I am very excited this week to welcome Rita Gerlach to the Bookaholics blog. Rita is a best selling Christian author who has written a number of Historical Fiction Books. One of my personal favourites is The Rebels Pledge. This is the story of Matthew Hale who is sent to the American Colonies as a slave, having rebelled against the evil King James. His Godly owner, sets him free and asks him to return to Britain to bring his daughter to America. It's the sort of book you can't stop reading, and the characters are so alive they leap from the pages and are a part of your life. Rita has also written The Daughters of the Potomac Series, book one of which, Before the Scarlet Dawn is already available to buy, with book 2, Beside Two Rivers being released on 1st of October, and is available to preorder. The Third book in the series Beyond the Valley, will be available in February 2013.
I would like to thank Rita for taking time out of her hectic schedule to tell us a bit more about herself and her books. This is the first interview I have undertaken for the blog and Rita has been very gracious in helping me, a fairly rookie blogger.
1. Could I start by asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a middle child from a large family. I had a vivid imagination, still do, and made lots of stories up. I have a memory as a preschooler standing in my mother’s kitchen chattering on and on about some event. She paused from washing the dishes and said, ‘Re Re, are you telling me a story?” I smiled and nodded that I was. And here I am so many years later, still telling stories. Only now I’m writing them down.
I married my high school sweetheart — a state champion gymnast back in the day, who traded in tumbling for fly-fishing and raising our two sons. I was a stay at home mom thankfully to his job, and was able to write full-time while the boys were in school. We live in central Maryland in a town rife with history that dates back to the French and Indian War. Besides writing, I love photography, quilting, and exploring out of the way historical places.
2. You obviously love writing historical fiction. Where did you get your passion for this genre?
I think it was borne in me as a child. Old black and white movies would come on television that I was riveted to. I know this because anything else did not hold my attention. Some of those films that influenced me were Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Frenchman’s Creek, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, and Jamaica Inn. Later on Masterpiece Theater stirred my passion for historicals with Poldark. I read all these novels and so the seeds were sown into my heart. In all these novels I saw faith, but they went deeper into the human heart, into the hardships people face no matter who or what they are. Not even the most spiritual of characters has a trouble-free character. That is what molded my passion for writing historical dramas.
3. If you were able to go back to any other time period, what would it be?
Oh, that would be a hard decision to make. I would love to live for a while in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire during the Regency period. I would also love to live along the Potomac River in the colonial era. It would be amazing to see how it looked in a time when there were not paved roads, cars, airplanes, or trains. However, I think I would find life a little easier in England than in the wilderness of Maryland where life was a fight for survival.
4. You have so many interesting characters in your novels. Which is your favourite and why?
My favorite hero is Matthew Hale in The Rebel’s Pledge. Matthew possesses all the qualities of gallantry and bravery. His father, a respected physician, and his kind mother, raised him to be a man committed to the scriptures, and reliant on his faith in God’s mercy. His belief in the biblical mandate for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid his life down for it, is the premise for his pledge to protect Lara—even before he lays eyes on her.
My favorite heroine is Darcy in Beside Two Rivers. Darcy has courage and an adventurous spirit. However, she has an impulsive streak that leads her into trouble. Strong willed and independent, she relies upon an uncomplicated faith and an unwavering trust in God that He will lead her in the way she should go.
5. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about writing Christian Fiction?
I have an article on my website for aspiring writers called Perseverance, Patience, and Humility. It is my story of how I acquired a contract and encouragement for writers. In it I share the following.
No matter what happens, if you have a burning passion in your soul to write, never let rejections discourage you. It may take a while to produce a polished manuscript. It may take a long time to find the publisher that is right for you. I learned waiting for that to happen was worth it.
The industry may be tough. But there is one thing for certain. Whether you are published or not, no one can say you are not a writer, and no one can take away the talent that God gave you. Only you can decide what you will do with it.
Read bestselling books on writing. Learn everything you can about the craft, from character development to plotting, to how to write tight. Study how to edit your work. Study the industry and get an understanding of how publishing works. Read bestselling books within your genre. Listen to seasoned authors advice. Above all do not let discouragements get the best of you, and do not write for fame or fortune, or the praise of others. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it and because God blessed you with a talent.
My website is http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com
My blog: http://inspire-writer.blogspot.com
Thank you once again Rita. It has been a real pleasure finding out more about you and great advice for all budding authors out there. I agree with you about Matthew Hale, I think I fell in love with him myself. I can't wait to read Beside Two Rivers, and find out more about Darcy. She sounds a bit like me. Rita, if you like history then you need to come and visit Scotland, where there is history around every corner :-)
I hope you enjoy reading Rita's books. I certainly do. Have a great week everyone and whatever you are reading enjoy it.