she encouraged her partner to get a diagnosis. She uncovers a family history of the disorder, looking back at her own mother's life in Ireland in the 1970s.
Time of Grace
By Gabriella West
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,580. Language: English. Published: October 12, 2013. Category: Fiction
Shy young Caroline has come from England to Ireland in 1915 to work as a governess at Thornley Hall. But beautiful housemaid Grace, with her fierce dedication to Ireland's freedom, opens Caroline's eyes to new erotic worlds. As their friendship blossoms into passionate romance, Caroline finds a happiness she's never known. But will Grace's commitment to the upcoming Rising jeopardize their love?
That Lonely, Sinking Feeling: A Memoir of Love, Friendship, and Letting Go
By Gabriella West
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,270. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
San Francisco, mid-1990s. In this poignant and honest short personal memoir, Gabriella West goes back to her twenties to explore a confusing friendship with a married couple that started promisingly, but became a painful and obsessive love. Readers who have found themselves lost in destructive and addictive relationships will find it compelling reading.
10 Frightening New Facts About Sugar
By Gabriella West
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,790. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2013. Category: Nonfiction
Want to know more about the toxic, destructive effects of sugar on your body? This special report presents the latest, cutting-edge info in 10 bulleted points. We now know that sugar is linked to obesity and diabetes, but there's more: Did you know that sugar has a pro-inflammatory effect on the body's cellular level, which causes aging--and perhaps Alzheimers, down the line?
Toward the Double Rainbow: An Hawaii Travel Tale
By Gabriella West
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,990. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2012. Category: Nonfiction
In this compelling short travel memoir, the author and her partner, Selena, travel to Kauai, Hawaii's garden island, in their first trip as a couple, staying at a new age-y women's guesthouse. The couple struggle with anger, misunderstandings, and a ghostly presence in the guesthouse that terrifies Selena. Will their trip to Hawaii end up tearing them apart?
Is ADHD Caused by Diet? The Food Dye Problem
By Gabriella West
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 1,510. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2012. Category: Nonfiction
Could our food actually be the main cause of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? Did you know that the amount of allowable food dyes in our diet has increased FIVE times between 1955 and 2007? Food dyes have now been officially linked to hyperactivity in children with learning disabilities, but so far the FDA has not acted to warn consumers about their toxic effects.
Night Train to Florence
By Gabriella West
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 3,250. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2012. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
Italy, 1980s. The shy unnamed narrator and her tougher English friend, Liz, are booksmart but inexperienced 18-year-old students on a budget traveling around Northern Italy by train. As they share adventures, wine and conversation, their edgy friendship not surprisingly begins to deepen. But it's on their final nocturnal train trip back to Florence that they take it beyond friendship.
The Truth About Jack and Ray
By Gabriella West
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,950. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 1 review)
English professor Jack, an embittered older man in 1990s San Francisco, has a vivid flashback to his turbulent, secret love affair in North Beach in the early 1950s with tormented young artist Ray, who cares only about ambition and his art. An intense, gripping story about a doomed relationship that changes the course of a man's entire life.
The Leaving: A Novel
By Gabriella West
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 85,520. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2011. Category: Fiction
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
Cathy is a conflicted teenager living in 1980s Dublin. She soon discovers that her charming older brother Stevie, who's gay, is falling in love with her classmate Ron, the one boy she likes. Cathy struggles with school, her dysfunctional family, coming to terms with her growing love for her best friend Jeanette, and leaving Ireland. The novel is a realistic look at adolescence and first love.

Gabriella West’s tag cloud

1916 rising    1950s america    1980s    add    add adhd    add diagnosis    add in adults    add remedy    addictive relationships    adhd    adhd and family    adhd in women    adhd memoir    affairs and infidelity    closeted gay relationships    codependency    cognitive behavioural therapy    coming of age    coming out    concerta    conflict and resolution    creativity    downton abbey    dsm    dublin    dysfunctional families    dysfunctional relationships    easter rising    erotic romance    female sexuality    ff romance    fiction feminist    food coloring    food dyes    friendship    friendship between women    friendships gone wrong    gabriella west    gay and lesbian fiction    gay artists    gay history    gay sexual love    ghosts    hawaii    historical 1900s    hyperactivity in children    ireland    ireland history    ireland independance    irish literature    italy by train    kauai    learning disorder    lesbian    lesbian encounters    lesbian erotic romance    lesbian fiction    lesbian historical    lesbian love    lesbian relationships    lgbt fiction    lgbt history    literature fiction short stories    medications for adhd add    obsessive love    paleo diet    personal growth    queer fiction    ritalin    san francisco    sex with friends    short story    sibling relationships    sugar addiction    sugar and cancer    sugar and diabetes    sugar and weight loss    teen depression    teen questioning sexuality    travel erotica    travel essay    travel in italy    triangle relationships    womens mental health    writers memoir   

Gabriella West's favorite authors on Smashwords

Smashwords book reviews by Gabriella West

  • You Had to Be There: Three Years of Mayhem and Bad Decisions in the Portland Music Scene on June 18, 2011
    star star star
    I liked this book. It was a quick read and the author came across as complex--a bright girl making foolish decisions as she navigates the Portland music scene in the 1980s while holding down a steady job. I think I would have liked to see a little bit more depth in the descriptions of her relationships. For example, there was one abusive relationship that is sort of played for laughs... although it involves an unplanned pregnancy and a broken engagement. Cathcart for sure doesn't make the alternative music scene sound exciting and sexy. But anyone who was involved with this scene, or similar ones, will surely feel nostalgic.
  • An Expanded Love on July 02, 2011
    star star star star
    This book gets four stars because of its originality and daring and because it's a wonderful picture of alternative life in London: pubs, dances, cold flats, buses and all. I loved the way the narrator, Nadia, is so uncomfortable in her own skin at the beginning of the book and could really relate to it. When Nadia is taking her first tentative steps into poly life with her first girlfriend, Christine, An Expanded Love shone. In the end it's a bit of a rambling story with perhaps too many characters, but still a rewarding read.
  • Scarcity on July 16, 2011
    star star star star star
    I thought this story was wonderful, showing two damaged women slowly opening up to each other. Kate Genet has a way of writing strong, vivid prose that gets under your skin. The light, the weather, and nature all figure strongly in her work. But then her earthy characters are also forces of nature! This isn't pretty writing, it's stark, sensual and gorgeous. I plan to read more of her work.
  • Storm of Passion on Aug. 17, 2011
    star star star star
    What makes this story special is that it's a love story between two young men, lifelong friends, set in the South. It's a love story, but Dustin Rhodes sometimes veers into erotic territory--there's an explicit sex scene in the middle of the story. I loved the buildup of sexual tension between the two men, especially as Parker realizes he's falling for Jaime. STORM OF PASSION veered between romance and erotica and then at the end, almost into soap opera territory. I actually would have liked a love scene that included full-on anal sex between them, just because I would have liked to experience that from Parker's viewpoint (!), but what I kept thinking as I read the book was how much a gay adolescent would LOVE this. (And maybe that's why the author kept it a little less explicit.) The two men are believably horny and lusty, though. I read through this piece at great speed, and hope to see more from Mr. Rhodes.
  • Remnant on Aug. 21, 2011
    star star star star
    Remnant is not the type of book I usually read--I'm not much for the paranormal, though I remember reading "The Shining" with rapt attention when I was a kid. Remnant is a powerful novel, though, and Kate Genet is an unusual new talent. The book starts with Cass, a young New Zealander on summer vacation from university, visiting her Maori boyfriend's family. She has a sensual, warm relationship with her lover--this part of the book is fun to read. Then the mood abruptly shifts and Cass finds herself completely alone one morning as she wakes up from sleeping outside under the stars. She tries to convince herself that her lover's family have had an emergency but soon realizes that no human being is around anywhere. As she says, "I was suddenly convinced I was the only person left in the world." Cass finds a horse (an engaging presence in the book) and ventures back towards the city. In chapter after chapter, she realizes that the familiar world of civilization around her is disappearing. The early chapters gave me goosebumps, and I enjoyed the descriptions of the exotic New Zealand "bush," although the fear and emotional isolation Cass endures for most of this novel is gruelling and traumatic. I was never sure what was going to happen next, but when Cass finally meets another person, a young woman, and they then quickly develop a deep friendship and chemistry, Remnant became gripping for me, and I raced through the final chapters. There is one more ordeal that the two women must go through, and although it's built up throughout the book, it is still eerie and unexpected. Despite Remnant's paranormal elements, this is an earthy book, filled with realistic dialogue and believable situations; it doesn't romanticize nature, as the natural world is seen as both beautiful and potentially deadly. My only quibble is that the chapters where Cass faces adversity alone could have been shortened a bit. But I loved the book, and am very glad I stumbled upon Ms. Genet's work at Smashwords, otherwise I would never have had the chance to read it!
  • The Blue Ticket on Nov. 06, 2011
    star star star star star
    This book was a surprise. I expected an erotic novel, but what I got seemed like so much more than that. Of course the book is filled with explicit male-male sexual encounters, but we are locked inside the head of the likeable young narrator, Harley, who is reluctantly coming home for the summer to help out at his Aunt Bird's farm. The small-town Southern setting is authentic and the boredom of the youthful characters is deeply felt. Harley and his childhood pal Tavor enter into an obsessive sexual affair with increasingly disturbing overtones, as Tavor is closeted and violent when challenged. Then, towards the end, a twist throws the earlier action into doubt. But this steamy novel is one of the best ebooks I've yet read. Totally entertaining, but not mindlessly so, it will draw you into its seductive world.
  • Orange Moon on Nov. 27, 2011
    star star star star star
    Kate Genet is a New Zealand novelist, yet this taut, beautifully written story has universal appeal. As the story opens, Alice is a battered and numb young woman, worn down by routine physical and psychological abuse from her husband Richard, overwhelmed by stress, pain and fear. An encounter with a "crazy lady" on the bus on the way home from a shopping trip brings up dark memories for Alice. The fascinating thing about this novel is that it's both the suspenseful story of a woman escaping an intimate abuser, and a woman coming to terms with her past memories of teenage sexuality, paranormal and violent events, some of which she may have been more responsible for than she thinks. Alice makes the fateful choice to "leave" her marriage but stay in her much-loved house, cleverly hidden from Richard (she thinks). This sets up an almost unbearable tension in the novel. While a final confrontation with Richard seems both ugly and inevitable, a healing and beautiful relationship also develops for Alice. In both of the novels I've read by Genet ("Remnant" being the other), the love scenes between women are fresh and real, shimmering with possibility... But I found "Orange Moon" to be more to my taste than "Remnant." Readers of paranormal books will love the ghostly element, the mystery. I personally found the scenes of domestic abuse far more creepy and compelling. I loved watching a woman coming to terms with her own strength. This book is a contemporary feminist classic that reminded me of long-forgotten books from the 1970s like Lois Gould's "Sea Change." You won't be able to put it down.
  • Silent Light (Michaela and Trisha Book 1) on Feb. 04, 2012
    star star star star star
    I should have written a review just after I finished this book. It's a perfect book for the Kindle or any other ereader--suspenseful, scary, dark, fast-paced. I was particularly struck by the image of the lights bouncing around the lake in the dark, and the two women's fear, and their determination to get to the bottom of this mystery. Quite a few eerie and even nasty moments ensue, and the women's relationship is, as always with Kate Genet's books, so beautifully and realistically drawn. I loved it as a depiction of two women who just wouldn't stop digging to find the truth, no matter what the cost. And I absolutely love the cover.
  • Sweet Charlotte (Michaela and Trisha Book 3) on Feb. 21, 2012
    star star star star star
    I loved "Sweet Charlotte." It is the most fully fleshed-out of all her Michaela and Trisha books. "Silent Light" was a novella, and "Shadows Fall" felt claustrophobic, but this third book is fully grounded in the New Zealand community where Trisha and younger sister Caro are now living with Michaela. What struck me as I read was how well Genet has developed Michaela and Trisha's yin-yang relationship, with Trisha being the explosive, emotional one and Michaela thinking problems through using logic. Since they are plunged as usual into a deadly mystery which they must solve themselves, Trisha's sensitivity and Michaela's daring are both needed here. And without rubbing it in too much, Genet's fresh voice breaks new ground in lesbian mystery fiction AND lesbian romance. Hope there's more, as Genet is getting more polished with each book!
  • Irrevocable on May 26, 2013
    star star star star star
    "Irrevocable" grabbed me right from the cover image. A woman stands on a dark pier, staring out to sea. There is something self-contained and lonely about this figure. Yet the dark red of the title promises passion. And so we have it: 25-year-old Serenity is taking her dying wife Lillian, a woman in her 40s with end-stage cancer, back home to see her mother in a little country village. It will be their last road trip, Serenity thinks, and her plan is to get Lillian safely into hospice in the city after that. Serenity is a practical sort of person, but clearly is far too young to take on the psychological burden of caring for a dying loved one. She has created a wall between herself and Lillian, viewing her wife like an exhausting child: "Illness was a terrible thing, regressing the sufferer to childlike dependence, and making a mother out of a wife and lover." But on their way to the village, they encounter strange orbs in the sky, which follow them and land on their car. Serenity is burned, but her fear is all for Lillian. Our view of Serenity changes over time, as she is drawn to a local woman, Julie, and they begin an affair. Serenity's restlessness is beautifully drawn here. The lovers are sympathetic at first, until we begin to see that Julie has a different agenda. Serenity leads a double life for awhile, tending to Lillian at her mother's house, skipping out to see Julie, but this is a book where there is definitely a big climax brewing. I loved the way Genet drew me along in this satisfying story. In case readers are put off by the subject matter--don't be. Sure, terminal illness is part of the plot, as is the supernatural element of the lights and what they mean. But the constantly shifting love and tenderness between the two main characters ends up being the subject of the book, after all.