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Writer’s Window–Miralee Ferrell

Monday, February 21, 2011

Joining us today for Writer’s Window is romance author Miralee Ferrell.

One lucky commenter* will win a signed copy of Miralee’s latest book, Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona. Deadline for leaving a comment to enter the drawing is Friday. To enter the drawing, you must answer the question posed by Miralee at the end of the interview. Only one comment per person will count toward the drawing. You do not need to include your e-mail address in the body of your comment—just make sure it’s correct when you sign in to leave your comment. The winning name will be drawn and announced on Sunday.

      *U.S. residents only, void where prohibited. If you win the drawing, you will be ineligible for the next three drawings, though hopefully you will still come back and join in the discussion.

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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?

Welcome, Miralee!
What do you like best about being a writer?

    Interacting with the readers. I love discovering that one of my books has ministered to someone’s heart and I’m always so blessed when a reader takes the time out of their busy life to email me, or posts on Facebook to share.

What do you like least about being a writer?

    This is easy: Coming up with new story ideas. Once I have one, I can write it, but finding something unique and fresh is so difficult for me. I attribute it to starting my fiction career so late in life—after 50—I think many of my creative brain cells had already rolled over and played dead for too long. 🙂

Pop, Soda, or Coke? What do you call it, and what’s your favorite variety?

    Here in the N.W. we call it pop, and definitely PEPSI!! Although I’ve almost totally weaned myself from drinking pop as I wanted to lose weight and knew that was a big issue for me. I still allow myself to have an occasional glass as a treat, but am careful how much I drink.

What’s your favorite dessert?

    Oh, right now, just about anything with sugar, LOL! I’m on the last 3 days of a strict no-sugar diet and the thought of dessert is enough to tip me over the edge. But I LOVE Black Forest Cake—if you don’t know what that is, it’s rich chocolate cake with real whipped cream for the frosting and filling, and a cherry filling (with real cherries) between layers. Yum!!

What’s the most fun/interesting/crazy/scary/unique hands-on research you’ve done for a book?

    This is a hard one, as I don’t think I’ve done anything scary or unique yet. I got to ride in a stagecoach (a real one) for my Tombstone, Arizona, research. Also, my hubby and I drove two and a half hours up and down steep mountain canyons to reach the ghost town site of Last Chance, CA. We located the 150-year-old cemetery and found cedar posts set in a square formation, where we believe the livery stable or blacksmith shop would’ve been (they had square nails that date back to pre-1880).

What’s your favorite movie from childhood?

    I had to think about this for a while—I loved The Sound of Music, because my choir teacher in the 7th grade made us learn every song that year, and it was fun to watch the movie and be able to sing along with it—but I also loved the characters and plot, and have seen it several times over the years. Oh—and a close second was The Wizard of Oz.

What makes you happy?

    Spending time with my family, especially my two married kids. Our son lives some distance away, but our daughter and husband own the property adjoining ours. She and I are best friends and often go to lunch together, and ride our horses together in the spring, summer, and fall. Family time is such a blessing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

What makes you nervous?

    Heights—getting too close to the edge of a cliff or working on a roof.

What’s your biggest dream for the future?

    I have a number of them, but I’ll keep this writing related rather than family or financial. (Although on the financial, to be completely debt free and able to freely travel with my hubby would be a huge dream come true!) But writing related, to see one of my books on a bestseller list would be awesome. Also, The Other Daughter (my debut contemporary novel) was being considered as a movie by a major motion picture studio. I’d love to see that happen someday!

Tell us about your newest release and what you’re working on now.

    Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona released February 1, this year. I’d have to say it’s my favorite book so far. Partly because it’s more of a true western romance with a lot of action, but also because it contains deep characterizations and a strong spiritual thread. The other reason I love this book is because Summerside allowed me the liberty to use a strong secondary character from LFY in Last Chance, California, my first book with them, and carry her (Christy Grey) forward into this book. I got a lot of reader input about Christy and wanted to write her story. The book has a strong redemption theme, somewhat along the same type of line as Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (although not at all the same story line), and I loved writing it. I also do a lot of historical research to make my books as realistic as I can, and all my Love Finds You books have a number of actual events and/or real people/businesses, etc., that appear woven into the story. I always give 2-3 pages of author notes at the end sharing what’s real and what I did in the way of research. But don’t read it first, they often contain spoilers!

    I’ll be able to announce my next release with Summerside very soon—it’s a few days premature for that, but let’s just say watch the blogs during the month of July for news about a new release hitting the shelves August first of this year. It’s fully written and due to be turned in soon, but the details aren’t quite final yet to make an announcement. Coming soon on my blog and FB reader’s group, so be watching!

      Be sure to look for Miralee’s previous LFY book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California:

      It’s 1877 and Alexia Travers is alone in the world. Her father has died unexpectedly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying one of the town’s all-too-willing bachelors would offer an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons men’s clothing and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success on her own. But despite Alex’s best efforts, everything seems to go wrong: ranch hands quit, horses are stolen, and her father’s gold goes missing. Help arrives when Justin Phillips, an acquaintance of her father’s, comes to Last Chance with his young son. There seems to be more to Justin’s story than he’s willing to share.

      But when disaster threatens Travers Ranch, they must work together to save someone they both love. Can these two independent people learn to depend on God—and on each other?

Where can people find out more about you/connect with you online?

Now it’s your turn to ask the question. What question do you want to ask the commenters to answer?

    Actually, I’d LOVE to have them come up with some unique questions for me!! But if they can’t think of any, I’d like to know if they think the day of the western novel has died, or is just being resurrected? There’s been a huge push for Amish novels, and ‘gentle prairie romance’ books. Do they think books with more ‘old west adventure’ (more along the lines of a Zane Grey book) is something current day readers would buy/like?

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Miralee Ferrell serves as president of the Portland, Oregon, chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers and belongs to a number of writer’s groups. She also speaks at women’s groups, libraries, and churches about her writing journey.

Her third book in the Love Finds You series—set in Tombstone, Arizona—released February 1. All the Love Finds You books are stand-alone novels, and take place in a real town in America. Miralee’s first two are set in 1877, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, and 1902, Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon.

Miralee and her husband Allen have been married thirty-six years. They live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. Miralee also rides her horse on the wooded trails near their home with her grown daughter who lives nearby.

25 Comments
  1. Monday, February 21, 2011 12:34 am

    What a fun interview, Kaye and Miralee. I enjoyed it immensely.

    My question for you, Miralee, is this: What’s the best advice you can offer a debut writer who is in that Limbo Land between contract and release about how to wisely use that time?

    Like

  2. Monday, February 21, 2011 3:55 am

    Both books sound very interesting to me Miralee. I grew up on Westerns (tv, movies) and I could use a little more cowboy in a historical setting. I’ve been to Tombstone, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

    My question for you is, do you think you’ll stay with historicals for awhile or do you have any contemporary stories you’d like to get back to?

    Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:05 pm

      Great to see you here, Keli!! Keli has been an influencer for my books and a friend since my first LFY book released two years ago, but now she’s waiting for her own book to release & I’m so happy for her!

      To answer your question, it’s important you start building your online ‘presence’ ahead of your release. If you don’t have a web site or blog, get both up and running. Keep your FB profile up to date, and post frequently. Don’t just make everything about your book–find subjects that relate to a theme in your book and blog/post about those themes to draw readers who are interested in that topic. Put together a list of people who might be willing to influence others to read your book when it releases so your publisher can send out copies to them (or you send them, depending on how they handle it). Put together a list of local media your publicist can contact. That’s just a beginning, but hopefully it will keep you busy!

      Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:07 pm

      Hi Debra,
      I’m so glad you enjoy westerns, and both of my recent ones have strong cowboy heroes. I will probably stick with historical for now, simply because they seem to be selling the best. But if it swings back toward contemporary, I’ll happily jump in. I do enjoy contemporary, but don’t have anything burning to be written at the moment, and I do have two historical novels that I’ve started writing (besides the one that will release later this year).

      Like

      • Monday, February 21, 2011 6:04 pm

        Thank You, Miralee! I’m looking forward to reading both of these. I have a feeling I’ve missed some good stories in the Love Finds You series. OH, to have more time to read!

        Like

        • Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:29 pm

          Debra, I know exactly what you mean about wishing you had more time to read. Me too!!! I used to read at least one book a week, sometimes two, but since I started writing I’m doing good to read one per month. I miss a lot, too. I do hope you’ll have a chance to read some of the LFY books, and of course, I hope you’ll start with mine! 🙂

          Like

  3. Monday, February 21, 2011 7:42 am

    So related to being afraid of heights, loving sugar.
    Your books sound interesting. Congrats on having them see the light of day.

    My question to you is, do you use character profile sheets to track the qualities of your major characters?

    Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:12 pm

      Hi Henya,
      Thank you for stopping by, and it’s good to meet you! I’m afraid I’m not that organized, but I do something similar. I start a new Word document for each book and make a simple list of my characters–both major and secondary–and note their appearance, age, job, speech style, and anything else I may need to remember. That gets passed along to my editor once the book is under contract and the MS turned in, and I do refer to it anytime I forget an important factor.

      Like

  4. Monday, February 21, 2011 7:57 am

    Good morning Miralee!! 🙂 I enjoyed reading this interview with you, and am definitely one of your FANS!! 🙂 I’m in the midst of reading your Tombstone, Arizona book right now—and LOVING it! ~ I really feel that the “old west” adventure books will see a stronger comeback in the next few years. In this day of SO much technology and “information overload” on all our poor brains, folks long to return to simpler times (which is apparently one reason the Amish books have been so popular). So for those that want to “escape” to the past but also desire adventure, the action and excitement of the old west would be just the ticket! Just my personal thoughts. 😉 ~ Blessings on you and your writing—and I’m excited to hear more about the book coming out in a few months! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo 🙂

    Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Patti Jo! I’m glad your book arrived and that you’re enjoying it, that’s awesome! I truly appreciate your input on the old west themed books. If I get word on my new contract before this contest closes, I’ll be sure to announce it here, as well.

      Like

  5. Leah permalink
    Monday, February 21, 2011 8:46 am

    Wow, Miralee your books sound amazing!
    I LOVE old western books, and I know all my friends do!:)
    Amish are good, but I read them for like a month straight and got really sick of them, and I haven’t read any more in like two years.
    Anyway, so to answer your question I think Western books will be coming back strong really soon!
    At least I hope!!!

    great interview!

    Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:20 pm

      Hi Leah,
      I really appreciate your comments about the western themed books, thank you! I believe Amish is still very popular &I enjoy them, but I do know what you mean–you can only handle so much of even a good thing, before it starts getting old. I hope you’ll pass the word about my books to your friends that like westerns!

      Like

  6. Lissie permalink
    Monday, February 21, 2011 12:02 pm

    I love the books in this series! I’ve read a few and I love them all! I’ll have to read these two.

    Like

    • Monday, February 21, 2011 12:22 pm

      Hi Lissie,
      I’m glad you’ve already read a few of the LFY books, that’s great! I hope you get a chance to read mine, as well…I actually have three, but the one set in Bridal Veil, OR takes place in 1902 in a logging/saw mill town, so it’s a historical but not a western. But Last Chance and Tombstone are definitely more ‘western’. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  7. Monday, February 21, 2011 1:10 pm

    I’m headed out for the day…I’m the President of our local ACFW Chapter, but it’s in Portland, about 1 1/2 hrs drive from my house, so I go a few hrs ahead and do a little shopping. I’ll check in here again tomorrow and respond to any more questions or comments that come in.

    Miralee

    Like

  8. Monday, February 21, 2011 2:55 pm

    I so enjoyed The Other Daughter, sure hope they make it into a movie. Are they considering it for the Theater or TV? Wish you the best of luck with it, and I want to see it!

    Like

    • Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:31 pm

      Hi Maureen,
      At this point it’s not in the production process, as Universal turned it down (the faith elements were too strong for them). But there IS a Hollywood agency talking to my book agent about possibly representing it to several studios, so it’s in God’s hands if it goes any further. It’s not something I’ve ever expected, but would be a blessing and believe it could touch many lives. All prayers appreciated in that regard!!

      Like

  9. Rebecca Booth permalink
    Monday, February 21, 2011 6:09 pm

    Miralee’s “Love Finds You in Tombstone” sounds like a great read. By the way, my son’s girlfriend is a firefighter in Arizona, so I am sure she would love to read this book, too.
    I believe the day of the western novel has just being resurrected with all the western fiction that has just been realeased, and I am so glad!
    Thanks!
    Rebecca
    rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

    Like

    • Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:34 pm

      Hi Rebecca,
      I’ve had interest from Arizona residents eager to read Tombstone, and with the amt of research I did on the town and time period, I don’t think your son’s girlfriend would be disappointed if you were to ‘gift’ her with one, 🙂

      The true shoot-em-up westerns still aren’t being released, but the historical romance with a western theme is definitely seeing a bit of a comeback. I’m like you, I hope it will continue to grow and blossom. It takes readers like you gals to pass the word when one (like mine) hits the shelves–word of mouth will do more to help sales than anything, and keep me writing books!!

      Like

  10. Pam Kellogg permalink
    Monday, February 21, 2011 6:54 pm

    I’ve read several books lately that I’d consider “old west adventure/romances.” These have been by Stephen Bly, Mary Connealy and Margaret Brownley. Rather to my surprise, I’ve really enjoyed them. In all these books, along with the adventure is a strong dose of humor, and a faith thread. So, I say yes to your question, I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes books like this.
    I’d love to win Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona.
    Thanks for the interview and the opportunity to win.

    Like

    • Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:35 pm

      Hi Pam,

      I agree with the list of names you gave, especially Stephen Bly. I think old west themes are starting to come back and I praying readers buy them and publishers keep it going!! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate you!

      Like

  11. Jackie S. permalink
    Monday, February 21, 2011 6:58 pm

    I loved your book, The Other Daughter, and would love to read this one, as well. I enjoy the LFY books. I have read lots of Amish books (just finished one) and enjoy them, but think I would like to see more western types available!!

    Like

    • Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:37 pm

      Hi Jackie,
      Thank you, I love it when a reader lets me know which book of mine they’ve read and that they enjoyed it. Did you pick up a copy of the sequel to The Other Daughter? It’s Finding Jeena, and released a year ago. While it’s probably no longer in stores, it is available on Amazon and CBD. I’m also very happy to hear you read both contemporary and historical, as I’d love to keep writing both. I’ll probably stick mostly with historical as they’re selling the best right now, but when the pendulum swings back, I’ll be writing contemporary, as well.

      Like

  12. Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:23 pm

    Interesting question, Miralee. I don’t think westerns written today have the same flair as they did years ago. Something has been lost in the concept of what a western really is. Perhaps that’s unfair to say, maybe I’m thinking too much about the western movies I’ve watched lately. The old western stories and their characters were bigger than life – big heros. There is too much violence and that three letter unmentionable word….but that is secular…I feel the Christian writers could write Westerns with true value and grit. Within the confines of faith and old fashioned concepts, the Christian author will succeed. Thanks for the question, the giveaway and the chance to win a wonderful book.

    Blessings,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

    Like

    • Thursday, February 24, 2011 7:25 pm

      Hi Barb,
      Thanks for your great comments and I agree about current western movies so often not measuring up. I grew up reading Zane Grey books–clean, filled with adventure and romance, and just great story telling overall. I think he influenced me more than anything on my writing a western romance. I hope you find Tombstone enjoyable and that it meets your expectations if you win a copy!

      Miralee

      Like

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