Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am happy to bring you fellow Kentuckian Regina Rudd Merrick! Like Regina, I LOVED the Little House on the Prairie books and dreamed of being a pioneer. When I read them the first time, I lived in Oregon and had recently been to the Pioneer Museum – which just added fuel to my brain’s fire. I hope you enjoy Regina’s interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her book Coastal Promises!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. First, thanks so much for hosting me today! I am a writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve lived most of my life in Western Kentucky, but I dream about the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. I’ve been married to my husband, Todd, for 36 years, I’m the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where I live in the small town of Marion, KY. I’ve written and published three books, Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), Carolina Grace (February 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series, and my newest story,“Pawleys Aisle,” a Southern Breeze novella in the Coastal Promises collection, published by Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC. I’m excited to be a part of the Mosaic Collection, and will release the first novel in my new “Reno-Vations” series June 2020!
Tell us about your current release. Coastal Promises is a novella collection from Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC, featuring four authors and four beachy romances set along the Southeast Coast. My story is “Pawleys Aisle,” and is a Southern Breeze novella, connected to my Southern Breeze Series!
Here’s a little bit about each story!
All Yours, Art and Soul by Diane Turpin (debut author!). Beth Kindall’s desire to discover the anonymous buyer of her watercolor painting is complicated by the arrival of architect, Trevor Garrett. Their instant spark upsets Trevor’s realtor who already had her eyes on the newcomer. Can Beth unravel the mysterious buyer, sort out her own commitment issues, and thwart the realtor’s advances on Trevor?
For the Love of Dolphins by Kathy Cretsinger. Sadie Miller inherited one of the dolphin tour boats when her father passed away suddenly. She was determined to make the tour as successful as her father had, even with the problems with her dad’s brother Uncle Joe. When her old middle school flame. Ian Glover returns from England, and her life takes her places she’d never dreamed.
Pawleys Aisle by Regina Rudd Merrick. Leaving a lucrative position in the banking world for the creative world of weddings, Chelsea Prince finds the perfect venue, Pawleys Island Chapel, next door to the perfect walled garden. Her elderly neighbor and partner-in-planning have an agreement, but when the unexpected happens, she has to deal with the cranky grandson who wants to be left alone to write the next great American novel. Since Chelsea has sworn off men, it shouldn’t be a problem to ignore him and go on her way hosting weddings in the chapel. But when Marc McCallum offers up a compromise, she wonders if maybe there is one man out there that can be trusted.
Surf Song by Pam Harris. Dreams don’t always work out as imagined, a fact country music singer Rachelle has learned all too well. Burned out by the demands of her singing career, she flees from Nashville to a quaint inn in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she hopes to find peace and clarity. Registering under her real name of Holly Bellamy and sporting a new hair color and style to disguise her true identity, she revels in being just a “regular person.” When she and the inn’s owner begin to develop feelings for each other, however, her life takes a turn she never expected.
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Humor! I love a romance that can make me LAUGH more than I cry! I know conflict is what drives a plot, but honestly, I couldn’t handle some of the relationship issues I read about – I’d be too depressed! I try to throw a little humor in when I can, but I know why it’s lacking – humor is HARD!
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? My very first screen crush was Fess Parker in reruns of “Daniel Boone.” Yes, you read that correctly. At age 6, I thought he was an absolute dreamboat! LOL My first musical crush was David Cassidy. I have several “Partridge Family” albums, and have, in fact, memorized every song in “The Partridge Family Greatest Hits.” Sigh . . .
What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I began this writing thing by writing fanfiction. I found kindred spirits there, and ended up with somewhat of a following on a forum-style website with several other authors who were writing with a Christian bent. After a bit I was invited to join a group of authors seeking publication, and one of those authors invited me to room with her at my first ACFW conference in Indianapolis. I had completed my first original manuscript while writing about 40 fanfiction pieces, several of which were short-novel-length. The rest, as they say, is history!
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Great question! No, and yes! For the first book, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just WROTE. It all came together in rewrites as far as plot and structure. After that, since I was writing a series, I had to be cognizant of continuity, so I actually plotted my stories and interviewed my characters. That’s not to say things do not change as I go – they most certainly do – but I usually have a general idea of how it will end. Note that I said a GENERAL idea! 😉
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I’ve loved books all my life. My first favorite author was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I dreamt of being a pioneer girl. My fourth grade teacher introduced me to her books, and I still re-read some of them! Other series I loved were the Trixie Belden series, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. By the time I was twelve or thirteen I was reading Grace Livingston Hill, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and just about anything that was a mystery or a clean romance!
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? This question actually came up in a writing group I met with this week. That’s tough, especially when you’re just starting out. The best advice I can give when you hit that wall is to go back to your characters. Interview them. Get to know them like they’re your best friend or a relative. What DON’T you know about them that would help you write their story? It’s also a reason I like to have more than one point of view (POV). When I run out of one POV ideas, I can move on to the other POV and look at it from their perspective! It helps!
Here is where you can find Regina online: