1. How did you get started writing?
It was very unexpected. I visited a neighboring church as they were hosting a guest speaker that I’ve come to respect over the years. He had a call for prayer at the end of the service and I went forward. He prayed for me, then stopped and said he felt strongly that the Lord showed him I had a call on my life to write, and that it needed to be published. I agreed to pray about it and did so for about two weeks. Then I wrote a 100,000 word autobiography beginning with my marriage, and continuing on with our spiritual journey (which I’ve shelved for now). Then I wrote several articles that were picked up by magazines, then a friend suggested I try Christian fiction. I shrugged it off, as I didn’t feel I had any real creativity. She continued to urge and I decided to try. The Other Daughter was birthed from an incident in our lives where an 18 year-old-girl contacted my husband, believing he might be her father. I had no idea if it would ever be published, but God in His grace decided it should be, and I’ve continued from there.
2. How many books have you written, published or unpublished?
Four that are complete, with one of those in rough draft stage. It’s non-fiction and may never see the light of day. Two of the four are published, and one is in process with Kregel, (the sequel to The Other Daughter), my women’s contemporary novel. I’m also working on two new books at this time; another one for Kregel and a second historical romance.
3. How long did it take you to get published?
I started writing fiction in Sept. of 2005, and finished my rough draft of The Other Daughter in 5 weeks. At the time, I had no idea that was fast, but it consumed me and I couldn’t stop until it was complete. Eleven months later I received a request for a full manuscript from Kregel, and four months afterwards signed a contract. So it was a little over a year from finishing the rough draft to a contract offer, and ten months later the book was in my hands.
4. What do you do when you are not writing?
Horseback riding is at the top of the list. My mare currently resides with her equine buddies at my daughter and son-in-law’s house (their property adjoins ours), so when I have a chance to trail ride, I also have a wonderful riding partner in my daughter. My husband doesn’t care for horses, but he does love to sail, so I share that with him on our sail boat (when he’s not working on it, that is). I also love to putter in my flower beds and vegetable garden, and IF I had time, I’d be oil painting scenery…something I used to do prior to writing.
5. Do you have another job or are you a full time writer?
I worked in sales for years, mostly part time when our kids were growing up, then helped out in my husband’s sawmill business for a number of years. We sold that three years ago, about the time I got serious about writing, and I chose not to find another job. The sale of the business allowed me to stay home and I haven’t missed working outside the home. I’m not sure how women do it that raise kids, work and try to fit a writing career into their lives. I don’t think I could have done it when my kids were home and am so thankful the Lord didn’t give me a nudge to write until they were gone.
6. Tell us about your newest book coming out?
Love Finds You in Last Chance, California was such a fun story to write. It’s a historical romance set in 1877 in the old west, during the gold and silver rush. Here’s just a bit about the story:
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 trousers 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. Alex is at her wit’s end when wrangler Justin Phillips arrives in Last Chance with his young son, looking for a job. But there seems to be more to Justin’s story than he’s willing to share. Will Alex ever be able to trust him? More importantly, will the independent woman finally learn to depend on God?
7. How did you find yourself with Summerside Press?
They found me via a good friend who’s a respected author. She was asked to write for their new Love Finds You line at its inception, but had to turn the offer down due to her exclusive contract with another company. She graciously gave them four names of writer’s whose work she respected, who might not be under an exclusive, and I was one of the four. The Summerside publisher contacted me immediately after, then I chatted on the phone with the lead editor, and pitched a couple of ideas. The rest, as they say, is history.
8. Do you have other projects on the horizon?
Yes, I’m very excited about a new historical romance that I’m writing as a possible Summerside book (should I be blessed to sign another contract). It takes place in 1902 in Oregon, and will have a lot of true historical details woven into the story line, including an actual catastrophic event that happened during that time period. It won’t be your typical ‘old west’ scenario as Last Chance was, but will still have the flavor of the west and that time period.
9. Where can people get in contact with you and where can they purchase your books?
I’d love to have readers drop by my web site where they can always find information about new and current releases, see photos of me and my family, and read my bio. They can also learn how I started writing, and sign my guest book for the chance to win a free book. You can visit me there at www.miraleeferrell.com, or stop by my blog at www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com
Books will be available at Lifeway, Parable Books, Borders, Barnes and Noble, some WalMart stores and Sam’s Club, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Christianbook.com, and most Christian book stores. I’d be thrilled to hear from any readers after they finish my book, and of course, I always appreciate reviews left on Amazon, as well.
10. What was it like to do your first book signing and where was it at?
Our small local library hosted my first book signing and we had about 25 people attend over a two-hour period. The library staff mailed fliers, put them up around town, served coffee and cookies and did a wonderful job promoting the event. My first in store signing was at a local (secular) bookstore about 20 miles from my home, along with two secular authors from our community. It was very well attended and the store owner was thrilled with the turnout and book sales. It was so much fun interacting with prospective readers and chatting with people who love reading, and hopeful writers, as well.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to mention that I love doing conference call (speaker phone) chats with book clubs that choose to read my book, and I’ll send out free book marks and promotional flyers if wanted. I’m also available for speaking to groups or doing book signings within a reasonable driving distance from my home. Just visit my web site and click on the “Speaking” link, then drop me an email.
Thank you, Patty, for hosting me and giving me this opportunity to share with your readers!