Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Regina Jennings is Merry! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This week please welcome back Melanie Dobson in the spotlight! To win a copy her book Where the Trail Ends (Summerside Press, 2013), leave a comment on this post
What was your biggest break?
In 2008 an author friend told me about an upcoming line of novels from a new publishing company called Summerside. They wanted to publish novels set in small towns across the country. I had published three contemporary novels at the time, but my desire was to write historicals and I loved small towns. I contacted the editor about a story that had been burning inside me for awhile about a woman who hid runaway slaves in her home. It turned out the town of Liberty, Indiana had been a major hub on the Underground Railroad. My first “Love Finds You” book was published in 2009, and I’ve been writing historicals with Summerside ever since.
What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?
I’ve gotten some wonderful advice at conferences over the years, but there is one piece of advice that I still think about almost every time I sit down at my computer—don’t edit as you write your first draft. I find that if I critique my writing at the same time I’m putting my story on paper, I can paralyze mentally. It’s best for me to write out of passion first and then clean up the story on the second round (my edits usually happen the morning after I’ve written the first draft).
I’m inspired by…
Deadlines! ☺ I’m also inspired by old houses, abandoned towns, crumbling tombstones, a great story, and a salted caramel mocha.
My great adventure has been…
My husband and I spent a month backpacking Europe in 2003. We didn’t know it at the time, but while we were trekking through seven countries, a birthmother was in the midst of selecting us to adopt her infant daughter. Within weeks of our return home, we were parents of a beautiful girl named Karly. Europe was an amazing adventure, but I would have to say that parenting has been the greatest adventure of my life.
If I could go anywhere, it would be…
New Zealand. It’s been my dream since I was a kid to go there and explore.
If you have only…an hour…
I love quiet hours to sip tea and read. Or take a long walk as I work through the plot of my latest novel.
Describe yourself in one word
If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?
My laptop (for my pictures, emails saved from friends, and all my writing)
What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?
On my wedding day when our pastor said, “Jon has written a song for you.” Standing there, listening to the man I loved sing about his love for me, in front of my friends and family. Well, that was almost fifteen years ago, and I still get goose bumps thinking about it.
What drives you to succeed?
The story that Jesus told in Matthew about the talents. My desire is to be faithful with the talents and gifts God has given me. I may fail as much or even more than I succeed, but I pray I’ll never be accused of burying His gifts.
My 40th birthday party. My husband pretended we were road tripping for the weekend and then he drove our family to the airport. We ended up in Colorado and had a fondue dinner with our closest friends. One of the best nights and best surprises of my life.
Best Sunday Afternoon Read
I love curling up on the couch during our family’s “Sunday afternoon quiet time” with a mug of green tea and Jan Karon’s Mitford series.
Best Way to Break a Sweat
An afternoon at the peaceful Allison Spa. This involves a yummy salad of hazelnuts and veggies grown in their garden. Resting in the steam room. Sipping tea as I read in a most comfy chair. And then a massage. I start feeling relaxed just thinking about it….