Come on aboard the official blog tour for Miralee Ferrell’s debut novel–The Other Daughter!
If you haven’t read the basic premise of this book, scroll down to look at my post on Sunday. And for those of you who want to know more about Miralee, here’s her bio in her own words:
I’m over 50, married for 35 years this July, and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I’m active at our small church, serving on staff with my ministerial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51′ sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we’re gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.
RM: Welcome, Miralee. I love your lyrical name, and in reading your bio, I discovered that we have quite a few things in common–over 50, a son named Steve, and am also retired. I don’t think I could get my hubby to take off on a sailboat, though! Hope to read of some of your adventures on your blog. Now for our first question:
RM: Authors are often told to “write what you know.” How have you drawn on your life experiences to create this fictional story?
MF: I was brainstorming with a friend who suggested I use an experience from my life as the basis or theme for my first novel. I ran through several scenarios in my head, as we’ve had many interesting things happen in our marriage…some great, some not. This personal incident did indeed capture the essense of secrets, forgiveness and healing…not as much in my life as in our marriage and the life of an 18 yr old girl. About 17 yrs ago my husband received a letter stating a young woman believed him to be her biological father she’d never met. We agreed to meet and hear her story, and after some investigation came to believe he probably was her dad. The episode was similar to that of David in the book…a one night stand prior to his becoming a Christian, but that’s where the similarity stops. He was not dating me at the time, and I had a strong relationship with the Lord and didn’t have a problem accepting Trish into our lives.
RM: My daughter just adopted a son last year, so someday I imagine he will search out his biological parents, so this is a very interesting premise for me, and I’m sure many others. Any exciting things happening before or during the time period while the book is releasing?
MF: Yes! I’m so excited! I received a Four Star review from Romantic Times Review Magazine. I assumed that Five Stars would be the top rating, but I was so blessed when I found out Four and a half was the best you could get, making Four Stars quite good indeed. I’ve also gotten some very good reviews, including a glowing one from Novel Journey, one of the top Christian review blogs. The Other Daughter is also climbing it’s way up the best sellers list on CBD…at the two week mark prior to release (when this was written) it had hit #15 in women’s contemporary fiction and #103 in overall fiction (out of 9,584 books), very respectable for a book not yet released. I’d love to see it reach the top 75 in overall fiction, but am leaving that in the Lord’s hands.
RM: What else are you working on?
MF: I’m working on Past Shadows (might also be called “Sheltered”), the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to turn in to my editor in early November. I’ve also started something new for me, an 1880’s novel set in Washington state…I’m hesitating to say it’s a romance, but it looks like it might be heading that direction. I’m playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women’s contemporary with an unusual twist. I’m hoping to start it as soon as Past Shadows is finished. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, we’ll return to Brianna, the 13 yr old girl who arrives at the Carson’s door…at the age of 23.
RM: Good! I love sequels that let us catch up on the lives of the characters we grow to love. As a writer myself, I’m always interested in writing tips. Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.
MF: I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer…I get an idea, decide who the main characters are and start writing. I don’t follow a lot of rules, and tend to get better acquainted with my characters as I go. I have a basic overview of the story line in very simple outline form…I’m talking, a few sentences that might fill one page, at most, with very few details.
It does make it a bit more time intensive, in that I probably have more revisions than an organized writer, but I’ve found I can be more creative if everything isn’t mapped out along the way. My characters have more room to grow, change, and make some of their own decisions…I’ve had things happen in my story line that weren’t planned, but that fit beautifully and strengthened the plot. After writing the rough draft, I’ll submit it to my crit group a few chapters at a time, as well as having an editor I trust review the first third to half of the book for plot holes and inconsistencies, then start revising and editing.
RM: What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?
This is a hard one, as I’m still very early in my writing career, having only started writing seriously just over two years ago. I’m growing and learning constantly, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a lot of frustrating times since beginning this journey. I’d have to say that the issue of timing probably stands out more than most other things. I was in too big of a hurry, at first, to send my ‘baby’ out into the world when it wasn’t ready. Had I taken the advice of an author/editor friend on some of the changes she gave me that would have strengthened my book, and not been so sure it was fine the way it was, I probably wouldn’t have had some of my early rejections. Of course, rejections are part of the growing process, and I learned valuable lessons there, too.
RM: Do you have any parting words of advice?
Keep your priorities in order…God first, family next, ministry and others (including your writing) third. Write for the Lord, and yourself, rather than to be published. It will cut way down on the disappointment and frustration level, and bring a deep sense of joy and accomplishment.
RM: Great advice, Miralee. Thanks for visiting my blog and giving us this great inside scoop on your writing.
Attention all readers: Miralee has graciously offered to send a free book to one of the readers who leave a comment for this interview or any of the sites where her book is being featured for the next few weeks. So, one person who leaves a comment on this blog will win a book as well as one reader who comments on any of the blogs listed below. So, the more blogs you comment on, the better your chances!
Oct. 20th, Karen Phillips—Sky-High View
21st Angie Arndt—The Road I’m Traveling
22nd Deena Peterson—Deena’s Books
22nd Teresa Morgan—Teresa Morgan’s Blog
23rd Rose McCauley—Stories of Faith, Hope and Love
24th Cecelia Dowdy—New Christian Fiction Reviews
Tiffany Amber Stockton–A Fiction-Filled Life
25th Bonnie Way—The Koala Bear Writer
Stormi Johnson—Write Thoughts
26th Robin Grant—Queen Of Perseverance
27th Delia Latham—The Melody Within
29th Susan Lohrer —Inspirational Editor
30th Carla Stewart—Carla’s Writing Café
31st Christina Berry— Posting with Purpose
1st Bonnie Leon—Bonnie’s Blog
2nd Jan Parrish—Bold and Free
3rd Tina Helmuth—The Ink’s Not Dry
5th Pam Meyers—A Writer’s Journey
6th Betsy St. Amant—Betsy Ann’s Blog
7th Megan DiMaria—A Prisoner of Hope
8th Christa Allan—CBAllan WordPress
9th Susan Marlow—Suzy Scribbles—Homeschool Blogger
10th Jamie Driggers—Surviving the Chaos
11th Cindy Bauer—-Christian Fiction Author & Speaker
12th Angie Breidenbach—God Uses Broken Vessels
13th Patricia Carroll—Patricia PacJac Carroll
14th Toni V. Lee—Spreading Truth Through Fiction
15th Camille Eide—Faith Inspiring Fiction
16th Lisa Jordan—Musings