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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Author Interview - Rita Gerlach


Anne: Our interviewee today is Rita Gerlach, author of the three books in the Daughters of the Potomac Series. Rita is the middle child of a large family, born and raised in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington DC. She married her high school sweetheart in 1978, and they have two grown sons. They live in a historical town in central Maryland near the Catoctin Mountains. Rita--what inspired the Daughters of the Potomac Series?

Rita: Frankly, it is never just one thing that inspires a story in me. But if I were to narrow it down to the bare bones, I’d have to say ‘setting.' I live in a historically rich area. The Potomac River and surrounding towns and landmarks are inspirational. Everyone has heard about Harper’s Ferry. Within a few miles south and a few north of there on the Maryland side, is the setting for Before the Scarlet Dawn and Beside Two Rivers. Further downriver toward the Chesapeake on the Virginia side is one of the settings for Beyond the Valley. On the Virginia side there is an overlook, and when I visit there and look across the deep gorge into the Maryland Heights, my mind drifts back to the past. So, instead of a person or a historical event being the inspiration for this story, I found it in a place where the water flows placid over boulders and joins with the Shenandoah.

Anne: That's a part of our country's historic beginnings I'd truly love to see one day. I reviewed Before the Scarlet Dawn last year (to read, click HERE) and Beyond the Valley yesterday (to read, click HERE). Would you please tell us about Between Two Rivers, the other of the Daughters of the Potomac Series?

Rita: Beside Two Rivers is Book 2 in the series. In this dramatic saga that began in Before the Scarlet Dawn', Eliza's daughter seeks to unravel a lifetime of memories and the absence of her parents, unaware that the young Englishman who loves her holds the answers. Her search takes her far from her beloved home along the Potomac, to a manor house in faraway England. Soon the secrets of the past slowly rise to the surface. Will she be reunited with the most important people in her life? Will Hayward and Eliza find peace and reconciliation? Will Darcy's faith sustain her to make the difficult choices, and will the love she and Ethan share endure?

By the way, you may read the first chapters of each in the series by clicking on these three links. Book 1: http://tinyurl.com/862mgh5; Book 2: http://tinyurl.com/8kypse5; and Book 3: http://tinyurl.com/bddj8or

Anne: You also have two other books in addition to this series, right? Would you like to talk about them?

Rita: The Rebel's Pledge is a bestselling stand-alone novel of enduring love. Matthew Hale was a rebel to King James, hunted down, captured, and enslaved in Colonial Maryland. Haunted by war and wrestling with a troubled past, Hale pledges to protect the daughter of his former owner and bring her from England to her father’s plantation along the Chesapeake, an undertaking that challenges the depth of his courage, and the strength of his faith. When Lara learns her guardian has promised her in marriage to a rich English lord in order to save the ancestral home, her hopes unravel, until she meets the heroic stranger that rescued her from the hands of a highwayman. An excerpt can be read on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/cz7cvfz

Surrender the Wind is a stand-alone novel of inspiring romance set right after Revolutionary War in Virginia and Georgian England. When patriot Seth Braxton inherits his grandfather's estate in faraway England, he inherits more than an isolated manor house. He discovers Juleah's love and a plot that leads to kidnapping, murder, and betrayal in this stirring tale of fidelity and forgiveness. Read Chapter One: http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/displayImage.aspx?pcid=1173111

Anne: I understand you have something exciting in the works, too.

Rita: I am very excited about moving into a different time period than my other books. I’m writing an Edwardian period novel set in opulent Chevy Chase, Maryland, and the western part of that state. Also I am revising two historical romances that have been out of print since 2005 and reissuing them into a 2-in-1 collection in ebook and paperback either in the spring or summer this year.

Anne: Do you have some thoughts to leave our readers with?

Rita: I hope you will enjoy my books and find a little respite in them from our crazy world. I’ve been asked to categorize my fiction. My books are not formula romances. They are what I like to call Inspirational Historical Dramas. You will find romance, but you will also find stories about relationships between people, stories about forgiveness, redemption, faith, and loyalty. Each character has good points, but they are also flawed human beings who make mistakes and fall hard, and who at some point struggle through the adversity, dust themselves off, and move on.

While writing the Daughters of the Potomac series, I realized forgiving and being forgiven can change lives for the better and how much harm can come out of a heart that refuses to forgive. There are so many people walking around today with that weight on their shoulders. Perhaps someone reading this interview has this burden. My prayer for them is that they cast it upon He Who is able to carry it.

Anne: Sounds great, Rita.

Hey readers, if you stuck with us all the way to the end of this interview, here's a reward for you. If you'd like to win one of Rita's books, leave your name and email in a comment below by Monday, March 25.  US and Canadadian Readers only, please. We will choose two winners from commenters on this one and the one yesterday, and those two winners will be able to select any one of Rita's five books. Rita also tells me she'd be happy to send bookmarkers to anyone who would like one.