Trish Strebel Mercer has been teaching writing, or editing graduate papers, or revising web content, or changing diapers since the early 1990’s. She earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA in Composition Theory and Rhetoric from Utah State University. She and her husband David have nine children and have raised them in Utah, Idaho, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. Currently they live in the rural west and dream of the day they will be old enough to be campground managers in Yellowstone National Park.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
All of it! Seeing the people in my head become manifest on the page. Watching their struggles, seeing their triumphs, getting through a dicey patch, watching them grow, watching ME grow, going back and reading and realizing, 'Hey, that was pretty good,' and not remembering writing it at all, so realizing that maybe--just maybe--it isn't entirely me writing this either.
It's become alive, all on its own. (That's not crazy talk, by the way. I've checked. Lots of writers feel like scribes for their books, not the authors. These things write themselves, and it's an honor to be the scribe.)
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
"Little House on the Prairie"! Laura Ingalls Wilder's stories amazed me as a child--and also left me thinking, "I should remember these details on how to churn butter or melt down bullets." The idea that a regular person could write her story and let others read it was jarring. For some reason, I always thought one had to be invited to write. Not until I was much older did I realize that if you want to write, just write!
It's been twenty-five years since the Shins and Briters escaped from Edge, and nothing in the world is the same except for an old story about Colonel Shin's betrayal by his wife and sergeant major.
They ignore the story, but their 18-year-old grandson, intrigued by the world, the tales, and even General Lemuel Thorne, has a hard time letting it go.
Since Mahrree publicly denounced the Administrators, and Perrin resigned the army in protest, the world’s been shunning them.
Until it could bring them to trial.
Time’s running out, and there’s nowhere in the world they can hide.
That’s when two people, in dark mottled clothing, tell them about somewhere out of the world . . .
And Peto decides his parents are running into a trap.
The problem with everyone, Perrin concluded, was that they couldn't see what he did.
Shem said his mind was confusing him. Mahrree said it was nightmares. His children said nothing. But he knew he was surrounded by Guarders, masquerading as cats.
But an army is also assembling--in the forests and wearing green and brown--because they have their own plans for the wounded falcon in the barn.
Lt. Col. Shin isn't happy--about Guarders turning teens into thieves, nor about his children turning into teenagers. The whole world's shifting, with Mal tightening his control, yet no one except Perrin, Mahrree, and Shem seem to notice.
When disaster hits Idumea and his mother insists he return, Perrin's not sure what's worse: facing the government he hates, or taking his family along to Idumea.
Perrin and Mahrree, now marked for elimination by the Guarders, would appreciate some inside information. The forest agrees and is sending in Shem Zenos, a charismatic soldier happy to tend the Shins' children, and anything that needs helping. Which leaves Mal wondering--who's this "Quiet Man" and just who is he helping?
Captain Perrin Shin and teacher Mahrree Peto have to unravel the secrets of the Guarders who attack their village. It's not as if the new Administrators are helping much. In fact, one might think Chairman Mal was behind it all. But that would mean the world was literally out to get them, and why would two inconsequential people in Edge be of interest to the Chairman of the world?