For the next few months I will be hosting western historical authors I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the Pioneer Hearts group on Facebook. Today, I’m happy to welcome the very talented Merry Farmer.
About the author: Merry Farmer is an award-winning novelist who 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 have something to write about. Her books have topped the Amazon and iBooks charts and finalled in the prestigious RONE and Rom Com Reader’s Crown awards.
Howdy, Merry. Let’s start with you telling us how you began writing.
Sure thing, Lyn. I’ve actually been writing since I was ten years old and realized that I didn’t need my teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. I remember the moment vividly. I had been hoping and hoping that Mr. Morley would give us a writing assignment for weeks. Once again, he hadn’t. But right after that Language Arts class, we had recess. I hated going outside and running around, so it just dawned on me that while everyone else was being rowdy I could just take out a piece of paper and write something. So I did.
Smart girl! What’s your best time of day to write? On average, how many hours a day do you write?
I have two times during the day that I write. I wake up at 5:30am and write for about an hour before I get ready for my day job. Then, when I get home at night, after supper, I write for about an hour and a half. I tend to write fast, so those two and a half hours usually net me about 3,000 words. I also happen to believe it’s very important to write on a schedule, because then your brain is used to the creative process at that time of day.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you choose it?
At the moment, I only publish under my real name, Merry Farmer. But starting next year, I’ll be publishing different genres with different pen names. I always said I would never write under a pen name, but as it turns out, all those people who told me that readers who are used to seeing you write in one genre for each name are right. So from now on, different genre, different name.
I’ve heard that too. Are you self-published? If so, what made you choose this route?
I’m self-published. I was never particularly interested in publishing traditionally because I really love a good challenge. And believe me, self-publishing is a tremendous challenge! I love the independence and freedom to work on whatever projects I want in my own time. It’s like owning a small business though. So much work!
So true! Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?
I do! I have a core group of writer friends who are the most excellent beta-readers a gal could hope for. They encourage me and keep me heading in the right direction. I also like to invite “guest beta-readers” to take a look at my stuff now and then to get a fresh perspective.
Are your books professionally edited?
Absolutely! I am a firm believer that every writer should have a professional editor take a look at their manuscripts before they publish. We are not good judges of our own work. We need someone to examine the story to be sure we’re telling it in the most effective way possible, and we need someone to come along and clean up all of our copy errors.
I totally agree. If money was no object, what extravagant thing would you do or buy?
I love traveling, so I would want to buy a whole lot of plane tickets to exotic places. But I also have this idea that I should just buy one of those awesome, high-tech RVs with the sides that pop out and just live in one of those, constantly traveling. I guess that would make me a gypsy, eh?
LOL The gypsy life could be fun. What book are you reading now? Is this by a new author to you, or an old favorite?
Right now, I’m reading The Countess Conspiracy, by Courtney Milan. Courtney is one of my favorite authors, both because the kind of characters she writes are the kind of characters I want to write. She’s also an amazingly helpful and intelligent woman who is always ready to step up and help her fellow authors. She’s amazing.
Now a touchy subject: How do you react to a bad review of your book?
The first really bad review I ever got had me weeping into my Cheerios for two weeks. It also happens, to this day, to be the worst, most scathing review I’ve ever gotten. After that, all other bad reviews have paled. I will admit, I replied to that reviewer, thanking them for their opinion and mildly disputing a few of their points. I shouldn’t have done that and I’ve never done anything like that since. These days, I tend not to read reviews at all. They’re not for me. They’re for future readers to decide whether we’re a good author/reader fit.
I think you’re right not to read them. If you don’t mind telling us, which of your books has been most favorably reviewed?
You know, the book I just published, Trail of Kisses, the first in my Hot on the Trail series about the Oregon Trail, has had the highest number of positive reviews in the fastest amount of time of all my books so far. But I do believe that my book In Your Arms, which is part of the Montana Romance series, has the highest ratio of great reviews to date.
Both books sound terrific! Now here’s a tempting taste of Merry’s new book.
Someone is trying to kill Lynne Tremaine. After her father sentences two members of The Briscoe Boys gang to death, Judge Tremaine feels he has no choice but to send Lynne to Denver City along the Oregon Trail to live with her Uncle George…against her will. For Lynne, the only thing worse than being sent away to the wild west is making the journey with the handsome, arrogant, wicked man her uncle has hired to escort her. Especially when the anger she feels toward him begins to turn to something hotter.
Cade Lawson is determined to prove himself to his employer, George Tremaine, after letting him down months earlier. But what he thought would be his second chance may, in fact, be a harsh punishment for his past mistakes. Lynne is headstrong, fiery, and determined to show him she is fearless. She is also beautiful and tempting, and when Cade sees just how afraid she really is underneath her brave act, he may be in danger of losing his heart to her forever. When her would-be killer attacks, it’s all he can do to keep Lynne safe.
He swore to protect her, but who will protect him from her?
The sharp cry Lynne gave as she bent to retrieve her towel from the bush where they’d left their clothes dampened Cade’s errant ardor. She backpedaled from the bush, clutching the towel to her chest.
“What is it?” he asked, pushing faster through the shallows. “Is it a snake?”
Lynne didn’t answer. She clutched the towel tighter around her chest and sidestepped to meet him as he stepped onto the dried grass beside the stream. Her silence set his nerves on edge.
“It’s your boots,” she said at last.
Cade’s tension fell into confusion. “My boots?” he said, striding to the bush. What the devil could be so upsetting about his—
Behind the bush, separate from the rest of his clothes, his boots lay in tatters. The leather had been sliced clean to ribbons and separated from the soles. Long, thin scars marked the soles where he could see them. The laces were shredded.
He was instantly on the alert and spitting mad. He scooped one of the shredded boots off the ground and studied it for a moment before glancing around. The area near the stream was open, nothing but grass and a few scrubby bushes between it and the cottonwood trees that marked the edge of Fr. Kearny. Callie and John were still in discussion further up the stream as they dressed. The miners cavorted as though nothing was out of the ordinary downstream. Closer to the fort, a handful of groups were either coming or going. Ben walked toward them with a basket of laundry.
“Ben!” Cade called, marching across the grass to meet him. “Did you see anyone lingering around our things just now?”
Ben picked up his pace to meet Cade closer to the stream. “No, sir, I didn’t see nothin’.”
Cade’s frown deepened. Somebody had to have seen something. He twisted to study the miners again, counting them. How many had there been when he and Lynne were in the water? He checked the groups of people walking away from the stream. They were all families, most with young children.
The hair stood up on the back of his neck.
“He’s here,” he said, low and cautious.
“W-who?” Lynne asked. She had thrown her blouse and petticoat on and was halfway through fastening her skirt.
Cade turned and marched back to her. He needed to get her out of the open as quickly as possible.
“Whoever is trying to hurt you,” he said, leaning closer. “And I sure as hell am not going to let them.”
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NK0ZMH8
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NK0ZMH8
B&N – http://bit.ly/1wOrrxn
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/476103
iBooks – http://bit.ly/1tIC6sy
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1E8yhAr
Find Merry on these sites:
Newsletter sign-up URL: http://eepurl.com/RQ-KX
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Merry-Farmer/e/B006RATLFC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1366067537&sr=8-2-ent
Hi Merry. Your newest book sounds terrific. Best of luck with it!!
Thanks Barbara! And it’s nice to see you! *waves*
What great story, yours and the story you wrote. That you are going the independent route is another kudo to you. The excerpt was intriguing. Thank you for sharing it and your writing story. It is inspiring. Doris
Aww, thanks Doris! I truly feel like the indie route was custom made for me. It’s so great that the publishing world is wide open to all kinds of work and personality types these days!
If my name was Merry Farmer, I would never feel the need for a pen name. Readers who like your work will find you no matter how many genres you write. I know some writers use a pen name to protect their identity when they have day jobs that may jeopardized by the genre in which they write–like an elementary school teacher who writes erotica.
I think an RV for traveling the country is a wonderful idea. I hope you get an opportunity to do that.
I wish you all the best.
Oh, I have no shame, so if the people who know me in my real life pick up one of my books, I’m proud to have my name on it. I have an aunt, however, who kind of doesn’t get why I write romance. 😉
Merry, enjoyed getting to know you on Lyn’s blog. And yes, I have your Trail of Kisses on my TBR list. Love to write and read westerns! Wishing you Happy Writing Trails!
Woo hoo! Thanks so much, Cheri! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it.
Glad to meet you, Merry. Tell me, were you born on Christmas? I had a friend once whose name was Merry & she was. Love your cats’ names. Very descriptive. Your book sounds great too. Love the cover. I write westerns too.
Thanks, Charlene. Actually, would you believe I was born in the middle of July? When my parents named me, they were going for a happy, cheerful name. I’ve tried to live up to it. 😉
Merry, I was born on July 14th. I’m a cancer through and through. How about you?
I’m pretty much textbook Cancer. Although I once had my complete star chart done. I’m a Cancer sun with a Leo moon and Aquarius rising. And those things are all contradictory signs. It was funny, because the person who did my chart finished it, looked up at me, and said, “No wonder you’re so crazy!” =D
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So, Merry Farmer IS your real name. That was my first question. I think it’s a wonderful name. I disagree about pen names, even though I write in more than one genre. However, if I wrote erotic, I would have to use a pen name or my readers in town–God love them–would run me out of town on a rail.
I congratulate you on your success and being smart enough and tenacious enough to self-pub. Keep up the good work, and see you around here and there. Celia
You know, I used to fall on the side of no pen names, but my experience publishing in a different genre and having my historical romance fans dislike it was a bit of an eye-opener. I may change my mind again someday, but we’ll see.
This excerpt is intriguing. Now I’ll have to add the book to my Kindle. Love Merry’s writing, so I’m sure I would buy the book anyway.
Thanks, Lyn. Good idea to feature our Pioneer Hearts authors.
Thank you, Caroline. It’s a way to shine light on western historical romance, which you know is my first love.
Thanks Caroline! *hugs*
Merry, just want to welcome you once again.
Thanks so much, Lyn. It’s been a pleasure. 🙂