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Interview with Marissa Shrock

Marissa Shrock has found her niche writing mysteries and thrillers, and is celebrating the release of Deadly Heritage, the third book in her Georgia Rae Winston Mysteries. Although Marissa spends her days as a middle school teacher, the heroine in her current mysteries shares more than a few commonalities with Marissa herself!

Welcome, Marissa. What was your inspiration for Deadly Heritage?
Deadly Heritage is book three in my Georgia Rae Winston Mystery Series, so a lot of what inspired this story came from characters and circumstances in the first two books, Deadly Harvest and Deadly Holiday. Georgia is a corn and soybean farmer from central Indiana who is navigating life as a single woman while solving mysteries in her small town.

To develop this series, I looked to my own life for inspiration. I grew up in Indiana, and one of my grandpas was a farmer while the other owned a farm implement business. My years of singleness also played a role in developing Georgia’s character. Plus, I enjoy reading mysteries and wanted to try writing in that genre.

What did God teach you during the writing of Deadly Heritage? What spiritual lesson do you hope your readers take away from the book?

One problem I noticed during my time writing Deadly Heritage occurred on a spiritual level. Most of my writing time happens on Saturdays, and I noticed Satan would attack me with discouragement about my writing or life circumstances on Saturday mornings. Once God brought this to my attention, I could put on my full armor, stand firm, and pray (Ephesians 6:10-18).

It’s not surprising Satan was attacking me in this area because one of the biggest takeaways I hope readers get from the novel is trusting God when life doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped or planned.

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles or challenges do you face in making time to write?
I’m a teacher, so most of my writing happens on Saturdays, school breaks, and during the summer. My biggest obstacles happen when I’m facing an editorial deadline and need to write on weeknights. I don’t have a lot of energy after teaching middle school all day!

Looking back on your journey to publication, how did God lead you to the decision to publish independently? What advice would you give an author who might be considering independent publishing?
My foray into indie publishing began with the desire to finish the story I’d begun telling my readers in The First Principle, which is a thriller set in the futuristic United Regions of North America. When the publisher opted not to acquire the sequels, The Liberation and The Pursuit, my agent at the time advised me to indie publish, so I did and enjoyed the process.

After I finished those books, I had the idea for my Georgia Rae Winston Mystery Series, but I wasn’t sure if I should pursue traditional or indie publishing. I prayed about what to do, and God closed a big door when my agency dropped me as a client. After experiencing the freedom of indie publishing, I didn’t even have the desire to seek another agent or traditional publisher. I’d never say never when it comes to publishing, but right now I’m happy with where I am because I like having control over the process and deadlines as well as instant access to sales reports.

If you’re an author considering independent publishing, I suggest praying for God to show you the best choice for you and your circumstances because there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

If you’ve never been published, I recommend getting feedback on your writing from ACFW contests or from beta readers. This can help you get a feel for whether or not your writing is ready for publication. If it’s not, keep learning the craft while researching how to publish independently. If your writing is ready and God leads you down that path, then learn all you can about the indie publishing process and go for it.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I like baking pies and cookies. During the summer, I enjoy playing golf.

If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living or dead, who would you choose? What would you talk about?
I’d like to have coffee with L.M. Montgomery, because she’s the author of two of my favorite books, The Blue Castle and Anne of Green Gables. I’d love to hear from her about how her life experiences shaped her characters.


Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance. Her contest wins include first place in the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest. Also a professional cellist, Amanda has been spotted onstage with the worship team at the ACFW Conference. A lifelong lover of the flatlands, she lives in Kansas with her husband and their three adorable Wenlets. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

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