Thursday, September 09, 2010

HOMETOWN TIES - Melody Carlson - Free Book

Bio: Melody Carlson is the best-selling and award-winning (Gold Medallion, RITA) author of more than 150 books for adults, children, and teens—including As Young As We Feel, book one in the Four Lindas series. She lives with her husband, Chris, in the Pacific Northwest, near their two grown sons and granddaughter

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?

It depends on the book. Some are set in exotic locales (like On the Runway which travels the world). Some, for convenience sake, are set close to home in Oregon (either in the mountains where we live or at the beach).

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.

Chapter 1


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.

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.

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Patsy said...

Good interview. This book sounds great. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for giving away a copy.

Marjorie said...

This book has a storyline that interests me very much, especially
when I read the first chapter.
I would really like to read this novel.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Katrina said...

I love the looks of the cover!

Anne Payne said...

Love the interview. Books sounds great! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.


Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Wendy said...

I love Melody's books. Thanks for offering.

grannyvon said...

Great interview aand I have to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I've read quite a few of Melody's books and would love to win this one!

Sheila Deeth said...

Nice to read about someone who writes lots of different books. This one certainly sounds interesting.
sdeeth at msn dot com

Claire Koenig said...

The book sounds wonderful. Would love to win a copy! Look forward to reading it and checking out some of her other books as well.

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Mozi Esme said...

Looks like a sweet book!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Bakersdozen said...

This sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the interview. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for the interview. Hometown Ties sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Cindy W.


Linda Kish said...

Please include me. This sounds really good.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

barbjan10 said...

Very interesting interview Lena and Melody. I like that Melody writes on different venues and story lines. That is an admirable quality. This book sounds like a great read and one that I would enjoy. Thank you for offering it for giveaway, Melody; and thanks for the chance to win, Lena. I hope I do!

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

apple blossom said...

Love to be included thanks
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

holdenj said...

I am hooked! I really like the premise of the Four Lindas series, what a neat idea. Thanks for the chance to win.

Robyn said...

Melody, I found you by chance (or perhaps by God's leading) and fell in love with your stories. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

wmmahaney said...

I love her books. Sounds like a great read.

grannyvon said...

I feel that this book deals with a medical problem that is so important now. So many people are dealing with this in their family. Thanks for the chance to win it. ybutler(at)oppcatv(dot)com.

fredamans said...

Looks like a beautifully written story, and I like the cover too. Please include me. Thank you.

kristen said...

Love Melody Carlson's books.
Please enter me.

Jan Marie said...

I always enjoy Melody Carlson's books and would love to win this one to have and to share with reader friends.



Maureen said...

I loved the first chapter... Has to be scary looking for a person that is not in touch with reality. I deal with it with my Husband on a daily basis. Not Fair!

Brenda said...

Please enter me! Great Interview!
Your book sounds great.

dancealert at aol dot com

JBlanton said...

sounds like a really good book especially reading the excerpt. Thanks for the chance to win

Carolynn W. said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book. thanks trishbazin(at)

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Melody, Great interview and I love your story line. When childhood friends have a reunion 20-30 yrs later this story line could represent any of them. We all have our problems and work through them with Gods help. I added you to my wish list and hope to read Hometown Ties very soon. Thanks for stopping by to chat with us.

Lena, Thanks for hosting and for the great interview.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

barbjan10 said...

Melody's series really hits the spot in personal reading interests. The idea of 4 Lindas changing to their middle names to identify themselves reminds me of my daughter Amy. The same thing happened to her during school, all her friends were named Amy. My Amy and another friend Amy are hairstylists and went into business together, so my Amy took her middle name of Janelle. It eased a lot of confusion and they named their salon "Amy & Janelle's Hair Spot." I liked that because my Amy's full name was on the signboard. Are you confused now? I was just commenting. LOL Thanks again for this giveaway and to Lena for the opportunity to win. I'd very much like to read this entire series, starting with the first book!

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Anonymous said...

Please enter me for this book contest. This book sounds great.


Judylynn said...

I'd love to win this book. Please enter me!


Anonymous said...

Please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

barbjan10 said...

Would really enjoy winning Melody's book. It sounds like a really good story. Thanks again for the giveaway and the chance to win it. Would love to.

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Sarah said...

Sounds interesting. Please enter me in the drawing.

Misty Taylor said...

I just wanted to say that I've never been into reading. EVER. Right now, I'm reading your book "Pitch Black" and I love it! I really would love to win this book. You inspire me. (: