Friday, August 25, 2017

CAROLINA DREAM - Regina Rudd Merrick - One Free Book

Welcome, Regina. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I guess I could say that my main character, Sarah, is who I would have liked to have been at one point in my life. Slim, beautiful, athletic, musically gifted, and successful in everything. What IS part of myself is her love for music, her grandmother’s piano, and her constant feelings of inadequacy and pondering if there isn’t something out there that would be better for her, job-wise.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not sure if this would qualify as “quirky,” but I recently discovered two things about myself as a writer. 1. I need something to look at – preferably nature, not people. People are a distraction. 2. I need background noise. Music with lyrics distract me. People talking distract me. So I thought about what I listened to growing up that was relaxing, yet inspiring. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. I found all my dad’s old albums on YouTube videos, so I can have music playing on a tab on my computer while I type away!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I scribbled away as a child. As a teen, I began a sequel to Gone With the Wind. I should really look for that one . . . College was easy when it came to writing papers, and I found I enjoyed writing devotions and inspirational bits. Then I found Fan fiction, which led me to my good friend Lorna Sielstad. We were on the same site, and started corresponding along with some other ladies who were interested in pursuing publication. She led me to ACFW, where I made many friends. Kay Dacus kept telling me, “You need to meet Kathy Cretsinger,” and I did. At the time, she simply had an interest in writing and getting her book published. A few years later, she and her husband formed Mantle Rock Publishing, and published my first book! So to answer the question – I’ve never NOT been a writer!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
A good book is a good book. My first love was Laura Ingalls Wilder. From there, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I discovered Janette Oke early in my young adulthood and devoured them and any “bonnet” book I could find. I exhausted the Victoria Holt, Grace Livingston Hill, and Emilie Loring books in my library. I like Zane Gray westerns, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and in Christian Fiction I love any romance – contemporary, historical, western, suspense. I’m one of the few that doesn’t prefer Amish, but there are some out there that I love!

I’ve been through all those authors you mentioned. A missionary friend of mine introduced me to Emilie Loring novels. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Pray, read my Bible, Pray, and Pray. It’s the only thing that keeps me grounded. Trying to work, write, and publish is a daunting task. I’m a church musician, as well, so there isn’t a lot of downtime. Sometimes I just have to build some in – and PRAY.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
It’s really quite arbitrary. I chose “Sarah” because I love that name. It was on the short list for both our daughters. I chose Jared because it sounds good with Sarah! Since Carolina Dream and the upcoming Carolina Mercy are set in South Carolina, I dug until I found some good Southern surnames. I love that type of research.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
There are many things I could name, but for me, it has to be the publication of my first novel. Signing the contract was amazing. Finally writing “the end” at the tail of my manuscript was exhilarating. But opening that first box of books was truly humbling. God has been good to me, and I don’t appreciate it nearly enough. He lets me BE proud of this accomplishment!

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
This is funny. I just took one of those personality tests today, and was not surprised by my results. Every time I take one, I am some kind of dog. Today it was Golden Retriever. Once it was a Burmese Mountain Dog, which, after looking it up, was quite a compliment! LOL

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate. And Roast beef and mashed potatoes. But what I worry about most, when I run low, is running out of chocolate.

The critique group that meets in my home is often called the chocolate group, because we always have dark and milk chocolate bowls on the coffee table. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest issue has always been time and consistency. Since I work full-time as a library director, I write in spurts, when I have a few hours alone. I can get 2-3K written in an afternoon – when I have an afternoon. It helped when I had a deadline! I just simply knew I had to complete it, and that I had to put other things aside. I am very fortunate to have a husband who pitches in and takes care of the mundane like cooking, laundry, and vacuuming!

James is a laundry and house cleaning husband. What a blessing! Tell us about the featured book.
Carolina Dream is book 1 in my contemporary Southern Breeze Series set in South Carolina. Here’s
a blurb:
Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.

When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?

Please give us the first page of the book.
The house was quiet. The crowd that had milled around the main floor of the mansion finally dissipated around five o’clock that afternoon, and Jared Benton was finally alone. He took in the polished mahogany sideboard and table, the formal velvet drapes, the gleaming hardwood floors. It wasn’t the same without Alex. It had been a haven – a place where he knew acceptance and generosity.

Now? Now it was just a big house full of memories and would be passed along to the next owner. He took off the well-tailored suit jacket and laid it across a dining chair, then pulled at his tie. It felt like a noose around his neck after an interminable day.

His attention was caught by a soft sniffle.

“Bright Eyes?”

Jared looked up to see Prudie, still in her black funeral dress, just inside the dining room archway of Alex Crawford’s 1859 mansion. He stood there a minute, his half-smile aimed at the old woman. He saw that her hankerchief was still in her hand, where he’d seen it earlier. She dabbed at her nose and eyes as she tried to erase evidence of that sniffle. He laid the letter back on the table and walked over to her. “Prudie, I thought I told you to go on home.”

“I couldn’t leave until I’d seen you again.” She turned her face to him with a watery smile and put her hand on his arm. “Amazing how time flies, isn’t it? It seems like just yesterday that I saw a skinny teenager poke his head in the back door looking for a glass of water on a hot summer day. Now you’re a man grown.” She patted his arm and swiped a tear from her eye. Her head shook with frustration . . .

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Purchase links (

Social Media:

Thank you, Regina, for sharing this book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a story I would enjoy.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Regina Rudd Merrick said...

Thanks for commenting, Linda!

Vivian Furbay said...

What an interesting intro to this story. A young woman who has dreamed about a mansion with many rooms and a young man with brown eyes. Sounds like a books I could really get in to. Would love to win a copy.

Robin in NC said...

I love books that are based in the Carolinas! :) This really sounds like a good one! Thanks for sharing with us!

Robin in Raleigh, NC

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Regina, I am so happy to see you here today. I met you many years ago at a library conference and I am thrilled that a fellow librarian has entered the publishing world. This first page sounds intriguing and I'm anxious to read the rest. Thanks for your giveaway.
Connie from KY

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Regina Merrick said...

I could so live there! Thanks for commenting!

Regina Merrick said...

Thank you, Connie! Good luck in the drawing. What county are you from?

VanG said...

I live in NC, so the characters in this book are my neighbors! 😊 Regina is a new author to me, and I would love to win a copy of her book. Thank you for introducing me to so many new authors on your blogs.
VanG from NC

Kay Garrett said...

Thank you for the interview with Regina. I love finding out more about authors. I'd love to win a copy of CAROLINA DREAM! Thanks for the chance.
Kay from Mountain View, AR

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks for commenting! I hope one day you can say, "I've been reading this author's books for years!" :)

Regina Merrick said...

Thank you, Kay! Glad you stopped by!

Winnie said...

Thanks for the interview, Lena and Regina. It's fun to find new-to-me authors. Regina, your story sounds so intriguing. I'd love to win a copy of it.
Winnie T from Utah

Unknown said...

Enjoyed your interview, Regina. The part of your book I had the opportunity to read, I loved it.

Thank you for the giveaway.
Barbara Thompson

Brenda Arrington said...

Regina is a new author to me. I would love to be chosen to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
Brenda in VA

Regina Merrick said...

Hi, Winnie! Thanks for stopping by!

Regina Merrick said...

Thank you, Barbara! Hope you enjoy the rest! Thanks for reading!

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks for entering, Barbara! Hope I'm not new after this! :)

Patty said...

I live in South Carolina, I think that means I should read this book!

Patty in SC

rbooth43 said...

This North Carolina Native sure would like to win and read Carolina Dream, especially finding out the 1859 mansion full of memories!
rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

Regina Rudd Merrick said...

Patty and Rebecca, thank you so much for your interest in Carolina Dream!! Hope you enjoy!

Melanie Backus said...

Sounds like a great book! I love the cover!

Melanie Backus, TX

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks, Melanie! I loved it, too!

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Regina Merrick said...

Thanks for entering! Jealous you get to live in SC! 😊

Paula Shreckhise said...

This one sounds very interesting! Count me in! I'm from Missouri. Thanks for the review and interview .

Pam said...

Another "new-to-me" author! This book sounds great. Please toss my name in the hat to win it.

Pam in OH

Regina Merrick said...

Hi Paula and Pam! Thanks for stopping by! Hope to have more for you in the future, and good luck in the drawing!

Christine Kilner said...

What a fun idea for a book. Sounds great. Thank you for the chance to win.

Christine Kilner said...

Oops almost forgot. I am from Minnesota!

Regina Merrick said...

Hi Christine! I visited Minnesota a couple of years ago - beautiful state! Thanks for commenting!

Unknown said...

This sounds delightful. Look forward to reading it!

Deanne in PA

Regina Merrick said...

Thank you, Deanne!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book! Shelia from Mississippi