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Interview with Marian Merritt

Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. She is an author and freelance writer with over ten years of experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online websites and garnered a first place award in ACFW's Genesis contest.

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
That things are not always as they seem and forgiveness includes not only forgiving others, but ourselves as well. I also hope when they turn the last page, readers feel like they’ve been taken to another place and have been entertained.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Perserverance and obedience to God’s directions was the key for me. I kept going despite many rejections and kept an open mind to different publishers.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I believe the stories I write are God-directed. I pray that I will be given clear direction on how the story and characters develop. I also pray for the readers who will one day read these stories.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I always have a desire to write. Somedays it’s stronger than others. My stories usually start with a single character. I can visualize the character and then I can see their history. I do extensive character sketches with background information about each of the main characters before I begin writing the story. Getting to know the characters so well allows me to truly understand them as the story unfolds.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately so my writing “routine” as been busted!

I try to get, at the minimum, 500 words in each day. Or if I can’t write everyday, I shoot for 1500 words when I sit to write. When I can follow my routine, I usually get up around 7:00 AM, feed the dog, fix a protein breakfast shake and then head to my office or wherever I’m going to write that day. On the days I’ve designated as writing days, I make sure not to check email or go to social media before I start writing. I write for 45 minutes (I set a timer), take a 15 minute break, then write for another 45 minutes. After I’ve reached my 1500 word count in my two 45-minute sessions, I check email, FB, Twitter, etc.

I don’t have must-have snacks, but occasionally I listen to music from the soundtrack“Last of the Mohicians” or the groups Two Cellos or Escala while I write.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
Usually my husband reads my first drafts and makes comments on the story or structure, etc. He read one of my Christmas romances, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and I thought, for sure, he’d hate it because of the romance (he’s a conspiracy thriller reader). To my surprise he liked the story and told me how much he liked the main character. He even gave me tips on how to improve the story. I still laugh when I think about my motorcylce-riding hubby giving me tips on how to write a romance!

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Most of my stories are either set in South Louisiana or have a character who is Cajun. I try to portray the Cajun people in a realistic light. Not many books focus on this culture within our nation, so I hope that the influence of the Cajun foods, characteristics, language, and history all combine to make for a unique reading experience.

The Pinterest board I set up while writing The Vigil shares the recipes from the book and a few pictures of the setting.

Readers can visit here:

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
I think it chose me! I love to read Women’s Fiction and have a passion for stories about women overcoming adveristy. Seems like a natural progression to write those types of stories. Even the occasional romance sparks my creative juices and I can’t help but to write those as well.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I live on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains so there are many outdoor activities my husband and I enjoy. We ride a motorcycle and a four-wheeler in the summer. I am a photographer who takes many pictures during our journeys! I also love to garden, read, and work with clay.

Any parting words?
I love connecting with readers! Here are the places I hang out on the web. Come on over and let’s have a nice visit!

Facebook Reader’s Group:

Thanks for sharing with us, Marian!

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