Talkshow Thursday: Debut Author Rachel L. Miller
Linda: I'm pleased to welcome debut novelist, Rachel L. Miller to today's Talkshow Thursday. She feels very strongly that God has led her to a simpler lifestyle, thus her deep kinship with the Plain People. She enjoys spending time with her family and doing fun, simple things like swimming, making sun tea, sitting outside watching the sunrise, or listening to rain fall on the tin roof.
Rachel, thanks for joining me today. Your debut novel, A Mother for Leah sounds intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot?
Rachel: Well, first you need to know that A Mother for Leah was written spontaneously-in answer to a challenge from my mother. As far as inspiration, it was mostly a combination of my own dependence on God's will, combined with the curiosity of what would happen when someone in the Amish community chose not to remarry immediately.
LM: The journey to publication can sometimes be long and frustrating. As a debut novelist, what advice can you give to not-yet-published authors?
Rachel: Do not give up. Pray a lot. Trust that God has a plan and that He will get you where you need to be in His time, which is more perfect than anything we can imagine!
LM: Your novel is set in “Windy Gap.” Is that a real location or did you make it up, and if so is there a location you based it on?
Rachel: "Windy Gap" is a made up community. In fact, so far all the locations for my series are made up. Creating my own locations and communities made it easier for me to take full creative license. Also, I knew that was the name of my town from the very beginning and since there was no town that I could find in New York that matches it , I made one up. For those who enjoy knowing geographical locations, Windy Gap is roughly twenty miles north of Allegheny State Park in Cattaraugus County, NY.
LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?
Rachel: I must have coffee, music, and no distractions. Once I am in my story world, if I get pulled away, often it proves impossible for me to immerse myself again. This is why I tend to get up very early to write.
LM: Writing about a different culture must take a significant amount of research to ensure accuracy. Do you have an unusual or favorite research story to share?
Rachel: Unusual, yes. On one of our most recent research trips, I stood outside in twenty degree weather, with cars rushing past me on a highway bridge because I was determined to get a particular shot of an older bridge that was tucked back in the woods off the main road.
LM: What new skill would you like to master at some point (e.g., a foreign language, etc.)?
Rachel: Since moving in our new house, my daughter and I have been learning archery. She doesn't have much distance yet, but her accuracy far outstrips mine.
LM: Tell me about A Mother for Leah.
Rachel: Here is the book blurb:
Will Leah Fisher find love because of a buggy accident?
Could love soften Leah's heart so that she is able to see her answered prayers in Naomi Yoder or will she drive a wedge between her father and the only woman he has shown an interest in since Elisabeth Fisher's death?
Leah Fisher lost her mother ten years ago. She is rapidly approaching womanhood, and the lack is becoming more difficult every day. Will she be able to recognize love when it is right in front of her? Could love be the key to Leah opening her heart, making room for the woman her father intends to marry...or will she stubbornly cling to the memory of her own mother? Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder's happiness at the same time?
LM: What is your next project?
Rachel: Currently I am working on book 2 of the Windy Gap Wishes series.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
LM: Thank you so much for visiting! Best wishes on the success of your novel.