BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

NORA INTERVIEWS MIRALEE FERRILL



How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I got a very clear word from the Lord via a visiting pastor who I really trust. He prayed with me and said he felt the Lord was directing me to start writing, and whatever I wrote, needed to be published. I prayed about it for a couple of wks, got counsel from my husband and pastor, then started writing short articles and a memoir of sorts. After three articles were accepted for publication an author friend suggested I try writing Christian fiction.

How did you get the idea for your this novel “The Other Daughter”? Did you come up with this title? If not, what was your working title?

A friend and I were brainstorming about what I could do for my first book, and she suggested using something I knew, possibly from my own life. That triggered the idea of using an episode from me and my hubby’s personal life—we received a letter from an 18 yr old girl a number of years ago, claiming to be my husband’s daughter. After investigating and meeting Trisha, we accepted her into our lives and hearts, and have continued a relationship with her. The basis for the book came from that episode, but the balance of the book is fiction, other than the setting—I live in the Pacific N.W., in the area where the book takes place.

I didn’t come up with the title, Kregel did. My working title was Yesterday’s Child, but there were 2-3 books at the time listed on Amazon by that title, so they chose to change it.


How was it different writing your second book than your first? What kind of research did you do in order to write this story?

The Other Daughter came somewhat from personal experience and I was able to tap into emotions and family scenarios to some extent, so very little research was needed. We’d been foster parents for a number of years, so I was able to draw from that knowledge as well. Past Shadows, the working title for the sequel (which is being considered by Kregel now) was a different story. It has no basis in fact and deals with people and subjects I wasn’t as familiar with. I interviewed a woman at a homeless shelter and a local District Attorney for part of the book. The setting is local to my area, so no problems there.

Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?

There’s very little that is as I thought it would be. I had no concept of the work I’d go through on the editing, revising, and rewriting, nor did I know I’d be involved to the extent in was in the marketing. Thankfully I’ve been in some form of sales much of my adult life, so that part has come easier to me than for many writers. I started on this journey completely green and untaught, and have grown and learned so much. God’s hand truly has been apparent during this entire process. When I started I had no idea it wasn’t typical for a first time author to be contracted just a year after starting to write their first novel.


I know that you have another book coming out soon. Can you tell us the title and what we can expect from this book? Is it a sequel?

I’ve written the sequel to The Other Daughter and it’s under review right now with Kregel, but not contracted yet. The working title is Past Shadows, and here’s a short summary for the book….it follows the life and problems of Jeena Gregory, who we met in The Other Daughter.

Jeena’s new job with Browning and Thayer promised big things, and she intended to take full advantage in every way she could. New clothes, new townhouse, new car and new furniture were just the start. Rumors around town cast her new boss in a shady light, but she set aside her uneasy feelings…the money was good, and his ethics weren’t her concern.

A few weeks later her world began to shake. Her salary wasn’t paid on time, and things were happening in the office that didn’t bode well for her future. Money was disappearing, and the investors were making trouble. Her boss disappeared and his partner was left to take the fall, along with anyone else associated with the company.

Jeena’s carefully crafted world begins to crumble, and her struggle with alcohol began to rear its head again. Being dragged into court to be interrogated is only the beginning....

What are you working on now? Can you tell us something about that book?

I have a stand alone romantic suspense (set in 1877 on a horse ranch) releasing in Feb., 2009 with Summerside Press. The title is Love Finds You In Last Chance, California. If you put my name into Amazon, you’ll find it available for pre-order, although I don’t believe they’ve uploaded the front cover yet, as it’s still too far from the release date. Here’s the summary for the book:

Two people trying to make it on their own must work together to save what they both love... It's 1877 and just before Alexia Travers’ father died, he mortgaged his land in exchange for gold to buy more horses. But when no gold is found, Alexia is left with a heavily encumbered ranch and no man to lean on. Not that she wants one: despite several offers, the feisty brunette 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.

Justin Phillips arrives in the town of Last Chance, California, with a young son he cannot care for by himself. When he applies for a job on Travers Ranch, Alexia reluctantly accepts his help. Though the young woman can ride, shoot, rope, and break young colts, she is irritated to learn that Justin can do everything just a shade better!

When disaster threatens the Travers' Ranch, Alexia and Justin must work together to save someone they both love. Can these two independent people learn to depend on God…and each other?

Could you please share some of your Testimony with us?

I’d love to! I don’t have a “salvation” moment, per se…as I was raised in a Christian home and in church all my growing up years, three services per week, plus youth group when I was old enough. At the age of fifteen we had a traveling evangelist come for a few days—and his stay extended to a true revival that lasted about 3 wks. I truly made Jesus Lord if my life at that time, committing to serve Him in whatever path He chose for me.

Did you have a say in picking out the cover for either of your books? Was that a fun experience for you, why? If not, explain.

It was an awesome experience! When Kregel sent me their top two choices for the cover, they indicated they weren’t really happy with either, but were having a hard time coming up with art that represented what they (and I) were both hoping for. I asked if they’d give me a chance to do my own photo shoot, as I knew exactly what I wanted on the cover and they agreed to give me a shot. I had three days to get something to them, as they were on a very tight deadline. I grabbed a 13 yr old girl who’s mother is a good friend of mine. I made a trip to a thrift store to borrow (yes, they loaned them to me!) clothes and a suitcase for Kayla, then we raced to another friend’s house who had the type of door I wanted as a backdrop. I took a number of pics and sent them in that evening. The graphics department loved them and agreed to use them. They tipped the angle slightly, and tweaked the colors, making them “pop”. I loved the effect they came up with, and we all agreed it was an excellent collaborative effort.

Can you describe for me a moment in your life that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God was real? Not just a story you read in a book?

I have soooo many that it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve seen God miraculously heal people that I’ve been directly involved in praying for, seen Him deliver people from oppression and depression after prayer, and had Him intervene in our behalf in the eleventh hour financially many times, as well. He spoke almost audibly to me with a strong reassurance concerning our son’s safety while he was fighting in Iraq as a U.S. Marine during the initial campaign, letting me know He’d bring him home safely if I’d choose to trust Him and rely only on Him. I have a very close, personal relationship with a very ALIVE God who is more willing to speak to me than I am to listen…I’ve learned that I must give him time and opportunity to speak, but setting aside time to listen. I can’t just rattle off my “want list” in prayer, then leave…I need to allow my heart and spirit time to absorb what He is saying to me. He never fails to speak to me, when I give Him the courtesy of my time and attention, and it’s an awesome experience.

Some writers plot out what they are going to write step by step and others say they write by the seat-of-their pants, which style of writing best describes your writing style?

At first I was totally seat of the pants, with no planning at all. On my second book, Past Shadows, I did a little plotting, in that I wrote the synopsis and had a general idea where I planned to head. On Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA., I did a general outline of the main points of the story, along with a three page synopsis and have found it to be a huge help. I don’t lock myself in to a plot plan, as my characters often let me know they want to make some type of change or addition along the way, but having a general outline helps keep me on track.


Top Things you have wanted to ask Miralee but were afraid to; so I did!!

Coke or Pepsi? Diet or Regular?

Easy one! Absolutely and ONLY Diet Pepsi!! My family says I need to have a diet pepsi drip going into my veins…I think they’re saying I drink too much of the stuff, LOL!

How do you eat an Oreo cookie? If you don’t eat Oreo cookies, what cookie is your favorite? How do you like to eat it? (do you dunk them into milk?) If you do eat Oreo cookies what is your favorite kind? (they have so many now)

I’m not a huge Oreo lover, although my daughter bought a package today and I actually ate two of them…the first I’ve probably had in at least 6 months. I don’t like to dunk any cookies in milk, I just eat ‘em straight, one bite at a time, and never, ever open them and eat the frosting out.

What is the neatest place you have ever visited and why? What made it so neat, special, memorable for you?

I’d probably have to say Alaska. We lived there for a year when our kids were in upper grade school. At first I kicked about moving there, as we were leaving so much behind at home. But the Lord was definitely in the move and I quickly acclimated. He plugged me in to an awesome women’s prayer and ministry group that I ended up leading after just a few weeks (when their leader stepped down). I learned more and grew more spiritually in that year than at any time up to then. It’s an amazingly beautiful state and I still have friends there almost twenty years later.
If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money) to do anything you wanted to do; what would you do?
Miralees husbands 51' sailboat that they have docked at marina in Oregon. It's a beauty.
His sailboat frozen in at the marina.
Miralee's 100 year old house she must moved into.

Wow, that’s tough! I’m going to set ministry desires aside, and make this more personal. Although I will share that if I had tons of money for ministry I’d want to start a ranch/farm far away from the city to take street kids and prostitutes, give them a new home and train them to lead a full, productive life. But for myself? Hmm….I think two things…buy a bigger sailboat for my hubby that we could spend a few months at a time on very comfortably and luxuriously, as well as maybe having a second home where it’s warm and dry for the winter months.

Who is your favorite chef on the cooking channel? Why? Have you ever tried any of their recipes? What did you try and did it turn out?


Sorry, but I can’t relate to this one at all, LOL! I cook to survive, not because I enjoy it. I’ve NEVER watched the cooking channel (I know, I’m hearing gasps of horror from some of your readers) and I’m doing good if I ever think to try out a new recipe from my cook book.

What is one special quality, talent or event you have or have experienced that would surprise people? Please explain.

I don’t do a lot with it now, as writing takes so much of my time, but I used to do quite a bit of oil painting. Mostly land and seascapes…and I took a number of classes over the years to learn the craft.

A Special event that I helped my husband with was raising lion cubs.These are our two cougars we used to have. Sierra, the female on the top is featured in a story that just came out in Cup of Comfort For Cat Lovers that I wrote. Spunky is on the bottom, shown at about 4 months old.


Have you ever been on or would you like to go on a mission trip? If you have been where did you go? If you haven’t where would you like to go and what would you like to do?

I’m not sure I’d call it a mission trip, but it might qualify. When I was 16 I spent the summer with friends of the family working and living at an offshoot of Teen Challenge…a coffee house (not an overnight facility) that ministered to kids on the streets. We did a lot of street witnessing, and had rap sessions and studies at the house with anyone who chose to drop in all hours of the day and up till midnight. I led my first person to the Lord that summer and was able to play a small part in impacting several lives for His kingdom. I developed a love for teen ministry at that time and have always had a wanted to minister to street kids or runaways since that time.

Do you enjoy live theatre? If so, what is the neatest play you have ever seen? What made it special for you? If you don’t like theatre what do you enjoy?

We live in a very small, rural area with the closest theater about an hour and a half drive away in downtown Portland, Oregon. I’ve not been to the theater since college, and while I did enjoy it, it’s not something I’d spend a lot of time or money attending, even if we had one locally. We’re not huge movie buffs, either, although we do attend 2-3 per year. I’d have to say we’re more home-bodies, that enjoy puttering in our garden, taking our sailboat out for a jaunt, or I love riding my horse with my grown daughter (my husband doesn’t share my love of horses).
Miralee's Arab mare Khaila

Miralee its been fun and thanks for letting the ladies in my book club and others get to know you better. I appreciate you hanging out with us.
Miralee's cat - Tom doing what he loves to do - smell flowers. He also enjoyes eating apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, and tomatoes. Wow!!


THANKS again for sharing your heart, time and photos with us. I really appreciate you doing that. It was great to talk to you on the phone the other day and know that you are all settled in your new house and feeling much better. Thanks for dropping by. We look forward to talking to you on the phone at book club next week. All the best to you friend.

Nora :)

12 comments:

  1. I loved this book! Ane let me borrow it with a high recommendation. I was not disappointed. It was intersting how accepting the kids were to this new addition to the household. As adults, we are often hung up on details that can't be changed, but when that good-for-nothing uncle showed up, the Mom defenses took over.

    Thanks for a great interview.

    ginger,
    Suwanee, GA

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  2. The Other Daughter is one of my all time favorite books. Miralee write honest emotions that are so real, it amazed me this was her debut book. The depth of her characters stands equal to those of veteran authors. I want to be Miralee when I grow up. :)

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  3. Great interview. Love the cover. Looks like a book I'll fall in love with.

    Thanks,

    Julie
    www.juliegarmon.com

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  4. Loved the interview and I absolutely love the cover of the book. It was great knowing that Miralee actually designed and photographed it herself!!!

    Gail Mundy

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  5. Very nice interview! Miralee seems like a really great lady with. Her answers are honest and sincere. She does, however, seem a little unorthodox...she doesn't like Oreos or Food Network. Just kidding. :)

    Rachel
    Lawrenceville, GA

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  6. Thanks for all your sweet comments, gals! It's been fun visiting with you here on Nora's site, and I look forward to the author chat on the phone with the book club coming up this next week. Blessings, Miralee

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  7. I was so glad that Susanne finally saw through Jenna. I fell in love with Meagan she was such a wonderful daughter. It was a great book and I had a hard time putting it down.

    Carol Littleton

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  8. Enjoyed the book very much. Thanks for the interview - seeing home photos was a treat. Maybe Miralee and I should begin a Diet Pepsi 12 step program :)
    angela

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  9. I really loved this book. Having been a foster child myself, I can relate to trying to fit into someone else's family. Susanne did a awesome job of helping Brianna become a part of the family - once she accepted her. I also thought the way you brought Susanne to Christ was so realistic. I just really liked the book alot!!!

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  10. I really enjoyed your book! I could see myself good and bad in all the characters...I could relate.

    Ashley

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  11. I haven't read "The Other Daughter" yet as we just moved Cross Country but have heard such wonderful things about it that I am really looking forward to reading it. Your interview was great and I really enjoyed it.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  12. I realize this interview is a couple of months old, but I HAD to add a PS...Angela said maybe I need to join Diet-Pepsi anonymous, LOL~ Exactly what my grown daughter has been saying for years. Well....I finally took the plunge, and have switched back to regular Pepsi, AND cut my consumption in half, or less.

    Also I do like Oreo's...kind of...sort of...well...they're okay, LOL!

    Thanks again for the great interview. Nora does an amazing job putting pictures with these interviews. I'm amazed at the time she spends on each one.

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