Ruth Merkel Pens Girls Series
Date: June 16, 2006
Ruth Merkel has always loved telling stories. When her granddaughter, Erin, was born, Ruth wanted to share with her not only the family stories she cherished, but the significance of what it meant for Erin to be a sixth generation Seventh-day Adventist and 13th generation American.
"I wanted her to know it wasn't by chance that she was a sixth generation Adventist," Ruth explains, "that it was by God's providence, guidance and abundant love. Heritage is very important and too often not paid attention to."
So, Ruth started to write, putting together a small booklet of stories for Erin about each of the six generations of Adventist girls in her family. About a year after she finished the booklet, Ruth saw an ad in the Andrews Agenda, Andrews University's weekly newsletter, about an upcoming visit by representatives from the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Thinking it was a seminar for writers, Ruth called and set an appointment time. With her collection of stories in hand, Ruth showed up promptly at her scheduled time only to discover that this was not a seminar, but rather a one-on-one meeting with editors looking for new authors. Ruth shared with them her little book of family stories, and the editors' interest was peaked. Soon, Ruth found herself with a contract that would turn her cherished stories into six children?s books.
Now, almost ten years after that first meeting, the first three in what will be a series of six books, hit the shelves in May 2006. The Hannah's Girls series takes young readers back through six generations of Adventist girls, starting with Ann (1833-1897), Ruth's great-grandmother and Erin's great-great-great grandmother, then Marilla (1851-1916), Grace (1890-1973), Ruth, Elaine, and of course, Erin. The last three books are expected to be released sometime next year. Ann, Marilla, and Grace are now available through the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Adventist Book Centers across the country, and Amazon.com.
Ruth is a long-time member of the Berrien Springs community, having served as secretary to four Andrews University presidents, as well as attending the university herself, receiving a BA in office management in 1989. Currently retired, she and her husband, Eugene, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Ruth's granddaughter, Erin, will be a senior this year at Spring Valley Academy, in Dayton, Ohio.