Today our guest is Regina Merrick. Regina’s second book released with Mantle Rock Publishing on Tuesday. Regina is my partner in crime part of the time. She’s a great lady and we’ve grown to love and depend on her with a lot of things.
Welcome, Regina. Would you like to tell us about yourself?
I am an author, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Although I’ve lived most of my life in Western Kentucky, I would love to live where I could hear sounds of crashing waves and walk on sandy beaches. I am married to my husband of 35 years, as of this August, the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where we live in the small town of Marion, in western KY. I have published two books, Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017) and Carolina Mercy (July 2018) in the Southern Breeze Series. Book 3 in the series releases in February 2019.
Your latest book has recently released. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
As I just mentioned, Carolina Mercy is book 2 in the Southern Breeze series. When I wrote Carolina Dream, I got to know a couple of secondary characters well enough that I wanted their story told, too. Lucy and Tom are the best friends of Sarah and Jared, who we met in Carolina Dream. Lucy is a petite ball of fire who can organize everyone around her and have fun doing it, and Tom is a 6-foot-2-inch tall police detective who has an over-developed sense of responsibility. As the tagline states – “She’s always gotten everything she’s wanted. He thinks he has to give up everything.” They are definitely both edges of a double-edged sword. When trials hit, they both have to deal with wondering if they deserve God’s mercy. Will pride get in the way of what God really has for them – an abundant life?
Who has inspired you the most to write?
Oh my. That’s a tough one. I’ve always liked to write stories, but it was a fanfiction site called RomanceFanFiction.com that got me started. So, I guess it was my sister, Andrea, because she was the one that introduced me to that particular rabbit hole! Ha! This site is no longer on the Internet, but it was one of the good ones. We wrote stories based on the television show “Sue Thomas: FBEye,” which was based on a true story about a deaf FBI analyst whose talent was reading lips with amazing accuracy. The show ended after only 4 seasons, with the love interest unrequited. Thus, fanfiction, but most of this fanfiction focused on not only the romance, but about the spiritual aspects of the show, as the main character was a devout Christian. It was here that I met Christian Fiction author Lorna Seilstad and Carrie Booth Schmidt of the fantastic “Reading is my Superpower” blog, along with some other life-long friends. Lorna was the one that got me in a writing group on the website, and invited me to stay in her hotel room for my first ACFW Conference. After that, there was my KenTen group, and YOU, Sandra Robbins, and Susan Page Davis. I guess it’s really taken a village to get me writing!
Do you write each day?
I’m still trying to get in a routine of writing every day, but no, I don’t. If there are appointments or out-of-town trips, I don’t always get to write. Saturdays and Sundays I try to stay away from the computer, because as a church musician, it’s almost a work-day for me.
If you could write anyplace in the world, where would it be?
On a screened-in porch overlooking the beach, or on a porch overlooking SOMETHING in nature! I have to be able to see something, and people are a distraction!
Your second book has just been released. Was it as exciting as the first one?
There is nothing as exciting as getting that first box of books in the mail. That is worth some tears! The second book, however, instills such a sense of accomplishment. It means, hopefully, that you’re not a “one-hit wonder!”
If you could have a “do over” in your life, what would it be?
There are so many! I guess the main thing is that I wish I had attended college right out of high school, before I had my kids. But then I shudder to think what I might have majored in, so I guess God knew what He was doing to inspire me to go back at 23 instead of 18!
What time of day is the best time for you to write?
Most days, I like to get started by 9:30 or 10, write until lunchtime, then get back at it around 2 and write until 5 if I can. If I’m really inspired, I’ll put lunch off as long as possible, or write on later. I’m flexible, and my husband is flexible, so it works.
Are you a morning person?
NOPE. I miss my husband being gone to work when I get up. I always had that time to read my Bible, eat my breakfast, and watch an episode of something, then ease into work. I even did that when I was a library director – I just had to get started earlier. Now he’s home and he tends to talk to me before I’ve had my coffee. Pray for him.
Are you working on your next book?
Yes! I’m working on Carolina Grace right now, and hope to have it finished by the end of August!
Can you tell us some about it?
I can’t say too much, because there would be spoilers for Carolina Mercy, but let’s just say some time has passed between book 2 and book 3, we get to know Charly, Tom’s sister, better, and there will be a little more redemption involved in this book. After all, the title is Carolina GRACE!
What are your writing plans for the next five years?
Hopefully sell lots of books! I would like to write a couple more series, if possible. Maybe get an agent, I’m not sure.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
The beach. I’ve done Atlantic Ocean, and I’ve done Gulf of Mexico, and I love them both. I’m not necessarily a “lay on the beach” person, but I like to do that between walking up and down the shore, shopping, and visiting historical places in the area. There is something about the vastness of the ocean, the constant breeze, and the pounding of the surf that literally pulls the stress out of my body. I can’t go every year, but if we had an opportunity to move there, I would, in a heartbeat.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a little bit of both. For the first book, it was pantser all the way, because I had no deadline, and it was my first book! For the second book, I got started, then hit a wall, and realized that in order to keep the continuity with the first, I was going to be FORCED to plot. I used James Scott Bell’s super structure, with all the signposts, and was able to get the main points plotted, and it gave me room to write by the seat of my pants occasionally. If you remember, there were a few changes made between the original synopsis and the finished product! I’ve plotted about ¾ of the way through the third. That’s my next task, to finish the plotting and settle down to finish writing the book.
Do you have another series in your head?
I have ideas for a few series. One is an FBI-related suspense, one is a mystery involving renovating old houses, and one is actually a western historical. I’d also like to write some more contemporary romance. The mystery may morph into more romance than mystery. I’ll just have to wait and see what the characters tell me!
Thank you Regina. Her books can be found on Amazon.com and at bookstores across the US. The Amazon link is https://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Mercy-Southern-Breeze-Book-ebook/dp/B07DYXW1G2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531405147&sr=1-1&keywords=Carolina+Mercy. You can also order from Barnes & Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carolina-mercy-regina-rudd-merrick/1128973113?ean=9781945094514