Want a peek into the world of my newest novel? Here's a pinterest board where I've been adding things that relate to the story. I've been playing with the title some this week. When I originally wrote it, I had titled it The Greatest of These. But there are many, many other books with that title on Amazon, so now I'm thinking of other things that might work just as well, if not better. What do you think of the title, Love is the Greatest? Is that a title you might grab off a shelf?
This board has different pages saved that relate to locations, recipes mentioned in the story, a summer camp that I worked at a couple years and based the one in the story on, as well as a few other goodies. I haven't pinned people who might look like my main characters because I haven't been able to find any. If you'd like to search, my main characters are sisters Faith and Hope. They're a few years apart, both blonde and semi-petite, mid-twenties. Faith is happily married, a crafty preschool teacher, and a few months pregnant. Hope is a high school math teacher who is working at camp for the summer. Her hair is usually in a ponytail or braid. If you find girls you think might fit those descriptions, I'd love to add them to my board.
And after the book comes out in April, I'd love for you to share other pages you think might fit with the story as well. Are you getting excited? I am!
It's been a while since I updated you on what's going on in my writing life. With the second book coming out in April, I'm doing edits every few days as they're sent my way. Then, I send them back for her to find some more. ;-)
I'm also working on another manuscript, which I have several grammar-loving friends helping me clean up a bit more so I can start sending it out to try and find a publisher. This one's about a girl who wants to adopt a baby, the only other survivor of a car accident she was in. But she has to figure out why the odds seem to be stacked against her.
And I've decided to rewrite a book I first wrote back in 2006, which is a good premise, but needs a lot of work. More character development and growth, slower timetable, new timetable, and maybe even a tweak or two on the secondary characters. Sounds like fun, right? It's about a widow who is trying not to fall in love with her husband's best friend. Just a bit emotional.
Next week, I'll be packing up this box of books and taking it to lovely Henderson, TN. The annual Freed-Hardeman University Bible lectureship will be in full swing, and we plan to spend a few days with family and friends, soaking up the Word, and feeling a bit like we're back in college. I'll have my books out for sale in the gym, so if you're in the area, swing by. I'd love to meet you and sign your book!
Do I have a treat for you today! I'm going to introduce you to a sweet lady I got to meet last summer when I attended the writing retreat. She's got a great sense of humor, a huge love of literature, and is about to release her third book! I just read her first one a few weeks ago and it was really good. Without further ado, here's Regina Rudd Merrick!
Regina, I loved getting to know you last June at the Ken Ten Writers' Retreat. How has being a member of that group impacted your writing career?
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Amy! I was so happy to meet you and get to know you better at last year’s retreat! The retreat has been an outpouring of the work the KenTen Writers Group accomplishes on a monthly basis. It’s been such a blessing to me both in my writing and in my personal life. Impact? It has had a major impact. When I was just starting the writing thing, I met author Kaye Dacus, who kept telling me, “You need to meet Kathy Cretsinger.” When I finally met her and was invited to meet with the fledgling writing group with Susan Page Davis and Sandra Robbins, I found my writing home. I actually stopped writing for a while, and missed the group so much that when the itch to begin writing again came along, my first instinct was to rejoin KenTen. It was a life-saver for my writing, and through it, I met my publisher and my editor!
I know you were a librarian. Do you think that helped your writing? I know librarians read a lot of books. What other author do you think your writing style is most similar to?
I’ve been both a school librarian (media specialist!) and a public librarian, and both impacted my writing. As a school librarian, I learned the importance of encouraging people to read for enjoyment as well as knowledge. As a public librarian, I learned more about Christian writers and their books. It helped my writing tremendously. I found that no longer were there only “bonnet” books in the Christian Fiction section, but a wide variety of romances, mysteries, and historical novels. This only increased my desire to write in this genre! As for who to compare myself to, the two authors that I found first, that really inspired me, were Janice Thompson and Kaye Dacus. Their contemporary romances have wonderful humor in them, and I can say I have read some of both of their books more than once!
You write stories set in South Carolina, but you're from Kentucky. How does that work? Is it a good excuse to go on vacation? ;-)
I wish!! I first went to South Carolina in 2003, when my extended family went on vacation to celebrate my parents’ fortieth anniversary. I fell in love with the area, and we went back again a few years later, after I had the idea for the first book in the Southern Breeze series, Carolina Dream. I’ve been told that reading my books makes people want to visit!
Sort of playing off the question above, if you had your 'druthers, where would you most like to live?
I would move to Litchfield Beach, SC in a heartbeat! :)
Tell us a little about this series. You have two books out (one of which I'm reading), and the third releases next month. Will this wrap up the series? Are the book stand-alones?
The Southern Breeze series is a continuing story, but each book has a satisfying ending. They could be read out of order, but I think you’d enjoy them even more in order. There is the Kentucky/South Carolina connection, although in my February release, Charly and Rance are both South Carolinians!
In book 1, Carolina Dream, I explore trusting God. 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?
Book 2, Carolina Mercy, features Sarah’s best friend Lucy and Jared’s best friend Tom. Both characters have a difficult time accepting the truth of God’s mercy and provision. Her best friend’s wedding is foremost on Lucy Dixon’s radar. Her biggest concern is once again meeting Tom Livingston, who has ignored her since an idyllic date on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach the previous summer. At least, it is her biggest concern until tragedy strikes. Where is her loving, merciful God, now?
When Tom Livingston meets Lucy, the attraction is instant. Soon after, his mother is diagnosed with an untreatable illness, and his personal life is pushed aside. His work with the sheriff’s department, his family–they are more important. He knows about the love of God, but circumstances make him feel as if God’s mercy is for everyone else, not him. Can a wedding and a hurricane–blessing and tragedy–bring them together?
For book 3, a little time has lapsed – five years, in fact, and the key players are Charlotte Anne (Charly) Livingston, Tom’s sister, and a new character, Rance Butler! In this story, I explore God’s amazing grace in the face of bitterness and anger.
First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies in her family. Rance Butler is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things will only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy, carefree life seems to disintegrate.
Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment turns to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace.
I can’t wait for you to read Charly’s and Rance’s story!!
Now that your girls are grown, and you're retired from working at the library, do you find it easier or harder to write, and why?
Would you believe a little bit of both? It’s hard to be at home with housework staring at you. For some reason, the older I get, the more I appreciate a clean house! LOL! I can structure my time, but when things get out of kilter – like over the holidays! – it takes that much longer to get back in the groove!
One last thing, because I love asking everyone this. Please leave us with a little-known fact about you. Thanks!
People who know me personally know this, but most people don’t – I come from musicians on both sides of my family!
On my Dad’s side, my grandmother was a singer and church pianist, my Dad was in quartets and played the banjo, his first cousin’s son (on HIS dad’s side) is Steven Curtis Chapman, and other cousins were in the quartet, The Jordonaires, who sang with Elvis Presley.
On my Mom’s side, her grandfather was an organist and song leader in his church, and his daughter, my great-aunt, played the piano for him! My mother refuses to be musical, but she knows when we get it wrong! LOL
Wow! That's amazing! Thanks for sharing.
Amy, this has been fun! Thanks so much for inviting me to be on your blog, and I hope you and your readers have an amazing 2019!
Thanks so much for joining us, Regina.
To my readers, if you'd like to know more about Regina or her books, keep reading below.
She knows about God’s grace for her life, but pushes it away. He hasn’t experienced it, but finds grace in a way he never expected.
First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies to happen to her family.
Rance Beaumont is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things can only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy life seems to disintegrate.
Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment can quickly turn to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace.
Click here if you're interested in Regina's books.
Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and finally to writing full-time. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church in Marion, KY, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. She is the author of three books: Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and coming in Feb. 2019, Carolina Grace in the Southern Breeze Series.
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)