Q&A: Rita Gerlach
In Beside Two Rivers, Rita Gerlach re-introduces readers to the characters from her previous novel, Before the Scarlet Dawn to find some much-needed answers...
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR BOOK BESIDE TWO RIVERS?
For me, inspiration always begins with a setting. I live in a historically rich area and fortunate enough to have the Potomac River close by. It is not only beautiful, with it's deep gorges and rock terraces, but it is rife with history. A few miles south and a few north of there of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is the setting for Beside Two Rivers and the other two books in the series. I've walked the towpath and explored the creeks and small towns. I felt a draw to the area, felt the history. One day the idea came to me to write a story set along the river in Colonial days. After several months of writing, and advice from my then editor, it occurred to me I had to make this into a series. Beside Two Rivers is book 2.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
The only way I know how to answer this question is to say, the story chooses me. The idea comes to my mind and latches onto me.
IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
Hayward Morgan, Darcy's father. I won't go into details of how he surprised me, so not to give away too much of the story. But for readers that read the first book, Before the Scarlet Dawn, they know the kind of man Hayward was in book 1. When he shows up in book 2 it is years later, and he has had his 'time in the wilderness' so to speak. I will leave it at that.
WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
I think of the words to that beautiful song by Rogers and Hammerstein, ‘You’ll never walk alone’. Take one day at a time, and have faith that God is directing your path, that He will work in the lives of others to help you through the darkest hours. Also to forgive those that have hurt you, and to seek His forgiveness, and the forgiveness of those you have hurt.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
A new chapter has turned in my writing life that I am very excited about. I’m writing a Gilded Age series. My wonderful agent is sending the proposal out to publishers, and I have started writing the first book. Not long ago, I watched a video from 1905 that enthralled me, and I became highly motivated to delve into this era. The first book begins in Washington DC / Chevy Chase, MD in 1908. My parents grew up in Washington, and I had a great aunt that lived in a huge house in Chevy Chase. So writing this book has been a joy for me as I'm transported back to those old familiar places.
I am also revising two novels that are out of print and will be putting them on Kindle in the spring.