Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Author Interview - Rita Gerlach

1. Welcome, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to chat with you. Can you share with my readers the essence of the story you’ve penned?

Thanks for having me, Mirella. It is a privilege.

While Surrender the Wind focuses on relationships both marital and within a family, it is in every sense of the word of romantic historical novel with the historical ambience of the period in which it is written, with twists and turns that take readers back to a time of raw courage and ideal love.

Seth’s journey brings him many trials, where his devotion to those he loves is tested. For our heroine, Juleah, she must stand against all odds to be with Seth, no matter what the cost. In so doing, she discovers how very deep the waters of love can flow.

So, the essence of this story is multi-faceted. It is a layering of commitment, devotion, sacrifice, duty, honour, and the search for truth, all wrapped up in one word - Love.

2. You’ve chosen a very interesting title. What inspired the title? What inspired the book?

I wanted to give the book a title that reflects the ‘essence’ of the story. Surrender means to release, to yield, to relinquish. Wind is representative of the hardships that knock us to the ground, that buffet us and push against us, that try to impede our happiness and peace. Thus, Surrender the Wind is all about Seth and Juleah releasing those things that came against them to something great than themselves, and a recognition that they could not survive the storms of life without it.

3. What makes this book special to you?

Each book that I write has special meaning to me. Surrender the Wind is special because I really do consider it my break through novel. My other books were published through print on demand which, honestly, impeded sales. Surrender the Wind is published by a highly respected publisher and available in bookstores everywhere. It is gaining broader recognition, and the reviews have been awesome.

4. What makes this a book that people MUST read and WHY?

Robert Frost said, ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader’. When I first read his quote, I took it to heart. This is what I set out to do in Surrender the Wind. I make every attempt to write something unique historically, and to allow the reader to feel they are in the story, that they see, hear, taste, and touch, what the characters are experiencing. My novels are emotionally charged, and pull the reader back in time.

Today’s world is very stressful and fast-paced. The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite from a harried life, help them forget their worries for a while, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully.

Warning: There are places in this story where you will tear up. There are surprises, twists and turns. There are times you will smile and become endeared to the characters, except for the villain and the odious constable. You will loathe them.

5. What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I remember standing in my mother’s kitchen at age four telling her with great enthusiasm a story. I’d go to sleep at night making stories up in my mind. The spark is innate. That is not to say I don’t have periods of writer’s block. I do. And it is frustrating. But to be specific, I’d have to say reading historical classics and watching period movies such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, listening to classical music or soundtracks, and taking a day’s outing to the country spark my creativity and give me the desire to write. Tips on how other writers can spark their creativity? Well, you must find what works for you. It might be reading a novel in your genre. It might be music or a walk down a country lane. The key is to be patient for the spark, but do all you can to ignite it.

6. What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?

I read your question over several times and really thought long and hard about it. Perhaps it is my tendency to not want to write what the market requires. For example, most publishers are looking for novels where the heroine is the central character. I am drawn to writing about the strong hero who risks life and limb for the woman he loves. Surrender the Wind was rejected by one publishing company because of Seth being the main character in the beginning of the story. But as it moves forward, Seth and Juleah share the main stage together.

When it came to technique, point of view was once my roadblock. I had to learn to stick to one point of view instead of head hopping. The way I learned to do this is to read aloud my writing in first person, as if the character that is the focus in a scene is speaking.

My advice to writers having similar problems is to think about why a particular thing is a stumbling block. Can you make it a strength?

7. Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote your book?

I’ve sent out gift packages of stationary to the first three readers who preordered the book. I wish I could afford to do this for everyone that purchases a copy. One thing that I plan to do is to have a bumper sticker made with on it and slap it on the rear bumper of my car.

8. Each author is different in the way they create a work of fiction. Please describe for us how you plan or plot a story.

An idea pops into my head. I jot it down. Then characters come to mind. I keep a notebook for each novel and as things come to me, scenes, setting, dialogue, and narrative, I write them down. I do not do a plot outline. But I do write a short synopsis that guides me along. When I start a book, of often don’t know where it is going exactly. The story unfolds as I write it.

9. Authors are very unique in the way they write, the tools they use, when they write, etc. Please describe a typical writing day for you? How do you organize your day?

Organize my day? I wish that were always the case. In this household, no day is alike, and something always seems to come up to ‘disorganize’ my life. But I like to write mostly in the morning when the house is quiet and there are fewer interruptions. I start the morning by reading emails and responding to them. Then I read a couple online newspapers, and writers’ blogs. After a cup of eye-opening coffee, I’m ready to delve into my novel in progress. The weekends I set aside for spending time with family. I work on things like interviews, my website and blog, and marketing during the week.

10. What is your current work in progress?

I’m writing a novel set in England once again. It begins with a traumatic event in my heroine’s childhood, and then moves forward to when she is a grown woman. It is a love story and a tragedy wrapped up in one, but with the promise of a happy ending.

11. Can you tell us where to find more information about you and your books and how readers can reach you?

You can find more about me on my website. I have a contact page with my email address. The url is

12. What would you like our readers to know about you and your writing?

I want readers to know that I am a writer whose goal is to please. I want to give you your money’s worth. I don’t want to write the same-old-same-old. So, I am hoping I will give you a break from the mundane.

One more thing about me, I will leave as a mystery. I am the cousin of the most famous romance writer in America. Can you guess whom?

Thanks, Mirella, for the interview. It was a pleasure. And thank you for reading and reviewing Surrender the Wind!


Ms. Lucy said...

Love the interview:) I'm so curious though...who is the cousin??

Debra E Marvin said...

Nice interview - great questions.
I've been watching for this book for months and I am planning on buying it soon, Rita. I hope it's available at the ACFW conference.

You all do a wonderful job with this blog; I'm glad I found it.