In light of the recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, yesterday’s release of Janet Ferguson’s latest novel, Magnolia Storms, is very timely. I shared the first line of this novel yesterday in my weekly First Line Friday post, but today I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the story and its author, Janet Ferguson. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!
~ About the Author ~
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.
Plotting = Work
Editing = Losing hair
Spelling and Grammar = Need much help
Reviews = More please 🙂
I am quite disciplined about my writing time = My dream
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
Creating a new story!
What is your least-favourite part of the writing process?
Editing, then editing, then proofing and proofing and proofing… and proofing.
What is your worst habit as a writer?
I get stuck on some word or phrase in every novel. It’s usually a different one each time. In Leaving Oxford, it was leaning. In Tackling the Fields it was sucked in a deep breath. In this last one, Magnolia Storms, there seemed to be a lot tight throats. So, then I have to go back and change a bunch of them when I edit.
What is the average time it takes for you to write a first draft?
It’s crazy, but it varies wildly depending on what’s going on in my life. My first novel took three months for the first draft, but then I edited it for four years. This last novel took almost two years because I was so busy marketing the Southern Hearts series, but the editing was much easier and quicker, maybe a month.
What is the strangest thing you have ever researched?
Oh too many to choose from! Maybe hairless cats, bad dates, crazy fishing stories, hurricanes, football, head injuries, dengue fever, gunshot wounds, mission trips to Central America, planes landing in Honduras… So many rabbit trails. I recently downloaded a list of ways people are accidentally killed.
What is the strangest thing you have ever done in the name of research?
Mostly calling and emailing people who don’t know me, interviewing people I don’t know, asking strangers weird questions.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Working in yoga pants and big T-shirts.
What’s something you know now that you wish you had known when you first started?
How to write with deep point of view!
How do you celebrate typing THE END?
Ha! By that point, I’m already thinking about what I want to write next.
Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.
The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.
Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?
Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
Hurricane Katrina destroyed so much of the South part of my state of Mississippi. I thought, what if someone became a meteorologist because the storm wrecked their life, and they never wanted to go back to the Mississippi Coast. So I make them have to go to the Coast right when a hurricane is predicted… because authors do mean things to their characters.
Where did you get your inspiration for these characters?
I was asking a college friend about the Port of Mobile while writing Blown Together, and he described his job as a ship pilot. I watched a few videos about it, and I knew my next hero would be a ship pilot.
What was the hardest part about writing this novel?
The hardest part was the spiritual thread. Maggie, the heroine, is wrestling with how to have faith in God when her prayers have been answered with a resounding no. We all have to deal with that at times. We pound the doors of heaven for a mother, child, friend, sibling, country, church, and sometimes the answer is definitely not what we want. When this happens, we have to decide and determine to still have faith, to praise God in our storms.
What was the most interesting piece of research you did for this novel?
I watched a ton of piloting videos and ships sailing on rough seas. It’s amazing how brave some of these nautical people are.
~ Giveaway ~
Have you ever experienced a natural disaster, or some other kind of storm in your life? Let us know in the comments and then click here for a chance to win an eBook copy of Magnolia Storms!