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Category: Interviews

Chatting with Author Suzan Tisdale

I spent the day with the amazing and wonderful author Suzan Tisdale in her home near Peoria, Illinois, last weekend. We cooked all day Saturday, whipping up several Scottish inspired recipes:

Scotch Eggs with Sauce

Meat Pies with Hallee’s “On the Fly” Dip

Chocolate Scotch Bundt Cake with Scotch Caramel Sauce

Orange Chocolate Scotch Mousse with Scotch Whipped Cream

We had a blast! After cooking all day, we spent some time sitting on her patio, chatting about books, writing, audio books, and life. Here is the video:

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Interview with Author Merrillee Whren

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I’m so pleased to introduce you to Merrillee Whren. I always love hearing about how authors come up with their story ideas, and as a suspense author, I find a special kinship with authors who get ideas about how to murder someone! I very much enjoyed Merrillee’s interview and hope you do as well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: This may be more than a little bit. I was born on my mother’s birthday in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. Soon afterwards my parents moved to Montana. This would be the first of many moves in my life. After I graduated from high school in Spokane, Washington, I went back to South Dakota to attend Dakota Bible College where I received a degree in Christian Education. Then I attended Milligan College in Tennessee for another degree in Bible and Elementary Education. After graduation, I got a job teaching sixth grade near Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met my husband. We were married on Valentine’s Day and had our reception in Loveland. No wonder I became a romance writer.

merrilleewrenWe started married life in Greenfield, Ohio, where my husband was a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. I continued teaching. Just before the birth of our first child, we moved to Hillsboro, Ohio. Daughter number one was born on June 18, 1978. One year later, to continue a family tradition of sharing birthdays, daughter number two was born on June 18, 1979. The girls are now grown and married.

The moves I made while growing up prepared me well for life with my husband whose career took us on a journey from a small town in Ohio to the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago. I have visited all fifty states in the USA and two dozen foreign countries. When my husband decided to start his own company, we moved to Amelia Island, Florida. We lived there for nearly twelve years until we moved to Arizona to be close to our granddaughters.

My writing journey has had as many stops along the way as my life’s journey. In 2003, after writing and revising eight manuscripts and receiving lots of rejections, I won the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart for best-unpublished inspirational manuscript. The following year, I made my first sale to Love Inspired Books, and I have written a dozen more books for them.

Tell us about your current release: Nursing the Soldier’s Heart is the second book in my Village of Hope series.

Nurse Kirsten Bailey places her family above all else. She refuses to give former army medic Brady Hewitt any leeway for being weeks late in visiting his ill grandmother. But Brady has a good excuse, and he’s eager to show the pretty nurse that first impressions aren’t always right. While working with Brady to care for his grandmother and two orphaned boys, Kirsten realizes that his charm and kindness aren’t an act. But Kirsten plans on doing missionary work abroad and she’s determined Healing the Soldier's Heartnot to fall for this engaging soldier. Could the man she once dismissed be the one to make her stay forever?

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I write romances because I always loved to read romances. They have happy endings, and I love a happy ending. After reading so many romances, I thought I would try to write one. I had always been a storyteller, but I had never considered writing something for publication until I was grown with children.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I first started writing, I didn’t even know about self-publishing. I bought a book about writing romances and learned about publishers from that book. After I had sent in my first manuscript and received a rejection, I started in on the second book. About that time Romance Writers of America had their conference in Atlanta where I lived at the time. That was thirty years ago, and I was able to register at the door. After many years of writing and many rejections, I finally made a sale to Love Inspired. When self-publishing lost much of its stigma in the writing community, I decided to self-publish the manuscript that won the RWA Golden Heart Award. I published A Place to Call Home in 2013. I have plans for future self-published books, as well, but they have been on hold while I completed a three-book contract for Love Inspired.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? When I start to write, I usually have a hero and heroine and the beginning scene in mind. I may know some of their background and the initial problem that they face. To sell on proposal to a publisher, I have to know more than that, but my preference is to start writing and see what develops most of the time because I really can’t figure out what is going to happen until I start writing. I liken it to walking down a dark hallway and having lights come on as I walk making things clearer as I step forward.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Because I’ve written over a dozen books for Harlequin Love Inspired that has a pre-determined word length, my stories tend to be in that length, but my independently published stories tend to be longer because Love Inspired book were longer when I first started writing for that series, and I still have that length programmed into my internal storyteller. I always have to cut my books for Love Inspired to keep within the word count.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Definitely computer. I started out with a typewriter, but I believe I may never have finished that first book if I’d had to complete it on the typewriter. Thankfully, my husband brought home one of the first portable PCs from his office, and I used that. 

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? This wasn’t a strange place, but an unusual object that prompted the idea for A PLACE TO CALL HOME. We lived in Massachusetts at the time, and I was outside shoveling snow and noticed this huge, huge icicle hanging off our garage. It was so big that I was sure it could kill someone if it hit them. I began to think about what might happen if someone actually used an icicle to kill someone. It would melt, and there would be no weapon. Of course, I write romance and not murder mysteries, so the story idea morphed over a decade before I actually sat down to write the story about a man who was unjustly accused of killing his wife. 

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I try to do both. If I don’t enjoy the story, how can I write it? Of course, when I write for a publisher, I have to write a story that will fit within their guidelines and expectations of their readers. Sometimes, I haven’t always agreed with what my editor wanted me to write, and so I didn’t write that story for a publisher. Those are the stories I am planning to self-publish. 

Find Merrillee online: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and website.

 



On Barnes & Noble:

On Kobo:
 

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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Join Me for the Seekerville New Year’s Eve Party!

I will be on Seekerville on New Year’s Eve from 1PM EST until 2PM EST.

I’ll be giving away books and Godiva chocolate!  You don’t want to miss it! (Click the picture to take you to the site!)

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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Speaking!

hallee_bridgemanI’ve added a new venture in my ministry — speaking!  If you’re looking for a speaker for your small group, women’s group, book club, conference, etc., please contact me!

I will pull from a variety of topics, including:

Here is the link to the page with more information.

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
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Exhausting Busy Week

This has been such an incredibly busy week, writing-wise:

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All of the Jewel books started the week in the top 100 Christian romances on Amazon.

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I had a feature in InD’tale Magazine for my upcoming cookbook, The Walking Bread.

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I had a feature interview in Book Fun Magazine, focusing on A Melody for James.

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I was the featured interview on The Christian Authors Show talking about my upcoming release, A Melody for James.

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I found out that Emerald Fire is a finalist for RONE Award Inspirational Novel of the Year!

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I’ve been writing recipes and discussion questions for readers’ guides, and working with my cover artist to redo and rebrand my covers.

I’ve had a lot going on away from the computer, too.

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I built a rose garden in my front yard. My vegetable garden is in the state where it requires almost daily care with new growth, weeding, and all of the things that come with a garden.

AND — EXCITING!! 0 For the first time in a LONG time, our family is going on a family vacation that has NOTHING to do with extended family, friends, or the military. We leave Thursday evening and are headed down to Louisiana, and will split our time between New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi. I am SO ready for a break, for relaxation, for family time.

The day we return is the publication date for A Melody for James (stay tuned for purchase links!), and the garden will need some serious care after a week’s absence. Everything will get crazy busy again. For today, though, while I’m insanely trying to prepare my house for our house sitter, catch up on laundry so that I can pack, and seriously weed my garden so that nothing dies in our absence, I’m just imagining how wonderful it will be to kick back at the pool in our resort or sip coffee at Cafe Dumond.

The next post you get from me will be the announcement of the book sale!

Have a WONDERFUL week — and don’t forget to plan to spoil your husbands and dads for Father’s Day!

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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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Radio Interview

Please join me (today only) as the featured author for a radio interview on The Christian Authors Show!  I am answering questions about A Melody for JamesClick this link to listen to it.
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I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


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