Thursday, September 09, 2010
Welcome back to the blog, Melody. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I actually write a fairly diverse variety of books—everything from serious mental health issues (like Finding Alice) to lighthearted chick lit (like A Mile in My Flip-flops) and a lot in between. But I suppose one thing my books have in common is that I try to write stories that readers relate can to. Whether the reader is a troubled teenaged girl in need of guidance, or a middle-aged woman who just wants to laugh, I try to create books that will touch readers in a relevant way.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
It would have to be my wedding day (although the births of my two sons rank pretty high too). But my wedding day stands out as totally happy (and no childbirth pain was involved). I married a truly wonderful Christ-like man (32 years ago) and he is still the love of my life and my number one fan.
How has being published changed your life?
That’s a good question. In many ways, I feel like I’m the same person as before. But to be honest, there have been a lot of good changes. For starters, I’m my own boss, keep my own hours, call the shots. We live where we want to live plus we have a vacation cabin at the beach. My husband works for me (he’s my manager, maintenance man, house-husband etc.). I get invited to some fun events. And, for whatever reason, there are always people who think “authors” are something special. Although I know I’m really not. I guess I’d have to say I owe all that to having become a published author. But even more than that, I know I owe it to God.
I totally agree that we owe it all to God. What are you reading right now?
Although I had to set it aside in midstream (since I just started writing a new novel) I was reading Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott and I can’t wait to pick it up again.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m writing a teen book called The Jerk Magnet (for Baker/Revell) and it’s about a girl who goes from drab to fab, and suddenly has to deal with being attractive to guys who are more into her looks than her character.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve been blessed to have enjoyed some pretty great vacations already. But I think it would be dreamy to spend a couple of weeks in a Tuscany villa, in the fall, with my husband.
That sounds good to me, too. How do you choose your settings for each book?
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It probably sounds cliché, but I think I’d pick Oprah Winfrey. I admire what she’s done for a lot of people. And she seems like a genuine person.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I like the outdoors—biking, hiking, camping, or just walking my dog in the woods or on the beach. I also like to do a bit of gardening. And I like home décor and house design. Or just hanging with friends and family.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I don’t like to think of writing as having any obstacles. I think that would be self defeating or set me up for problems. The biggest writing “challenge” I can think of is trying to improve my craft. I know it’s something I will never master and I like that.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
I tell writers to make sure they read the kinds of books they aspire to write. Then to just write, write, write. You can only improve by doing it. Also it’s helpful to join a good critique group, take classes, attend writers’ conferences, read books on writing. But most of all, you need to simply write.
Tell us about the featured book.
Hometown Ties is the second book in The Four Lindas series. Back in the sixties, there were four girls named Linda in the same first-grade classroom. Naturally, they formed a club—and start going by their middle names. Now, many years later, these Lindas reunited by a class reunion, relocate their lives and restore their friendships in their charming coastal hometown. But all doesn’t go smoothly. Artist Marley is suffering “painter’s block.” Janie, a widowed attorney from Manhattan is having difficulty moving on and fitting in. The hometown girl, Abby, is dealing with an empty nest and marriage troubles. And beautiful Caroline has her hands full trying to keep her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother at home and wearing clothes!
Please give us the first page of the book.
Caroline knew better than to trust her mother. Even before Alzheimer’s, Ruby McCann was undependable at best. Now she was unpredictable, unreliable, and sometimes downright sneaky. Today she was just plain missing. Caroline had been less than an hour at the grocery store, getting some milk, eggs, bread, and fresh produce in the hopes she could entice her mother to eat something. She’d left her mother contentedly watching a dog show on Animal Planet. And now she was gone.
But Caroline wasn’t that surprised. Her mother had wandered off twice last week, and both times Caroline found her on the front porch of what used to be the Wilson house. Marge Wilson had been her mom’s best friend, and Caroline supposed that some old wrinkle in her mom’s brain sent her there for coffee or a cup of sugar or something. Each time, the current homeowners had appeared to be at work and, despite her mom’s incessant ringing of the doorbell, no one responded. However, Caroline’s mother was not on that porch this morning.
“Don’t come undone,” Caroline told herself as she continued through her mom’s neighborhood—the same neighborhood Caroline had walked through hundreds, maybe thousands of times in the sixties while growing up. It should have been as familiar as the back of her hand, and yet it was different … changed by time. She looked at the back of her hand. Well, it had changed some too. And what appeared to be the beginning of a liver spot had her seriously concerned. Hopefully her hands weren’t going to go all blotchy and speckled like her poor old mother’s. Good grief, Caroline was only fifty-three. That was ten years younger than Goldie Hawn, and Goldie still looked fantastic. Of course, Goldie had lots of money to keep her good looks looking good. But what Caroline lacked in finances, she hoped she could make up in savvy. Which reminded her: Wasn’t lemon juice supposed to bleach age spots?
That should really hook readers. How can they find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Melody, for sharing this new book with us.
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