Tuesday, February 08, 2011
I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t love the Lord. I was raised in a Christian family that attended church three times per week. I don’t remember specifically asking Jesus into my heart, but always knew that I loved Him. When I was sixteen I made a full, life changing commitment to Him and went even deeper in my walk. Not long after that I worked through the summer at a coffee house that was under the covering of Teen Challenge, working with street kids, and out of that grew a desire to minister to others.
I believe that testimonies like yours are some of the most powerful, because all they do is glorify God. You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
That’s hard because I have so many authors I truly love and respect. I think I’d have to choose ones that I felt I could learn the most from for my genre, as well as ones that would be fun to hang out with. The first would be Kim Vogel Sawyer, because she’s not only an amazing author, she’s a good friend and I’ve love to have her along. The second would be Lauraine Snelling. She’s an accomplished author (whose work I love) and is highly respected in the historical genre. The same reasons for both Tracie Peterson and Lori Wick. I’ve loved their work for years, and know they’d have much to teach.
Good choices. Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
Yes, that’s something I’ve been branching out into more this past year. I’ve spoken at several women’s church functions—teas, breakfasts, etc., as well as the NW Conference for Librarians, book clubs and historical groups. I’ll also be teaching a fiction class at a writer’s conference on the WA coast in March. Speaking is something I truly enjoy and love to talk about where God has taken me in my writing and publishing journey.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
I still laugh when I think of this. Years ago when Allen and I were very young—no kids yet—we had a new pastor at our church. We invited him and his wife to our home for dinner, and I made cream pies for desert with meringue topping. I slid them into the oven to brown right after the pastor’s arrival, then forgot about them in the hurry of getting dinner on the table. Suddenly, the kitchen filled with smoke and the smoke alarm screamed. Allen pulled the pies out and the topping was baked black and hard…he pulled it off and the pies were fine. We were able to laugh about it and told them the black toppings were perfectly curved (kind of hollowed out where it shrank up) to the point it could be used as a Frisbee!
One time we invited visitors at a service to our apartment after church. When I opened the oven door to remove the chicken Italian dish, the oven burst into flames. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
Yes, I’ve had that happen a few times as well. It depends on who they are and where they are on their journey. If they’re a personal friend and have something written, I’ll offer to read it and critique a few pages if they want an honest opinion. I’m always careful to give the good points as well as what needs work. If it’s a total stranger, I’ll typically ask how far along they are, then point them to the appropriate books on the craft, to a conference, to membership in ACFW, or all of the above. I like to encourage new writers as much as possible and help where I can. I’ve helped strangers before and critiqued a short piece or one chapter for free, then suggested they find an editor or learn the craft a bit more, depending on their need.
This was an amazing book to write. First, because I returned to a favorite character from Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, by the name of Christy Grey—the saloon girl who came to town and caused trouble for Alexia and Justin. Second, because of the spiritual thread—God’s redemptive plan for each of us as individuals, and His all consuming love and acceptance of us right where we are. Christy needed to discover that for herself and I loved helping her along on her journey, as well as introducing my readers to new characters who became friends long before I finished. Here’s a brief summary of the book:
In a town where dreams are buried, does love stand a chance?
Love and second chances aren’t easy to come by in a town named Tombstone. When Christy Grey receives an urgent summons to Tombstone, Arizona, she reluctantly leaves her new life in California. The trip goes from bad to worse when four masked men hold up Christy’s stage. She finally arrives in Tombstone to find her mother ill and her brother trapped in a life of gambling. Desperate for money to support her family, will Christy bow to pressure from the local saloon owners and return to the life she thought she’d given up for good?
Nevada King has problems of his own. He’s been dodging bullets for years and wants nothing more than to settle down. But he’s on the run from outlaws bent on revenge, and the one woman who captures his interest recognizes him from the stagecoach holdup. Will Christy turn Nevada in to the authorities, or will the outlaws on his trail catch him first?
Oooo, I like it already. Please give us the first page of the book.
Late March 1881
Last Chance, California
Ma needed her. Christy Grey mouthed the words, just to see how they tasted. She stood on the boardwalk in front of the telegraph office in Last Chance, California, staring at the slip of paper clutched in her trembling fingers. Once again she read the words from her younger brother, Joshua.
Ma sick. Stop. Can’t care for her alone. Stop. Come soon. Stop. Joshua
Hope sprouted a tender shoot and quickly withered as the bright heat of reality settled around her. Christy almost laughed. She’d allowed herself to be fooled. Joshua, not Ma, needed her. Ivy Malone’s life revolved around her husband at the time—number three being the most recent. Thankfully, Christy had a stable stepfather growing up following her own father’s death. But after burying two husbands, Ma had foolishly married a man named Logan Malone, and Christy had little use for him.
She sighed and drew her double-breasted wool cloak tighter around her. It was past time to head to Miss Alice’s. The older woman would be disappointed at her impending departure, but it couldn’t be helped. Joshua wouldn’t have written if their mother wasn’t in danger. Ma wouldn’t allow it.
A blast of cold air blew snow under the overhanging roof and lifted the hem of her skirt. That was one thing she’d never gotten used to—the deep snow and cold winters of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When her fiancé, Ralph, was alive, she’d figured she’d live here forever, but after he died three years ago, her life had floundered more than once. If it weren’t for the fact her seven-year-old nephew Toby lived here, she might have moved on long ago. Of course, her friendship with his stepmother, Alexia—or Alex, as she liked to be called—and his father, Justin, had been a factor in her decision, as well.
This might be the change she’d been seeking, though. She loved the small hamlet of Last Chance, but maybe it was time for a new place and a more promising future. She appreciated all her close friends had done when they’d drawn her in and accepted her in spite of her past as a saloon girl. But so often she felt like someone on the outside looking in. While many of the townspeople were kind, her past always hovered in the background. Some had never forgiven the poor choices she’d made.
The last three years she’d floated with no purpose or sense of direction. Nothing in her life had turned out as she’d dreamed when only a young girl. So many if onlys followed by one disappointment and wrong choice after another. She’d hoped to start her own business here in Last Chance but had drifted down the easier path of working for Miss Alice at her boardinghouse. She desperately needed to figure out where she belonged—where she could make a difference.
A sense of excitement combined with dread warred inside her. She’d miss her young nephew terribly, and dealing with Ma’s querulous attitude would be difficult, but the thought of starting over where no one but family knew her brought a definite exhilaration.
I definitely want to read this soon. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site address is http://www.miraleeferrell.com/
My blog address is http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/
My Facebook profile page is www.facebook/miralee
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