Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet My Friend, Ramona Cecil
For a chance to win Freedom's Crossroads . . .
Leave your comment AND your email address
so that you can be contacted if you win!


Thanks for visiting; now, meet Ramona . . .

Good morning, Ramona. How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

 
Writing has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I first began writing poetry when I was about four or five years old. I remember telling my mother the poems and she would write them down for me. I’ve always had an active imagination and did write some prose in my early years, but considered myself a poet, first.

I didn’t attempt a novel until I was a busy young mother. But without any formal training or guidance, I tabled my dream of becoming a published novelist. Between the mid 1980’s and mid 1990’s, about 90 of my inspirational poems were published by Dicksons Inc., a leading publisher of Christian gift items. I still hear from people who enjoy those verses.

 
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

 
I write Christian romance, which are romance novels written from a Christian world view. A spiritual theme i.e. faith or forgiveness runs through the stories. By the end of each story, the main characters should exhibit obvious spiritual growth.

Most of my stories have historical settings, though I have written a few contemporary novellas and short stories as well. But my passion is history. I’m most interested in American history, especially Indiana history. Except for one, all my novels have Indiana settings.

I was thrilled and honored to author the three Indiana historical novels for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. This month, those stories were re-released by Barbour as a part of their Romancing America series in their Indiana historical three-in-one collection titled Freedom’s Crossroad.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

 
Because my husband works a late second shift, I do the bulk of my work in the evenings. My word-per-day goal is 1000 words. If I have to stop to do research, I don’t always make my goal, but on good days I can exceed it. I have trouble turning off my internal editor. I would rather come up short on my word count and be happy with what I’ve written. It depends on the size of the novel. I can do a 50 K word novel in three months, but for a 90+ K word novel, I’d need at least six months.

 
Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?

 
As I mentioned earlier, my latest book out is Freedom’s Crossroad—a three-in-one collection of historical romance stories set in Indiana—released May, 1, 2010 by Barbour Publishing. As a life-long Hoosier, I’ve always loved the history of my state. I really enjoyed writing these three stories set in the central and southern part of Indiana.

Each story features a different member of the same family. The overarching spiritual message that runs through all three stories is forgiveness. I hope my readers take away these spiritual truths; that every soul is loved and valued by God, that however dismal life may become, God never leaves us, and that it is as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others.

Besides the family connection and the theme of forgiveness, another aspect that binds these stories together is that they are each set along an Indiana waterway. Sweet Forever showcases the charming Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana, during the town’s heyday of the mid 1840’s. Riverboats, riverboat gamblers, and the shadowy doings of the Underground Railroad weave through the plot. Everlasting Promise is inspired by the several canal towns along east-central Indiana’s historic Whitewater Canal. The story spotlights the concerns of those along the ill-fated waterway when they learn of a coming railroad that could spell either prosperity or ruin for their town.

Charity’s Heart is set in post Civil War Vernon, Indiana, nestled along the winding banks of southern Indiana’s Muscatatuck River. The story deals with the emotional trauma and hard feelings that still linger after the war.

Ask for Freedom’s Crossroad at:

 
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?

 
I feel like giving up on a regular basis. Sometimes the whole process just seems too overwhelming. But I know God put this desire to write in my heart for a purpose. I am convinced this is the work He wants me to do.

I keep a flip-card devotional beside my computer. It’s always turned to the page that bears this wonderful quote by Teresa of Avila. “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.” Beneath the quote is one of my favorite scripture verses I lean on when discouragement weighs heavily on me. “Glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare ask or even dream of. . .” Ephesians 3:20.

 
My first inspiration to write came from my parents who both shared my love for writing. They always believed in me and encouraged me to nurture my God-given desire to express my feelings in the written word. I like to think they are smiling down on me from heaven.

Also, I was greatly inspired by the works of the Indiana author Gene Stratton Porter. I read her books as a child and loved them all.

As for Christian authors, Jeanette Oke and Lauraine Snelling were authors I wanted to be like when I “grew up” as a writer. I still do. Over the past several years, I’ve been blessed to know many other great Christian writers who encourage and inspire me on a regular basis. They include my wonderful friends and critique partners, Laurie Alice Eakes, Louise Gouge, MaryLu Tyndall, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray.

 
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

 
I studied Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide to find publishers interested in novels that fit the genre and word count of my stories. My first book was actually published by a small publisher—Vintage Romance—that publish only historical romances. In 2005, I became aware of a contest they were sponsoring for Christian historical novels.

I entered my first novel, Larkspur. It won first place and was published by them the next year. I proposed my second novel, Sweet Forever, to Barbour Publishing at an American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference knowing it fit what they published. It was eventually accepted by them. Subsequently, they accepted my next two stories as well for their States series.

 
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

 
  • I like meeting new people and visiting new places.
  • I like traveling and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
  • I like to cook and especially like trying new recipes. I’ve collected far more recipes than I’ll ever be able to try.

As for dislikes; I’m a natural introvert, so public speaking has always been outside my comfort zone. But since my first book came out in 2006 I’ve found myself doing much more of that and as a result, I’ve grown as a person.

  • As I mentioned earlier, I have a great interest in history—especially Indiana history. Even as a child, I loved reading stories with historical settings. Compelling characters and their stories made history come alive for me. While many of my classmates found the subject of history a snoozer, I relished it.

  • Now I enjoy writing stories set in by-gone eras and my hope is that I can make history come alive for the readers of my own books. Luckily, my husband shares my interest in history, so when time and schedules permit, we like visiting places of historical interest.
  • Another of my interests is gardening. Although I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, I look forward to summer when I can dabble in a little backyard gardening.
  • If I had the time and money, I would like to travel to the British Isles, especially Ireland and Scotland as my heritage on my dad’s side is Scots-Irish. I would also like to visit the area of Hanover Germany, from where my ancestors on my mother’s side emigrated.

 
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

My web page is http://www.ramonakcecil.com/. In keeping with my love of gardening, I’ve given my web site a garden theme.
 
Carole, I want to thank you for allowing me to appear on your blog. I am very excited about the release of Freedom’s Crossroad. I already have a couple book signings scheduled and hope to add more in the months ahead. I will list upcoming signings on my web site. I love to meet my readers, so I invite anyone who can to stop by one of my signings and meet me.

 
There you have it, readers. An exciting bit of information about Ramona! If you love romance (and if you don't, maybe you need a little in your life. Smile) get these books.
 
Make sure you leave your comment along with your email for a chance to win her Freedom's Crossroads.
 
Blessings!

57 comments:

Carmen7351 said...

I love the time era! I definitely would love this book. The interplay of each character sounds great too. Please enter me. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Barbara said...

Please enter me. I love historical fiction and I'm anxious to read this author.

quiltyreader(at)gmail(dot)com

karenk said...

i'm interested in reading this book...thanks for the chance :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Ramona Cecil said...

Thank you, Carmen! And thanks for stopping by. :o) While writing the stories, I tried to thoroughly research the era and setting. My goal was to put my characters as closely as I could into 19th Century rural Indiana. Good luck in the drawing. Either way, I hope you will check out Freedom's Crossroad.

Cindy W. said...

Ramona, I have been an adopted Hoosier for nine years now. I live in the northeast corner of the state and it is beautiful. I love to read Christian Historical romances and would love the chance to win your book.

Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Janet said...

I LOVE Christian, historical, romantic fiction! lol
I would really enjoy reading these books!
Thanks and blessings,
Janet
janet at janetstreasures dot com

Cara Lynn James said...

I also write historical romance and I love to read them! Please enter my name in the drawing.

Ramona, I love the Indiana setting.

caralynnjames at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

This book sounds great and definitely one that I want to read. Please enter me.

Blessings,
Jo
www.ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Buukluvr81 said...

I love these kinds of novellas! I would love to be entered in to this drawing for a great sounding historical.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway and the chance to win!

Mollydawn1981 AT aol DOT com

Wendy said...

This sounds like a good book. I like that she wants her characters to experience spiritual growth in her books.
wsmarple/at/gmail/dot com

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Ramona, I enjoyed your interview and love historical fiction. I am discovering more Christian writers and loving it. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

Thanks Carole for inviting Ramona to your blog. Pls enter me in the draw.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Barbara! Thanks for stopping by, and for your interest in my work. Good luck in the drawing. I hope you do check out Freedom's Crossroad. :o)

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Karenk!Good luck in the drawing. Thank you for stopping by. :o)

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Cindy! It's always nice to meet another Hoosier. :o) I think you will like the stories in Freedom's Crossroad. Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Janet,
I love meeting new readers. Sounds like the stories in Freedom's Crossroad are just what you like to read. Good luck in the drawing. Either way, I hope you check our Freedom's Crossroad.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Cara! Good luck in the drawing! It's always nice to meet another historical romance author. I look forward to checking out your web site.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Jo! Thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing. I do hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Buukluvr81! Thanks for checking out my interview. I do think you would like the stories in Freedom's Crossroad. Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi misskallie2000! I appreciate you stopping by and wish you luck in the drawing. Either way, I hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad.

Trinity Rose said...

Sounds like a great book.
Please enter me.
Trinity Rose
wandaelaine at gmail dot com

Sandee61 said...

I'd love to read this book! Really enjoyed the interview and learning about another author that is new to me. Thank you!

Blessings,
Sandee61

Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

Ramona Cecil said...

Trinity Rose,
Thank you for checking out my interview. Good luck in the drawing. I do hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad. I think you'll like these three stories set in Indiana's past.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi, Sandee61! Thanks for stopping by and checking out my interview. I always enjoy learning about new readers who love historical inspirational romance. Good luck in the drawing. I think you would love Freedom's Crossroad.

MoziEsmé said...

Nice to meet you, Ramona! Love the book cover, and I'd love to read this!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/05/freedoms-crossroads.html

Maureen said...

This book sounds Great! I love historical fiction. Thank you

alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

Abi said...

Oh, I love fiction historical romances. Just can't beat them. Thanks for the giveaway.
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Casey said...

I would love to read this, thanks for the chance!

Carman sent me.

Email in profile.

collettakay said...

I would love to read this book! Please enter me in the drawing.

pepsi324[at]yahoo[dot]com

bluerose_shelnut said...

Please enter me. Thanks! Carmen sent me. bluerose_shelnut(at)yahoo(dot)com

Judylynn said...

(Carman sent me)

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!

seizethebookblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Sheila said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview and giveaway! I love historical Christian Romance and would love to read this book. :)

4mypersonalreview at gmail dot com

Katie G. said...

Great interview! Sounds like a wonderful book! Carmen told me about this giveaway.

God bless!

~Katie G,

katiegalyean[@]yahoo[.]com

Carole said...

I was delighted to discover this interview and am eager to read Freedom's Crossroads. Every time I read a contemporary, I always go back to a historical, and historical romances are a favorite of mine. Thank you for the chance to win a copy. (I'm an introvert also, Ramona!)

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

pixie13 said...

I love Christian fiction. Please accept my entry. Thanks. Carmen sent me.

gevin13{at}gmail{dot}com

Esther Y.M. said...

Hi..please enter me. I can't wait to read this book.

estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jeanette Levellie said...

Thanks for offering this trilogy; I'd love to win it!

jeanettelevellie(at)gmail(dot)com

Anita Yancey said...

I love romance, and would like to be entered. Thanks for the chance.

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Amanda said...

I love Christian historical fiction and am adding this to my summer reading list - thanks!
winnieayala at yahoo dot com

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Mozi! Nice to meet you, too. :o) Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Maureen! Good luck in the drawing. Either way, I hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Abi! It's always fun to meet other readers and writers of historical romance. I think you'll like these stories. Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Casey! And thank you, Carmen, for sending her. :o) Thanks for checking out my interview, Casey, and good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Colletta! Thanks for dropping by. :o) I do think you would like these stories. Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Bluerose! And thanks again, to Carmen! Good luck in the drawing, ladies!

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing. :o)

Ramona Cecil said...

Thanks, Linda! Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Sheila! Thank you very much. You're a sweetie. :o) I do think you would like these stories. Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Pixie! And thanks again to Carmen! I'm so glad you stopped by. Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Katie! Wow, Carmen's the gal! LOL Good luck in the drawing. Either way, I hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Carole! Thank you very much. I agree, there is nothing like a good historical romance novel. We introverts have to stick together. :o) Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Jeanette! Glad you dropped by. :o) Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Esther! Oh, thank you very much. I do hope you check out Freedom's Crossroad. Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Anita! Thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing.

Ramona Cecil said...

Hi Amanda! (Which just happens to be the name of the heroine in my current wip.) Thanks for adding my book to your reading list. :o) Good luck in the drawing!

Ramona Cecil said...

Thank you, Carole, for the opportunity to introduce myself and my book to your blog readers! What fun! I LOVE meeting new people, especially those who share my love of Christian historical romance stories. Good luck to you all, and I'm looking forward to sending one of you a signed copy of Freedom's Crossroad.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

I know I'm too late to enter the contest, but I just wanted to say that this book looks so good! and the cover is adorable! :)