image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spotlight on Miralee Ferrell and Love Finds You in Last Chance California


MIRALEE FERRELL's debut novel, The Other Daughter, released in October 2007 with excellent reviews, and her second book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, CA, received 4.5 stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. Miralee lives in a rural community in Washington with Allen, her husband of over 35 years. Together they have two grown children. She serves on staff at her local church and is actively involved in ministry to women. Her hobbies include riding her horse with her daughter, working in her flower beds and garden, taking walks, reading, and sailing their boat with her husband.

Visit her blog:

by Miralee Ferrell
Published by Summerside Press


It's 1877 and Alexia Travers is alone in the world. Her father has died unexpectedly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Marrying one of the town's all-too-willing bachelors would offer an easy solution, but Alex has no interest in marriage. Instead, she dons men's trousers and rides the range, determined to make the ranch a success on her own.

But despite Alex's best efforts, everything seems to go wrong: ranch hands quit, horses are stolen, and her father's gold goes missing. Alex is at her wit's end when wrangler Justin Phillips arrives in Last Chance with his young son, looking for a job. But there seems to be more to Justin's story than he's willing to share. Will Alex ever be able to trust him? More importantly, will the independent woman finally learn to depend on God?

Buy Your Copy of Love Finds You in Last Chance California today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Two different incidents helped shape my story. I was flipping channels one evening to find the news and caught a brief blurb near the end of a newscast. Something was mentioned about a man running from a church and being tackled on the lawn. I didn't find out if he was caught stealing, had mugged someone, or what. My mind started questioning, wondering why he'd run...maybe he was poor and needed help, but had given in to temptation and stolen something inside. I jotted the idea in my "might use someday" folder.

The second incident was researching the subject of women owning and running a horse ranch in the 1800' daughter worked on a cattle ranch as a horse/cattle wrangler, and I liked the idea of a woman trying to run a ranch alone. I found a historical woman, Kittie Wilkins, who was highly successful at doing so, and decided it was a workable theory. My original story line was going to be contemporary, then transitioned to a historical when we discovered Last Chance no longer exists. The scene with the man running from the church ended up being incorporated into the story line as part of the hero's thread.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Most of the material that concerns horses had to do with my experience (other than the horses being stolen). We've owned horses for over 35 yrs., and have done some breeding. We also owned two cougars (not taken from captivity)--we rescued one of them from an abusive home--so I understand some of the behavior of the big cats, hence the scene with the cougar. Hunter, the dog that Alexia owns, is patterned after my daughter Marnee's dog (also named Hunter), and Alexia shares some of the same traits as Marnee. The scene where Alexia almost faints while cutting bread in the kitchen happened to me in exactly the same way.

Justin is his own man...nothing was taken from real life (other than the scene where he runs from the church). He wasn't patterned from anyone I know, and each of his personality traits were his alone.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

I think Alexia would be Rocky Road...wonderful flavor, but you have a few little chunks that need to be chewed before you can swallow it. Her independent spirit caused some 'bumps and chunks' along the way, but her acceptance of others gave her an amazing flavor!

Justin?...Hmm...a little harder....Maybe chocolate mocha. Stronger flavor than most ice cream, and a bit more rugged---I'm guessing that with the chocolate/coffee type combo, it might have some caffeine...which can give a burst of energy or will keep you awake at night. Justin had that effect on Alexia at times, LOL!

4. Are there any themes in Love Finds You in Last Chance California that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

The theme of hope, that no matter how the odds are stacked against you, God can bring you through if you trust Him. Alexia didn’t appear to have much hope of success, and the townspeople and some of her own employees didn’t want her to make it. She had to discover that God is all she needed when people questioned her motives and refused to support her. I hope my reader will not only be entertained by a fast moving story set in the Old West, but will also come away with an understanding that God’s unconditional love and acceptance is always there, no matter the situation we find ourselves in.

Yes, a theme developed as I went along that I hadn't planned, and that was one of unconditional acceptance. I knew it was something Alex was searching for, but didn't realize the far reaching extent it would have when it encompassed Christy, a secondary character in deep need of love and acceptance. Alex was able to help meet that need, even when her own need was great. Oftentimes we find that our own wounds are healed when we reach out and help heal someone else.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I can't say that any particular part was difficult to write. Occasionally I hit a wall in my writing because I'm a seat of the pants writer...I do a very brief sketch of the book with the most crucial parts outlined, but I don't know the details of what will happen in between. In my first book I struggled with presenting the setting for the story, but had a much easier time with this one. My only real difficulty was filling in the spots between each 'crisis' with everyday type events.

There were two things I'd say were my favorite--the old west ranch setting--I grew up reading Zane Grey and loving horses, as well as watching all the old TV westerns, so this book was a joy to write. Also, I also loved creating the characters...especially Christy Grey. I'm always drawn to the underdog or the not so nicer people in my books, and enjoy seeing where they'll take me as the story progresses.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next release is Finding Jeena, the sequel to The Other Daughter, and it should be releasing around the end of January, 2010, or possibly in Dec., 2009, not sure yet. Jeena was the not-so-nice friend of Susanne Carson who tried to push Susanne into leaving her husband after she discovered he'd been unfaithful prior to their marriage. Finding Jeena helps us see what made Jeena into the type of person she is. Here's a brief peek:

Jeena's new job with Browning and Thayer promised big things, and she intended to take full advantage in every way she could. New clothes, new townhouse, new car and new furniture were just the start. Rumors around town cast her new boss in a shady light, but she set aside her uneasy feelings…the money was good and his ethics weren't her concern.

A few weeks later her world began to shake. Her salary wasn't paid on time and things were happening in the office that didn’t bode well for her future. Money was disappearing and the investors were making trouble. Her boss disappeared and his partner was left to take the fall, along with anyone else associated with the company.

Jeena's carefully crafted world began to crumble and her struggle with alcohol began to rear its head again. Dragged into court to be interrogated was only the beginning...

* * * * *

Thank you, Miralee, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of Love Finds You in Last Chance California.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Miralee Ferrell said...

Thanks, Tiff for hosting me on your site and for your excellent interview questions. I look forward to connecting with your readers.

And blessings on your upcoming delivery, as well!


cheryl c said...

I have read other books in the Love Finds You series, and all of them have been wonderful stories. Your book sounds like another winner in the series.

I am especially interested in your book because it is historical fiction. I love history, and the old American West is a fascinating subject. Historical romance is a real favorite of mine.

Congrats on this new release!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book. Will probably want to read it; however, I'm looking for the blog interview with Carol Cox today and haven't been able to find it at all. HELP!

karla Baker

Merry said...

I loved reading about the shaping of this story. Western themes are always so interesting and a woman wrangling cattle surely is! Please add my name, thanks.


Anonymous said...

I love historicals, especially from 'olden' days of the West. Good way to learn how the West was won, as they say, and how people survived and coped through all the rough times they went through. Believe it or not, "Little House" books are what got me started in historicals on the West. Please enter me in the contest.
Still awaiting the birth of your little one!! Surprised you're still here, actually.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a great book. please enter my name in the draw. thanks,
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone I'd like... forget selling the ranch, just get in there and take care of it! :)

Unknown said...

Great blog interview! Would love to be considered in the drawing.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Hi Cheri,

I'm thrilled to hear you've already read some of the other Love Finds You books...they're all totally different and each is written by a talented author. I'm so excited to be one of the first Summerside authors! Thank you for your interest in my book...Miralee

Hi Karla,

Even though you stopped by hoping to find another post, I still appreciate you taking time to read my interview. I hope you'll consider checking into my book a bit more. Miralee

Hi Mez,

I grew up reading books and watching TV shows with western themes, so I'm right there with you. One small correction tho...Alexia does NOT like wrangling cattle, LOL! She's strictly a horse girl. They only keep a few cattle for beef, but raise, train and sell horses for their livelihood. Hope you enjoy the book even though it doesn't include any cattle! Miralee

lilac grandma said...

I would love to read your book!
love and prayers Melody
msproule1225 at gmaildotcom

Miralee Ferrell said...

Hi Linda,

Historicals from the Old West are some of my favorite reading material as are suspense and mystery...which is why I wove the two together. I also loved Little House, and altho it's more of a Prairie type store (literarlly, LOL!) it's still on my list of favorite TV shows. Miralee

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read about my new release! Miralee

Hi Kelly,

You sound like my daughter. The ranch from my Last Chance book would be her dream place! Up in the mountains, isolated, and filled with horses!

Stephen and Janet,

I'm honored that you stopped by and a little nervous about two such excellent western authors considering reading my book! Thank you! Miralee

Hi Lilac're NOT really a grandmother, are you?Your picture looks wayyy too young! Thank you for stopping by!


windycindy said...

I think Miralee is wonderful!
Please enter my name in your virtual hat drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Carolynn said...

I would love to read this book, it sounds wonderful! Thanks for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...

I'm also looking forward to reading the books in this new series. They sound wonderful...waiting and wanting to be read!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have emailed you for your mailing information so we can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Congratulations to the winner and thank you all for taking the time to stop by. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get back sooner to reply to the last three gals who entered, but I do appreciate your participation. I'm sorry you couldn't ALL win a copy of my newest release, but I do hope you'll consider finding one of your own. Hugs and blessings to you all! Miralee