Thursday, October 03, 2013

A BRIDE FOR KEEPS - Melissa Jagears - One Free Book on This Blog, Plus Another Free Book for All

Here's another new author. Welcome, Melissa. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
None are a perfect reflection of me, but a lot of my characters get something from me, even if they’re my total opposite. Kind of like my children, my daughter looks a bit like me, but sometimes I wonder where she got everything else!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I think that would be showing off my Velociraptor impression to my college dorm mates. It requires jumping on furniture, and I like to stand on furniture for some reason. I’m part Billy goat.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I didn’t grow up writing novels with crayons or anything, but I just had this innate sense that I could do it, not that I ever did. I threw my ideas in a box and that was that. Then when I became a stay-at-home mom and left behind the academic exercise of school and work I was desperate to exercise my mind. So I pulled out the box…

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m rather cliquish with my reading choices. As a kid, nothing was better than Nancy Drew, so that’s all I read. Once I was ahead of the Nancy Drew Publishing Mill, having to wait a month or so for the next to come out—I quit reading, because nothing could be better than those, right? But now I read Fiction genres: Christian Historical Romance, Historical Young Adult, and Classics and for Non-Fiction: Religion, History, Parenting, and Education Topics. However, I’ll read anything outside of those genres that have garnered serious word-of-mouth recommendations.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
When life turns hectic, I take the time to reconsider what I’m doing and deciding if this really matters? And if the answer is no, I drop it. I’ve dropped a lot of things, no TV, hardly eating out, the desire to have a nicer home, my kid’s have limited extracurricular activities, I have limited extracurricular activities, etc. Rather, I just want to focus on what is best in life for my family, and that’s time together at home doing things we love and things that are important—attempting to ignore the pressure of the western world to do more and have more.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some just pop in my head. The others … I look at what letters of the alphabet I haven’t used to name other characters and see if I can pull something up that fits. If all else fails, I flip through a baby name book. I just go by feel.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Somehow convincing my husband to marry me … I’m a rather strange, uncommunicative, introverted, and unromantic girl.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A cat, so I could sleep all day and come out to play only when I felt like it. And everyone waits on me because I deserve it. I’d love to be that selfish and not feel bad about it!

What is your favorite food?
Sugary Pastries

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Fear of Failure. Turning things over for others to criticize. How do I overcome it? Sheer willpower.

Tell us about the featured book.
A Bride for Keeps is the first novel in the Unexpected Brides Series.
Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again—not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiancé. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

The prequel enovella, Love by the Letter, is a free download at any bookstore offering ebooks.
Love by the Letter (An Unexpected Brides Novella) - Kindle

I love mail-order bride stories. Please give us the first page of the book.
Spring 1876
Everett Cline loosened his grip on the mercantile’s doorknob and let the door shut behind him. Kathleen Hampden waddled straight toward him, the white feathers in her hat dancing like bluestem grass in the late March breeze. In the three years she’d been married to the store’s owner instead of him, couldn’t she have bought a new hat?

He hadn’t talked to her alone since the day she arrived in Salt Flatts with those identifying white feathers he’d been told to expect, but he hadn’t anticipated her being married to Carl before she stepped off the train. Why hadn’t she thrown her hat out a passenger car window and pretended she’d never been his mail-order bride?

“Afternoon, ma’am. Is your husband around?”

He glanced behind the long glossy counter cluttered with candy jars and sundry items and saw that the door to the empty back room stood ajar. The two overflowing shelves that cut the store into thirds kept him from being able to see into every corner. The fabric table was a jumbled mess, and a few potatoes lay on the floor in the corner, escaped from their bin. Were they the only ones in the store?

Mrs. Hampden stopped three feet from him, the tang of the wood polish on her rag warring with the leather and tobacco smell permeating the room. She was such a tiny thing, even large with child. Perhaps it was a good thing she married Carl. If she worked outside as Everett did every day, the wind would have blown her away sooner or later.

“Mr. Hampden’s away on business, otherwise he’d have rushed out at the bell. Especially since it’s you.” Her cheeks pinked.

Carl needn’t worry about him. Stealing someone’s mail-order bride was different than stealing someone’s wife.

Everett fidgeted. “He has no reason to be concerned.”

“I know.” She rubbed her swollen stomach. “But he’s still worried your good looks might make me wish I’d chosen differently.”

The skin under his collar grew warm, and he pulled at the strangling fabric. He might be a decent-looking sort of man, but a lot of good that did him.

“I hope you have better luck today than you did with me, and you know ... the others.” She bit her lip. “I’m sure this time it will be for keeps.”

He swallowed hard and eyed her. What was she talking about? Surely another rumor about him ordering a bride again wasn’t circulating. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

“It’s all right. Rachel told me.” Her voice was hushed, as if someone might hear.

He leaned down and whispered back. “Told you what?”

“About the lady coming on the afternoon train. She said you’d need prayer.”

I know I’ll love this one. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Inspirational Historical Fiction Index:

Thank you, Melissa, 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.
A Bride for Keeps -
Bride for Keeps, A: A novel  -
Bride for Keeps, A (Unexpected Brides Book #1): A novel - 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 Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for the great interview, Lena. A BRIDE FOR KEEPS sounds like a wonderful book and I can't wait to read it. I have already downloaded the novella so thank you very much. Melissa, I love that you have taken charge of your life and said no to things that just weren't that important. Most important if God and family and you, my girl, are definitely on the right path. Thank you so much for what you do.

Melanie Backus, TX

Melissa Jagears said...

I may know the right path, but I often look up to find I've wandered off into the weeds a little too often unfortunately. :( Glad you got the ebook already!

Bonnie Traher said...

Live in Northeast Pa.

Between the Pages with Katrina said...

What a great interview. I enjoy learning about the authors I read and getting some insight into their writing. I have read A Bride For Keeps and think it's a wonderful story. The well developed characters and vivid descriptions really grab the reader from page one. Melissa I think you have definitely proven yourself as a great storyteller.

Andrea Strong said...

Melissa's velociraptor impression is certainly a sight to see. After that I knew I wasn't the only crazy person living in that room.

Melissa is my hero!

I have the book, but I wouldn't turn down another copy.

Andrea in Missouri

Rebecca Maney said...

Sounds like a great book! And I have the prequel on my Kindle. I live in beautiful North Carolina.

Patty said...

I read the prequel recently and really enjoyed it. I think Melissa will be a great addition to the inspirational fiction market!

Patty in SC

Melissa Jagears said...

What sweet words Patty! thanks.

Abbi Hart said...

I absolutely adored both the novella and this book! I hardly set either of them down except when it was absolutely necessary for things like eating, sleeping, and family activities. I love marriage of convenience stories so I had hopes that this book easily soared past! This author launched herself to favorites status and I can't wait to read more of her books!
Abbi (PA)

Britney Adams said...

Thank you for sharing this fun interview with Melissa, as well as her wonderful books! Wishing everyone a blessed day!

Britney Adams, TX

Cheryl Barker said...

I live in Kansas -- not far from Melissa actually. In fact, we go to church together. Melissa, I'll be wanting to see that velociraptor impersonation :)

Jan H said...

I live in Texas. I look forward to reading A Bride For Keeps. The first page has me hooked. I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

Melissa Jagears said...

Oh Cheryl, I was 15 years younger and now, we wouldn't want to scare the nursery kiddos. :)

Melissa Jagears said...

Jan, so glad you want to read the rest!

Melissa Jagears said...

Abbi, so thankful the books didn't disappoint! I'm honored to be on your favorite list.

scottsgal said...

the velociraptor imitation sounds too funny.
Would love a chance to win this
cheryl in IL

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited to read your book, Melissa! It sounds great! I love mail-order bride stories. :)
I really appreciate how you balance the things in your life. Family is definitely the most important thing. I hope when/if I get married I'll be able to find a similar balance. :)
Thank you for using your talents for God's honor!
Sarah B.
Oh, and I'm from West Virginia!

Georgianne said...

I live in Cincinnati, OH. I've never read anything by Melissa yet but this sounds awfully good!

sam said...

Love fiction about romance and westerns and cowboys. Can't wait to win this one! sharon, CA

Lis said...

I enjoyed the prequel and look forward to reading A Bride for Keeps.

From Virginia

Melody said...

Poor Everette, having to risk his heart again! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story....

Donna, TX

bonton said...

Hi, Melissa!

I enjoyed your interview, & admire your taking a stand for the more important things in life. Would love to read your book - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

And - my favorite food is sugary pastries, also. Too many "sweet"teeth in my head, trying to change that, as we speak.



Melissa Jagears said...

Bonnie, I'm with you, I really need to slim down on the sugary stuff or I'm going to be in trouble, my metabolism already isn't what it once was!

Judy Cooper said...

I really enjoyed the interview. It is great to add another good author to the ones I already read. Melissa Jagears writes exactly the kind of books I enjoy. Mail Order Brides are some of my favorites too. Thanks you, Judy C. in Louisiana

Mary Preston said...

This is going to be a fantastic read. I love mail order bride stories too.

Mary P


Vera Godley said...

Ah.... another mail order bride story. They are interesting. Hard to fathom that part of history here in the US and especially a woman aligning herself with a man - for life - that she has never seen or knows nothing about. Anyway, enter me, too.... ;)

I'm in middle North Carolina - far from mail order bride territory though I have visited Kansas a few years ago.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I absolutely love mail-order bride stories. It's hard to imagine what it was like back then, taking that huge leap of faith! I would love to win a copy.

Shannah McClamrock (NC)

Diana Flowers said...

Melissa, I enjoyed reading more about you! Are you sure I can't entice you with a lemon square? ;) As you already know I would love to win your new book and thanks for the opportunity!

Diana from SC


pol said...

I like to read stories of Brides and have heard of your books before so here I am trying to win one, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading little more about you personally.
Paula O(
a reader from Ga

Sylvia said...

I'm from North Carolina and have had my eye on this book ever since I saw that cover. I love marriage of convenience books and this one sounds wonderful!


Unknown said...

Thank you for the lovely interview, Melissa. It was purely a pleasure to read and your books sound wonderful!..I think that I would be a cat too..;) I always find mail-order bride stories especially interesting. I would be honored to win A Bride for Keep, nonetheless, I will read it either way. ~ Julianna Rowe Western PA

Jean said...

Thank you for this opportunity

Jean K
West Palm Beach, FL

A J Hawke said...

A Bride For Keeps one that I want to read and since it is written by Melissa Jagears I know it will be a good one. Thanks for the opportunity to receive a copy.

A J Hawke

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Enjoyed the interview. I loved your prequel and the book sounds fantastic. Mail ordered brides books are one of my favorite kind of books. Thank you for the chance of a giveaway.

Barbara Thompson in LA


Pam K. said...

This book really appeals to me. I also like that it is set in my home state of Kansas. I've downloaded the prequel ebook but haven't read it yet. It would be wonderful to win a copy of A Bride for Keeps so I could read them one after the other to get the complete story. Thanks for the chance.


Cindy W. said...

I just wanted to say that A BRIDE FOR KEEPS is one of the best books I have read this year. I couldn't put it down and it now resides on my Keeper Shelf. Melissa Jagears is definitely a new favorite and I can hardly wait to read more of her work. The next is LOVE BY THE LETTER which currently resides on my Kindle.

Please don't enter me as you can tell by my post I've already been blessed with a copy and found it most enjoyable. Well done Ms. Jagears!!!!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

sam said...

Really fascinated with the Mail order brides! What a great example of a 'blind date' or a 'blind marriage'. Love to win this. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Christina Lasswell said...

I loved the novella, and am eagerly awaiting to read the book. Melissa has become one of my newest favorite authors to watch and learn from. (I'm working on my own first novels currently). I love the genre and you have me hooked!

Christina in Missouri

Lane Hill House said...

Enjoying the interview! I would like to win a copy of A Bride For Keeps! Thank you for entering me in the drawing for Everett's fourth mail-order bride, though unexpected. Now that's a story to read! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

Charlotte Kay said...

I love mail order bride books!
Thsnks for the chance to win this book!

Blessings and Smiles:)
Charlotte Kay, Ohio

rubynreba said...

I enjoy mail order bride books. Please enter me. (I love sugary pastries too!)
Beth from Iowa

Merry said...

A Bride for Keeps sounds romantic and touching. Add me please!
Merry in MN

Merry said...

A Bride for Keeps sounds romantic and touching. Add me please!
Merry in MN

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me this book looks soo interesting and I can't wait to read it!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Melanie Melgar said...

Hi! I think I'm a little late to the drawing, but I just stumbled across this blog (: thank you so much for the wonderful books! I enjoyed Love by the Letter so very much that I read it all in one night! I cannot wait to read the next one, which I am confident will be just as enrapturing, charming and innocently beautiful as the last one was! It's difficult to find literature with substance in our culture; I appreciate well-written Christian novels.

Thanks and blessings,

Melanie, California

Kristie said...

I love Christian Western/Pioneer-ish stories. This one looks great! It should be interesting to watch the characters grow and fall in love (I hope!). I love that it's the start of a series. I downloaded the ebook and I'm ready to dive in. I think I would like to be a cat too. I have two and they are SO spoiled. Sigh. Kristie from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.