Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Visit with Merrillee Whren!

Here is just a little bit about this wonderful author. Also, a hint-peek at her new book Homecoming Blessings!

Merrillee Whren is an award-winning author who writes for Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. Her second book, An Unexpected Blessing, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award and the Maggie Award. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of thirty plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago but now makes her home on one of God’s most beautiful creations, an island off the east coast of Florida. When she’s not writing or working for her husband’s recruiting firm, she spends her free time playing tennis or walking the beach, where she does the plotting for her novels. Please visit her Web site at http://www.merrilleewhren.com/.

SDC: As we look forward to learning more about you, Merrillee, let’s take a couple of minutes together, okay? How about, after a long day of writing or revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?

MW: Since I do most of my writing in the evening, I probably go straight to bed.

SDC: Can you remember how many rejection slips you received before you got your first contract, and if so, what did you do when you got your very first one?
What then encouraged you to continue writing?

MW: I never did keep count of the rejections, but I did keep count of the years. I wrote and sent in manuscripts for twenty years before I made my first sale. After the first rejection, my dear hubby sent me roses. I remember that part, but I don’t remember whether I cried. I know I did cry after some rejections, especially the ones where my hopes were high. I wasn’t discouraged by that first rejection. I think in the back of my mind I expected it. Rejections were part of the learning process. I had one rejection that nearly made me quit, but after a couple of months those characters in my head wouldn’t leave me alone until I told their story. This book became my first sale.

SDC: What advice do you have for other authors new in the field of writing who may not yet be published?

MW: Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep submitting. Don’t give up.

SDC: I always seem to find at least one ghastly mistake in my novels AFTER they are published, and if anything keeps me humble that does, because it is too late to fix what is already in print. What is the one thing that keeps you humble about being a published author, Merrillee?

MW: Reviews and reader mail keep me humble. These two things remind me that not everyone loves my work. I’ve had some wonderful reviews, and I’ve had some that weren’t so wonderful. I’ve also had reader mail that makes my day because the readers praise my books and tell me they can’t wait for the next one, but I also get mail that isn’t so complimentary. I had a letter from a woman who said my books were the only books she could read all the way through. She had tried others, but no books were as good as mine. The same week I got another letter in which the reader told me she couldn’t get past the second chapter in my book. It was only the second book in all the hundreds of books she has read over the years that she couldn’t finish. Talk about keeping me humble. That will do it.

SDC: What is your MERRILLEE secret to writing a good book? Willing to tell us?

MW: I have no secret. I’m an organic writer. When it’s all finished, I wonder how I did it. However, there is one thing I try to do with all my books—put myself in the place of my characters and feel their emotions. And I ask God to guide me as I write.

SDC: It’s been so great having you here. I understand you want to donate one of your books to a reader. Tell us about it, and also where people can go to find your books.

MW: My latest book is HOMECOMING BLESSINGS from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Here is a blurb:

Big-city businessman Peter Dalton doesn't think he and fresh-from-the-field missionary Ashley Hiatt have anything in common. Until his boss—her father—pairs them together on a special project to help those less fortunate. Suddenly, instead of making money, Peter is making dreams come true. He's a changed man. Well, maybe not when comes to settling down. With his past, he's just not cut out for family life. But lovely Ashley seems to think otherwise...and is making it her mission to prove it for good.

You can visit my Web site: http://www.merrilleewhren.com/
I have numerous links to places where you can buy my book online, or it can be found at most Wal-marts, K-Marts, Targets and many grocery or drugs stores across the country during the month of April. You can also order it at any bookstore.
What are some things that keep you best in the state of humility?
Send in your comments and win one of Merrillee's books!
CONGRATULATIONS TO SHERRINDA KETCHERSID of TEXAS, who just won a copy of Merrillee's new book! Woo Hoo! Watch for your book, and be sure to let us know your thoughts!
Blessings: Shirley


  1. The interview was interesting &
    I think her books would be also.

  2. Merrille's books are very faith filled and it is clear that God directs her life.

  3. Pattayo,
    Thank you. I love being able to write stories in which I can share my faith through my characters.

  4. this sounds like a really good book too. And great question.
    I think not a day goes by that something doesn't bring me to humility. LOL
    Heidi O'Connell

  5. Great interview! I would love to be able to plot my books while walking along the beach...sounds like heaven.

    As for keeping me hunble? My kids do a good job of that! I may think I know it all, but God keeps showing me that He is the best caretaker, not little ol' moi!

    I'd love a chance to win this book!

  6. The stupid things I say sometimes do a great job of keeping me humble (and my husband, and my kids, and my friends...)


  7. This was such an inspiring interview. 20 years of rejection slips and she still believed enough to keep writing. I so admire her fortitude.

    I cannot believe how readers vary.....books I have LOVED have been panned by other readers and I wonder, "Did we read the same book?" Different strokes I guess.

    I would be so honored to be in this contest...please enter me.

    Gayla Collins

  8. Little kids keep me humble!
    They say the most amazing things!

  9. Heidi,
    I know what you mean about having something happen every day that keeps you humble.

  10. Sherrinda,
    I love your name. The beach here is great. I'm reminded of our great God and His creation every time I go to the beach and see the vast ocean.

  11. Janna,
    My kids are here for Easter, and they will keep you humble.

  12. Gayla,
    Just about the time when I was ready to really give up, God gave me a clear sign that He wanted me to write. Every time I need that little spark of encouragement, He is there.

  13. I can relate to feeling like a changed person from time to time depending on my life experiences. I would love a chance to win a copy of the book, it looks very interesting. Please enter me in the contest. Thanks Katherine


  14. Hmm...what keeps me humble? Probably me and the way I fumble through life! Great question and I loved the interview. Merrillle, you are an inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Allie Conklin

  15. What a great interview and the book sounds like it will be great as well. Please put me in the contest as would love to win the book.


  16. The most humbling thing in my life is that I make mistakes. Many times with an audience! But God has used this to teach me that all people err, and deserve to be forgiven by me. I have no right to hold a grudge.


  17. I would love to win one of your books, please enter me into your contest if you have one.

    May God bless