Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Merrillee Whren is here today... enter the drawing to win a free book!

Welcome Merrillee! I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to join us. I've had a time getting everything posted due to internet outages, but I think we're good to go now!

Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves.

My latest release is MOMMY’S HOMETOWN HERO, which comes out in January 2009. The story is the middle book of a three-book series about the Dalton brothers. The first book is FOUR LITTLE BLESSINGS (Feb. 2008), Wade Dalton’s story. MOMMY’S HOMETOWN HERO is Matt Dalton’s story. The third book, HOMECOMING BLESSING, comes out in April 2009 and is the story of Peter Dalton.

MOMMY’S HOMETOWN HERO is very close to my heart because it is set in South Dakota, where I was born. Although my life little resembles that on my characters, the setting takes me back to my roots. Here is a blurb:
His objective: marriage.
His opponent: a stubborn single mom.
After ten years, Rachel Charbonneau is finally back in South Dakota. But she intends to sell her family's farm and hurry back "home" to the city. Ex-soldier Matt Dalton won't let her go without a fight.
So his strategy: arm himself with all the faith and love necessary to be her hometown hero.

2. How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold?

I wrote eighhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift full manuscripts before I sold.
3. In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing?

The most fascinating thing is how characters can take you on an unexpected journey.
4. What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know?

In high school I played the piccolo in the marching band.

5. When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out?

I started writing for publication in 1984. People didn’t say much. I think they thought it was a nice hobby, especially since it took me twenty years to sell something to a publisher.

6. What is your favorite food?

That’s a hard question. I like too many foods. Maybe we should go with categories.
Sweet: Chocolate and lots of it.
Salty: Popcorn with lots of butter
Fruit: Strawberries
Meat: Filet Mignon medium rare
Vegetable: broccoli

7. Tell us a little about your family.

I will be married to my husband for 33 years on Feb. 14, 2009. We have two grown daughters who are both married. The older one just got married this past October. The younger one just had a baby girl, my first grandchild.

A Valentine's Anniversary! No wonder you write romance. And congratulations the grandbaby, what a sweet blessing.

8. Who are your favorite authors?
I can’t pick favorite authors. There are too many. That’s why my TBR pile is so high.

9. What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?

I’m reading Pursuit of Justice by Pamela Tracy. I plan to read all the RITA finalists and ACFW Book of the Year finalists for 2008. I have nearly 2 dozen Love Inspired novels in my TBR pile along with about the same number of books by the member of the Wet Noodle Posse, the 2003 Golden Heart finalists. One day I will get them read.

9. Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does?

I’d say the theme develops as I write. I usually start with a set of characters, a setting and a problem facing one or more of the characters and go from there. A theme may develop from those circumstances.

10. Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this?

I’m not a particularly organized person, so my methods are haphazard. I often print out a calendar from an online calendar site that projects calendars for years to come. Then I start a timeline of events and write them on the calendar print out. I have a pocket folder where I keep that calendar and any research items that I collect from newspapers or from things I find on the Web. Sometimes, I do e-mail interviews with folks and print those out and put them in the folder, too.

11. Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life?

Other than God, my husband has the most influence on my life. I value his advice and support. In my writing life, I trust the Lord to give me the story that someone needs to read. I finally figured out, after years of trying to get published, that I needed to let God rule my writing life. I do love having other writers to share writing ups and downs with, but I know the best source for inspiration is the Lord.

12. Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after?

Yes, I have an agent, but I didn’t have an agent when I made my first sale to Steeple Hill. I got an agent in between my first and second sales. Although a writer doesn’t need an agent to sell to Steeple Hill, I like having an agent to deal with contracts and other issues that might come up from time to time and to give me advice on the writing business.
13. What advice do you have for a beginning author?

Expect rejection but keep writing. Never give up.

14. Any parting comments?

I love to hear from readers. Their notes make my day. Readers can write to me through my Web site at www.merrilleewhren.com or at PO Box 16461, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035.

Thank you so much for stopping by! What great answers. It's so much fun to learn more about some of my favorite authors and this time has bee no exception.

All right, bloggers, leave a comment and get put in the drawing for Merilee's newest release MOMMY'S HOMETOWN HERO.


Debra St. John said...

A Valentine Anniversary...very sweet. Congrats!

Merrillee said...

Thanks. We were married in Ohio near Cincinnati and had our reception in Loveland.

Lynette Eason said...

Hi Merrillee! First let me apologize for the craziness that came with your post. First I spelled you name wrong then didn't have your pics posted! Please forgive me! When I went to fix everything this morning my internet was out, then I couldn't announce you to the cyberworld. BUT...I think I've gotten all the bugs out and I'm just thrilled you're here. It's been fun reading and learning more about you. Again thank you for being here!


mez said...

Please include me for Mommy's Hometown Hero, I love a hero that has to work hard to win his lady love.

PamelaTracy said...

Wow, you're reading Pursuit of Justice. I'm really touched! I try to read the Rita inspy finalists too. Congrats on the grandbaby.

Merrillee said...

I was reading your book when I answered Lynette's questions. I really liked it. I'm now reading Marley and Me, but I haven't seen the movie.

Merrillee said...

No problem. With a name like mine, I'm used to having it misspelled. When I was a kid that was half the fun of Valentines' Day, to see how many ways they could find to spell my name. Then I married a man with a last name that has an odd spelling. So now I have to spell first and last names, my street, my town. At least most people know how to spell Florida. Good thing I don't live in Tennessee or Mississippi.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Merrillee,

This is a very nice interview. I love the idea for this book. Very sweet and homey.

Thanks for sharing and thanks Lynette for hosting.

tetewa said...

Sounds good, I'd like to be included for the draw!