Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
The calendar hints that spring is coming. Are you seeing signs in your neck of the woods? I for one can’t wait to see some blooming flowers and warmer weather.
Today I have the awesome Regina Rudd Merrick on the blog today. She’s allowed me to ask her some questions related to her book, Carolina Grace. Y’all, it sounds like it’s going to be a good one, so now’s the time to ask her some questions (leave a comment). Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and chat with us!
About the Book
She knows about God’s grace for her life, but pushes it away. He hasn’t experienced it, but finds grace in a way he never expected.
First-year Special Education teacher Charly Livingston demonstrates God’s love on the outside, but is resentful that God allowed back-to-back tragedies to happen to her family.
Rance Beaumont is a top-notch medical intern. He’s on his way to the top, and when he meets Charly, he knows things can only get better. When he discovers family secrets and a dying father he never knew, his easy life seems to disintegrate.
Even in the idyllic ocean breezes and South Carolina sunshine, contentment can quickly turn to bitterness and confusion except for God’s amazing grace.
Toni: Welcome, Regina! Thanks for joining us to talk about Carolina Grace. Since it’s book 3 in a series, can you briefly tell us about books 1 and 2 and if 3 can be read on its own?
Regina: I’m so excited to be here! Thanks for hosting me!
Toni: My pleasure!
Regina: The Southern Breeze Series starts with book 1, Carolina Dream, which features a music teacher (Sarah), a real estate agent (Jared), a heartbreak, an inheritance, and a trip to South Carolina for Kentucky girl Sarah Crawford! Book 2, Carolina Mercy, features Sarah’s best friend Lucy Dixon and Jared’s best friend, Tom. After a tragedy in Kentucky, Lucy comes to South Carolina to be with her best friend and can’t figure out why Tom, whom she met the year before, has ignored her since she left. Anger, heartache, a hurricane, and a wedding figure into the second installment.
Book 3, Carolina Grace, takes place five years after Carolina Mercy. It can be read on its own, but I think readers would enjoy learning what brings our characters, Charlotte (Charly) and Rance to this point!
Toni: Sounds like a journey! Charlotte is a special education teacher. Did you interview other special ed teachers to lend authenticity to her character? Or did you conduct other research?
Regina: Some of my best friends are special education teachers, my husband is a retired teacher and principal, my daughter is currently a middle school teacher, and I was a librarian in the public school system for six years, so I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in a school! I’ve been around the field of education in one form or another for 35 years! 🙂
Toni: That’s amazing! What makes the Carolinas a good setting for this story? How did you choose the location?
Regina: South Carolina is my dream place. My family and I – my family, my sister’s family, my parents – went there on vacation in 2003 for my parents’ 40th anniversary and fell in love with the Pawley’s Island area. A few years later my crew went back and had the same experience. I tell everyone that if given the opportunity, I would move there in a heartbeat!
Toni: I still haven’t been! But it’s on my list. What would be Charlotte and Rance’s life verse and why?
Regina: For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift––not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
I chose this verse because while Charly is a Christian, she has let anger and bitterness (a Christian’s form of rebellion!) pull her away from God even when she’s outwardly in tune with His will. For Rance, he’s just discovering grace and what it means even while his life seems to be simultaneously launching successfully and falling apart. They both come to understand grace in a way they never have before.
Toni: I love that verse! Would you choose sunrise or sunset?
Regina: Sunset, definitely. I don’t like getting up early! I guess that’s one reason I like the Gulf coast of Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama – you actually get to see the sunset! LOL!
Toni: I’m not an early riser either. I only do it to get my kids ready for school. Coastal living or mountains?
Regina: Coastal, definitely. For one thing, it’s flat, and you can walk forever without having to go uphill! For another, the sounds and smells of the ocean are like a tonic to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains, but to visit, not to live! 🙂
Toni: I love the coast too! M&Ms or Peanut M&Ms?
Regina: Plain. Although I really like the Pretzel ones! Have you tried those? They’re light and have a great crunch. I do have several pictures of my favorite “writing pills,” which are, of course, plain M&Ms!! LOL!
Toni: I haven’t but the caramel ones and peanut butter ones are my go tos! Last but not least, how can we pray for you?
Regina: Oh! Thank you so much! Pray that I will be in tune with what God wants me to write, and that I use my time wisely.
Toni: Will do! Readers, do you have any questions for Regina?
About the Author
Regina Rudd Merrick began reading romance and thinking of book ideas as early as her teenage years when she attempted a happily-ever-after sequel to “Gone With the Wind.” That love of fiction parlayed into a career as a librarian, and finally to writing full-time. She began attending local writing workshops and continued to hone her craft by writing several short and novel-length fan-fiction pieces published online, where she met other authors with a similar love for story, a Christian worldview, and happily-ever-after. Married for 30+ years and active in their church in Marion, KY, Regina and her husband have two grown daughters who share her love of music, writing, and the arts. She is the author of three books: Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and coming in Feb. 2019, Carolina Grace in the Southern Breeze Series.