The Vigil by Marian Merritt

I'd like to introduce you to Marian Merritt and her newest book, The Vigil. Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her tagline, Where the Bayous Meets the Mountains, grew from both loves. She is the author of, Deep Freeze Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Southern Fried Christmas.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women's Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle.

Here's a blurb from Marian's book.

Cheryl Broussard made two vows: She'd never fall for an abusive man, and she'd never return to her Louisiana hometown. But she's learned all too well the lesson of never-say-never. Now, back in Bijou Bayou after fleeing from an abusive boyfriend, Cheryl finds work as a Hospice nurse. While reading a dying patient's Korean War love letters, family secrets shatter Cheryl's beliefs about her family and herself and shed light on the reason she fled her hometown. When the Broussard family secrets are revealed, can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept the blessing of a second chance for relationships with her family, old friends, and with the God she never really knew?

Marian graciously agreed to answer a few questions.

Tell your readers about your brand and how you came up with it?
I'm from south Louisiana close to the fictional town of Bijou Bayou where my book is set. I currently live in Colorado. My tagline is Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains. This defines both my work and me. Each of my stories have a Louisiana/Colorado connection.

If you could spend the day with a famous author, whom would you choose and why?
Probably Danielle Steele. As a girl growing up in a rural area, I read many of her books. I contacted her sharing that I wanted to be a writer. She sent back a very encouraging letter. (Of course this was in the days before internet) I wish I still had that letter. Like her or not, she's a prolific writer that has crossed generations of readers. I would love to talk to her about writing.

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
I'm an avid Women's fiction fan. I love stories about women overcoming life's adversities. It would be a natural progression for me to write those types of stories.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My biggest challenge when writing is making my characters do what I want them to! They usually take off in a direction I hadn't intended, but typically tell me something about their past during that time that makes the story come together. So, while it can be challenging, I've learned to indulge my character's whims and explore the story with them.

What was one of the most surprising things you've learned while writing your books?
To trust my characters, but most importantly, to trust God while writing. It's His story, and He wants to use me to write it.

Give us the description of the ideal person you wish would read your book.
A young woman who is estranged from her family and is in an abusive relationship. I hope this story gives her the courage to leave the relationship and to give her family relationships a chance to mend.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If they like it, talk, talk, talk—let family and friends know about it. Referrals from readers are the best advertisements. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Another BIG help is to post a review on Amazon, B & N, Goodreads, and iTunes wherever the book is sold.

Tells us about your past books and what to expect from you in the future?
I have two Christmas Romance Novellas and one Christmas Romance Novel. All three have the Louisiana/Colorado connection.

I'm currently editing a Women's Fiction story. Two Mothers—One Son. Is the tagline and ask the question: What if your kidnapped child was the adopted child of someone else? I'm hoping to have, The Moon has no Light in 2015 as well.

I'm currently writing another Women's Fiction set in Louisiana and Tuscany, Italy. Look for Four Weeks in Tuscany in 2016.

The next Bijou Bayou book, The Eagle, is in the plotting/character development stages.


Plotter, Pantser, or Planser? Planser
Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the winter—Tea in the summer
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes? Steel Magnolias
Sweet Tea or Unsweetened Tea? Loved Sweet tea, but drink Unsweetened.

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Marian, thanks so much for stopping by today. It's been great getting to know you better.