I’m over 50, married for 35 years this July, and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I’m active at our small church, serving on staff with my ministerial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51′ sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog, and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we’re gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.
Stormi: Tell us a bit about your first sale: who is the publisher? Which book? Genre, etc.
Miralee: 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 teen aged girl appears at the door…
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.
Stormi: What was your reaction to the news that your first book had been purchased?
Miralee: Stunned and a bit worried at first. I know that sounds strange and I should’ve been bouncing around the house, but my first thought was, Oh no! They read the old version and I’ve made all these changes! What if they don’t like what I’ve done and want to keep the old one? I knew the new version was much stronger, as did the editor I’d been working with on the first 1/3 of the book, so I prayed and my agent asked Dennis, my soon to be publisher, if they’d take a look at the changes. They did, they liked what they saw, and the offer extended to the new book. THEN reality set in and the explosion of joy and incredulity hit me. It took several weeks before I really took in that it was sold.
Stormi: Do you ever struggle with writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Miralee: Yes, in the final 1/4 of my second book, Past Shadows, I stared at a blank screen more than once when I sat down to write. 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.
Stormi: Any advice for those of us who are still dreaming of that first sale?
Miralee: I know what I wish I would’ve had, when I started out. Critique partners..they are invaluable. I didn’t belong to a group until well into the writing of the second book in my series. Through ACFW I was able to get connected and our small group of four is a perfect fit for each of us.
Don’t be to shy to ask for help and don’t be too proud to take constructive criticism of your work, when it’s offered. You don’t have to change everything that’s suggested, but if more than one person points out something wrong, take it seriously and be willing to learn. And most of all, don’t give up. If you believe that God has given you the gift or desire to write, then be obedient, even if it’s never published. When I started out, I thought the best I’d attain would be publication in magazines..having a book published didn’t seem possible. The Lord gave me this story and it needed to be written, and the rest was up to Him. My responsibility was to write it, then keep moving forward in whatever direction He pointed out.
Stormi: What are you working on now?
Miralee: I’m working on Past Shadows (might also be called “Sheltered”), the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to turn in to my editor in early November. I’ve also started something new for me, an 1880’s novel set in Washington state…I’m hesitating to say it’s a romance, but it looks like it might head in that direction. I’m playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women’s contemporary with an unusual twist. I’m hoping to start it as soon as Past Shadow’s is finished. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, well return to Brianna, the 13yr old girl who arrives at the Carson’s door…at the age of 23.
Thanks Miralee for stopping by my blog and letting us know a bit about yourself. Now if you would like to win a copy of Miralee’s book The Other Daughter please leave a comment on my blog. Miralee will be picking a winner out of all those who comment throughout her blog tour.