Sunday, April 11, 2010
Author Interview: Gerrie Ferris
Today I have the pleasure of introducing Gerrie Ferris. Gerrie uses her years of experience as a journalist, writing about real life crime, to write compelling novels of crime fiction. This is Gerrie's first visit to my blog.
SW: Welcome, Gerrie! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself?
GF: I was born in St. Louis, Mo., educated at the University of Missouri, moved to Georgia to work for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. I'm married to Col Alan Jay Finger, USMC (Ret.)
SW: When did you first become interested in writing?
GF: Like most writers, my love of the written word began at an early age. Writing, shaping letters, was fun. Putting sentences together was even more fun. I always loved to write home to "Mom and Dad" when I went away to camp. Since I was a little girl, I found I could get my point across better by writing than speaking.
SW: Yes! More time to consider one's thoughts and words. What genre do you prefer writing/reading? And why does this genre appeal to you?
GF: The short answer is: crime. Whether romantic suspense or traditional mystery, I'll always have a criminal aspect to the story.
SW: Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
GF: I knew I would write novels one day, but my journey was not linear. I married in college, had two children, then didn't work until my children were school age. During that time, I wrote a novel. It was never published. I submitted to a few agents and publishers, and got nice remarks and encouragement to keep writing. I landed a job at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where I worked for almost twenty years. I retired to write novels.
SW: How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
GF: I write by the scene method, building the story scene upon scene keeping in mind the setting and where my characters obviously go next. I research as I write, as the necessity to know things my characters get into arises. I build toward an arc, the scene where the hero or heroine has an epiphany. I know how the story will end and keep within that structure. Sometimes it's hard to keep the characters in line.
SW: This is very similair to my method. Tell us about your Laura Kate Plantation series?
GF: In this romantic suspense series, Laura Kate O'Connell is a strong heroine who doesn't hesitate to go head-to-head with tough men. She was born and raised in South Georgia. Her family goes back to the southern aristocracy, but her grandfather and father squandered her immediate family's riches. Her father and brother died and her mother lives in an unreliable state of mind. Thus Laura Kate was raised by her wealthy Uncle Wallace, owner of Live Oaks Plantation.. She pursued a career as an overseas correspondent until a death in her family called her home and she inherited the plantation. Her passion for justice, and her investigative expertise learned as a reporter, along with her intimate knowledge of her community, make her an excellent unofficial private investigator when murder shows up. In "When Serpents Die", Laura Kate finds herself attracted to the irreverent, but charming Jack Rhodes. They fall in love. In "Honored Daughters", Jack wants to marry her, but she wavers because she harbors an idea that someday she might return to her career. She has the time to ponder her indecision because Jack's in England, and she's pursuing a murderer, who may be her stalker.
SW: Yikes! Sounds really intriguing! What inspired you to write this?
GF: Having lived in Georgia and reported from all over the southeast, I came across characters like those I create in the Plantation novels. The character of Laura Kate can be likened to a modern Scarlet O'Hara – headstrong, beautiful – but unlike Scarlet, she is not spiteful. She would never be a home-wrecker.
SW: What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing? Any long term goals?
GF: Creating stories that entertain readers. That is my short and long term goal.
SW: Love the purity of that! Any ideas for future projects?
GF: I have two more Laura Kate's in the works. "Wagon Dogs" will be released by Desert Breeze in October 2010. My mystery novel, "The End Game", will be released on April 27 in hard cover. I hope I sell the second in the series.
SW: Excellent! Any other hobbies or interests to share?
GF: I play golf, garden and love to go boating.
SW: Other than your book, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
GF: Write what you know and learn everything about the discipline you choose, or the discipline that chooses you. I'm naturally drawn to crime fiction, while others prefer fantasy or romance or the literary style. Each has its demands and techniques. Understand how character, plot, theme, setting interact within a given genre. There are many excellent books to guide you. And, if you're with Desert Breeze, trust your editor. Gail Delaney is a gem.
SW: That she is! Thank you Gerrie, and best of luck with you current and future novels.
Gerrie is giving away the first two book in her Laura Kate series, When Serpents Die and Honored Daughters. Just leave a comment (with your email) to enter the drawing. I'll post the winner on Wednesday.
For more about Gerrie Ferris and her books:
Also, I'd like to remind everyone that Desert Breeze Publishing is celebrating their one year anniversary by offering 20% off the entire catalog. Enter 1yrdbp at checkout.