Dear Readers, I’m loving these destination romances that Melody is writing now. I’ve never been to
, but after reading this
story, I almost feel as if I have been. The setting is so alive in this book.
And Melody has written memorable characters for a long time. They feel like
some of your best friends and linger with you long after you’ve finished the
book. Savannah, Georgia
Welcome back, Melody. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Because Under a Summer Sky is part of my Follow Your Heart series, the setting location plays an integral role. In this case, the story is set in
I quickly discovered that this gorgeous historic city provides a rich backdrop,
ripe with creative possibilities. As far as the actual plotline, it was partly
inspired by a friend’s true story—a young art teacher who reinvents her life by
taking what seems a “risky” art-related job, which turns out to be incredibly
fulfilling. That was the “jumping off” point, from there it was simply a fun
exploration in a town filled with amazing architecture, charming riverboats,
and even a ghost or two.
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Well, that’s a hard question because I would naturally want to invite all my favorite writer friends—and I have a lot of them. But if it can only be six . . . here goes. Robin Jones Gunn (she’s a kindred spirit and dear old friend) and Francine Rivers (because I love and admire her) and Lisa Samson (because we have some similar interests when it comes to craft) and Brandilyn Collins (because she is incredibly smart and fun) and I guess I should include a couple of guys . . . so I’d ask Bill Myers (because I like how he thinks) and Jerry Jenkins (because he has the fastest wit and humor I’ve ever seen).
That would be a good group. Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Okay, I’d start with Jane Kirkpatrick (because she’s a good friend and kindred spirit plus she lives nearby) and Steph Whitson (because she’s a wise woman) and Liz Higgs (because I just plain love this woman) and Tracie Peterson (because she’s such a pro and I could probably pick her brain) and Kim Sawyer (because she’s a goodhearted person and talented writer) and Lauraine Snelling (because she has the best laugh).
Another wonderful group. I love all of them. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Writing—or maybe I should say publishing—has changed a lot in recent years. It’s harder than ever to contract books these days. This has been an adjustment to me—simply because I’m used to writing so much. Learning to slow down my pace, although welcome, has been tricky. Thankfully I still have contracted books to write, but it’s definitely a different world out there. Also, I’ve been trying to get my foot into the TV/film market. Right now my previous Follow Your Heart book (All Summer Long) is in pre-production for a Hallmark movie, but you never know . . . it could all unravel. That’s happened to me a few times. So I’m just trying to trust God for whatever is around the next corner. Fortunately, that always works out just fine. J
That’s wonderful. They usually don’t go into pre-production unless they’re pretty sure they’ll be making the movie. The movie that I’m one of the screenwriters is in pre-production right now. I’ll pray for yours, and maybe you could pray for mine. Now tell us about the featured book.
High school art teacher Nicole Anderson feels stuck in
Seattle. So when the
opportunity to manage an art gallery in Savannah
presents itself, she steps out of her comfort zone and goes for it. After all,
it’s just for the summer. The gallery job comes with house and cat-sitting
responsibilities—as well as some unexpected and perplexing trials. But Nicole
rises to the challenge and quickly falls in love with the beauty of the
historic city. Meanwhile a pair of brothers compete for her attention, solidly
pulling her into this charmingly romantic old town.
Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
Nicole Anderson had no idea why her mother had slipped into the back of her art classroom this afternoon, but because this seventh period class was half over, Nicole pretended not to notice. It wasn’t easy to ignore that platinum-blonde hair styled within an inch of its life. Her sixty-five-year-old mom wore a slightly catty expression as she slid into a vacant chair. Sitting up straight, she pristinely clutched her faux Hermès purse in her lap, and unlike the students, she looked attentive.
Nicole cleared her throat, continuing her lecture on the Renaissance period and trying not to be distracted by her mom, whose pale blue pantsuit looked comically out of place amid the high school students. Slouching in their “uniforms” of shredded denim, faded tees, grubby flip-flops, and strange hairdos, these teens were bored and antsy, and probably too warm since the temperature in the art room was pushing eighty.
Nicole clicked to the next image on the screen. She always reserved the Renaissance for the last week of her art history class. Not because she was saving the best for last, but because it would be irresponsible to leave it out completely.
“Raphael is considered to be one of the premiere painters of the High Renaissance.” Nicole stared at the somber self-portrait up on the screen. Even Raphael looked restless and discontent. “Born Raffaello Sanzio in
this artist is best known for his religious works. In many ways, his style was
more lifelike than his predecessors . . .” She droned on,
surrendering to the heat-induced stupor and wondering why the art department
was the only building with no AC. She clicked to the next image.
“Raphael did numerous Madonna and child paintings in various settings. Perhaps he simply wanted to get it just right.” She tried to inject interest into her voice. “Most would agree that he did.” She clicked to Portrait of a Young Man. “It’s interesting how Raphael captured the young man with that sideways glance—as if he’s got mischief on his mind.”
Really, she wondered, is this how I planned to spend my life? Boring these disinterested high school students with information they probably wouldn’t retain past their final exam on Friday—if they kept it that long. What was the point? She glanced at the class as she clicked to the next image. To her surprise, a hand raised. Was someone really going to ask a question? Then she realized it was only her mother, waving eagerly like a first grader. Some of the students were looking at her with a smidgeon of curiosity.
Nicole bit her lip. To allow her mother to speak up was dicey at best. Caroline Anderson was unpredictable—she tended to speak first and think later. It might amuse these teens, but Nicole wasn’t ready to witness her class degenerate into adolescent chaos. It was the last week of school, and as Principal Myers liked to say, the natives were restless. Why encourage them?
Readers, you won’t want to miss this fun contemporary romance.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Melody, for spending this time with us. I know a lot of my readers, and they’ll love this story.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Under a Summer Sky - Christianbook.com
Under a Summer Sky: A Savannah Romance (Follow Your Heart) - Amazon
Under a Summer Sky (Follow Your Heart): A Savannah Romance - Kindle
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