Wishing on Buttercups, Blossoms in Oregon Series #2Wishing on Buttercups, Blossoms in Oregon Series #2
Miralee Ferrell
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In 1880's Oregon, a boardinghouse teems with the secrets of the women who take refuge there. Beth Roberts believes there are some things a lady never shares. But her fellow townspeople are curious - especially one man with a few mysteries of his own. Can she hide her past to protect her future?
     

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 Christianbook.com Interview with Miralee Ferrell


 

What is your favorite Bible verse? Translation too, please.

I love Jeremiah 29:11-12 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

Please tell us a bit about your background and how you started as a CBA writer.

I started writing in 2005, and my first novel, The Other Daughter, released in 2007. I’ve always loved reading, especially Christian fiction, but I’d never considered writing until the Lord turned my focus that direction. A visiting pastor prayed with me after an evening service and spoke into my life. He said he believed God was calling me to write, and it needed to be published. I prayed about it for two weeks, then stepped out in faith and began to write. The result? Several magazine articles were published, and a year later, I signed my first book contract. I’ve seen the hand of God through-out my entire journey.

How did you come up with the concept for Wishing on Buttercups?

It came about as I developed the secondary characters from book one, Blowing on Dandelions. Jeffery, a reclusive writer, and Beth, a seemingly shy young woman, were both boarders at the home Katherine ran, and both called to me to write their story. I wanted to discover what made Beth veer away from people and why Jeffery wasn’t forthcoming about his life. As their stories unfolded, I was surprised at much of what I discovered.

What made you decide to write an historical novel?

My first two novels were women’s contemporary, and I had no desire to delve into the historical realm, until my first Love Finds You book was contracted, and I discovered the town I’d been assigned was a ghost town. My editor asked if I’d be able to adapt the storyline from a contemporary (which I’d started writing) to a historical, and I agreed. I soon discovered my voice and grew to quickly love writing stories set in the Old West. I considered writing my current Love Blossoms in Oregon series as a contemporary, as all three books have women’s issues intertwined with the romance, but I felt they would be better received as historical.

How much research did Wishing on Buttercups take?

I did the bulk of my research for the three-book series prior to writing book one, by visiting Baker City, Oregon for a few days and making contact with local people and a historian there. By the time I started writing book two and three, it was a simple matter of going back occasionally to my research sources and checking a fact or two, but there was no large amount of time that I needed to invest in research by that point.

What is the background behind this story?

The background actually originated from book one, Blowing on Dandelions. I’m a lay-counselor credentialed with The American Association of Christian Counselors, as well as a licensed minister (to women, not a pastor), and as such, have occasion to talk to, and pray with, many hurting women. I met a woman who represented other women I’ve dealt with, who had a very difficult relationship with her mother and despaired of it ever improving. I felt the Lord leading me to depict the struggle of a woman (Katherine) in the Old West, widowed, and trying to raise her children alone, who comes up against the tyrannical personality of her mother when she decides to move in to ‘help’. From that point, I met two other characters, Jeffery and Beth who lived at Katherine’s boardinghouse, who also had secrets and issues I could explore.

How much of your book is based on fact?

There is only an occasional idea or episode in the story based on fact. One scene in particular, where there is an incident with a paint can, came from my family history and was related almost exactly as it happened close to 100 years ago. In all of my books, I try to weave in true events and show occasional glimpses into the actual history that took place in an area.

How did you choose this setting?

All of my prior books are set in the West, but many of the recent ones were not within driving distance of my home. I wanted to find an area in Oregon or Washington that I could easily visit, but it needed to be very close to the old Oregon Trail, and have been in existence in the 1880’s, which narrowed the field quite a bit. I researched towns in both states, and was thrilled when I discovered Baker City qualified on all counts.

What is the most interesting thing that you learned while writing Wishing on Buttercups?

I spent some time digging into our own family history, and I discovered some interesting stories in diaries my father and grandfather kept, along with records my mother unearthed, that I didn’t know before. I was able to incorporate one humorous story into Wishing on Buttercups. I’m not sure I’d have learned as much about my family, had I not been looking for historical elements to weave into my book.

What is the most challenging part of being a writer?

I think that once I was published, the challenging part has been recognizing that this is my career and having the self-discipline to treat it as such. I’m now my own boss and must set my schedule when it comes to writing, editing, keeping up with social media and other forms of publicity, and meeting all my deadlines. There is always something demanding my attention, whether it’s related to my work or my family, and trying to keep everything prioritized and completing it all can definitely be a challenge.

 

What is the most exhilarating part of being an author?

There’s so much that I love that it’s hard to choose, so I hope you’ll allow me to name a couple of things. First, once I was published, I discovered how much I love interacting with my readers and hearing their stories after they’ve read mine. The other part that I truly love is making awesome friends within the industry. I have been so blessed to rub shoulders with amazing authors, editors, agents, and aspiring writers. I’ve established relationships that will last the remainder of my life. After only eight years working in this industry, I can’t even imagine not being a writer.

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

I have a couple of new projects that are in the works. First, of course, is book three in the Love Blossoms in Oregon series, Dreaming on Daisies, releasing Oct 1, 2014. I’m also under contract with David C Cook for a set of four horse novels for middle grade readers, the first of which releases March 1, 2015. I’ve finished #1 and am working on #2. I’m also writing a novella about Pastor Seth, a character we meet in Blowing on Dandelions and see again in Wishing on Buttercups. I’ll be self-publishing two or three historical romance novellas centering on different characters from this series who have piqued the interest of my readers, but who didn’t get the benefit of having their stories told within the pages of my three trade-paperback books. I’m hoping to release the first one in early spring of 2014.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I take a horseback ride with my daughter on the trails extending out from our home. My daughter and her husband own the land adjoining ours, and since losing my own horse this summer, I now ride my son-in-law’s Arab mare. We’ll take an hour to two-and-a-half hour rides spring through fall, and it’s such an amazing time to connect with my daughter while doing something I love.

 


 

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