I’m always delighted to talk with today’s guest. I knew her loooooooong before I started blogging – back in our fanfiction writing days – and it’s always exciting to see the early stages of a writer’s journey and then celebrate with them when their books are published. Today, she’s here to chat about her newest release, Carolina Grace.
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 is the author of three books: Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and Carolina Grace (Feb. 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series.
SERIES: Southern Breeze #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Mantle Rock
RELEASE DATE: February 5, 2019
She knows about God’s grace for her life, but pushes it away. He hasn’t experienced it, but finds grace in a way he never expected.
First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies to happen to her family.
Rance Beaumont is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things can only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy life seems to disintegrate.
Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment can quickly turn to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace.
Hi friend! Welcome back to the blog!
Regina: This time of year, SUMMER! Winter seemed inordinately long this year, didn’t it? I wasn’t prepared for a frost in mid-April! Ask me again in August, and I may be longing for Winter! LOL!
Carrie: And here I am, in the same state, complaining that “We barely HAD winter!” hahaha
Regina: Usually music, because when I get involved in an audiobook, I want to concentrate just like I would if reading. But for traveling? Audiobooks and podcasts all the way!
Carrie: Yes, I’m the same way…. except i like music on trips too. Interspersed with podcasts and an occasional audiobook
Regina: Pepsi. I can tolerate Coke, but I’ve always liked the sweeter taste of Pepsi, and sometimes crave it if I’ve been “on the wagon” for a while!
Carrie: And you think you know someone…. 😛
Regina: Sandwich. I love, love, love a good sandwich. My favorite? Barbecued ham with mayo and tomato. Yum. That spells summer to me! In winter I grill them to get my sandwich fix! 😉
Carrie: I don’t think I’ve ever had a barbecued ham … much less a barbecued ham sandwich. I’m intrigued…
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Regina: That’s a tough one. Maybe falling down and not getting hurt? LOL! I think, musically, sight-reading on the piano is somewhat of a superpower. I’m still looking for one connected to writing!
Carrie: hahaha! I think being able to play the piano at all should be considered a superpower 😉 So should writing!
Q: Which books are “on your nightstand”?
Regina: Okay, now I’ll be a little embarrassed . . . I’m sending you a picture, but here’s a list – and these are LITERALLY on my nightstand! “Their Family Blessing” by Lorraine Beatty, “The Erie Canal Brides Collection,” “Justice Delivered” by Patricia Bradley, “Prairie Fires” by Carolina Fraser (the non-fiction stuff tends to sit there a LONG time . . .), “So Close to Amazing” by KariAnne Wood (also non-fiction, but I read a little at a time!), “Summer Plans and Other Disasters” by Karin Beery, “Keeper of Coin” by Mary Kay Tuberty, “Even if you Don’t: A Love Story” by Brian C. Taylor. You will note I also have my tablet in the stack, which has over 500 books on the Kindle app . . . 🙂
Carrie: LOL i love it! And we won’t talk about how many books are on my Kindle…. lol
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Regina: Charly and Rance here. Regina Rudd Merrick is awesome. She listens to what we say and never argues with us when we want to take the story in a different direction . . . hahahahahaha! You want the scoop in the REAL Regina? Alrighty then, here you go: She treats us well, but I must say, it took her a while to get to know us. You see, we hadn’t been lurking in her mind for years like the main characters of her other two books, and we were the kind of people who liked to throw monkeywrenches into her plans from time to time. She does like to procrastinate. Mostly, I think, because she’s a little bit of a perfectionist and can’t stand it when time gets away from her and she hasn’t accomplished what she thought she should. Email is her Achilles heel – she’s followed so many blogs and writers and feels obligated to read each one! She also has a hard time when people compliment her on her writing. To her, it’s just part of what she does, no big deal. I think she felt rushed on this one, and a little unsure, so when a reader calls her up ON HER LANDLINE and tells her that this was her best of the three, she is stunned. I think part of the problem was that she didn’t eat as much chocolate as she should have while writing about us. Writers shouldn’t try to diet AND write, you know!
Carrie: This may be my favorite answer to this question so far! I’ve heard from so many authors how reader encouragement always seems to come at just the right time. And … uh … never give up chocolate while reading or blogging. I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement 😉
Q: What surprised you about Carolina Grace or your characters as you wrote their story?
Regina: Carolina Grace was a revelation to me in so many ways! For the first time I wrote about a believer falling in love with a non-believer, and I had them doing some things that I never would have thought possible. Rance got himself in hot water at one point, and I wasn’t sure how he was going to get back in Charly’s good graces!
Carrie: uh oh! Now I’m even more excited to read this one 😀
Q: If Hollywood wanted to produce Carolina Grace as a movie, who would you want to be cast as the lead roles?
Regina: That’s an easy one! 🙂 Rance is Chris Pine, and Charly is a blonde Jennifer Lawrence. Wouldn’t they be an adorable couple?
Carrie: You had me at Chris Pine…
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Carolina Grace?
Regina: While I wrote Carolina Grace, I discovered something about the themes I write about. They are the same themes that tug at me on a daily basis: fear and insecurity. God works on us where we are, and He let me work through some things in those areas that I didn’t realize I was still hanging on to. Basically, those are the things I will write about, no matter what, and I think God has given me an audience of people like myself – people who think they can’t be good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough to do God’s will, but do it anyway, and learn to depend on God through the process!
Carrie: Yes! Amen!
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: While Carolina Grace is the third and final (probably?) book in the Southern Breeze Series, I am including a Southern Breeze story in a novella collection this fall from Mantle Rock Publishing! I and three other MRP authors – Pam Harris, Kathy Cretsinger, and Diane Turpin (our illustrious cover-designer!) are all writing romance connected only by the fact that they take place on the BEACH! Watch for it in September – it doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll keep you posted! I will also be writing with a wonderful group of writers in the Mosaic Collection! My book is set for next June, but starting in August 2019, we will produce one contemporary romance per month by different authors, starting with Stacy Monson!
Carrie: Yay! How fun!
Regina Merrick is offering a Kindle copy of Carolina Grace to one of my readers! (Open internationally except 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 Regina and/or her book?