Erica here: I'm posting here for Jaime, who has been laid low with pneumonia. If you think of Jaime today, please pray. She's got a big day at work, leading training seminars, and she needs strength. Thank you!
Almost a year ago, I was welcomed into the blogging partnership here at Coffee Cups & Camisoles, and now it is my great pleasure to welcome another blogger. Gabrielle Meyer!
Here is a little about Gabrielle:
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle can be found on her personal blog or her group blog where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
Gabrielle and I are kindred spirits. Fellow Minnesotans, history addicts, romance writers. We each have thick, curly hair. And she is a member of TEAM TEA! YAY! We even have novellas releasing in TWO different collections together later this year. (You'll hear about both of those collections as they release...FYI, be prepared to party. These are Gabrielle's FIRST published works!)
We thought it might be fun to interview Gabrielle to help everyone get to know her, so we each came up with a couple of questions. I love the answers!
1) Where were you the first moment you realized you'd fallen in love with history?
I grew up with history all around me—quite literally. My father was the grounds and maintenance caretaker for a wealthy heiress named Laura Jane Musser and we lived above the carriage house on the estate. Her father was a lumber baron and he had built a mansion next door to his business partner, Charles Weyerhaeuser. Laura Jane inherited both mansions and the nine acres of land along the Mississippi where they were built (it’s now a retreat center). I loved growing up there, but it wasn’t until I was seventeen that I can honestly say I fell in love with history—like over-the-moon, I’m gone forever kind of love. That was the summer I began working at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site here in my hometown of Little Falls, Minnesota. I was immersed in history every single day, and I was paid to learn all I could and then tell people what I knew! I worked at the Lindbergh Site for ten years, and it shaped my love of history in ways nothing else ever could. I learned how to tell a good story, with historical facts, to entertain an audience.
2) What event, moment, memory, or person first made you believe you might try to write your own book?
There were so many. Some that stand out: my mom telling me I could do anything I set my mind to, a youth pastor asking me for my first autograph on a restaurant napkin, a college professor telling me I had “potential to be a great writer,” transcribing a written history of our community at our local county historical society (and discovering a goldmine of ideas), and my husband’s complete and utter belief in me. The one that pushed me over the edge of my little nest, and forced me to flap my writing wings, was reading The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz. My kindle suggested the title, and I was eager to try a new-to-me author. I devoured that book! And at the end, I thought to myself: “Why am I not writing?” I had dreamed of being an author almost my whole life—but it was that book that made me believe I could do it. I also found Laura on Facebook and she was my first author friend. :) She’s been an amazing encouragement ever since.
3) What author or heroine (living or dead) is most like you?
*Sigh* I relate to so many. :) But the one who is most like me is an author named Maud Hart Lovelace. Her series, Betsy-Tacy, is set at the turn of the 20th Century in Mankato, Minnesota (called Deep Valley in the books). It’s a fictional auto-biography, much like Little House on the Prairie. She begins the series when Betsy (a.k.a. Maud) is a little girl, and she takes her through childhood, into high school, and on to college, marriage, and the great world. I read the series in high school and I fell in love. Maud captures the heart and soul of her hometown, which is what I long to do with my writing. I’ve read the first half of the series to my girls, and we’ve gone to Maud’s house in Mankato. I highly recommend the series! (Maud and I also share a birthday, April 25th. :) )
4) When was the first time you met Anne, Jaime, and Erica?
I met Erica first at the 2012 ACFW Conference in Dallas. We had formerly “met” online, and we are both from Minnesota, so I was excited to meet her. I’ll never forget that moment, because the very first thing she did was compliment me. :) (Do you remember what you said, Erica?) I also “met” Jaime and Anne online, and then in person for the first time at the 2013 ACFW Conference in Indianapolis. It was like a big reunion! I’ve felt a kindred spirit with all three ladies, and I’m so excited to be a part of this blog.
Erica here...I don't remember! What did I say????
5) Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it?
I’m a tea girl! I love all flavors—hot and cold. If it’s hot, I love to put cream in it—if it’s cold, I want it to be sweet.
Erica here again...Yay for another tea-drinker! :)
6) Which character from Little House on the Prairie are you most like?
What I love about LHOP is that I relate to a few characters. I’m the oldest of two sisters (I also have two older brothers), so growing up I often felt like Mary. I was the responsible sister, and if you asked my younger sister Andrea, she’d tell you I never got into trouble and was a “perfect” little girl like Mary. :) As I got older, and discovered my love for writing, I began to relate to Laura. I wanted to write about my childhood and my family and all the nuances of my community life. Now, as a mother of four, I totally get Ma! J I remember re-reading the series after having children, and seeing Ma’s point of view for the first time. I can’t even begin to understand how difficult it was to live on the prairie as a pioneer. Go Ma Ingalls!
7) What is your favorite housekeeping chore?
Ugh. Can I say it again? Ugh. I do not enjoy housekeeping—I enjoy a clean, organized house, but with four children, a dog, a cat, two small businesses we run out of the house, and homeschooling, our house gets a workout every day! Last week my eight year old daughter said to me: “I bet our house likes when we all leave so it can take a break.” :) If someone twisted my arm, and I had to say one favorite chore, it would probably be vacuuming. Usually this comes at the end of my cleaning routine and it gives me great satisfaction to see it done. :) Here’s one of my favorite pictures from parenting twins. As they get older, their messes only get bigger. :)
8) If you were stranded on an island, what FICTION novel could you not live without?
I have so many favorites! Some recent ones are The Wood’s Edge, by Lori Benton, The Colonel’s Lady, by Laura Frantz, Rebellious Heart, by Jody Hedlund…but the one I have read numerous times and I never tire of is Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I know this may seem like a generic answer, since it’s a favorite of so many people—but there is a good reason for its popularity! Every time I read Redeeming Love, I come away with a new insight, a different perspective, and a deeper understanding. The story is rich in characters, plot, dialogue, setting, and spiritual depth. I’m a huge fan of plot twists and unexpected revelations, and that book is ripe with them! If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.
9) Do you have a writing mentor? If so, what is one of the biggest things they have taught you about your writing journey?
I have a few mentors, but the one who has taught me the most is Susan May Warren. Not only has she been a fantastic teacher, but she’s also become a good friend (we Minnesotans need to stick together). J I think the biggest thing she’s taught me is the importance of a support network. Writing can be a lonely, solitary pursuit—but it doesn’t have to be. There is power in numbers! As I walk this writing journey, I’m so thankful for kindred spirits who travel beside me. They encourage me, pray for me, brainstorm with me, laugh with me, cry with me—but best of all, they love me, and that is a priceless gift.
10) You know I'm going to ask you for a selfie!!!?
Here’s a different take on a selfie. J I took this picture on the beach in Monterey, California during the Books & Such Literary Management Retreat.
To celebrate Gabrielle coming to our blog, we're giving away a copy of one of her favorite books! Enter the giveaway, then come back and ask Gabrielle a 'get to know you' kind of question!