Merry Farmer lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn’t have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she walks along the cutting edge of Indie Publishing, writing Historical Romance and Women’s Sci-Fi. She is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and cricket and is working towards becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer.
Stephanie: Hello Merry! Thank you for chatting with me today. Please tell me about what genre you write in?
Merry: I write in a couple of different genres, actually. So far I’ve published historical romance, one medieval series and one western series set in the late 1890s in Montana. But I also write what I like to call “Sci-fi for Women”, and I have a fun time travel series that I’d like to work on someday. I love the fact that with self-publishing I don’t have to be bound by just one genre. There are so many stories out there to write! I may even try a contemporary romance someday.
Stephanie: What is the title of your latest book and will you please tell me a little about it?
Merry: The last novel that I published is titles “In Your Arms”. It’s part of my Montana Romance series and tells the story of Lily Singer, a Native American woman who was raised at an Indian School back east but has now returned to the west as a teacher, and her fiery romance with Christian Avery, the town’s Justice of the Peace. They find themselves on opposite ends of a dispute over the school, and sparks fly! I really love this one because it’s given me a chance to explore the way Native Americans were treated in this country after the “Cowboys and Indians” era of history. And it was so much fun to write a romance with so many sparks!
Stephanie: How many books do you have published?
Merry: I’ve published 10 all together so far, including one compilation of the three novellas in the Montana Romance series.
Stephanie: Do you find anything challenging about writing in the Romance genre?
Merry: I think the biggest challenge is writing a well-trodden genre in a new and fresh way. There are only so many romance themes out there, and a lot of writers are exploring them. It’s a trick to write original characters and stories. I think one thing I may have going for me in that regard is that I’ve never been interested in the traditional duke or billionaire. I like writing about the regular people, the ones who usually end up as secondary characters. The hero of the second book of my Noble Hearts series, The Faithful Heart, is actually a peasant! Well, he started out that way.
Stephanie: When did you first begin to write and when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Merry: I first started writing actual stories and works of fiction for my own entertainment when I was 10 years old. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, and in the midst of a difficult childhood, reading and writing was the perfect escape. I think I always wanted to be a writer, but for a long time I convinced myself that that wasn’t something grownups did. Looking back, I would say I wasted a lot of time in my 20s not writing when I should have gone for it! The lesson there is never to let outside forces tell you that your dreams aren’t realistic.
Stephanie: What are some of the inspirations for your stories?
Merry: I find history itself incredibly inspiring. There are so many stories that actually happened long ago that people have forgotten. I get especially fired up by the fact that most of the history we learn in school is presented in totally the wrong way and gives people the wrong ideas. Plus the fact that the late 19th century was incredibly advanced in terms of technology, medicine, and society, but for some reason people nowadays assume everyone was backwards. Same goes for the middle ages. It just isn’t so! And I also have to add that my science fiction series, which I will start publishing this summer, actually has a very historical feeling to it. I’m taking a lot of the same issues we faced in the past and applying them to colonists settling a new planet.
Stephanie: Do you work with an outline or just write?
Merry: That’s an interesting question! I used to just write. I would wait for the story to come to me organically. But the more serious I’ve gotten about writing, especially series, the more I plan things in advance. I still don’t sit down and outline everything before I start a book, though. I know about four or five points I plan to hit along the way, but the only time I actually write out where the plot will go is at various times in the middle of the process when I decide I need a compass for the next few chapters. Mini-outlining as I go has turned into an incredibly effective tool for me.
Stephanie: What have you learned about writing along the way?
Merry: That it’s a serious commitment! And you can never rest on your laurels and assume that what you’ve written is perfect. I’m always open to critique, because as painful as it can be, it’s the best way to grow and become a better writer.
Stephanie: Is there a particular writer who has influenced your work?
Merry: As much as I want to say Jane Austen or J.K. Rowling or L.M. Montgomery, my favorite authors, I think the truth is that I learn the most from whatever book I’m reading at the time. That includes beta-reading for friends. By constantly reading new authors and revisiting my old favorites, I learn more, get more ideas, and also figure out what mistakes to steer clear of!
Stephanie: Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?
Merry: Does THANK YOU count? No, seriously! I’ve been writing for myself for years, but this whole thing takes on so much more meaning when I write for other people. And your feedback, whether in the form of reviews or chatting via my Facebook page or even the occasional email, means everything to me.
Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?
Merry: Anywhere you can buy eBooks! Or paperback books too, although you may have to special order them.
Lily Singer has never belonged. Taken from her tribe as a child and raised in a white man’s school, she no longer has a place in either world. Teaching has become her life. When that life is threatened by rumors and prejudice after a string of robberies, she must turn for help to the one man who spells disaster for her carefully ordered existence. Will he save her or steal her heart?
Christian Avery, Justice of the Peace, is used to having things his way. Cold Springs is his responsibility, and when its citizens blame the local Indian population for the mysterious robberies, it’s up to him to restore order and maintain calm. The one person who refuses to follow his lead is the beautiful, native-born Lily. Her defiance turns his life upside down.
But when town gossip shifts from robberies to romance after a foolish indiscretion, Lily’s job and reputation are on the line. She must choose between the only life she has ever known and the only place she has ever felt at home, in Christian’s arms.