Friday, September 03, 2010

THE HEALER'S APPRENTICE - Melanie Dickerson - Free Book

Isn't that a wonderful Book trailer? Welcome Melanie. What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?

Hi, Lena! I am thrilled to be writing for the YA market. When I started writing again 7 years ago, I took a course on writing for children and teens. I wrote some short stories and articles and then decided I wanted to write novels for children. But the story ideas I was getting were more for teens and adults. In fact, they were romances, but I was told Christian YA publishers weren’t interested in publishing romances for teens. Obviously, things changed! And I think the change had to do with books like Twilight, and other romances for teens, becoming phenomenally popular.

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?

Pray, pray, pray! I also try not to commit to too much. God and family come first. I tend to have a hard time saying no to requests, so I force myself to really think before I commit. I’ve discovered that sometimes God wants me to say no. He doesn’t require me to fulfill someone else’s plan for me, only His plan.

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 and I love visitors! You can also find me on facebook under Melanie Dickerson.

Thank you, Melanie, for this glimpse into your book.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Deborah said...

As a HUGE YA reader (both Christian YA and General market) I have been looking forward to reading this book. It looks and sounds like one I can introduce to readers of both markets.

Patsy said...

Your book sounds great! Love the cover. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for giving away a copy.

Katrina said...

YA is my absolutely favorite age group ever since I was in school for library science. I seriously love it and this one sounds exactly what I like!

apple blossom said...

please include me in this book giveaway. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Robyn said...

So glad to see YA books that I would actually let my YA read!!!

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Lena, thanks so much for having me on your blog!!! I'd love to let your readers know that they can read the first chapter on Zondervan's website. Search for my book and click on it. Underneath the cover it will say Read Sample. Click that.

Hi, Deborah!!! Thanks so much coming by!

Thanks, Patsy! I love the cover too!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Katrina, apple blossom, and Robyn! I am so happy to provide a book parents can let their teens read and not worry about the content! My goal is to encourage people in their Christian walk. :-)

Anonymous said...

This book sounds so good and I love the cover. Please enter me in this contest.


Cherie J said...

I love reading YA romance and I am looking forward to reading this book. The trailer was wonderful.

Sue said...

Thank you for entering me in this contest.

Casey said...

I keep cyber stalking you Melanie, but I am determined to get a copy one way or the other! :D

G.R.I.T.S. said...

Wow, this sounds like a great book!! Sleeping Beauty happens to be my favorite Princess/fairytale!!!

And I think that you (Melanie) would make a great new addition to my blog, of Authors I review!!!

Please enter me!

Rae Byuel

fredamans said...

Please count me in, this book is on my wish list! Thank you.

Debra Collins said...

Awesome interview, Lena!
I'm really looking forward to reading "The Healer's Apprentice" Can't wait to get my copy!

See ya tomorrow, Melanie.


grannyvon said...

I would love to win this book. The review and interview made this book seem one of the ones, I can not miss reading. Thanks for the chance to win it.

holdenj said...

I just read that Scout, Atticus and Boo book and would have loved to road trip to Monroeville at some point!
The Healer's Apprentice looks wonderful, thanks for the info and chance to win. I always like stories that are Sleeping Beauty/Cinderalla twists.

Bluerose said...

That is an awesome trailer!! And now I'm just dying to read Magnolia Summer and that series! :)

karenk said...

would love to read this historical fiction book by melanie...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Michelle said...

Loved the interview! Thank you for entering into the contest! I look forward to reading this one.

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Merry said...

The book trailer is perfect, I can't wait to read The Healer's Apprentice. Please include me in the drawing, thanks.

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds like a good read. Thanks for another great review and interview. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cindy W. said...

I would love to be entered into your giveaway for The Healer's Apprentice. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Cindy W.


wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a great read. Would love to be entered

peachykath said...

Wow what a great trailer. Can't wait to read the book. Please enter me in the drawing.


Michelle said...

I've been looking forward to this one. It sounds great.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

A J Hawke said...

The Healer's Apprentice sounds like a good reads.

Please put my name in the draw.

A J Hawke

Pam said...

"The Healer's Apprentice" sounds like a book that would appeal to my daughter and me. I'm glad more Christian authors are writing for YA to give them an alternative to the secular fantasy that is so prevelant. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks.

Maureen said...

Please enter me in this drawing. I love Lindt's chocolate truffles too!! Yum!


Jan Marie said...

I am intrigued by what I have read in this interview and the intro to the book - please count me in, with much thanks!


misskallie2000 said...

Hi Melanie, I fell in love with The Healer's Apprentice after reading the first review. I have already added to my wish list and can't wait to read. I love the cover and just seeing it would make me pick up your book to read the back and check it out. I enjoyed your interview which was great. Thanks for stopping by to chat with us. (I keep entering your giveaway and hoping I may be lucky this time, lol)

Thanks for the hosting and the opportunity to enter this giveaway.

misskalllie2000 at yahoo dot com

Julia M. Reffner said...

Can you tell I really want to read this one, Melanie?!


Claire Koenig said...

Sounds great - I'd love to read this. Am fascinated by the YA genre.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Carol M said...

Please enter me. Thank you.

rubynreba said...

Please enter me for this. Thanks!

Theresa N. said...

I'm very interested in this book.
Theresa No

Brenda said...

Please enter me! The book sounds great!

dancealert at aol dot com

Katie G. said...

I would LOVE to read this! I am so excited for it! :) Thanks for entering me! :D

God bless!

~Katie G.

barbjan10 said...

Melanie, your interview was quite enjoyable. Sleeping Beauty, huh? I'm old enough...(gosh, should I admit that...?) admit that I saw the Disney version of this old fairy tale when I was a little girl. Is that the movie where a young Mike Douglas (not Kirk's son) played the prince who sang the love song when he came upon Sleeping Beauty? Memories! I would love to win this book to share with my granddaughters. Thank you, Lena for the chance to win this giveaway...I hope I do!!

Grace & Peace in God,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Mozi Esme said...

Having just watched Sleeping Beauty :) I'm intrigued! I'd love to read this...

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

MJ said...

Is that girl on your trailer the same as the one on your cover? That's cool. And the fact that the trailer was more like a movie trailer, that I think is more interesting than still slide trailers. So sad that our tech world makes still slides boring to me, so this was cool. I suppose since it says zondervan at the end it was produced by the publisher.

rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

kristen said...

What a great trailer, and a great cover!! Can't wait to get this one in my hands. It sounds awesome.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I was 'blog hopping' when I saw the cover of "The Healer's Apprentice" on Mrs. Dickerson's blog and immediately fell in love with the cover art . . . and was intrigued by the summary since I love medieval and Christian fantasy, so I know I'd enjoy this book! I'd love to be entered into this drawing. Thank you for putting together this contest and for the awesome author interview!

--Lady DragonKeeper

barbjan10 said...

Very nice interview. This story appeals to me and I know it will be a story that holds you until the end. It has an interesting concept and one that I've not read much about. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win. Hope I do.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

kristia4 said...

Ooh . . . I'd love to read this one. I don't know if anyone mentioned it already, but if you go to "The Healer's Apprentice" page on the publisher's website: You can read a much longer excerpt of Mrs. Dickerson's book . . . =)

Thank you for putting this contest together!


Stephanie :) (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

I'm so excited about the release of this book, I LOVE YA historical fiction and I'm a Chrstian teenager who often finds it hard to find clean teen romances. So this is perfect for me.

Thnaks for holding this giveaway competition!