Friday, September 03, 2010
Isn't that a wonderful Book trailer? Welcome Melanie. What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?
I would like to add that I’m happy to be able to offer a Christian alternative in YA’s. And I hope teens get the message that romance is a good thing, even a holy, God-ordained thing, when it’s within God’s plan. True romance is a beautiful picture of God’s love for us.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t know if this qualifies as quirky, but I once drove the 50 miles from my hometown in Alabama to Monroeville where Harper Lee grew up. (This was a long time ago, when I was still in college.) I found the old county courthouse, a replica of which was used in the courtroom scenes in the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird. The courthouse looked really old. It hadn’t been restored and I wondered if they’d soon tear it down. No one was around. I desperately wanted to see inside (I love old buildings.) So I tried the door. It wasn’t locked. I went in, climbed the rickety steps to the courtroom, wondering all the time if I’d get caught and ordered to leave. I wandered around in reverent awe. It looked just like it had in the movie, and there were a few photographs of Gregory Peck and some of the other members of the cast. Finally, I left, having never seen a single person.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I don’t remember exactly, I just remember wanting to be a writer as a teenager. I wrote two novels before I finished high school, but then I quit writing for about fifteen years. Rediscovering writing was like finding my true self again.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading Christian historical romance by authors like Mary Connealy, Ruth Axtell Morren, Linore Rose Burkard, and Julie Lessman, but I also love Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books. Because of Winn-Dixie is my favorite. Eva Ibbotson’s The Countess Below Stairs is another one of my favorite novels. I mostly like historical romance!
If you like historical romance, you might like my Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico. What other books have you written?
I have an 1880 romance set in Alabama, Magnolia Summer, which I hope to turn into a three-book series. I have another medieval romance, currently titled The Beholder, which is based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and a third fairy tale medieval that I’m working on, based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Yes, I love fairy tales. :-)
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of, besides family?
Definitely the four completed novels on the computer!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a brown sparrow, not known for its beauty or pretty voice, but conscientious of doing its part just the same!
What is your favorite food?
Lindt brand dark chocolate truffles. :-) I love yellow squash, okra, “green” purple hull peas, boiled peanuts, home-grown tomatoes, all those Southern vegetables I grew up eating in south Alabama.
Is it hard to break into the YA market?
It’s probably just as hard to break into the YA market as any other. But right now, YA’s are hot. I believe a lot of YA publishers are trying to expand their lines and tap into the reader base of wildly successful titles like Twilight and Harry Potter. Frankly, it’s a good time to be a YA author.
What advice would you give to an author wanting to do that?
Write the best books you can possibly write. Study the market, but most of all, study the craft of writing. Be brave and put yourself out there by entering contests and joining a critique group. And pray!
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The Healer’s Apprentice was originally titled The Woodcutter’s Daughter. Here’s a teaser:
When destiny sleeps, it can only be awakened by true love’s kiss.
In this historical romance loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a woodcutter’s daughter becomes the town healer’s apprentice. Rose’s job is to care for the sick and injured in Hagenheim Castle. But Rose gets sick at the sight of blood and is more suited to making up stories than sewing up wounds. She is determined to overcome her weakness and prove herself a competent healer, or she faces marrying a disgusting old merchant her mother has picked out for her.
Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of the region, is injured and Rose must overcome her squeamishness to save him. He is everything that is noble and good, but loving him is forbidden. He is already betrothed to a mysterious woman in hiding.
With two noble-born brothers vying for her affections, Rose learns that the people of Hagenheim are not always who they seem, and even her own heart can mislead her.
Please share the first page with us.
The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobblestone street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons. The top-heavy, half-timbered houses hovered above the crowd as if they too were eager to get a peek at Lord Hamlin and Lord Rupert.
Rose shifted her basket from her left hip to her right and wrinkled her nose at the stale smell of sweat from the many bodies pressed close, mingled with the pungent scent of animal dung. Chickens and children skittered about, the clucking and squealing adding to the excited murmurs.
Why did Hildy care to watch this ridiculous procession?
“I’ll wait with you to the count of one hundred, Hildy, then I’m leaving.” Rose couldn’t let Frau Geruscha think her apprentice was a lazy dawdler.
“Are you not curious to see if they’ve changed?” Hildy asked, her green eyes glinting in the sun.
“No doubt the duke’s sons have developed into humble scholars after two years at Heidelberg’s university.” Even as she spoke, she glanced up the street. In spite of wanting Hildy to think her indifferent to the young noblemen, Rose was glad she had a good view.
Rose’s dog, Wolfie, began barking so zealously his front paws lifted off the ground.
“Hist. No barking.” Rose leaned down and rubbed the ruff of fur at the back of his neck.
Her heart leapt at the horrified tone in Hildy’s voice, and she stood and faced her friend.
“You didn’t even wear your best dress!”
Rose glanced down at her green woolen kirtle. “Oh, Hildy. As if it matters.”
“At least your hair looks beautiful.” Hildy ran her hand down Rose’s loose mane of brown curls, only partially hidden by her linen coif. “How do you ever hope to get a husband if you don’t pay more attention to your clothing?”
Rose scowled. “I don’t hope.”
How many times would she have to explain this to Hildy? Frau Geruscha had taken a liking to Rose when she was a little child. Now that Rose was grown up, the town healer had chosen Rose to be her apprentice—an honorable life’s work that would prevent Rose from being forced to marry. Frau Geruscha, having grown up in a convent, had not only taught Rose about medicinal herbs, but also how to read Latin—a skill of which Rose was very proud. But it was a skill most men would hardly value in a wife.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://melaniedickerson.com/ and I love visitors! You can also find me on facebook under Melanie Dickerson.
Thank you, Melanie, for this glimpse into your book.
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