Friday, May 29, 2009
1. Welcome, I’m so glad to have this opportunity to chat with you. Can you share with my readers the essence of the story you’ve penned?
While Surrender the Wind focuses on relationships both marital and within a family, it is in every sense of the word of romantic historical novel with the historical ambiance of the period in which it is written, with twists and turns that take readers back to a time of raw courage and ideal love. Seth’s journey brings him many trials, where his devotion to those he loves is tested.
For our heroine, Juleah, she must stand against all odds to be with Seth, no matter what the cost. In so doing, she discovers how very deep the waters of love can flow. So, the essence of this story is multi-faceted. It is a layering of commitment, devotion, sacrifice, duty, honor, and the search for truth, all wrapped up in one word - Love.
2. You’ve chosen a very interesting title. What inspired the title? What inspired the book?
I wanted to give the book a title that reflects the ‘essence’ of the story. Surrender means to release, to yield, to relinquish. Wind is representative of the hardships that knock us to the ground, that buffet us and push against us, that try to impede our happiness and peace. Thus, Surrender the Wind is all about Seth and Juleah releasing those things that came against them to something great than themselves, and a recognition that they could not survive the storms of life without it
3. What makes this book special to you?
Each book that I write has special meaning to me. Surrender the Wind is special because I really do consider it my break through novel. My other books were published through print on demand which, honestly, impeded sales. Surrender the Wind is published by a highly respected publisher and available in bookstores everywhere. It is gaining broader recognition, and the reviews have been awesome.
4. What makes this a book that people MUST read and WHY?
Robert Frost said, ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader’. When I first read his quote, I took it to heart. This is what I set out to do in Surrender the Wind. I make every attempt to write something unique historically, and to allow the reader to feel they are in the story, that they see, hear, taste, and touch, what the characters are experiencing. My novels are emotionally charged, and pull the reader back in time.
Today’s world is very stressful and fast-paced. The goal of my writing is to give readers a respite from a harried life, help them forget their worries for a while, and inspire them to live fully and gratefully. Warning: There are places in this story where you will tear up. There are surprises, twists and turns. There are times you will smile and become endeared to the characters, except for the villain and the odious constable. You will loathe them.
5. What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I remember standing in my mother’s kitchen at age four telling her with great enthusiasm a story. I’d go to sleep at night making stories up in my mind. The spark is innate. That is not to say I don’t have periods of writer’s block. I do. And it is frustrating. But to be specific, I’d have to say reading historical classics and watching period movies such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, listening to classical music or soundtracks, and taking a day’s outing to the country spark my creativity and give me the desire to write.
Tips on how other writers can spark their creativity? Well, you must find what works for you. It might be reading a novel in your genre. It might be music or a walk down a country lane. The key is to be patient for the spark, but do all you can to ignite it.
6. What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
I read your question over several times and really thought long and hard about it. Perhaps it is my tendency to not want to write what the market requires. For example, most publishers are looking for novels where the heroine is the central character. I am drawn to writing about the strong hero who risks life and limb for the woman he loves. Surrender the Wind was rejected by one publishing company because of Seth being the main character in the beginning of the story. But as it moves forward, Seth and Juleah share the main stage together.
When it came to technique, point of view was once my roadblock. I had to learn to stick to one point of view instead of head hopping. The way I learned to do this is to read aloud my writing in first person, as if the character that is the focus in a scene is speaking. My advice to writers having similar problems is to think about why a particular thing is a stumbling block. Can you make it a strength?
7. Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote your book?
I’ve sent out gift packages of stationary to the first three readers who preordered the book. I wish I could afford to do this for everyone that purchases a copy. One thing that I plan to do is to have a bumper sticker made with http://ritagerlach.com/ on it and slap it on the rear bumper of my car.
8. Each author is different in the way they create a work of fiction. Please describe for us how you plan or plot a story.
An idea pops into my head. I jot it down. Then characters come to mind. I keep a notebook for each novel and as things come to me, scenes, setting, dialogue, and narrative, I write them down. I do not do a plot outline. But I do write a short synopsis that guides me along. When I start a book, of often don’t know where it is going exactly. The story unfolds as I write it.
9. Authors are very unique in the way they write, the tools they use, when they write, etc. Please describe a typical writing day for you? How do you organize your day?
Organize my day? I wish that were always the case. In this household, no day is alike, and something always seems to come up to ‘disorganize’ my life. But I like to write mostly in the morning when the house is quiet and there are fewer interruptions. I start the morning by reading emails and responding to them. Then I read a couple online newspapers, and writers’ blogs.
After a cup of eye-opening coffee, I’m ready to delve into my novel in progress. The weekends I set aside for spending time with family. I work on things like interviews, my website and blog, and marketing during the week.
10. What is your current work in progress?
I’m writing a novel set in England once again. It begins with a traumatic event in my heroine’s childhood, and then moves forward to when she is a grown woman. It is a love story and a tragedy wrapped up in one, but with the promise of a happy ending.
11. Can you tell us where to find more information about you and your books and how readers can reach you?
You can find more about me on my website. I have a contact page with my email address. The url is http://ritagerlach.com/
12. What would you like our readers to know about you and your writing?
I want readers to know that I am a writer whose goal is to please. I want to give you your money’s worth. I don’t want to write the same-old-same-old. So, I am hoping I will give you a break from the mundane. One more thing about me, I will leave as a mystery. I am the cousin of the most famous romance writer in America. Can you guess whom?
Note: This interview is scheduled to appear on Mirella Patzer's blog in August, upon the release of Surrender the Wind.
Buy Surrender the Wind at your local Christian bookstore and Barnes & Noble.
Pre-order from the following online bookstores at steep discounts.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
There is a whole other side to the adventure of writing a novel. It's the business side. Marketing is getting your book into the hands of readers. Promotion is building a name, an image.
For those who are not published - yet - you might be thinking this is not a subject of interest to you. If you are treading the journey toward publication, then let me advise you, learn all you can about marketing and promotion now, so you are prepared when the time comes when you will have to step up to the plate. Your publisher will do some marketing, but the bulk of it will be left up to you.
For the prepublished, promotion is just as important as marketing is for the published. You need a website, a blog, a page on Facebook, if you are serious about a career as a writer. You must build, build, build your name.
One popular marketing tool nowadays is the book trailer. Why can't a writer who is seeking publication make a book trailer for the book they are marketing to agents and publishers? Or a 'pitch trailer'? Put it on your website and other sites. Start building interest.
I'll be covering how to build a book trailer in the next post. I will make the steps as clear and as simple as possible. If I can build one, anyone can. I saved a lot of money doing it myself. If you have not seen it, go to my website and it will be on the homepage. http://ritagerlach.com/
So today, think about what you can do as a prepublished writer to promote you and your work. What can you do this week that will start building your image as a writer?
P.S. I've put up a new site for reviews for Surrender the Wind at
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Have you ever wondered why women love those movies where the hero comes sweeping across the screen, swinging by the rigging of a ship to save the heroine from an evil pirate captain. Or how about the hero drawing swords with the villain in a fight to the death to save the woman he loves? Remember the hero who risks life and limb to save the damsel in distress, like Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans?
So many publishers guidelines these days say they only want fiction with a strong female lead character, and the hero to be secondary. Why do publishers think women do not want to read novels about the hero saving the heroine, laying down his life, sacrificing all for her? Instead we are made to believe women only want to read books whose central character is a strong female? I suppose book sales may be what the reason. However, that is not to say women would not want to read about a strong hero if only we were given the chance.
Some of the books I've read adhere to this guideline, but the male character seems like part of the backdrop. Or he is heroic but his story is not told. I am limited to only understanding what motivates the female character, but not the man who loves her. Personally, I like the novel that has a strong, courageous hero as the central character. I would like to see a resurgence of the hero. In society today, don't we need a reemergence of the hero?
What are the traits of a hero?
Since the woman's movement, have we lost the classic hero in literature, especially in the romance genre? Publishers guidelines seem limited to the heroine as the main character. Why? Can we have it both ways? Can we bring back the hero, the knight in shining armor along with the courageous female lead?
Here is a list of memorable heroes in literature.
Captain Peter Blood
Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility)
Darcy ( Pride & Prejudice)
Sir Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)
Hawkeye (Last of the Mohicans)
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Who are your favorite heros in literature?
Would you like to read more novels with the hero as the lead character.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
(Outside my window: Rain. Rain. Rain for almost a week now. The Potomac River is at flood stage.)
It's been gloomy. The sky gray. But as I sat at my writing desk this morning, and looked outside my window, the sun broke through the clouds for a brief moment. It illuminated the green grass, and it looks fluorescent. The bark on my maple tree is black, spotty with brown. I noticed lime-green lichen has sprouted through the bark, here and there.
With every dark cloud there is a silver lining. With every rainy day there is growth. This past week, I've heard from several writers who have said they are feeling discouraged, and they are uncertain what to do about getting published. It's hard to know exactly what to say except...I've been there. I know what it feels like to receive a rejection letter, to feel frustrated and discouraged. The rain will fall. But keep in mind that each rejection letter, each hard critique, and all the time and effort that you put into submissions, even when they go nowhere, is a stepping stone toward publication. Allow your 'rainy days' to sweep you forward.
Patience and perseverance have got to be the greatest strengths in a writer.
A few more advanced reviews for Surrender the Wind have come in.
Rita Gerlach has smitten me with the first chapter of her newest novel. 'Surrender the Wind'. With the tone and dialogue of the times, along with taunt Dickens-style phrasing, she instantly captures her characters. Her imagery is breathtaking: 'The quill scratched over the parchment. Mingled with the resonance of rapping vines outside his window and the crackling fire, the sound dominated.' Every page reels in the reader. I impatiently wait to read the complete novel when Abingdon Press releases it it August.
Bonnie Toews ~ Author of Treason and Truimph
Wow, I just read Rita Gerlach's first chapter of 'Surrender the Wind'! I was completely drawn into the story. So much emotion, so much depth of charater in those few pages. I can't wait to read the rest!!!
Marylu Tyndall ~ author of 'The Red Siren and The Blue Enchantress