This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Author Interview - Rita Gerlach

Please welcome debut author, and a wonderful friend of mine, Rita Gerlach. I first met Rita online through American Christian Fiction Writers when Abingdon was considering my manuscript and they had already contracted hers. Since then we've shared lots of emails and phone conversations. Rita is someone who is always uplifting, encouraging, and her faith is a beautiful witness. I'm thankful that our paths have crossed and that we've become such good friends.

If you would like a copy of Rita's book, please leave a comment with your email so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win. We will draw one blessed winner out of the pile and Rita will send you a copy of Surrender the Wind.

Describe your writing journey. How did you first get published?

Early in 2000, I went with a print on demand publisher. POD was a new concept at the time and several authors that I knew encouraged me to try this route. There were a lot of drawbacks, and it was an uphill climb with promotion. I learned a lot, and instead of focusing on the stones in my path, I looked at the experience as a stepping-stone.

I began submitting Surrender the Wind to literary agents in hopes that having one would advance my career. God had other plans. In July of 08, I asked Him to give me guidance. Fifteen minutes later, I was reading Brandilyn Collins’ blog. She posted about Barbara Scott, the acquisitions editor for Abingdon Press and the new fiction line they were starting. I queried Barbara and she asked for the manuscript. She championed my novel to the fiction committee and it was accepted.

Surrender the Wind waslreleased August 1, 2009.

What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?

Read best selling books on writing. Learn everything you can about the craft, from character development to plotting, to how to write tight. Study how to edit your work. Study the industry and get an understanding of how publishing works. Read best selling books within your genre. Above all do not allow discouragement to get the best of you, and do not write for fame or fortune. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it.

Tell us about your latest book.

Surrender the Wind is based on Ecclesiastes 2:17-19. These verses of scripture rang as true in the Georgian and Regency periods as they do today. Benjamin Braxton, an English squire, inherited his fortune from his father and his father before him. When facing death the question of what it all meant, what purpose did gaining wealth play in ones life, creeps into reality. It becomes meaningless in the grander scheme of things. The only comfort he would have is hoping his grandson would use his inheritance for good. Seth, the hero in the story, does this, but yet he too sees that love for God, love for his wife, and his duty to others is far more important than land or money.

The Premise: An American patriot of the Revolution struggles with his loyalty to his country, by accepting an inheritance from his loyalist grandfather in England. A nephew is believed dead. A woman is found murdered in the woods, and he is told his wife has perished in a fire. Readers will ask, what is the truth behind these tragedies? As the novel moves forward, they will discover there is one man that holds the answers, one that despises his American enemy, Seth Braxton, for gaining two things he wanted most, Ten Width Manor and the woman he desired---Juleah Fallowes.

Seth's journey brings him many trials, where his devotion to those he loves is tested, and his faith is brought to the mere size of a mustard seed. 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.

While Surrender the Wind focuses on relationships both marital and within a family, it is in every sense of the word a romantic historical novel with the historical ambience 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. It will keep fans of historical fiction turning the pages.

What are you currently reading?

On my stack at the moment are the books in the fiction launch through my publisher Abingdon Press, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the book I am currently reading, and enjoying I might add. I’m also reading Linore Rose Burkard’s Regencies, and Marylu Tyndall’s Charles Towne Belles Series.

What are some ways that readers of your books can help you as an author?

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to help an author, and it’s the best way my readers can help me as an author. In addition to chatting up Surrender the Wind with their friends and family, readers can do a few other things.

  • Post a link to my website on their site or web blog.
  • Feature my book with its cover on their blog one day.
  • Suggest to their book club that they select Surrender the Wind for discussion.
  • Set up an interview with me and post it online.

Thank you, Jennifer, for this interview. I am so pleased you and I are with the same publisher, and I look forward to reading your novel Highland Blessings when it is released.

You can find Rita online at:


We have a Winner!

Congratulations go to Dina Sleiman!

I'll be contacting you by email for your address.


Sounds like a very intriguing book. Different time line than I've read before. Please enter me. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Had an early peek at this story some time ago, and would love to win a copy! Blessings on your writing efforts, Rita...Pat I.

sounds like a great book! Please enter me.

bookwurm70 at yahoo dot com

Sounds like a wonderful book. Great historical plot! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


This book sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

When I see the word "debut" in front of the word "author" I get all excited because I want so much to cheer the new authors on their journey through authordom (is that a word?). I'd LOVE to get a chance to read Rita's book. I was impressed that some of Rita's advice was:
!. Above all do not allow discouragement to get the best of you. Discouragement is one of my biggest enemies so I thought the advice for avoiding that was great.
2. Do not write for fame or fortune. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it. God puts stories in authors' hearts because He wants them shared. That is WAY more important than mere fame or fortune.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at wb4me dot com

This book sounds amazing. I love historical fiction, and can't wait to read it!

Rita, congratulations, and the book sounds extremely interesting! Thanks to both of you for this post! (I wouldn't mind winning a copy, either, if it isn't too late ... :-) )

Been following Rita's journey for almost a year now. Enjoyed this interview. Please enter me in the drawing.


I read the sample online and enjoyed it. Please enter me too :)
dinasleiman @ gmail. com