I met Miralee at the OCW Summer Conference in Canby, Oregon in August. She's a member of ACFW and so am I so right off we had something in common, aside from the fact that we both love to read and write fiction. She was very excited about her new book and now it's finally in bookstores. I'm anxiously awaiting my copy of The Other Daughter. The story line is captivating and after reading the excerpt I can't wait to dive in. It's a privilege to host her on my blog.
Miralee I can't wait to get my copy of your book. While I'm waiting can you tell me how you came up with the idea for this story?
A friend suggested that my first book be based on something true from my life, if possible. That way I'd have an easier time fleshing it out. I brainstormed a few "what ifs" from our marriage. What if the 18 year old girl who'd written my husband a letter claiming to be his daughter had been a young teen without a mother and we had to raise her? What if her conception had happened while he and I were dating, rather than prior to our meeting, as was the case? What if I were NOT a Christian and he was, and I struggled with Christianity and his faith? That's exactly what it took to ignite the story, and it grew from there and became The Other Daughter. And to answer anyone panting to know--yes--the eightteen-year-old girl WAS my husband's daughter from his "Before Christ" days and yes, we keep in touch and have a solid relationship with her and her family.
It's true that much of what ends up in our books come from personal experiences, but you've really stepped out courageously with this one. Beginning with the "near" truth, how did you develop the characters for the story? Are they at all like you and your husband, daughter, or other people you know?
Excellent question. In this book, the two main characters both have some aspects of my husband's and my personalities or outlook on life. Susanne is much more of my hubby, Allen, than me. He struggled with Christianity for years, even though he was saved prior to our engagement. His main issue was the need to be in control of his life and not bow to an outside authority, even God. He also dealt with some drinking issues, as did Susanne, and some of her arguments at one time or the other, came from his lips.
I'm in there somewhere . . . probably more in the frustration David felt in dealing with Susanne's attitudes toward his faith and drinking.
What themes exist in The Other Daughter that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't clear cut when you set out but developed as the story progressed?
The overriding theme is one of releasing control of our lives to our Heavenly Father, and seeing that He cares more about our future than we ever can. Until a person bows their will to His and falls into his arms, there will be no true and lasting peace . . . and it's tough to find real forgiveness, or give it to others.
The character of Grandfather, a part Native American relative of David's, surprised me. He didn't exist in the first rough draft, but came quite some time after. He was brought into the picture to help both David and Susanne examine their motives and reactions to one another and to Brianna on a deeper level. He's a picture of unconditional love that we all wish for in our lives and the type of person we could all use, especially when we're heading the wrong direction.
The Other Daughter is selling well and has received great reviews. What do you have in store for us next?
I'm working on Past Shadows, the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to mail off to my editor in early November. I've also started something new--a novel set in 1880 Washington State . . . I'm hesitating to say it's a romance, but it looks like it might be heading that direction. I'm playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women's contemporary with an unusual twist. I'm hopiing to start work on it as soon as Past Shadows is completed. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, we'll return to Brianna, the thirteen-year-old girl who arrives at the Carson's door . .. at the age of 23.
Wow, sounds like you've got some good ideas percolating. I look forward to reading more of your work. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.
You can contact Miralee at http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/.
LEAVE A COMMENT AND YOU'LL BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN A FREE COPY OF THE OTHER DAUGHTER!
To continue the blog tour and learn more about Miralee and her new book go to the following blog sites.
Jan Parrish--Care Givers Corner -- http://www.caregiverscorner.blogspot.com/
Tina Helmuth--The Ink's Not Dry -- http://www.tinahelmuth.blogspot.com/
Teresa Slack--ShoutLife Blog -- www.shoutlife.com/teresaslack
Pam Meyers -- Pammy Meyers Writes -- http://pammeyerswrites.blogspot.com