A Conversation with Ginger Myrick
From a mom and homemaker to her sons, dog, cat, and a “9-year old husband” to unexpectedly becoming an indie author, Ginger Myrick has now written five novels and is currently writing her sixth. Her novels are in the Historical Fiction genre. All of her novels are very different from each other. But they all focus one one thing: A clean love story.
El Rey: A Novel of Renaissance Iberia
The Welsh Healer
But for the Grace of God: A Novel of Compassion in a Time of War
Work of Art: Love & Murder in 19th Century New York
Insatiable: A Macabre History of France ~ L’Amour: Marie Antoinette
Ginger is a talented writer. Historical Fiction is not my normal genre, but I have enjoyed her novels. I have read all but El Rey, which I do plan on reading it (especially after this interview). My favorite of her novels is a tie between The Welsh Healer (for personal reasons mentioned in the interview) and Insatiable ( I enjoy just about anything zombie related!). I was thrilled that Ginger took time out of her busy schedule to do this interview with me:
JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room): Tell us a little about yourself. Did you always want to become an author?
Ginger: I am probably the least interesting person in the world. I had a more or less normal childhood—loved school and sports, got good grades and stayed out of trouble. I went to college for two years and stopped just shy of my AA to have a kid. From there I was a mom and homemaker for 20+ years. Now that my kids are grown, I have a cat and a dog to keep me busy along with my 9-year-old husband.
As for the author thing, nope, I never even considered it until it blindsided me one day. I started writing and never really looked back, except to marvel at how it all happened! In fact, I still don’t quite know how the books get done, and I’m more than halfway through novel #6. I just get an idea and start typing. I never really know what I have—whether it’s good, bad, okay, or even a cohesive story—until the second pass, but the readers seem to think the books are fine, so that’s all that matters.
JRR: What inspires you to write?
Ginger: I can be inspired by anything, but having read my books, I’m sure you’ve figured out that it’s all about the love story. With El Rey and The Welsh Healer, I sort of knew where things had to end up and what events had to happen in order to get that outcome, but with the others, I just started to write and the story decided where it wanted to go. Of course, with the Marie Antoinette book—which is actually historically accurate, aside from the zombies!—I had to follow the documented events, but the whole idea of it was sparked from a playful conversation with Arleigh Johnson (your sister-in-law and owner of Historical-Fiction.com and eBook Design.com.) We started out joking about the guillotine and the violence of the revolution (just goes to show you how twisted my sense of humor is!) and came to the conclusion that they must have been zombies. Work of Art was written with far less direction than that.
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
Ginger: Ayn Rand, Colleen McCullough, Jean Plaidy, and Anya Seton. As you can tell from my list, I have always been a big fan of historicals. I love a more formal use of language that others might call stiff, stuffy, or even dry. I also love the idea of living in another world for awhile, and these ladies were always able to successfully transport me. Again, I never thought about writing my own books, only reading more of theirs. The writing just sort of happened.
JRR: How tough was your journey to become self-published? How hard was the decision to become an indie writer?
Ginger: The decision to go indie was not difficult at all. I couldn’t find an agent interested in taking on my debut novel, El Rey, a 600-page clean love story set in 16th century Portugal and Spain. My only alternative was to self-publish, which turned out to not be as difficult as I imagined. I went the Amazon route, and they provide you with all of the tools you need for free. I’m not completely inept when it comes to techie sort of things, so it was relatively easy. The hardest part is spreading the word about your books. I’m not overly social by nature, so that is the most stressful part for me. It makes me grateful for you and a few others who are willing to host me on their blogs. Thank you, Jessica!
JRR: You are more than welcome Ginger!!! Now, in your opinion, what is one misconception that people have about indie writers?
Ginger: I think most people view indie writers as inferior, simply because they aren’t backed by a big publishing house. What most people don’t understand is that these days retaining a literary agent is not based on how well you write or how great your story is. Everything in the current publishing world is dictated by marketability. I, and many others who have gone the indie route, simply do not write for the mainstream. I was surprised the first time anyone suggested that my settings were unusual, because I didn’t think much about it when I started writing, but apparently there was nothing happening outside of England, France, Rome, or the U.S. in the history of the world!
JRR: What does your writing process consist of? Research, handwriting vs typing, music or no music?
Ginger: Hahahaha! If I had tried to write a book the old-fashioned way—by hand and looking up research in physical books—I would have never written word one. I am an extremely lazy person, so having the convenience of my writing tool (my computer) and research materials (the internet) at my fingertips suits me just fine. I just start typing and do my research on the fly. I have an old recliner for a writing chair, and that’s really all I need. I don’t require music, but we recently got a puppy, and baby lullabies go a long way toward keeping him quiet. The iPad is always on while he’s resting, but I can really write in any conditions—TV blaring, pool party next door, kids doing backflips off the furniture—as long as I’m not being addressed directly. Comes from years of being a mom and tuning out the unimportant stuff.
JRR: Besides writing, what else are you good at doing?
Ginger: I have trivial knowledge about a million different things, but I don’t have the skillset to make a proper career out of any of my talents. I have really done everything you can imagine—knitting/crocheting hats, socks, and blankets, coaching little league baseball for 7 years, sewing handmade Halloween costumes—you name it, I’ve done it! The only thing I’m ultimately qualified for is being a mom, and it’s a good thing, because as I’ve said, my husband is basically an overgrown nine-year-old!
JRR: Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?
Ginger: I have always read adult books, even as a child, but I didn’t discover Pat Conroy until about ten years ago. His stories are contemporary, so it’s not my typical reading fare, but I picked up a copy of Prince of Tides and was blown away. His writing is evocative, effortless, and lyrical—all of the things I try to accomplish with my own—and he transitions seamlessly from the present to the past. So, yes, he definitely inspires me, although I doubt I’ll ever reach that level of excellence.
JRR: Your books are in the historical fiction genre- though they are all very different from each other. They range from a girl with mystical powers in 15th century in Wales to 1874 in New York with a murder mystery. And even a macabre alternate history of Marie Antoinette’s life. How do you come up with these ideas for the books to be so different? Is there anything that influences your writing a novel?
Ginger: Basically my ideas come to me complete, including the setting. Sometimes I have to do a little poking around to pinpoint the exact timeframe and historical events to fit the story, but it’s usually all tied together in the inspiration. (Wow! That sounds confusing, but in my mind it was a little more organized!) Once I get writing, though, I live in that world until the book is done. I seem to have a knack for immersing myself in the past and have actually been asked to speak on the subjects/cultures in my stories. But I’m only an expert for as long as it takes to write the book. When I’m finished, I forget all about that world and move on to the next.
JRR: I have read all of your novels except for El Rey and have enjoyed them. My favorites are a tie between The Welsh Healer and Insatiable. When I read Insatiable, it made me want to read about Marie Antoinette’s life as I know nothing about her real life. Do you have a favorite, or are your books like children, and you can’t pick just one?
Ginger: Thank you for the compliment. One of the things I aspire to do with my writing is to connect with a person emotionally and spark a genuine interest in them. If they are inspired to investigate further, that makes me happy, because that’s what I would do if I enjoyed a book.
In answer to your question about my favorite, El Rey holds a very special place in my heart, because it is loosely autobiographical. Inez is very much me, and the title character is based on my husband. The rest of the characters have been inspired by friends and family, and some of the scenes were written almost exactly as they occurred in the real world. Another reason El Rey is so dear to me is that I threw everything I had into that book (which is why it’s nearly 600 pages long), because I didn’t know if I would ever write a second one.
JRR: You based Arlais’s family from The Welsh Healer from my husband’s family. What made you decide to do that? Because of this, I had a different experience reading the book than other readers would have experienced knowing the “real people” behind the characters in the novel.
Ginger: The Welsh Healer was actually the first book begun, until the idea for El Rey called me away during the research phase. I originally intended the main character to be based on my own story, but when I met Arleigh, I found the parallels in our lives very intriguing and had the idea to use her for inspiration. I asked permission to use her information, and thankfully she said yes. Also, when I first met her, I commented on the uniqueness of her name, and she explained to me that it was actually a boy’s name that means ‘field of the hare’ in Old English. Well, that was just too good not to use, and it found its way into the prophecy that is the entire basis for the story.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Ginger: This was actually the toughest question for me, because there are so many people I admire. That said, my choices are Abraham Lincoln, Ayn Rand, and Colleen McCullough. Of course they were all highly intelligent and accomplished, but I’ve always been intrigued by dichotomy, two seemingly opposite parts of a person’s character. Abraham Lincoln seemed like such a private, sensitive soul, yet he pushed himself into a highly visible position where he was under the scrutiny of the nation all the time. He must have been very passionate about his ideas to set aside his own personal inclinations to make such a sacrifice.
Ayn Rand came to the U.S. from Revolutionary Russia and wrote her first screenplay before she could speak fluent English. Later she founded her own philosphy, Objectivism, and it was highly controversial. I have heard some people call her neurotic, but how can a person who is not in full control of her faculties achieve so much? I think it would be fascinating to find out.
And along with being a writer, Colleen McCullough was a neuroscientist and celebrated artist, but she never let any of that go to her head. By all accounts, she maintained a wicked sense of humor and was very down to earth, even after all of her literary success. Who wouldn’t want to have dinner with someone like that?
JRR: Pokemon is such a craze right now- do you play? If so, what team are you? (Team Valor- red, Team Instinct- yellow, or Team Mystic- blue)
Ginger: If you knew how hectic my home life is, you would know that I have no time for Pokemon! Seriously, my husband is just about the biggest, messiest nine-year-old you’ll ever meet, and we have a dog and a cat who love to roll in the dirt. And of course, it all comes off in the house. If I could get paid for every time I have to drag out the vacuum cleaner, I’d make much more than I do in book sales. Besides, I don’t even own a cell phone, so …
JRR: Final question: Is there anything you can tease us about with your next novel?
Ginger: I am currently working on The Welsh Prophecy, which is the prequel to The Welsh Healer. As you know, the entire premise of the story revolves around a mystical ability to heal, so there will be quite a bit of ‘magic’ happening. Briallen (the aunt from The Welsh Healer) is the main character in this one. The prophecy at the core of the story states: “Price of her sacrifice for a dark prince, wounded for life while transformed into hare”, so there will be some transfiguration going on. In addition, there is always a love story at the core of my writing, and this time it happens to involve Edward of Woodstock, whom most of us know as the Black Prince. At first I was worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to The Welsh Healer, and now I’m hoping that Prophecy doesn’t make Healer seem boring by comparison!
***Thank you for your time for this interview Ginger! It was great talking and getting to know you a little better! I look forward to reading The Welsh Prophecy in the future and re-reading The Welsh Healer.