Monday, December 17, 2012

WHERE THE TRAIL ENDS - Melanie Dobson - One Free Book

God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I love writing stories about ordinary women who sacrifice for others in extraordinary ways. My next novel is another story with the American Tapestries series. This one will be set during the Revolutionary War and is about a woman who becomes a spy for the Patriots. The story after that is about a heroic woman during World War II—I’m still working through the details on that one.

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I adopted two girls when they were infants, and God has molded the four of us into a family. We live near Portland, Oregon, and right now my oldest daughter and I are homeschooling. Thankfully, she loves creating stories as much as I do.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I miss reading for pleasure. When I read fiction these days, I’m usually analyzing, editing, or researching. Every once in awhile, though, a novel will sweep me off my feet. I love getting swept into a story!

What are you working on right now?
I’m in the midst of writing that second novel for the American Tapestries series. It’s set during the Revolutionary War and is about a female spy.

What outside interests do you have?
Our family is very involved with the “Father to the Fatherless” ministry at our church. We’ve recently started a monthly event for foster care kids and their foster parents and are working with other families in our church who want to adopt. I also enjoy hiking, exploring old cemeteries and ghost towns, and line dancing.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
Each book is very different, but for Where the Trail Ends, I was hoping to write a book set in Oregon. It was so much fun for me to research the history of my home state and take my own journey (in my car) on the Oregon Trail.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That it would take seven years of consistent writing to publish my first novel! Or maybe it was better that I didn’t know. I learned later that seven years and three novels is pretty typical before publication.

I sold my first novel, but it took eight years. Then didn’t sell the second one. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. He’s teaching me that the root of my anxiety is really a fear of failure, and I need to give that fear to him.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Oh, I’m still learning so much about writing and this business, but here are three things that I’ve learned in the last decade:

1) Don’t edit while you write your story. It’s better to pour out what’s in your heart and mind on the first version and then clean it up the second time around (I start my writing day by editing what I wrote the day before). 2) Determine the number of words you want to complete each day and schedule a time to write them. 3) Gather a group of “first readers” who love your genre, are honest, and want you to succeed. Give these people permission to tell you the truth about your story, both good and bad, and learn from them.

Tell us about the featured book?
This novel is about a woman named Samantha Waldron and her young brother Micah who are left behind on the Oregon Trail. Here’s a quick blurb about the story:

A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water. Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections at Fort Vancouver, but the only one who intrigues her—Alex—is the one she cannot have.

One of my daughters married a Waldron, and two of my novels have a prologue on the Oregon Trail, but these people ended up in Oregon City instead of Fort Vancouver. Please give us the first page of the book.
September 1842
Samantha clutched Micah’s hand, water splashing up both sides of the wagon as their two oxen labored to pull them and the Waldron family belongings across the swift Snake River. The wagon bumped over another rock and listed to the left. She swallowed hard. What would happen if her family’s wagon tipped, as the Baylor family’s wagon did two weeks past?

She’d promised Mama that she would take care of her little brother, but it hadn’t been easy. Micah could swim—Papa had taken him down to the pond several times before they left Ohio—but this current would be too hard for him to fight, the river too wide for him to cross. Micah squeezed her hand, and his words trembled along with his fingers. “Are we gonna tip?”

She steadied her voice. “Papa will take care of us.” Micah’s hand relaxed in hers. Their father rode beside them on the one horse they’d purchased for their journey west, yelling at the oxen as he cracked his whip over their heads. During their five months on the trail, Papa had changed from an ordinary small-town lawyer to a passionate horseman and teamster.
They’d all changed, she supposed.

The wagon groaned from the pressure of the current, but she tried to stay calm for Micah’s sake. She wished she could jump off the wagon bench into the river, to help Papa lead their supplies and livestock to safety. But even if the river were shallow enough for her to walk safely through it, Papa would be angry if she got off the bench, and Captain Ezra Loewe, their hard-nosed wagon master, would be furious.

I loved reading this story, and so will many of my readers. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My author page on Facebook or at my website

Thank you, Melanie, for sharing your life and this story with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Where the Trail Ends (American Tapestry) - papeback
Where the Trail Ends: The Oregon Trail (An American Tapestry) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Jo said...

Looks like I am the first one to sign here. Interesting interview and interesting story. Would love to read the book. Thank you for the giveaway!


Patty said...

This is one era of American history that I always love reading about.

Patty in SC

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview. Would love to win the book. The first page is great.

Katie Johnson in FL

pol said...

I have read Melanie's books and love them, looking forward always to the one she is writing next..
I don't think I knew you had adopted daughters so interesting interview. Hope you all have a blessed Christmas.

Paula O(
A Ga fan

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great post Lena. This novel sounds intriguing. Thanks also for the chance to win. i am looking forward to reading it, Melanie

Marianne from northern Alberta


Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.

Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville, Tx

Sparks of Ember said...

The Oregon trail is such an interesting part of American history!

From the Black Hills of SD!

Hannah said...

Thanks for the great giveaways!
Hannah P

Norma S said...

Hi Melanie,
Thank you for the chance to win "Where The Trail Ends" sounds like a good book. God bless you and Merry Christmas.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Mary Preston said...

The research would be fascinating I think. I look forward to reading more of WHERE THE TRAIL ENDS.

Mary P


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this story

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

This book sounds fascinating as does the one you're currently writing. Blessings and Merry Christmas, Susan Fryman New Mexico

rubynreba said...

Very good interview. I'd really enjoy reading this.
Beth from Iowa

Bookishqueen said...

I like the writing advice.
Rebekah TN

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Lane Hill House said...

" She steadied her voice. “Papa will take care of us.” Micah’s hand relaxed in hers. Their father rode beside them on the one horse they’d purchased for their journey west, yelling at the oxen as he cracked his whip over their heads. During their five months on the trail, Papa had changed from an ordinary small-town lawyer to a passionate horseman and teamster. They’d all changed, she supposed."

I love this. Our Father will take care of us on our journey. We each change more into His image as we trust and follow Him.

I want to turn the page and keep reading!! Hope I win. Christmas blessings. Kathleen ~ Missouri

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me this book looks great!!
Sharon Richmond

Melanie Dobson said...

It was a wonderful journey for me to write about this journey on the Oregon Trail. Thanks so much for hosting my story, Lena, and thank all of you for your kind notes!

sharon m said...

I enjoy historical fiction, and have not read much on the Oregon Trail, so this book sounds very good to me. sharon, san diego

Library Lady said...

I loved reading the interview with Melanie Dobson.
I also love to read historical fiction.
Thanks for entering me in the book giveaway.
Janet E.

spangldlady said...

Historical fiction---a great genre! I love it. I so admire those hardy women who braved the wilderness to make a new life. Melanie is a great writer and the review was great too!Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway! Blessings, Darlene from MO


Lourdes said...

Sounds really good and would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

Shopgirl said...

This sounds very interesting; love historicals. I'm in MN.

Melissa M. said...

I am a fan of your books, Mrs. Dobson! Thanks for the giveaway!

-Melissa M. from TX