Sunday, August 02, 2009

SURRENDER THE WIND--Book Review and Guest Blogger, Rita Gerlach

My guest this Sunday is Rita Gerlach who's second novel 'Surrender the Wind' is being released this week. To see a fun video preview of Rita's new book, click on this link and go to Rita's website "Up Till Dawn Fiction". Rita's interview is below where she tells us a little about herself and her writing. I just finished reading 'Surrender the Wind', and the story grabbed me within the first few pages.

It's a fast-paced Georgian romance, steeped in history, that had me comparing it to my old favorites by Jane Austen, but with a hint of gothic mystery reminding me of the old classics by Victoria Holt--creaky carriages rumbling along an English countryside dripping with fog, candlelight flickering against mullioned windows, the scratch of a quill pen against parchment.

Rita swept me away from US soil to the misty isle of England where her hero, the American Revolutionary patriot, Seth Braxton, seeks to reunite with his sister Caroline. But danger and betrayal await Seth there, but so does rescue, reunion, and most of all, love. But will the love of the beautiful Juleah and Seth's faith survive a sinister plot of murder and adbuction?

This is a great book to wile away a summer day under a shady tree, or on a wintry day with the rain slashing against your windows as you curl up on the couch to read. You can order the book through Amazon

And now to my interview of Rita Gerlach:

Christine: Rita, Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, your family.

Rita: Well, I was born in Washington D.C., raised in the suburbs, and went to a parochial school that taught me everything about English, from the parts of speech to composition. I remember the textbooks had the title 'Voyages in English'. Little did I know that one day, I'd literally be on a voyage through the world of writing and publishing.

I met my husband when I was fifteen, and we married in 1978. We've been together through thick and thin for 31 years, and raised two wonderful sons. We live in central Maryland in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts.

CL: What kind of things do you write?

Rita: Inspirational historical romances. I also write two blogs --- InSpire and Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers and Readers.

CL: Do you believe you have a calling to write?

Rita: I believe God has called me to to be His, to walk with Him, love Him, love His Word, and to love my neighbor. I believe He blesses each person with a talent. When we discover and cultivate that talent, then we can do so much to bless others, as long as our hearts are never lifted up with pride.

CL: Tell us about your first awareness of God in your life (not your salvation experience).

Rita: It is hard for me to separate the two. When I was nine, I was sitting in church looking up at the cross. I suddenly was flooded with the awareness that Christ had suffered and died for me. That was perhaps the most vivid moment of the awareness of God. But if I think farther back, as a preschooler I had a love for the flowers in my mother's garden, the outdoors, and the sky. Sounds a bit melodramatic, but that's how I was. My mother taught me that God created the flowers and the clouds, and I recall pondering over the beauty of those things. I would say those were the times I became aware of my heavenly Father.

CL: Now tell us how you came to believe in Christ and His promises for your future.

Rita: That day, when I was only nine, sitting in church and realizing what Jesus had done for me was the day I was born again. It was in my teens that I began to read the Bible and saw all the promises God gave to us.

CL: What was the darkest hour of your life, and how did God bring you through it?

Rita: My father died. We were very close. He was a wonderful father and I miss him so much. God is still bringing me through the grief. I take one day at a time, think about the good times, and that we will see each other again. God gave me two opportunities that would help bring me though this dark hour. I was present when a priest came to visit him in the nursing home and prayed over him, anointed his palms and head with oil. He gripped my Dad's hand and told him God loves him, then asked if he believed it. My father weakly replied yes he did. This gave me so much comfort. A few days before his passing, I visited him and we sat together talking and singing. I talked to him about the days in my childhood that were precious memories to me, and he reached over slowly and touched my cheek with his hand. So, God was bringing me through this even before my Dad went home to be with him.

CL: What inspires you to write?

Rita: Classical music and period movies do inspire me. I listen to music when I write. I love Jane Austen’s characters in the recent films that have been produced, as well as Jane Eyre. Dear Jane, she has always been an inspiration to me. But I'd have to say that inspiration really comes from deep within. It's not something I can fully explain. Let's just say it is a passion, a desire to tell a story.

CL: What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?

Rita: That greater than faith, greater than hope, is love. And that in the midst of troubling times love overcomes evil.

CL: What is your writing schedule like?

Rita: Pretty flexible really. I like to write mostly in the morning when the house is quiet and there are fewer interruptions. The weekends are too hectic, so I work on things like interviews, my website and blog, and marketing.

CL: What do you like to do for fun?

Rita: I enjoy gardening. This year I have a huge veggie garden. I like going on hikes in the mountains or along the Potomac River path. Getting away from my desk and getting out in nature is rejuvenating.

CL: What would you like to say to my readers today?

Rita: I'm sure most of your readers are writers. To them I'd like to say learn everything you can about the craft, from character development to plotting, to how to write tight. Study how to edit your work. Study the industry and get an understanding of how publishing works. Read best selling books within your genre. Above all do not let discouragement get the best of you, and do not write for fame or fortune. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it.

For those who are not writers, I hope you will read Surrender the Wind. My goal is to take you out of a harried world for a while and transport you back to a time of raw courage and ideal love.

Finally, thanks to your readers for taking the time to read this interview, and to you, Christine, for conducting it.

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