Sunday, July 7, 2013

Writer's Block Quilt Block and Tea Time with Wedding Ring Author Emilie Richards

Writer's Block Quilt Block
Welcome to the Quilters' Book Club!  Our book to read and discuss during July 2013 is Wedding Quilt by Emilie Richards.  It's the first book in her Shenandoah Album series and is set in Virginia.  Check out the book from your local library and join us!

Get yourself a cup of tea and spend a bit of time with the author.  Here's her biography taken from her website:

USA TODAY bestselling author Emilie Richards recalls fondly the summer she served as a VISTA volunteer in the Arkansas Ozarks. Although conditions were primitive and resources scarce, at the end of the three months the 20-year-old college student left with a richness of experience that would forever change her life and ultimately inspire a series of novels about the age-old craft of quilting.

“This was the country’s third-poorest county,” Richards said in an interview from her northern Virginia. “In the area where we worked there were no phones, no running water and no indoor plumbing. These were hardworking families who grew what they put on their tables. There was little color in their lives, but the women did what women have been doing for centuries. They created beauty out of nothing—turning scraps of old clothing and feed sacks into exquisitely beautiful quilts.”
Richards says the women insisted she quilt with them in the evenings, “and then later they’d take out my stitches,” she laughingly recalls of her early attempts at the craft. “But I left the Ozarks a different person. I don’t run water needlessly. I recycle everything. I don’t waste food. And,” she adds, “I quilt every chance I get.”
After her stint in the Ozarks, Richards went on to finish her undergraduate degree in American studies from Florida State University, and her master’s in family development from Virginia Tech. She subsequently served as a therapist in a mental health center, as a parent services coordinator for Head Start families and in several pastoral counseling centers before she began writing full-time.
Richards says that in every social service position she held, she gained more than she gave. “I set out to help people and ended up learning so much more about myself.”

Richards is married to her college sweetheart, a Unitarian Universalist minister, and those years of church life are responsible for the creation of the Ministry is Murder mysteries, about a minister’s wife who solves murders in a tiny Ohio town.

Emilie and her husband have three grown sons and a daughter. Born in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Richards has lived with her family not only in Virginia but in Louisiana, California, Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They also spent two four-month sabbaticals in Australia.

When not writing or quilting, Richards enjoys traveling and turning her suburban yard into a country garden.

Now it's your turn.  What question would you like to ask Emilie Richards?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Emily has kindly offered to participate in our discussions, so here's your chance!   Answer in the comment section below.  If you are reading via email, you must first click on the blog title to be able to comment and read the comments of others.  By commenting, you are entering your name in a giveaway for Clare O'Donohue's book, The Devil's Puzzle, part of her Someday Quilts Mystery Series.  Plume Books has generously offered copies of Clare's book for TWO lucky winners this month. 

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. What county in the Arkansas Ozarks? I'm familiar with the area around Mountain View, since my grandfather was born there, and we have family reunions there.

  2. Do you have a favorite character when you are writing?

  3. Well...with only 19 more pages to go in this book, I want to know if Tessa has another baby or adopts. LOL! Don't answer that one. I will be finishing those 19 pages when I get off of this computer.

    I would like to say that I am enjoying this book. I also find it helpful, a bit of therapy to an extent for someone that has had someone so dear to them murdered, which I have. I want to jump through the pages and shake the mess out of Tessa though. LOL! Life goes on for the living..that's my motto for the past 32 years. Hopefully in those 19 pages I have left I will find out that Tessa wakes up.

    While reading I did have all sorts of questions about the how's and whys of how you knew the grief process so well and after reading your biography, those questions were answered by reading about you being a therapist and being married to a minister. Similar things in my life and my husband is also a minister.

  4. What is sack cloth? Is it similar to calico or hessian?

  5. I have just started reading the book and finding the struggles of/between the characters to be very interesting and very 'real'. I grew up in a multi-generational home and have witnessed some but not all of the dynamics portrayed here. I too, would like to know more about the pooch in your picture. 8-)

  6. I read this series a few years ago & Emilie has become one of my favorite Authors. I am re-reading this again for the club and am enjoying it all again.
    I would like to know where in Australia did she live in Australia when she was here.

  7. I would also love to know if she had any plans to write more books in this series.

  8. I haven't had the chance to buy the book yet but will. Hoping to find it in audio form.
    I would like to know where you get your ideas for your books. Do they just come to you? I think you have great talent.

  9. I loved the book and it really hit home since I have lost children too and know what that does to a person. I loved the story about how you would have to stitch with the ladies and then they would unstitch what you did. What is your favorite fabric to work with? Did you work with anything besides cotton, etc.?

  10. My book just arrived from excited to read another book by Emilie!

  11. Have you met Isabel Keating, the narrator of the audio version of your book? I'm enjoying her vocal depiction of each character.

  12. Wow, what fabulous questions. I just discovered them. So will answer a few in each comment here, starting at the beginning. (I love you guys.)

    1--Cheryl: Stone County, Arkansas. We lived and worked on Herpel Road. What a great spot for a family reunion. We haven't been back in years but now that my husband's retired, we're planning a trip in the not too distant future. It has changed immensely, I know.

    2--bunbear: Hmmm. Probably not a favorite. Whoever's head I'm in at the time gets my full attention. Characters are like children. A good mom doesn't play favorites.

    3--Lisa: I'm glad you're finding the book helpful. My goal as an author is to write "healing" books. But as an author, I also know my characters can't change too quickly. Not only isn't that real, it's not good fiction. I am so sorry about your loss, and glad you've been able to keep going, despite the sorrow.

  13. Diane: Sugar, flour, animal feed were packaged in cotton prints, called feedsacks, so that the women who needed those things would have an incentive to buy from manufacturers. There are now beautiful reproduction prints of the thirties feedsack fabrics, of which I have far too many because they are like salted peanuts. The good news is that I am working through them, including doing a handstitched apple core quilt with many of them. I also have a collection of actual feedsacks, but hate to cut them up. Plan to for an OH star quilt someday.

    Cyn and DJ: Nemo, a blue tick beagle foundling. He rules the house. If I don't tuck him in on a cold night, he comes to get me about 2AM to remind me.

    Julie: So glad you found these at the start. We lived in Adelaide, South Australia but did lots of traveling there, too. And yes, I do plan to write a sixth book. My publisher hasn't been in favor of this, but my readers are. I will probably self-publish it, since that is now increasingly acceptable and easy to do.

  14. Rosie: Ideas are really everywhere, although the trick is figuring out which are good ones and which not-so-good. Quilts obviously gave me the seeds of these books, but sometimes it's just a passing conversation. My newest book, Somewhere Between Luck and Trust, began by browsing through a vintage junk shop and seeing a charm bracelet. It ended up as the central idea of the book. I just blogged about that at

    Mama T: Bay Village, OH near Cleveland.

  15. Bonni: I am so sorry for your loss, and I know that losing a child (it sounds like you lost more than one) is one of life's terrible trials.

    As for quilting? Really only cotton, but someday I think it would be fun to try my hand with felted wool.

    Karen, no I haven't met Isabel Keating. You will think I'm odd--correctly--but I don't listen to my books on tape and I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the TV to see the German adaptations of a number of my early books. (They were great, but still.) However I did listen to Isabel long enough to know she was doing a lovely job of narrating them.

  16. Just want to add that you can sign up for my newsletter at my website. I do them about 4X a year, when I have something fun to tell my readers. But I do blog constantly and always enjoy comments. These comments/questions are fabulous.


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