By the Book

where a love of God and good books meet

Tag: Carolina Dream

Full of Character with Regina Rudd Merrick and a Giveaway

Before we begin today’s interview, I want to take a moment to congratulate Sarah Taylor who is the winner of the drawing for both Faith’s Journey and Sara Foust’s book giveaway. Message me, and I’ll get your information to Sara. The rest of you haven’t missed your chance to win a book. Today’s author is giving away an e-book copy of her book. All you have to do is comment below. The winner will be announced next Monday. Only those living in the U.S. can win.

reginaNow, let’s welcome Regina Rudd Merrick to our Full of Character Interview.

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Wow. That’s a tough question! I’ve read many, many books, but I think Laura Ingalls Wilder would be the character (well, she’s a real person) that has impacted me the most. No, I don’t want to get in a covered wagon and traipse across the prairie, but her ability to make the best of whatever her circumstance might be, and her ability show us that the everyday things are what are important, whether it be “making hay while the sun shines” or “seeing” for her blind sister.

 That’s definitely an attitude to aspire to. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I would say that Jared Benton, in Carolina Dream, was the easiest to write, mainly because I had a particular actor in mind, and had written SO much fanfiction based on a show this actor was in, so I could get the subtle expressions and nuances down. And while male characters are usually easiest for me (don’t ask me why!), Tom Livingston, one of my main characters in Carolina Mercy, was harder. I had learned, in my first book, that “wounding” your character was necessary, and I had to give Tom lots of reasons to be a somewhat different person in book two than in book one due to circumstances beyond his control. Lucy couldn’t understand WHY he was so different toward her, and I had to really agonize over that one!

Now, I’m intrigued. I want to know who you modeled Jared after! Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

You’re going to laugh at this one, but David is the Bible character that I love to hate. Last year decided I was going to concentrate on reading the Psalms through as quickly as possible. I got so irritated at David! While many of his Psalms are uplifting and do nothing but glorify God, so many have him whining! I had to switch to the gospels after that! LOL Of course, as a girl, I have probably read both Ruth and Esther more than any books of the Bible. And another woman of the Bible I’m fascinated by is Rahab the harlot. Here she is, a prostitute, but she ended up in the lineage of Jesus, right there with Ruth!

 Isn’t it great to know that God doesn’t count us out of His plan due to our failures. Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you as surprised by them as your readers?

Another lesson learned in writing book 2 of a series is that you have to do some planning before you start. If you’re going to carry characters from one storyline to another, it has to make sense. In book 3, my current Work in Progress, I’ve done even MORE planning, because the events happen (spoiler alert!) 5 years later. I made a list of all the elements based on James Scott Bell’s superstructure plotting method, and then started filling in the blanks. That enabled me to have an outline, but guess what? Those characters still surprised me!!

Wow! That sounds like a lot of planning. If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Oooo. About ME? I would like Patricia Heaton to play me! She’s gorgeous (I can only dream of being that thin!), and she’s funny, and she could probably pull off the pratfalls that would have to be involved in any story about me. Let’s see – I have a scar on my hand from a cheese-cutting incident, a scar on my left foot from a fall during the march-in of a Christmas Cantata at church, I have a scar on my knee from a tumble on Mother’s Day, and I sprained my ankle stepping up on the platform at church on Father’s Day (fortunately, it was AFTER church, so only my best friend and daughter saw the spectacle that time! LOL!). 

It sounds like maybe you should avoid going out on major holidays! I want to thank you for taking time to do this interview. And for the readers, keep reading. There’s a lot more about Regina and her books following. And don’t forget to comment for your chance to win an e-book!!

Book Blurb For Carolina Mercy:

She’s always gotten everything she’s wanted. He thinks he has to give up everything.

Her best friend’s wedding is foremost on Lucy Dixon’s radar. Her biggest concern is once again meeting Tom Livingston, who has ignored her since an idyllic date on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach the previous summer.

At least, it is her biggest concern until tragedy strikes. Where is her loving, merciful God, now?

When Tom Livingston meets Lucy, the attraction is instant. Soon after, his mother is diagnosed with an untreatable illness and his personal life is pushed aside. His work with the sheriff’s department, his family – they are more important. He knows about the love of God, but circumstances make him feel as if God’s mercy is for everyone else, not him.

Can a wedding and a hurricane – blessing and tragedy – bring them together?

Bio:

Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and finally to writing full-time. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church in Marion, KY, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. Visit Regina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or on her website at https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com.

Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Regina-R-Merrick-512257938964888/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reginamerrick/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rmerrick/

Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com

Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

Sale Links:

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945094532/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530227728&sr=8-2&keywords=Carolina+Mercy

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Mercy-Southern-Breeze-Book-ebook/dp/B07DYXW1G2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530227776&sr=8-1&keywords=Carolina+Mercy

 

 

Main Character Monday #9

carolina dream

 

Welcome to Main Character Monday. It’s a little different than my regular blog posts, a little more lighthearted. But stick with it, and you just might find some characters you’d like to read more about. And even though it isn’t my usual devotional style, you may still come away with an encouraging word from the Word. I hope you enjoy Main Character Monday!

Today’s Guest is Sarah Jane Crawford from Carolina Dream by Regina Rudd Merrick. Thank you for joining me.

Thanks for having me, and welcome to the beaches of South Carolina! It’s been an exciting year for me!

A life verse is a scripture that has spoken to you deeply, impacted the way you live your life, or become like a theme verse for your life. What would you say is your life verse?

That’s easy! My life verse is Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. That has certainly been true for me. I used to think that made God kind of a “genie in a bottle,” granting wishes and desires, but now? Now I know that when my heart is in tune with God, HIS desires become MY desires. What a wonderful promise He fulfills every day!

What person from scripture do you most relate to?

I guess that depends on the situation. Many times I feel like Martha – always trying to do the right thing, making sure everyone is taken care of, and not enjoying sitting at the feet of Jesus. This year, I’ve felt a little like Esther. She was placed in the right place, at the right time, and that’s how I feel about my broken engagement and the inheritance that brought me to South Carolina. I wanted to be away from home because I was hurting, and this was the perfect excuse for me – and in the process found that BEST that God had for me!

The New Testament says that all the law and prophets can be summed up in two commands: love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. Which of these two commands do you feel you have the most trouble following?

That’s a very interesting question. I would say my biggest difficulty lies with loving God with all my heart, soul, and mind. My biggest struggle is in trusting Him implicitly, because I try to solve my problems on my own. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a “fixer” and a “planner,” and I’m much more confident when I have a schedule in front of me and know what’s going to happen. I love Him, but I try to take over for Him quite frequently. I’m learning, though! Moving to a new state? Meeting a new love? Considering a new job? Without God, I would be a total wreck!

Solomon asked God for wisdom. If God gave you the same opportunity, what would you ask Him for?

I would ask God for inner peace. By nature a worrier, I’m working toward letting the past stay in the past, and realize that it’s just a part of my life from which I needed to learn more about God and my relationship with Him.

If you could give one message to those reading this interview, what would you tell them?

Do your best to “delight yourself in the Lord.” He delights in you, and wants nothing more from us than to love Him and glorify Him in all we do!

Just for Fun:

Dark or Milk Chocolate? BOTH! I never met a flavor of chocolate I didn’t like.

Autumn or Spring? Both, but Spring has the benefit of coming after dreary late Winter! At the beach, they’re all perfect!

Coffee or Hot Cocoa? Coffee. I like Hot Cocoa, but given the choice, I’d pick a Mocha Latte! The best of both worlds!

If you could describe Regina Rudd Merrick in three words, what would those words be? Smart, funny, and a little self-conscious.

Thank you to Sarah Jane Crawford for joining me for this interview. And special thanks to Regina Rudd Merrick for allowing her to be part of Main Character Monday. If you’d like to know more about Sarah Jane, you can pick up Carolina Dream on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats. 

Nature Speaks

For my husband, I believe it was the first time he saw the ocean. Our family went to South Carolina on a rare family vacation, and I can remember his face the first time we went to the beach. Being from southern Illinois, he hadn’t known what to expect. The beauty of the beach, the size of the ocean, and the sound of the waves were beyond what he’d imagined.

After listening to her describe them, I believe it would have to be the Rocky Mountains for my mom. When I tell her I don’t understand her fascination with them, she tells me it is only because I have never seen them. She may have a point, but I’m not wavering in my choice.

If I were to choose that one place that caught me unprepared for what I was going to see, it would be the Smoky Mountains. I know it isn’t the rugged grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, but there is a beauty that cannot be denied in the Smoky Mountains. We passed through them on the way to Charleston, South Carolina for that family vacation to the beach. We have hills, trees, and cliffs in southern Illinois. They’re beautiful, and I love them. But seeing the Smoky Mountains rise up in front of me, covered in vibrant greens took my breath away. I’ve gone back through the area a couple times since then, and it still amazes me. One day, I intend to visit in the fall. I love fall. And I feel at peace even imagining myself wrapped up in a blanket on the front porch of one of the cabins nestled high in the mountains, drinking hot cocoa and looking out over a riot of colors for inspiration as I write. I can’t imagine anything better.

That feeling of contentment and awe was instantaneous for Sarah Crawford as she set eyes on the beaches of South Carolina in Regina Rudd Merrick’s novel, Carolina Dream. Being one to call Kentucky home, she first experienced that feeling on a family vacation. Returning years later to get more information about an unexpected inheritance, those feelings only intensified. As she spent her days walking the beaches and enjoying nature in the area surrounding the southern mansion her family inherited, Sarah was amazed time and again by the beauty she saw and the contentment she felt.

Even in the midst of difficult decisions about how the family should proceed with the inheritance of the mansion and a portion of a real estate business, Sarah could find peace in her surroundings as she met with the One who created the landscape she enjoyed. As partnership grows to friendship and friendship teases the possibility of a more personal relationship with the real estate firm’s other partner, Jared Benton, time spent together on the beach and mansion grounds helps draw them together. No matter what is going on or what questions Sarah wrestles with, God uses the serenity of His creation to encourage her to not only seek Him but to also listen to what He wants her to hear.

It doesn’t matter where we are, God can use His creation to bring us closer to Him. I don’t have to be in the Smoky Mountains to feel His presence, though I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to experience that feeling of complete amazement at what He’s created. Right here, in southern Illinois, even in my own backyard, I can enjoy the presence of God and get to know Him better through His creation. There is a single tree, apart from the woods behind our home, that brings out that feeling of peace and contentment in me every time I pull up in my driveway or look out my kitchen window. I’m not sure why that tree is so special. Nothing happened there. It’s just a regular walnut tree, but I can’t deny there is something about it that speaks to me.

God’s creation was meant for that. Job 12:7-10 tells us nature knows exactly who its creator is. And we think we’re the smart ones! There are several scriptures about nature praising God. I think it’s this unheard song of praise that we respond to whether we realize it or not. One of my favorite nature scriptures is from Romans 1:20. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” When we look at the world around us, we see the kind of God we serve. We get to know Him better. We see more of what He values. We can stand in amazement at His awesome creativity, provision, and power.

Knowing the One who created everything our world, it’s no wonder we often stand in awe as we drink in the natural world around us. It’s not surprising that we feel contentment and peace. And when we take the time to acknowledge His hand in each of these amazing scenes of beauty, we will also begin to feel His presence right where we are.

By the Book: Where have you found yourself in awe of God’s creation? Thank Him for those experiences, but don’t limit yourself to times when you can travel to new places. Take time to get to know God through His creation in the place where you live.

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