It is my absolute pleasure today to welcome Regina Merrick to the blog to chat about her new book Carolina Mercy!
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.
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?
Hi, Regina! Welcome to the blog!
Regina: Netflix all the way. I love my procedurals, and the occasional movie. I like Hallmark, but I like to pick when I watch! I must admit, if Hallmark wanted to make more Christian Fiction books into movies, I’d be a Hallmark fan for life – especially if they picked one of MINE! 😉
Carrie: I keep the Hallmark Mysteries channel in business EXCEPT when they do Christmas movies 24 hours a day. I like Christmas movies but … in July … all day … enough is enough. lol. And hear, hear! Let’s see more great Christian fiction (including yours!) made into Hallmark movies!
Regina: Pepsi. I know, I get grief for this, but Pepsi is sweeter and not quite as gaseous! LOL
Carrie: LOL!!! Things we have to think about as we get older… haha!
Regina: Um, have you READ my books? 😉 Ocean, please!! Preferably in a warm part of the country!
Carrie: hahaha! I could have predicted this answer 😉
Regina: Both. Soup in the winter, sandwiches in the summer!
Carrie: Excellent answer! The best of both worlds 🙂
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Regina: Probably reading music. I have this ability to gulp in large amounts of information at a glance, which makes sight-reading really easy for me – and fun! But if I could have any super-power, it would be stretch. I hate climbing ladders and step-stools! LOL
Carrie: oh my goodness, YES! I need a stretch superpower too haha!
Q: Tell me some good books you’ve read recently!
Regina: I love this question! I recently met author Johnnie Alexander at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, and bought book one of her Misty Willow series, Where She Belongs, and it was WONDERFUL! I promptly looked for books 2 and 3! Another great book that inspired buying books 2 and 3 was Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley. Oh. My. Goodness. Book 2, Justice Buried, is next in line on my TBR pile right now – and it was recently nominated for a Carol Award!!
Carrie: Yes!! I love both of those series (and authors) very much!
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?
Regina: I’ve Googled lots of interesting things – everything from stagecoach routes to traumatic brain injury to cruise ship floor plans – not all for the same story, obviously! One thing that was harder to Google than I thought was the price of replacing a 20-foot palm tree after a hurricane.
Carrie: I’d kinda like to read the story that utilized all of those, though 😉 lol!
Q: What surprised you about Carolina Mercy or your characters as you wrote their story?
Regina: When I started writing Carolina Mercy, I didn’t intend to put any police business in there outside the fact that Tom was a detective with the local Sheriff’s office. But when you follow your characters, where are they going to lead you? To work! So yes, it was a complete surprise to find a case involving my characters in this book – a bit of a mystery!
Carrie: oooo I’m even more intrigued to read it now!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Regina: For this book, since it was book 2 in a series, I plotted, big-time, because it had to make sense with book 1. Now just because I had it plotted doesn’t mean my characters didn’t change a few items along the way! The ending was even a little different than I expected!
Carrie: I love how characters have minds of their own, even to their authors 😀
Q: In Carolina Mercy, both Tom and Lucy struggle with accepting that God’s love & mercy are directed toward them. What inspired you to include this as part of their story?
Regina: Tom and Lucy had difficulty in two areas: anger and trust. For the first time in both their adult lives, their lives are seriously off-kilter due to this little thing called LIFE. Just as Sarah had to learn to give her fears and trust to God, Lucy and Tom do, too. As with most of us at one time or another, Lucy and Tom are stuck in the rut of wondering why bad things happen to them. You can say “bad things happen to good people” ‘til the cows come home, but it doesn’t help when you’re in the middle of it! It always amazes me how much difference it makes when I trust even the SMALLEST burden to God. Sometimes that small step of faith and trust in God can give you the courage to take a bigger one!
Carrie: Boy, LIFE can certainly throw some curve balls, can’t it? Enough that sometimes it absolutely can have even the strongest of believers struggling with why bad things continue to happen to them, you are so right. And you’re also so right that even the smallest steps leads to bigger trust ♥
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Carolina Mercy & why do you love it?
Regina: “Oh, don’t do that. Don’t smile at me, because when you do, I lose all the thoughts in my head.” She closed her eyes and flushed bright red. “Did I say that out loud?” She slowly opened her eyes and grimaced at the huge grin on his face.
This is my favorite for SO MANY REASONS, but mainly because it gives you a glimpse of Lucy from Tom’s perspective. And his perspective is that he doesn’t think he’s worthy of her. But maybe . . . just maybe. It’s almost as much fun as a kissing scene, IMHO!
Carrie: oooooo I love love love scenes like that! YAY!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Regina: Next for me is Carolina Grace! It will be coming out in February 2019, and some time will have passed between Carolina Mercy and Carolina Grace. You’ll get to know Tom’s sister, Charlotte (Charly), and see how she deals with life as a grown-up! Other than book-related events, I’m going to spend 3 weeks in Northern Minnesota with my husband, who is a trainer with Tentmakers (https://www.tentm.org/)! We will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary while we’re there!
Carrie: Happy happy anniversary! And congratulations on your new book – and the one coming up next!
Regina Merrick is offering a copy of Carolina Mercy to one of my readers (choice of print or ebook, US only for print). Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about this book?