Today we have Merrillee Whren is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who writes inspirational romance. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. She has also been the recipient of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today, Merrillee. Tell us a little about you and how you were raised.
I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, on my mother’s birthday and have three younger brothers. My parents moved to Montana when I was just a toddler. We lived in Great Falls, but I remember very little about that. We moved to Billings when I was four and lived there until we moved to Huron, South Dakota when I was ten. We moved to Spokane, Washington, when I was fifteen. I attended college in South Dakota and Tennessee. When I graduated from college with a teaching degree, I got a job near Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met my husband. The somewhat nomadic life I had a youngster prepared me for life with my husband. His jobs took us from small-town Ohio to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, and eventually to Florida where he started his own company. We moved to Arizona a few years ago to be near our granddaughters. We got to be near them for five years before their mother’s new job took them to New Jersey. We won’t be moving there. Hubby and I don’t do cold weather anymore.
Wow, that was a lot of moving
Romance, of course. I love happy endings, and romance fits that bill. I can’t pick a favorite author. There are too many to choose from.
What age did you realize you loved books?
I’m not really sure. Probably in seventh grade when I discovered teen romances in the library.
What made you start writing this genre?
I had read a lot of romances and decided I could write one.
Tell us about this book.
HOMETOWN PROPOSAL is a story about second chances. All the books in the Kellersburg series are about second chances. I find that the majority of my books have themes of forgiveness and second chances. Right from the beginning, the hero is seeking a second chance with the heroine. He messed up their relationship before, and now that he is a Christian, he wants to show her he has changed, and the heroine has to learn to trust and forgive.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I start with a few ideas. Plotting doesn’t come naturally to my writing process. Charts and outlines scramble my brain.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I have a desk with lots of cool cubbies for my writing books and supplies. For years I’ve shared an office with my hubby, but he is almost retired and doesn’t spend much time in the office these days. We both have been self-employed and worked from home for over 15 years.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
The biggest surprise came when the hero, who is seeking a second chance, has to extend a second chance to someone from his past, even though it might mess up the relationship he has rebuilt with the heroine.
What advice would you give a new author?
I would tell new authors to seek advice from other authors, but use this advice to find their own writing process. Not all writers work the same way. And never, never give up. I wrote for 20 years before I sold my first book to Steeple Hill Books, now Harlequin Love Inspired. Now I indie publish my books. In fact, the books in the Kellersburg series are books that were previously published by Steeple Hill Books in 2010 and 2011. I recently received the rights back to these books and have updated them with a new series title and new covers, as well as some updates on the story itself. Book 1 of the Kellersburg series, HOMETOWN PROMISE, is already available.
What project are you working on now?
I have another indie-published series, Front Porch Promises. So far I have published 5 books in the series, and I’m working on book 6, A PLACE TO FIND LOVE, while I’m waiting on the proofread from my talented editor, Dori Harrell, for the third book in the Kellersburg series, HOMETOWN DAD, which will release on December 10, 2018.
Where can we find your books?
My website has a book page where all my books are listed along with an excerpt and buy links for each book. The books are available at most online retailers.https://www.merrilleewhren.com/category/books/
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