Welcome, Melody. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I’ve always liked creating stories about forgiveness, mercy, and grace—because I think those are important elements in a healthy life. In order to write about those things, I must make some flawed (very human) and sometimes unlikable characters. In River’s Song, Anna’s mother-in-law Eunice is such a character—a person we love to hate. But in the second book, River’s Call, we peel back some Eunice layers and find out why she is the way she is. To me, that’s fun writing…lifelike and yet with redemption.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I have the fourth installment of The Four Lindas releasing this fall, Here’s to Friends. And, as usual, a Christmas novella titled The Christmas Shoppe.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
It probably sounds cliché to say Oprah, but off hand, that’s who I’d pick. And I’d like to pick her brain a little, get to know what she’s working toward, and I’d commend her for all the good she’s done in the world so far. I know she gets picked on by some Christians, but I’d like to be one of the ones who says, “thank you!”
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I’ve answered this question before by saying Jesus’ mother Mary. I just think she’s an amazing person and God must’ve thought so too. I wrote a historic novella in her point of view so I feel like I sort of know her, but I’d like to hear her thoughts on motherhood and life in general. Was there anything she wished she’d done differently?
I know what you mean. I wrote three dramatic monologues from Mary's perspective before I ever sold a novel. How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
That’s a hard question. Unfortunately it comes with the territory. If you don’t have thick skin and perseverance, you probably shouldn’t become a writer. Besides that I’d tell them to keep writing. If one thing gets consistently rejected, try something else. And study the market and find out what’s selling and why…then ask yourself if there’s something like that you can write. Unfortunately, contracting a book to a publisher is ultimately about selling books. You need to convince publishers you’re writing something they can sell. Otherwise try to self publish an eBook.
Tell us about the featured book.
River’s Song is the first part of a semi-historical trilogy set in
about women of Siuslaw Indian heritage. Widowed Anna Larson returns to her family home, situated on a coastal estuary, to bury her mother. Her life hasn’t turned out as she hoped and with a grown spoiled daughter and a horrible mother-in-law she doesn’t have much to return to. So she remains on the river, trying to understand her Native American roots as well as the rest of her life. With friends and a heritage both sweet and painful, she begins put together a plan to restore her family home into an inn where peace and healing are found in the form of grace and forgiveness. Oregon
In twenty years time, nothing had changed on the river. Or so it seemed. Although mid June, the sky was gloomy, the color of a weathered tin roof, and the river, a few shades darker, was tinged with mossy green. The surface of the water was serene, barely moving with the ebb tide, and the sounds of birds and churning boat motor were muffled, hushed by the low slung clouds. Not a scene that everyone could appreciate, but Anna wished to drink it in, absorb it into her being, and savor it for years to come when she was far from this beloved place.
“So what d’ya think, Anna?” Henry Ackerman shouted over the chugging sound of the diesel engine. “Everything still look all right to you?”
“Yes,” Anna assured him. “It feels the same—not much has changed.”
Henry nodded as he guided the old boat along, greasy felt hat pulled low over his shaggy brows, peering intently at the water, just like he’d done for decades. Henry, like the river, hadn’t changed much. Older maybe, and a little more grizzled, if that was possible, but the easy smile and friendly demeanor were just the same. She’d known Henry for so long, he seemed like family.
Something caught Anna’s eye upstream. “What’s that?” she called out, pointing to a dark smudge in the water.
“Just another one of them dad-burned rogue logs.” He spat into the water as he steered the boat clear of it. “Always getting loose from the pilings. You gotta watch out real close when you run the river anymore.” He pointed upriver. “I’m telling you, Anna, them logs are like gold nowadays. The lumber mills can’t seem to get enough of ‘em.”
Anna stood in the boat, staring out at the enormous stretch of floating logs around the bend. Laid out like firewood side by side, they were cabled together in large groups, creating a wide, uneven border along the south side of the river—stretching for miles.
“Oh, my!” She gasped. “I’ve never seen so many logs in my entire life.”
“Been like that for years now. Seems they can’t get ‘em outta the woods fast enough. Then they dump ‘em here in the river and leave ‘em.” He cursed. “And them logs just float there till the mill’s ready to cut ‘em into lumber. That is unless there’s a storm or a cable busts and them logs break loose and head straight out for the ocean. You don’t want to be on the water when that happens.”
Anna stared in horror at the deformity on the river. The log barges resembled big ugly scabs cutting into the otherwise sleek surface of the water. Even creeping into the estuaries, like a growing cancer, barge after barge of floating logs seemed to fill up most of the surface of the Siuslaw. She could only imagine what the surrounding woods must look like. Glancing up at a hillside that had once been lush and green, she gasped to see the land scalped bare and brown . . . the stubble trunks of trees the only reminder of what had been. Her dad used to call those men gippo loggers—the reckless kind who came in and clear-cut the trees, took their money and ran. With no concern for the future, those thieving loggers ravaged the land, leaving it barren and useless … dead. A lump of sadness filled her throat to think that while she’d been gone, the Siuslaw was being ruined.
How can readers find you on the Internet?http://www.melodycarlson.com
Thank you, Melody, for visiting with us today.
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