Welcome, Templa. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Whether intended or not, I think there’s a bit of me in each of my characters. The main character in Season of Forgiveness, Emma, is who I strive to be … who I hope to be someday. And
Dee, well, she’s imperfect, outspoken, and
funny. I wish that I could, occasionally at least – in my real life – be as
honest and bold as this character I’ve created. Emma’s seven sons? Well, they
were all inspired by my own three sons. And many of Emma’s boys antics in the
story are things my sons have actually done. (Treasure hunts, digging tunnels,
banister sliding, school yard brawls … just to name a few.)
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Hmmm…. this could be a very long list. Those who know me best could tell countless stories of quirky things I’ve done. Thank God you’re not asking them!
In my former “life” as an Advertising Sales Executive, I (reluctantly) attended countless, tedious sales meetings in a cramped conference room with ADHD personalities, corporate jargon on steroids, and a terrible ventilation system. While everyone else raced outside for a smoke break, I would do yoga stretches on the sales room floor. They all looked at me like I had three heads – as if they’d never seen a woman in a business suit performing the pigeon pose!
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was in second grade, my teacher asked if she could submit a story I had written to a national publication for educators. She told me I had a unique perspective and a special way with words. The seed was planted. I’ve been creating stories ever since.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I devour fiction like little kids eat candy and have an extremely eclectic collection of books. I cut my teeth on the Hardy Boys, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie, and still have a passion for mysteries. But I love anything that is well written, thought provoking, or entertaining. I have to confess that I don’t enjoy romance novels all that much. They usually leave me feeling like I’ve just eaten Sweet-n-Low straight from the little pink packet. And, nonfiction? Well, I force myself to read the occasional nonfiction book, but I’m easily distracted by something with a promising story line or an intriguing plot.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It’s lovely that you assume I’ve kept my sanity! My stress relievers: dabbling with oil paints, watching old movies with my husband … and oh, those grandbabies! Nothing restores my soul like snuggling with my grandchildren.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
For Season of Forgiveness, I researched the most common baby names from the years surrounding when my characters would have been born and selected names from those lists. I also included some actual names from my own family’s genealogy. You’ll find Rose, Tommy, William (aka Billy), and Robert (aka Bobby) in Season of Forgiveness. Lucille will appear in the next book in the Seasons of Riverbend series. I hope my grandparents don’t mind!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I raised three amazing, wonderful sons. I made a lot of mistakes, and of course I’d do many things differently if I could. But I honestly can’t think of anything I’ve done in my life that is more important or that makes me as proud as the three young men who call me Mom.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d want to be a cat. But not just any cat; I’d be a Melnick cat. My cats have a seriously good life. Spoiled doesn’t even begin to describe my two furry roommates.
What is your favorite food?
It’s almost as tough to choose a favorite food as it is to choose a favorite book! I love most ethnic foods: Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai… Yep. This could be a long list too.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I think I was my own greatest roadblock. Learning the craft of writing and the time and sacrifice it took to actually write a novel were secondary to overcoming the fear of failure. Submitting that first book proposal to a publisher was the toughest thing I’ve ever done. How did I overcome the fear of failure? I had to trust God and believe what He said about me. He said I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That included writing a novel and talking to potential publishers.
Tell us about the featured book.
Season of Forgiveness is the first book in the Seasons in Riverbend series and is set in 1904
in the fictitious town of Riverbend.
A little woman with a big heart, Emma Johnson, must juggle family, friends, and
pioneer-woman chores, all while dealing with threats to her own life, those she
loves, and the safety of the ranch on the western slope of the Colorado
Rockies. Emma finds herself involved in the rescue and restoration of three
abused and abandoned women. As new life, beauty, and hope blossom, the four
women help uncover a nefarious plot and learn the meaning of forgiveness.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Emma snapped her apron at the two mule deer. “Shoo! Out of my garden! Go eat somewhere else.” She shook her head. “Stupid deer.” Three pea plants were munched down to the ground, and if she didn’t get these critters out, they’d destroy all her vegetable plants.
Waving her arms, she chased the deer out the opening in the fence where three wooden pickets lay broken on the ground. When she had pulled all the green beans and filled her basket, she raised up and stretched her back, breathing in the clean scent of alfalfa and scanning the fields for Luke.
There he was, tossing the last of the freshly-cut hay into the stacker to dry. Emma allowed her gaze to linger on her son, then the meadow, the mountains behind their land, and the empty fields to the east.
Jake had chosen this land before he and Emma were married, scrimping and saving until he could call it his own, then waiting until he had the deed to the land before he asked for her hand in marriage. Emma wiped a tear from her eye as she remembered the picnic he had staged the day he asked her to be his wife, and the pride on his face as he shared his dreams with her.
Well, we’ve learned that making dreams come true is hard work. But it surely is worth the effort.
For their first few years as husband and wife, Jake had been her father’s ranch manager, working his land as well as their own, and it seemed like forever before they had saved enough money to build their own house. Jake had labored long into the nights for an entire summer: digging the foundation, pouring concrete, sawing boards to length, and hammering them into place. When Emma’s hope was running dry and it seemed the house would never be completed, their new community had surprised them with a roof-raising party. What an exciting day!
Men flocked to the Johnson homestead from miles around with tools, strong backs and determination. The women brought food, and more importantly, renewed hope that her house would indeed be completed before winter. Luke had just begun crawling when they moved into the house.
Could that really have been fifteen years ago? Where did the time go?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have a unique name, so I’m easy to find. You can visit my website at www.templamelnick.comOr you can friend me on Facebook or find me on Pinterest or Goodreads.
Thank you, Templa, for sharing your new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Season of Forgiveness : A Novel (Seasons in Riverbend, #1) - Paperback
Season of Forgiveness: A Novel (Seasons In Riverbend Book 1) - Kindle
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