How Much Angst Can a Writer Write if a Writer Has No Angst?

Miralee and her husband,
Allen, live on 11 acres in the Columbia River Gorge. They have two grown
children and a beautiful new granddaughter. Miralee has 7 books published, both
in women’s contemporary fiction and historical fiction, with another 6 under contract.
Her western romance, Love Finds You in
Sundance, WY
, was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion for Excellence in
Western Fiction. Her newest release, Blowing
on Dandelions
, is the first in a three book series set in Oregon. Miralee
loves interacting with people, ministering at her church, riding her horse and
playing with her dogs. She also speaks at various women’s functions and has
taught at conferences.
NR: Leave Miralee a comment and be entered in
a drawing for a copy of her new book, Blowing
on Dandelions
. The winner will be
announced on Novel Rocket’s Facebook page tomorrow. Be sure to like us there!
How Do You Write it When You Haven’t Experienced it?
Even the strongest of
women can break under the right, or should I say, the wrong kind of pressure. I’m
a certified counselor with The American Association of Christian Counselors,
and it’s something I’ve seen far too often with women who’ve visited my office.
So many times I end up praying with women about old emotional wounds, and a
large percentage of those wounds deal with family issues—often times stemming
from a mother.
While Blowing on Dandelions has a strong
romance thread that won’t disappoint the die-hard romance lovers, it also
tackles a subject not often shown in fiction—the hurt inflicted on my heroine,
Katherine, by her mother, even when Mama believes she’s being helpful or
instructive. In the 1800’s, children (even adult children) respected their
parents and didn’t answer back, no matter how harsh a parent’s treatment might
be. Katherine is no exception, and she works hard to keep her temper intact
while teaching her daughters how to relate to their grandmother in the proper
way. She has no expectation that her relationship with her mother will ever
change, and she is faced with daily challenges, but her quiet strength shines
throughout the story—in spite of the fact that Mama has decided to move in
permanently.
My editor for Blowing on Dandelions, Ramona Tucker,
expressed it this way after she read my book: 
“When I was the head of Today’s Christian Woman Magazine, this subject
of stress between a daughter and her mother was one of the HUGE relational
issues that caused women pain across the years…I was struck by the power and
transformation this story can and will have in women’s lives—healing of the
generations. And tears flowed…that a writer like you would have the heart, the
passion, and would listen to the Lord to address this difficult subject for the
world to read in a form (fiction) that they will accept. Healing will happen. I
am convinced.”
Writing Blowing on Dandelions was a challenge
for me, even though I’ve had a lot of experience counseling hurting women. Why?
Because my own relationship with my grown daughter ,and with my mother, are so
strong and precious to me. So how does an author dig deep and touch the
readers’ emotions when she hasn’t personally experienced the things she’s
writing about?
A writer can always find
case studies in counseling books, but I wanted a more personal, hands-on
experience. One way I accomplished that was by tapping into my Facebook
audience and a core group of personal friends. I asked if anyone would be
willing to fill out a questionnaire answering a dozen or so questions about
their relationship with a difficult mother. I had over fifteen women respond
who were willing to speak honestly even when it hurt to do so. Those answers
were invaluable in being able to accurately portray the relationship between
Katherine and her mother.
Besides counseling and
praying with women, I discovered another way to make sure the emotions and
behavior in my story were authentic. Pre-readers. I found women who have
struggled with this same issue who were willing to take the time to read my
rough draft and give me input. They made suggestions where things didn’t go far
enough, or tweaked areas they felt might be over the top. The result was a book
that was very true to many of the lives who read it.
And last, I had to
believe the emotions and portrayal I presented, myself. I know what it’s like
to have a solid, good relationship with a parent or daughter, so some part of
me can also understand what the opposite would be—and how I would be impacted
if my situation was reversed.
I’ve been blessed over
the years to be part of God’s healing, transformational power in women’s
lives—both through counseling and prayer—and now, God willing, through the
words He directs me to write. And my prayer will always be that He’ll direct my
books to the women who will benefit most from them—whether for healing or simply
entertainment. He has a purpose and a plan for each of us, and I’m proud to play
a part in whatever He might choose.
In Blowing on Dandelions, Miralee speaks to women’s heartfelt
struggles—from family dysfunction to single parenthood—-while offering them the
faith-filled hope they need, all wrapped in an uplifting, true-to-life romance.
You can find Miralee at
her website, her blog, on her Facebook author page, and Twitter.
Blowing
on Dandelions
Do Dandelion Wishes Actually Come True?
Katherine Galloway knew this moment of calm
wouldn’t last, blown away like the dandelion seeds she scattered as a girl. In
1880, three years after her husband’s death, she struggles to run an Oregon
boardinghouse and raise two girls alone. Things don’t get easier when her
critical, domineering mother moves in. Katherine must make the situation work,
but standing up for herself and her family while honoring her mother isn’t
easy. And with a daughter entering the teenage years, the pressure
on Katherine becomes close to overwhelming. Then she crosses paths with
Micah Jacobs, a widower who could reignite her heart, but she fears a
relationship with him might send things over the edge. She must find the
strength, wisdom, hope, and faith to remake her life, for everything is about
to change.