By Sherry Derr-Wille
The Becky Series Book 1
Becky Larson’s childhood came to an end when the war between the states took her brothers from their Illinois farm. It isn’t until Joe Kemmerman become her patient that she realizes she is no longer a child but a woman in love.
Joe Kemmerman realized how foolish going to war was when he become a prisoner of the Yankees. With pneumonia threatening his life he is taken to the Larson farm. There he finds the woman of his dreams. In a second fight between North and South he must make her brothers realize love is more important than politics.
What They Are Saying About Becky’s Rebel
Ms. Derr-Wille brings the spirit of understanding to the plight of the Civil War survivors. Becky Larson and her Rebel, Joe Kemmerman, reminds us that love and faith overcome all obstacles. A must read for those who still need to understand there is no difference in the hearts of people, North or South. Becky’s Rebel will make you laugh, shed a tear or two and have you falling in love, once again, with a time and it’s people that is uniquely America’s... the Civil War era.
The Perfect Match
Sherry Derr-Wille has penned another winner. Becky’s Rebel is truly an entertaining story, involving a colorful period of history, myriad characters and a story full of surprises. Picture the land, the sky, the smells, the feelings... Ms. Derr-Wille’s writing style is so descriptive, you can. Becky’s Rebel is not the first book by this author that I have read, nor will it be my last. My only problem is putting her books down once I pick them up. 4½ Roses
When the war between the North and South explodes into reality, Becky Larson’s four brothers join to defend the union. Now, instead of leading the normal life of a young woman, Becky is left to take the place of her brothers--breaking horses and plowing fields. When the Larson home is turned into a hospital, Becky also helps her mother tend to wounded Union soldiers. Who would guess that they would end up nursing a confederate soldier as well.
Joe Kemmerman, a young man of seventeen, follows in the footsteps of his older brother, leaving the family ranch in Texas behind and joining to defend the confederacy. Another Kemmerman brother, Paul, joins just to protect his younger sibling. Unfortunately each family loses one of the brothers to the ravages of war. Joe, Paul and their company are taken prisoner and held in a corncrib during the dead of winter–the unconscionable commander has no sympathy for the men he considers his enemy. When Joe becomes deathly ill, a kindly doctor delivers him to the Larson’s home where Joe becomes Becky’s Rebel. Sherry Derr-Wille has penned another winner. Becky’s Rebel is a truly an entertaining story involving a colorful period of history, a myriad of characters and story full of surprises. Imagine finding yourself attracted to a man everyone else considers an enemy, then having to convince your family to accept your decision when someone wearing the same-colored uniform killed your own brother. Envision hearing the voice of your deceased brother, urging you to believe in your decision and follow your heart. Do you believe in ghosts? Picture the land, the sky, the smells, the feelings...Ms. Derr-Wille’s writing style is so descriptive, you can. There are other surprises in store, but you’ll have to discover them for yourself. Becky’s Rebel is not the first book by Sherry Derr-Wille that I have read, nor will it be my last. My only problem is putting her books down once I pick them up.
Reviewed by Brett Scott
Four ½ Roses
Interview of Sherry Derr Wille by Barbara Woodward
Let’s start with the question that every author is asked: where do you get your ideas?
Becky’s Rebel has been hanging around for years. It started life as the first sentence of the book “The wind blew across the prairie as only an Illinois wind could blow.” When my first agent saw the book she suggested I cut out the first half and write what is now the sequel, Bosslady. It took me several years to decide to write Becky & Joe’s story. As I recall I was driving down Centerway in Janesville, WI when Joe tapped me on the shoulder and shouted, “you need to write our story” in my ear. All of a sudden I had the title and decided I had to write the book, if for no other reason that to appease Joe.
You’ve recently sold a lot of books! How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was a sophomore in high school. If I passed the test the teacher gave I could sit in the back of the room and write for an entire year. (No grammar, spelling, etc.) At the end of the year no one told me I could quit the assignment. I think being an only child gives one a very vivid and active imagination. I think I’ve been making up stories all my life, but I didn’t start putting them down on paper until 42 years ago.
What type of book do you prefer to read?
I love family sagas, historicals, Indians, Vikings, time travel, and a good steamy romance.
I have my own room with a wonderful view of trees outside the window where I do all my writing. Do you have a special place where you write?
I write anywhere and anytime the mood strikes me. I do have an office, but I don’t create on the computer. I have stacks of 70 page count spiral notebooks and I usually have one with me. I love to sit in my recliner and do my best work with the TV on. I’ve been known to write at work when things are slow, on vacation and while I’m babysitting my grandchildren.
Do you develop your plot first or your characters?
Here again I guess I’m very different from most writers. I have a basic story line and it seems to develop itself. My characters have a bad habit of bugging me and writing their own stories. The most disconcerting was the character who tapped me on the shoulder on the way to work and said, “you killed me off, but guess what, there was no body, I’m not dead, deal with me.” Of course, that’s a whole other story.
Do you have a critique group or write on your own?
For years I belonged to a fabulous critique group. They were wonderful. Recently we stopped meeting, too many other pressures. They are still some of my dearest friends in the industry. I mostly write on my own, but my next-door neighbor has been my reader for years. She pre-edits everything and when something doesn’t work she role-plays it with her teenage daughter. It really helps a lot. I have to be careful how much I send her these days as she is editing for Treble Heart and Whiskey Creek Press. Still when a new idea is clamoring to be written, I do bounce it off her by phone.
I like to play soft music and burn candles while I write. Do you have a routine that helps you be creative?
Not really. I have too many ideas rolling around in my head to set any routine. I guess you’d say my routine is finding the time to sit down and work. Basically I just don’t clean house, I hire it done.
I have a horrible time with titles! Is it easy or difficult for you to title your work?
Nine times out of ten I have the title before I have the story. It’s that tenth time that drives me right out of my mind. I’ve been lucky that I’ve only had to change two titles. The one the editor came up with a grabber and the second I have no idea where I’m going whatsoever.
Tell us a bit about Becky’s Rebel.
Becky and Joe are two kids caught up in the romance of war. Joe joined the Confederate army to avenge the death of his older brother. Becky became a farmhand and nursemaid when her brothers joined the Union. As a 19th century Romeo and Juliet, they have a lot of obstacles and a couple of pesky ghosts to overcome before they can be together. Joe’s illness is the thing that brings them together and almost tears them apart.
And to finish this interview, a question that has nothing to do with writing: what’s your favorite food and why?
If you knew me you’d realize I never met a food I didn’t like. I guess a good steak – medium rare, thank you, or Chinese at the Cozy Inn, a great Chinese restaurant in Downtown Janesville. I started going there when I was a kid and my husband and I had some awesome dates there. Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite.