09 September 2010

Interview With Rita Gerlach – Author of Surrender the Wind

Surrender the Wind, Published by Abingdon Press Fiction, 2009


Rita just celebrated the first anniversary publication of Surrender the Wind. As a fan/writer of colonial fiction, last year I started searching out books/authors of recent publications. Rita's book has romance, history, and suspense and takes an American Revolutionary patriot back to England.

In this book, Seth Braxton returns to England to reunite with the sister her left there as a child. He arrives to find her grieving the loss of her son then meets Juleah who steals his heart. However, this enrages the man who had wished to marry her and who was also trying to take Seth's ancestral home from him. Will their love survive of murder, abduction and betrayal?



What inspired this story?[Rita Gerlach] What sparked my imagination to write Surrender the Wind was a single thought. What would happen if an American patriot of the Revolutionary War inherited his grandfather's estate in England. It was like tossing a stone in a pond and it causing a ripple effect. Everything followed suit after that, the characters, the setting, and the plot line. 

You have a love of history, particularly colonial era.  What influenced this interest?[Rita Gerlach] The town I live in is rife with history. The old buildings, the historical sites, all echo of the past and are treasured places. Not long ago, I visited Antietam Battlefield. I stood there, on the grass looking down Bloody Lane, with only the sound of the wind whispering across the fields, trying to imagine what it must have been like for those men. It is a sad, hallowed place. It is of a different time period, but history is history no matter the century. Whenever I visit such a place my imagination comes alive. My love for the colonial period is not just about dates and facts, but about the people and how they lived.


You are known among writers as being a very kind, generous, and thoughtful person and hostess.  Is this one of your spiritual gifts?  If you are too embarrassed by this question, I will just write my own little comment on how super you are![Rita Gerlach] Not embarrassed. Just a bit shy to answer this. But I do love helping others.


Do you find male or female characters more challenging, and why?[Rita Gerlach] Whether male or female charactization is challenging. Women are said to be more emotionally complicated then men, but I don't think that's completely true. It depends on the character's personality, what made them the person they are, what influenced them to be either the protagonist or antagonist. For example, I find Darcy more complex than Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice. Jane is more complicated than Rochester in Jane Eyre. In Surrender the Wind, I found Seth more challenging than Juleah. He had been through a war, and experienced things Juleah had not. He was wounded inwardly. She was more open having lived a more sheltered life.


Your ability to pull the reader right into the setting is phenomenal.  Can you comment on the trend in writing toward minimalism and the tendency away from narrative writing.  [Rita Gerlach] It is a very complex trend, to say the least. I sometimes wonder if it is due to changes in our culture. My parents' generation read the classics in school. Not so today. So not to offend anyone that leans one way or the other, I'll say this. Good writing strikes a balance between dialogue and narrative writing. I began to read a particular novel that was nothing but dialogue for pages and pages, with an occasional break with narrative. I got lost not knowing which character was speaking. I could not finish that book. I was unable to visualize them or the setting in my mind. On the other hand, a book that is all narrative will put a reader to sleep. If you want to hook me, the story must have a rhythm to it, meat, substance, discription, action. Tend away from narrative and you'll lose me.


Do you have a favorite scripture and what is it?[Rita Gerlach] 
My favorite scripture is Revelation 21:4.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Thanks, Rita!

Thank you Rita!

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