I'm fascinated by the primary topic in your book - that of an unknown daughter showing up on the doorstep, and the unavoidable upheaval in the lives of those people her appearance impacts. What prompted you to write about this type of circumstance?
A friend suggested that my first book be based on something true from my life, if possible, as I'd have an easier time fleshing it out. I began to brainstorm a few 'what ifs' from our marriage. What if the 18 yr. old girl who'd written my husband a letter claiming to be his daughter, had been a young teen without a mother instead, 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? Hmmm....well, that's exactly what it took to ignite the story within and it grew from there and became, The Other Daughter. And to answer anyone panting to know, LOL---yes...the 18 yr old girl WAS his daughter from his 'Before Christ' days and yes, we keep in touch and have a solid relationship with her and her family.
I'm interested in your character development. How did you go about choosing the various personalities, quirks and habits of your characters? Are they based on actual people you know?
Excellent question and one I'll enjoy answering. In this book, the two main characters both have some aspects of my husband's and my personality or outlook on life. Susanne is much more of my hubby Allen, than me. He struggled with Christianity for years, even though he got 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.
Josh and Megan, the two children of David and Susanne are very similar in personality and interests as our son Steven and daughter Marnee. Steven loved to dismantle things as a child and Marnee was horse crazy (still is as an adult).
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 reader sees? Are there any overt themes that developed as the story progressed? The most important theme to me is the one of releasing control of your life to your Heavenly Father, and seeing that He cares more about your future than you ever can. Until a person bows their will to His and falls into His arms, there will be no true, 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, 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, when we're heading the wrong direction.
What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
The most difficult parts were the revising. I didn't really experience any struggles in the initial writing...it flew from my fingers and mind onto the computer screen as fast as I was able to type. I did the initial rough draft in five weeks, but the revising and editing and additional scenes took several times that long, as I had so much to learn. I found it difficult to tone down a couple of people who needed to be rude and or snotty, but also had to do so in a believable way. My first attempt was very sad....they were straight out of a Grade B movie, LOL!
My favorite parts I think, were developing the characters....especially the children and Grandfather. They came alive for me. Of course, the two younger kids, Josh and Megan, were very similar to my kids, Steven and Marnee at that age, so they sprang to life with little effort. There are no similarities to anyone else real besides those two people, and David and Susanne. But characterization comes easy to me, regardless and my greatest joy is working to develop characters the reader will feel they know. That's what I look for in a book and what I'm trying to give to my readers.
Do you have any parting words of advice?
Keep your priorities in order…God first, family next, ministry and others (including your writing) third. Write for the Lord, and yourself, rather than to be published. It will cut way down on the disappointment and frustration level, and bring a deep sense of joy and accomplishment.
Thank you for stopping by Miralee!
You can read the entire opening scene of The Other Daughter at http://www.miraleeferrell.com/
The Other Daughter has been released and can be found in stores near you. You can also order it at http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.christianbook.com/
Miralee is holding a drawing for a copy of The Other Daughter at the end of her blog tour, which continues through this month . Whenever you leave a comment at one of the posts on her tour, you'll receive another entry into the drawing.
Miralee's blog tour stops...
20th Karen Phillips---Sky-High View
LaShaunda Hoffman—See Ya On The Net
21st Angie Arndt---The Road I'm Traveling
22nd Deena Peterson---Deena's Books
22nd Teresa Morgan---Teresa Morgan's Blog
23rd Rose McCauley---Stories of Faith, Hope and Love
23rd Pattie Reitz----Fresh Brewed Writer
24th Cecelia Dowdy---New Christian Fiction Reviews
Tiffany Amber Stockton--A Fiction-Filled Life
25th Bonnie Way---The Koala Bear Writer
Stormi Johnson---Write Thoughts
26th Robin Grant---Queen Of Perseverance
27th Delia Latham---The Melody Within
28th Jennie McGhan---Jen's Life Journey
29th Susan Lohrer ---Inspirational Editor
30th Carla Stewart---Carla’s Writing Café
31st Christina Berry--- Posting with Purpose
1st Bonnie Leon---Bonnie's Blog
2nd Jan Parrish---Bold and Free
3rd Tina Helmuth---The Ink's Not Dry
4th Teresa Slack---ShoutLife Blog
5th Pam Meyers---A Writer’s Journey
6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog
7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope
8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress
9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger
10th Jamie Driggers---Surviving the Chaos
11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker
12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels
13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll
15th Camille Eide---EXTREME KEYBOARDING
16th Lisa Jordan---Musings