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
and right now my oldest daughter and I are homeschooling. Thankfully, she loves
creating stories as much as I do. Portland, Oregon
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
Trail. Here’s a quick blurb about the story:
A young woman traveling the
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
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. Willamette Valley
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.
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
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 www.melaniedobson.com
Thank you, Melanie, for sharing your life and this story with us.
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Where the Trail Ends (American Tapestry) - papeback
Where the Trail Ends: The Oregon Trail (An American Tapestry) - Kindle
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