Author Spotlight: Mel Starr

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 CJ Darlington is Judy! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (

This week is Mel Starr is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of Mel’s latest book, A Trail of Ink, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

My wife Susan and I have been married 46 years in June! We have two daughters and seven grandchildren. I have several hobbies—too many. My wife and I like to travel with our travel trailer. I enjoy golf and fishing, and making things with my hands. I built a Pennsylvania flintlock rifle in 1976 to commemorate the bicentennial, and a few years ago I made a hammer dulcimer for my wife for Christmas. I enjoy model railroading, also, and any machine which moves has always held my interest—trains, planes, boats, cars. I am a volunteer docent at the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum; the Air Zoo. But amid all that, I still make time for writing.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I taught history for 39 years before becoming a published author, so historical fiction and non-fiction are my primary interests. As a teacher, I taught US and World History. My MA is in recent US and European History (1914 to 1950), but the longer I taught medieval history the more interested in that period I became.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?  

I think all avid readers dream of one day becoming a writer, seeing their name in print. I planned to write after I retired from teaching, as there was not enough time to be a full-time father, husband, teacher, and write as well. Now that I am retired, I have more time to focus on—and enjoy—writing and publishing.

It’s difficult to say what inspired me to begin in the first place. I have seven grandchildren—they are always a source of inspiration. I like writing stories for them—and I like to think that my writing will help provide funds so that they may (if they wish) attend Christian colleges one day.

Like most writers, I suspect, there are days when I do not feel particularly inspired. I do not write every day, but when I do I will spend three to five hours at a time.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

It took me about three years after the completion of THE UNQUIET BONES (The First Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton) to find a publisher.  I was turned down about 60 times!

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

The greatest help to me has been having someone “in my corner.” For me, that someone is a professor of English and creative writing at Spring Arbor University who asked me to speak to a class about the trials of a rookie writer. The professor then sent three chapters of my first book to a friend in the UK who was an editor with Monarch. I wouldn’t have gotten published without his referral. Having someone who wants to fight for you is important.

What are your biggest distractions?

My biggest distraction is reading other books! I read historical fiction, mysteries, and histories. I recently read a Tom Clancy novel that somehow escaped me when it was first released. I read a biography of Herod the Great a few weeks ago, and am currently re-reading Shelby Foote’s three-volume history of the Civil War.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

I enjoy research into medieval life and devising plots. I detest typing the final manuscript.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

I recently submitted the manuscript for my fourth book, UNHALLOWED GROUND, and have begun #5, tentatively titled THE CHAPMAN’S COIN. I’m eager to see where Master Hugh is going next. For more info, please visit

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Kristie says:

    Wow!! Married 46 years. I have been married less than one. I'm glad to hear that you do not write every day. Some authors seem to write for hours every day. Maybe I'm just too lazy. *LOL* Have a good weekend! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  2. Angie Ochoa says:

    Sounds intriguing. I'd love to read the book! Suzanne, thanks for sharing this spotlight!

  3. Suess says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win the book…I love reading new things.

  4. Judi says:

    Scathingly brilliant comments? Comments I can do. Scathingly and brilliant are what describes you. But my comments come from the heart I do write that the talent that you all have is definitely from God. Keep up the good work. Am looking forward to reading works of Mel Starr. Thanks Suzanne for having this each week. I love reading them.

  5. Jennifer Pederson says:

    It sounds fascenating. I would love to read it.

  6. Kimber says:

    This would be a new author for me to read. Would love to win!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Another author for me to get to know! Thank you for the opportunity to win the book! I REALLY ENJOY READING!! 🙂

  8. Evelyn Cross says:

    WOW! Another author for me to get to know! Thank you for the opportunity to win the book! I REALLY ENJOY READING!! 🙂 Evelyn Cross

  9. Evelyn Cross says:

    WOW! Another author for me to get to know! Thank you for the opportunity to win the book! I REALLY ENJOY READING!! 🙂 Evelyn Cross

  10. Alecia E. says:

    Sounds like an interesting read.


  11. Kim F says:

    Thanks for letting us learn a little about your life – I love reading new authors that I haven't discovered on my own

  12. G says:

    I hope our library carries your books.

    ceis8009 at yahoo dot com

  13. Richard says:

    Im not here to win a book, this is the first time on your site. I was just passing by other folks blogs to see what they were writing about. So a radio show mostly about Amish culture, interesting. Richard from Amish stories.

  14. NP Keding says:

    your books sound very interesting! Can't wait to read your new ones!

  15. karenk says:

    a great posting…thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel 🙂

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  16. where’s my post? not writing the whole post out again lol you missed a typo mods

  17. Frances says:

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your books. I am a retired teacher also and do dream of writing but could never produce anything as superlative as your work. I enjoy your settings and all the detail. These make the pages come alive! I am up to your 2013 novel and can’t to read more!

  18. random facts says:

    Great goods from you, man. I’ve be aware your stuff prior
    to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what
    you have received right here, really like what you are saying and the way wherein you assert it.
    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise.
    I can not wait to learn far more from you. That is really a terrific

  19. Leatha says:

    Hey There. I discovered your weblog the use of msn. That is a very smartly written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your helpful information. Thank you for the
    post. I’ll definitely return.