Thursday, August 12, 2010

LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUGAR CREEK, OHIO - Serena B Milller - Free Book

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters?

A lot. For instance, if I didn’t MAKE my heroines march right back up to their rooms and dress nicer--they’d permanently live in jeans, tees, and flannel shirts. That’s an ongoing internal struggle for me, too. Every time I dress up, my inner ten-year-old whines and complains.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I won a limbo contest in Trinidad. That was DURING a mission campaign. May I just say that I was very young, very limber, and that steel drum music was amazing.

I remember trying to do the limbo when I was younger. I would have never won a contest. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Seriously? Last weekend, when I held my first ever book-signing. There were people lining up, complete strangers, who had actually read my book and LIKED it. Until that moment, I wasn’t so sure.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Classics, histories, biographies, who-dunnits, women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, inspirationals, suspense, prairie romances, cook books, WWII novels, comics… and the bottoms of tissue boxes in other people’s bathrooms if no other reading material is available.

I know. All that, and the cereal box at breakfast. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio is my first published novel, but I DO just happen to have a few unpublished manuscripts in my closet. Moriah’s Lighthouse took two years to research and write. It’s about a woman trying to restore the Great Lakes lighthouse where her ancestors were lightkeeper. Of course there is a hunky stone mason who complicates her world. A Way of Escape is a story about the widow of a rural county prosecutor, who is being hunted down by the drug cartel her husband tried to destroy. An innocent man she inadvertently helped put behind bars ends up helping her escape. Finding Mayberry is about a burned-out Detroit cop, secretly addicted to Mayberry re-runs, who tries to find peace by becoming a sheriff in a small Ohio town. His life is greatly complicated by the wife of a man killed by a drunk driver the sheriff was chasing. And then there is The Secret Of Katie Calloway. It is contracted by Revell Publishing for an October 2011 release date and is a historical about a woman who escapes an abusive husband by running to the north wood of Michigan, and becoming a cook in a 1867 lumber camp. I’m polishing that one right now.

I want to feature the Revell book when it comes out. Email me. We'll put it on the schedule right away to save it a place when it first releases. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I walk. And I pray. I try to prioritize. And I don’t shop much.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I close my eyes and wait for inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I follow my husband around for an hour or two saying things like, “Okay, she has red hair and blue eyes and she’s allergic to persimmons—what do you think I oughta name her?” I’ve tried using those nifty baby name books, but I’m easily distracted and start picking out names for future grandchildren.

Don't bother. The kids probably won't like any you choose. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Three grown sons who love the Lord, love the church, and seek out Christian fellowship wherever they are.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

 Every time I watch Ice Age with my grandchildren, I found myself identifying closely with Sid, the clumsy sloth with really good intentions.

He's my favorite character from that movie, too. What is your favorite food?

Watermelon. It’s embarrassing how much I love watermelon.

I love Black Diamonds. I grew up in Arkansas and that's the only kind we had. Then I moved to Texas and for years we only had Charlston Greys, but I love Black Diamonds. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Problem: Talking myself into believing that I wasn’t lazy just because I preferred writing to nearly anything, except for enjoying my family. Seriously. The guilt over sitting there day after day, year after year, putting words on the computer screen that never sees the light of day is tremendous. Overcoming: A husband who prayed for my writing every day for ten years, while reassuring me that I was following God’s will.

We really need those supportive husbands, don't we? What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Discipline yourself to write 1000 words per day. If you disengage the internal editor yapping in your ear and just WRITE, 1000 words will take anywhere from a half-hour to an hour. The words don’t have to be any good. They don’t even have to make sense. Just do it. That’s 350,000 words per year. A nice-sized book is 90,000 words. If you do the math, that equals at least two books a year with a whole lot of days left over for research and editing and going to writing workshops to learn how to write even better.

Tell us about the featured book.

Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio, is an inspirational romantic suspense set in Amish country. The heroine, Rachel, is a Sugarcreek police woman who is suspicious of a mysterious stranger who takes shelter with her three Amish aunts who run a farmhouse inn. Researching this book was one of the great adventures of my life. Because they wanted the book to be accurate, I was accepted into a large Old Order Amish family and given permission to ask all the questions I wanted. As the barriers between us came down, we laughed and talked and shared our hearts and discovered there was a great commonality between us.

I know I'm going to love reading it. Please give us the first page of the book.

The leather on Rachel Troyer’s gun holster creaked as she shifted her weight on the kitchen chair. Her three elderly Amish aunts shot wary glances toward the offending weapon.

“My niece.” Bertha clucked her tongue with disapproval. “Carrying a gun!”

This was an old subject—thoroughly discussed and dissected over the years. Her aunts had made it abundantly clear that they disapproved of her profession as a police officer. Bertha, the old fox, was trying to distract her from the subject at hand, but Rachel was determined to not get sidetracked.

“That’s not what we were talking about, Bertha, and you know it,” she said. “It’s time for the three of you to make a decision. You can’t put it off much longer.”

Square-faced and stolid, Bertha lifted her chin. “This old inn has been welcoming guests ever since your grandfather built it a hundred years—”

“I know the story,” Rachel interrupted. “You’ve told it to me many times. He came from Pennsylvania to Sugarcreek, Ohio, with only a new wife, a mule, and carpenter’s tools. He bought a farm, built a six-bedroom house, filled it with four kids, rented out three of the bedrooms, built two cabins for extra travelers, and tapped the sugar maples he found growing on the place. He was also a bishop in the Amish church. I get it. Grandfather Troyer was a great man. The place has history.”

“Which you do not value.”

“I do. But I value the three of you more.”

Frustrated, Rachel pulled her hair into a tighter ponytail. As their closest relative, it was her sad task to convince her aunts that they were too old and fragile to continue doing the heavy work necessary to keep the small inn running.

Unfortunately, they were of an entirely different opinion.

I can't wait until my book gets here. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Serena, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Deborah said...

woo hoo! another Love Finds You books that's on my WL. actually all of them are lol. Please enter me!

Robyn said...

I love the LFY books. And Serena--I love your broad reading tastes, it matches mine.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Michelle said...

Wonderful interview. I've thought this book sounds very good. Please enter me.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

apple blossom said...

I love the LOVE Finds you series. I love Amish and I'd love to win this book. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patsy said...

These Love Finds You books are great! Count me in on the giveaway. Looking forward to reading it.

Elyssa said...

This book looks awesome, and I LOVE the cover! Please enter me!

Bluerose said...

Great interview! :)
I would love to be entered.

raspberrygirl said...

Good interview. Would like to be entered for this book...
I've been to Sugar Creek before! :)

Edna said...

I have a few of the "Love Finds you" books they are really good, please sign me up to be entered for this one

I follow on goolge and facebook


Michelle said...

I've been looking forward to this one, and really enjoyed the interview! Congratulations on your first published novel, Serena!

Thank you for entering me!
scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Debra's Reading Corner! said...

I love the "Love Finds You"...books.
And this one sounds great, too. Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks!


Charity said...

Please enter me. Thanks!

Merry said...

Fun interview. Please add my name, LFY in Sugar Creek, Ohio sounds like another great book in this series. Thanks!

Kameko said...

I growing to love the "Love Finds You..." books so much! This one sounds fascinating!

Serena, I really enjoyed your interview, thank you for taking the time to do it. All of the books you talked about sounded good to me & I would enjoy reading them!

Lena, thanks for brining Serena to us.

Blessings to you both,


Shonda said...

Enter me please.

Cindy W. said...

I have heard wonderful things about the Love Finds You books but I have yet to read any of them. I would love to start with this one. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds great. I definitely want to read it. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

Sounds wonderful. Count me in, please.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Casey said...

Looks great, love the cover, please enter me! Thanks. :)

Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
barbjan10 said...

It would be sheer joy to open my front door and find Serena had come to call. She is a bundle of fun with a wonderful sense of humor. I do hope I get a chance soon to read her "Love Finds" book. Thank you for adding my name to the giveaway.

Blessed Be in Christ,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

I enjoyed this and the spotlight at Relz blog this week. Your upcoming title sounds fascinating, too. Spousal abuse is a topic that needs to be covered more in the CBA in my opinion.


Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Wendy said...

I love these books - thanks for offering it.

Anna W. said...

Please enter me in the giveaway!

grannyvon said...

I love the books that are about the Amish, who I admire so much. I love reading about them. Thanks for the chance to win it.

A J Hawke said...

LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUGAR CREEK, OHIO by Serena Miller sounds like a fun read.

I love the image of you following your husband around asking for names for your characters.

Please put my name in the draw.
A J Hawke
ajhawkeauthor at aol dot com

barbjan10 said...

One more comment to say that I enjoy stories about the Amish so much. This sounds like an exciting series and I plan to read them asap. Thanks for the chance to win this one. I'm so happy to learn of Serena and her books.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

kristen said...

I love Sid too!!

this books sounds great. Please enter me.

Anonymous said...

Love the LFY books...please enter me.

Brenda said...

Please enter me! Would love to read the book!

dancealert at aol dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Great interview Serena and Lena. I can't wait to read LFY in Sugar Creek. I love books about the Amish. I have read some great reviews so I had to add it to my wish list.
I also like Sid, he is such a loveable sloth and kinda reminds me of me, always messing up. lol
I also can't wait for your next release. Hopefully it will help even one woman to take control of their life.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter this giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Carole said...

Congratulations on being published, Serena! Your other manuscripts sound good also, especially Moriah's Lighthouse. (I love lighthouse-themed novels.)

I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the chance to win LFY in Sugar Creek, Ohio.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Maureen said...

I love reading about the Amish. Please enter me!

Carman said...

Please enter me! I enjoy the LFY series. :)


rubynreba said...

I would enjoy this book very much. Thanks!

serena b miller said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! I have discovered that people who read Christian fiction are undoubtedly the nicest people in the world! And thank you, Lena, for the interview. BTW--I'm running a contest on my website some of your readers might like to enter. It is a free two-night stay at the farmhouse B&B in Sugarcreek where I stayed in order to do my research. The host and hostess there are the most wonderful storytellers, and their breakfast is amazing. These wonderful Christian people were so excited about the book that to celebrate its debut, they offered this stay at their B&B as a prize. Deadline is Oct. 4. Random drawing.

barbjan10 said...

Oh goodie, I still have time to add another comment to try a chance to win Serena's first published book. Wherever Sugar Creek, Ohio is, it sounds like a very sweet place to live.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Judylynn said...

I would love to win this book! Thanks.


wmmahaney said...

I read another book in this series and would love to read this one.