Robin Merrill: Author of Shelter Trilogy, Piercehaven Trilogy and Gertrude, Gumshoe
I contacted Robin after listening to her Gertrude, Gumshoe series of 6 novels on Audible, read by Darlene Allen. It’s fabulous! Gertrude considers herself a bit of a detective, albeit unlicensed (to drive and to detect). Says what she means, and not always tactfully. With her trusty walker and walker pouch, Gertrude will find her way into your heart, and she always solves the murder(s). Gertrude was originally a character in Robin’s Grace Space novel.
Growing up in Maine (where she still resides), she knew she wanted to be a writer. Her family tried discouraging her – telling her she wouldn’t be able to make a living as a writer or that she would become an English teacher. Did she show them! And in a small way, her family was also right.
Once she graduated high school, Robin visited a friend at the Maine Maritime Academy, who told her about the Merchant Marines. The beauty of the job would be working for 6 months of the year, with 6 months off – to write. What Robin hadn’t considered was that she might be one of the few (or only) women on the ship. Five years later, she bid farewell to the Merchant Marines.
After obtaining her master’s degree in Creative Writing, she became an English teacher. And taught for 6 years. Then she decided to write full-time. Her tag line on her website is: Books that Pluck Your Heartstrings. True!
Gertrude’s character is loosely based on her grandmother who spoke her mind, lived a sheltered life, and never drove. Most of her characters are based on people she’s met, and her characters really have a life of their own on paper. In the Gertrude series, for example, we meet Calvin, the gruff and sensible neighbor; Andrea, the former librarian, who follows the rules to a “T” and loves cats; Dave, the “spook”; and Norm, the sensible, and sometimes doubting, driver.
Nowadays, Robin can write a book in about 4 – 6 weeks. That wasn’t always the case, of course. By the time she gets to the “3rd quarter” of the book, she gets fatigued, and wants to move the story along. Once she is over that “hump”, she gets excited, and maybe a bit sad that the book is near completion.
Robin has tried different approaches to writing a new book – from outlining to sitting down and typing. She has found that when she “just starts writing,” she has a much better novel. No writer’s block for her. And the key is writing every day, starting in the morning, after her coffee. Early morning writing is far better than end of the day. When she’s tired in the afternoon, that is her reading time: cozy mysteries, thrillers, westerns, sweet romances, Christian fiction and non-fiction.
Robin somehow balances her love of writing poetry and novels as a mom, a wife, a teacher (homeschooling her son), and teaching creative writing workshops.
She recently finished her Shelter Trilogy series. A new cozy mystery series is on the horizon. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll someday continue her Gertrude series with Gertrude getting her PI license in South Dakota. After all, it’s always a pleasure to hear Gertrude utter, “Oh, Mylanta” and “Yipee!!”
For more information about Robin Merrill, visit her website at www.robinmerrill.com.