Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Other Daughter by Miralee Ferrell and Giveaway

I wanted to introduce everyone to a new author, Miralee Ferrell. She's made a triumphant entrance into the fiction world. I really enjoyed this book. It covers a hard topic; a husband's infidelity before the marriage, but during the engagement. The following is an interview and then my review of the book and details for the giveaway.



Do you have a summary of your book you can share with the readers?

My premiere novel is The Other Daughter—the story of David and Susanne Carson, a couple with an already fragile marriage that’s rocked to its foundation when a young teenaged girl appears at the door….here’s a brief summary:

The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."


Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.


Not that their marriage had ever been perfect—David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.


As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands. It’s women’s contemporary fiction that’s set in the North West, and is being published by Kregel Publications, a well known Christian publishing house.

How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific 'what if' moment?

An editor friend and I were brainstorming about what I could do for my first book, and she suggested using something I knew, possibly from my own life. That triggered the idea of using an episode from me and my hubby’s personal life—we received a letter from an 18 yr old girl a number of years ago, claiming to be my husband’s daughter. After investigating and meeting Trisha, we accepted her into our lives and hearts, and have continued a relationship with her. The basis for the book came from that episode, but the balance of the book is fiction, other than the setting—I live in the Pacific N.W., in the area where the book takes place.


Do you ever struggle with writer's block? If so, how do you overcome it?

Yes, in the final ¼ of my second book, Past Shadows, as well as very occasionally on Love Finds You in Last Chance, Ca., I stared at a blank screen when I sat down to write with no ideas rattling around. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I skip ahead and start writing what I DO know, then I’ll come back and link the old and new together. I’ve found that if I can just get writing again, even if it’s several chapters ahead, the rest will come in time. Sometimes I simply need to step away for awhile and not push too hard. Prayer is also a key…ask the Lord to unlock the block and stir up a new creativity in your heart and mind.

Where do you write? Do you have a dedicated office or a corner or nook in a room?



I’m very blessed that I have two areas to write, depending on the noise and traffic level. I have my lap top in the kitchen area on a desk for easy access when I want to jot a few notes, do some marketing, check email, etc. When I want to do serious writing and close a door, I can retreat to my office/library to work. It has a wonderful view of the woods out any of the four windows, and a spacious work area, so is very conducive to writing.



What does a typical day look like for you?



There really is no typical with my hubby and myself. He’s semi-retired, but still involved in a large project/invention that’s going to market soon, so he’s in and out a lot. I’m involved at our church, but much less than I used to be, and also involved with family. This past couple of months we put a new lawn in, planted flower and a vegetable garden, and working on my Love Finds You romance novel. Of course marketing is an ongoing process that doesn’t seem to have an ending point.



Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.



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…A few sentences that might fill one page, at most, with details only about the main plot points….all of which are subject to change as I go along.



It makes 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 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.



Do you have anything else in the works besides the book we’re discussing today?



Besides Past Shadows, the sequel to The Other Daughter, I’m working on a historical romance set in 1877 on a horse ranch. The title is Love Finds You in Last Chance, California and it’s due to release in early February, 2009 with Summerside Press. I’ve started another historical romance as well that’s under review and should know something about it in the next few weeks. Readers can always check my website for updates on future books. http://www.miraleeferrell.com/



What can you tell us about Past Shadows, the sequel to The Other Daughter?



It’s a spin off on Jeena, a secondary character from The Other Daughter. Jeena is a well meaning friend of Susanne’s who meddles in the couple’s marriage with almost disastrous results. In book 2, Jeena, (pronounced Gina) is a bit of a pill---not a Christian, worldly and very career minded, but had some hard knocks growing up and a couple of devastating ones we’ll see as an adult. So far my advance readers have wanted to spank her, hug her, cry with her and shake her....but the few that I've allowed to see it so far have been rooting for her to make it through the dark shadows that are rolling in around her.



Your characters are very well drawn, exhibiting realistic emotions, reactions, etc. What kind of research did you have to do in order to “get into their heads”?



None. The emotions were drawn from personal experience, as well as putting myself in the character’s place. While we didn’t have a 13 yr. old girl appear on our doorstep, we did have an 18 yr. old young lady write a letter to my husband, claiming to be his daughter. I went through some of the same feelings of shock and disbelief Susanne experienced. I didn’t fight against it, however, as I was a committed Christian who cared about the welfare of the girl and the rejection she’d grown up with, being told her dad didn’t want her. Susanne’s actions in the scene where she struggles with alcohol, and with her feelings of revolt against being under someone else’s authority (even God’s) were based on feelings and struggles my husband experienced. The two younger children in the Carson family were drawn from our two children at that age. I think that’s one of the reasons why the book was initially written in only 5 wks. The story was very real to me, and the characters were easy to bring to life.



Anything else you’d like to add?



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.

Be sure to visit Miralee's blog and website:

Web Site http://www.miraleeferrell.com/

Blog: http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/


My review:
Susanne is married to David. Together they have 2 children. David has been a Christian since they were married, but Susanne was brought up to think for herself and not to give control over to anyone, let alone God. For the most part they'd had a decent marriage and had opened their home to foster children.

One day Susanne opens her door to find a young girl standing before her and a truck leaving dust as a calling card. Susanne inquires as to who she is and if the person in the truck is coming back for her and that's when the introductions happen. Brianna claims that David is her father. Of course this is shocking to Susanne and she can't quite believe it's true because they were both virgins when they got married, right? If that's the case, then why does this girl bare a striking resemblence to her husband?

This is a complicated topic that is well covered by Miralee. I have to admit I would've reacted much harsher than Susanne did, but I believe that her experience with hurt foster kids helped her accept Brianna to a degree. I also think that David and Susanne's marriage was pretty solid even though like every marriage it had it's ups and downs.

If you'd like to win a copy of this book, give me an idea of how you would react to a kid showing up on your doorstep, suitcase in hand claiming to be either your child or your spouses? I'll hold the drawing on July 7th.

Blessings on your summer reading! US residents only please. Can't afford to send out of the country.

7 comments:

Miralee Ferrell said...

I'm thrilled to be featured on your blog today, thank you! And I love the contest you're sponsoring and the unique way you've created it. Blessings, Miralee
www.miraleeferrell.com

Pamela J said...

You asked to explain how I would react to a kid showing up on your doorstep, suitcase in hand claiming to be either your child or your spouses. I think the chain of events would be something like this: Shock, horror, disbelief, anger, curiosity, come around and acceptance. I'd probably cry a lot and do my best to prove the statement wrong but if it is proven right, I'd deal with it. Thanks so much for your contest. I'd love to win a copy. Thank you.
Pam
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Carole said...

That's a hard question to answer because of so many variables. If the child was my husband's, I would probably be more accepting if I knew he had a past. But it would be rough if I had believed that marriage was the first time for him.

It would also depend on how open and honest my husband was. I think Pam gave a logical progression: "Shock, horror, disbelief, anger, curiosity, come around and acceptance." No matter how much hurt and anger were present at first, I believe the end result would be acceptance - and hopefully love.

I've been wanting to read this book since it first came out. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Jo said...

I think that I would be totally shocked at first, disbelief, than start thinking the situation through the chain of events and eventually accept it especially if it is something that my husband was open and willing to discuss with me after she showed up and didn't try to act like it wasn't so. I would love to win a copy of this book.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Bethany said...

I have not read this book and really missed not being able to get it during the book discussion. It sounds like a very thought-provoking one.
If I were put in that situation, I think I would be totally devastated. It would tear me apart emotionally. But I think that I would also feel badly for the poor little girl who had lost her mother. And it would take the grace of God to get me through my devastation and restore my relationship with my husband. But then we have a God of miracles!
Thank you for this drawing!
momofjimmy[at]yahoo[dot]com

Julie Lessman said...

Wonderful interview, Mimi and Miralee, and WONDERFUL premise for a book! And, WOW, I cannot imagine how I would feel if a kid showed up on my door. Obviously shock and fear, then probably acceptance and hopefully love.

Hugs,
Julie

Doreen said...

Wow, this sounds like an incredible book!! I wish I had this book at the time of the discussion of it. I definitely think there would be shock, anger, confusion, and then eventually hope of love, acceptance and trust of which would take some time to build upon. purposedrivenlife4you AT gmail DOT com

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.