Author Spotlight: Melanie Dobson

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 Shannon Dittemore is Felicia! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (

This week Melanie Dobson is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, Love Finds You in Mackinac Island Michigan  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 husband and I adopted two girls eight years ago and parenting these beautiful young ladies has been a wonderful, wild ride that has kept us on our knees. I homeschool one of our daughters and then write in the evenings and on Saturdays. Several times a year I take trips to research for my historical novels, and my daughters have begun to travel with me. This spring we went on an Oregon Trail trip and had a blast exploring together though we weren’t so thrilled about the five-day car ride. After discovering we would have walked the entire two thousand miles in 1845, the long car ride didn’t seem so terribly bad.

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

My desire is to write stories that stir people’s heart and soul–whether historical or contemporary–but my favorite genres would be to write historical romance and romantic suspense. I love to research old towns and uncover stories about heroic people from the past. When I write historical fiction (what one friend calls “fact-tion”), I immerse myself in a different era and ask “what if….” The wondering “what if” is my favorite part of writing a novel.

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

I’ve been passionate about reading and writing stories ever since I was a child, but after I graduated from college, I shelved my dream to write fiction for almost a decade. Not long before my thirtieth birthday, God rekindled the fire in me to pursue this dream and I began writing stories again.

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

Seven years! I began writing on Saturdays and then moved to about a thousand words a day, five days a week. I had written (and rewritten) three novels before the third one found a home. Looking back, I am so grateful for those seven years of learning and growing as a writer. I’ve been publishing regularly ever since, and I never would have been able to meet some of my deadlines if I hadn’t had those years to practice and prepare.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

The best place for me to write is a quaint little coffee shop in our small town. I find a quiet place and drink green tea and chew an embarrassing amount of gum to help me focus. I also like to write at our local Pho restaurant. They let me spend hours eating soup and drinking jasmine tea while I work.

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

Writer’s conferences were a huge help to me when I first started as well as my husband’s encouragement for me to focus solely on my fiction writing for a season. My writer’s group is now a tremendous help as I strive to be consistent in my writing as well as create new characters and plots. When a character’s motivation or the direction of my manuscript doesn’t ring true, they are honest with me, and I’m incredibly grateful for their insight and direction.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)

I’m not sure that I ever really had a preconceived idea of what the “writer’s life” would look like, because honestly I never really thought I would become a published writer. But the biggest transition for me in writing regularly has been the deadlines. I used to have months and even years to linger over a story idea or dream about what might happen with my characters. Now I have to discipline myself to decide quickly about the direction of my characters and story. Part of me misses those days of researching for hours as I dreamed and wondered about the beginning and middle of a story, but as someone who starts a new project with great enthusiasm and then struggles to complete it, deadlines are really good for me. They help me stay on track to actually write the endings of my story ideas as well the beginnings.

What are your biggest distractions?

I am my biggest distraction! I allow myself to get distracted by just about anything—laundry, the craving for a cup of tea, a sudden need to email a friend, the dust at the edge of my desk that needs to be cleaned right away. You can always tell when I’m close to a deadline because I begin cleaning my house like crazy. I’m not sure exactly why I do it—perhaps I simply need to complete something—but because of these distractions, I write best in a coffee shop or locked away in a hotel room where someone else does the cleaning for me. ☺

What advice would you give to new writers?

I watched an interview a long time ago with a bestselling novelist and was shocked when the woman said she was a “horrible” writer. She quickly followed up her admission, saying that even though she was a horrible writer she was a fabulous re-writer. At the time I watched her interview, I was talking about writing all the time and thinking about it even more. The problem was that I was not actually doing much writing because I was terrified I would fail. And if I failed, I would be devastated. Once I realized my first draft didn’t have to be even close to perfect, I let go of my fears and began scribbling down random thoughts and scenes onto paper. Then I polished and reworked and rewrote these thoughts and scenes until I had a clean manuscript that I could send to a publisher. I would encourage a new writer who might be terrified of the process to sit down with a notepad or her laptop and begin pouring out what’s in her heart for the first draft. Don’t sweat the editing and publishing until later.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

That’s a great question, but I’m bad at answering this because it’s so hard for me to whittle one of my plots down into a sentence or two. But here goes… Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan is a historical romance set on a beautiful island where time seems to stand still. The story about a young society woman trying to avoid the man she’s supposed to marry even as her heart longs for a man she’s not supposed to love. If any of your “bleaders” have already read the book, I’d love to hear how they’d write the promo!

What’s on the book horizon for you?

American Tapestries is a new historical romance series from Summerside Press that launches this fall. The novels will all be set around major events that have shaped our country, and my next novel will be part of this series. Where the Trail Ends is about a young woman and her brother who get left behind on the Oregon Trail.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

They can find more information at my website,

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

It’s been my pleasure. Thanks so much for hostess-ing me on your blog!

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. debbie mosley says:

    i would like to win this book. thank you so much for giving us the chance.

  2. Laura says:

    This book sounds like my cup of tea! Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places to go in my grand state of Michigan!

  3. My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon on Mackinac Island. 🙂 This weekend, we celebrate our sixth anniversary…with baby #3 set to arrive October 11th!

  4. Ammie O'Donnell says:

    I am very excited to read your book! My mil, sil, and I are very big readers. We buy a book, love it, and pass it on. It is not often that we are without a good book! We first found the “Love Finds You” series in a bookstore not far from us. It was “Love Finds You in Charm, OH”. Since we live very close to Charm, of course we had to have a copy! Since then we have read as many of these as we can!! I am so glad that you wrote a new one!! I wish you the greatest success and can’t wait to read your book!

  5. Dee Cameron says:

    That is a beautiful setting for your book. I would love to be the one that is so blessed as to win it. Have a wonderful day!

  6. Karen Dowdy says:

    I had never heard of this island before, but this sounds very nice. I would love to read this book. Thank you Suzanne for intrfucing us to new Authors. I mean new to us.

  7. Patricia Schultz says:

    Suzanne and Melanie so enjoy the spotlight article ………very informative. Helps me feel like I know the author before I read the book. Looking forward to reading “Love finds you in Mackinac Island Michigan” :))

  8. Sue Stone says:

    I would love to have this book in my private library. Thank you so much for the opportunity. God bless you.

  9. Pat Hines says:

    Hi Melanie — I sure would like a chance to win your new book “Love Finds You in Mackinaw Island”. I love that whole series of books and have read many of them. I have never been to Mackinaw Island, but I am sure that through your book and eyes , I could imagine seeing this beautiful site.
    God Bless your ministry.

  10. Kaye Whitney says:

    I’ve never been to MacKinac Island, but others in my family have been there. I really like to read historical romantic fiction, and would love to read this book.

  11. lynette says:

    Thanks so for the interview. I am so scared to try and start writing. Yet my daughter points out “Mom you have been writing for years on your blog!” Maybe I will try and dip my toes into the pool of rewriting!

    • Lynette…I hope you will take the plunge! Your daughter is right–a blog is like practicing piano scales. You’re already developing great writing skills and writerly habits. Keep me posted! Suzanne

    • Hi Lynette! I echo what Suzanne wrote. I hope you take the plunge! No one else has to read it until you’re ready. 🙂

  12. Bettina Athey says:

    Thank you for introducing Melanie Dobson. I am always looking for someone new to read. I would love to win a copy of her book. I really enjoy the historical romance. It’s like time traveling back to a different era. Thank you again.

  13. Debbie Curto says:

    Would love to win this book. I like to find and read new authors. Then I pass the book on to my mother who loves to read. And I am trying to give her any book I can as she has stage 4 cancer Thanks for the chance to win

  14. Terry Giet says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the chance to win it! :0)

  15. Lisa Gill says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book.

  16. Amy C says:

    I have been wanting to read this one. Hopefully I will get to soon!

  17. LaNell Dobyns says:

    I would love to receive at copy of Melanie Dobson’s new book!

  18. Jane Reeves says:

    Would love to win.
    Thanks for the opportunity!!!

  19. mary says:

    Can’t wait to read the new book!

  20. Kendra LaLonde says:

    Hi. I don’t think I will win this, but I figured I’d leave a comment to let you know that I think this interview is great! My dad is from Michigan, and we have been there many times. My Grandpa LaLonde still lives there, actually, as does some of my extended family.

    Mackinac Island is a beautiful place. I’ve been there once or twice. I love how they don’t allow motor vehicles on the entire island.

    I’ve been trying to get more of the LFY books (I have only 3) but they don’t have them here. {sobs} If I don’t win this book……..I’ll just have to wait and try somewhere else. God bless the winner!

    • Thanks for your note, Kendra! I’ve only been to Mackinac once and one of my favorite parts was the clip-clopping of the horses, especially at night. It’s such a beautiful, magical place.

      Many blessings,

  21. I love Mackinac Island and historical fiction. Can’t wait to hear more about this story.

  22. Cathy Faist says:

    I love the ‘Love Finds You In…’ series of books! This one sounds like a great addition to the collection I already have! I look forward to reading it! Thank you Suzanne and Melanie for the chance to win a copy! Living with chronic pain from Lupus, Fibro, etc…allows me to indulge even more in my favorite pastime of reading. So there is always a bright side to things! Have a Blessed day. 🙂

  23. Teri Wold says:

    What a beautiful setting .. I can not wait to read it. I need everything I can find to keep my mind busy as I wait for the birth of my first grandchild. I am truly blesses. Thanks for writing such beautiful pieces. Teri

  24. Pat Moore says:

    Melanie, I discovered your books a few months ago & I love your writing style. The cover on your new book is beautiful. I haven’t read all of your books but as I find them I buy. So glad you are on Suzanne’s blog today. God bless both of you & thank you for writing such great books.


  25. Karen Rochon says:

    Sounds like an interesting story~ really like historical fiction and learning about new authors too. Thank you!

  26. Debbie White says:

    Hello! I would LOVE to win this newest Love Finds You book about Macinaw Island! My mother is Hooked on the books that I get and reads them,too! Now she is in a nursinghome and they don’t have a ton of good books for her to read, so I am bringing her books that I have read that are really good! I have wanted to go to Macinaw Island for a few years now, but it is a 15 hours drive from my home. I loved it in the movie with Christopher Reeve- A moment in Time, I think. Would love to go there sometime when I can take off a few days from work! Hoping to win a copy for me AND my mom! God Bless- Debbie

  27. Wow, what a great chance to win! My younger sister, Kelsey, married a “yooper” and currently lives in the UP of Michigan. Basically Canada. But not. 🙂 In the last year, they were able to stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (during the weekend of the “Somewhere In Time” reunion, crazy enough!). They said it was hilarious seeing so many people dressed up in costumes. I’d love the chance to win this book and to be able to share it with my baby sister. Book stores up there are limited, so I am always sending her my recommendations and books!

    • Oh, how neat that they were able to stay at the Grand! I’ve never been north of Mackinac, but would love to visit the Upper Peninsula. Thanks for your note!!

  28. Nancy says:

    Sounds like my kind of book!! 🙂 Would love to win a copy…

  29. Ladette says:

    I have seen this book all over the blogosphere… I would love to win, it looks GREAT! 🙂

  30. Bonnie Traher says:

    Would love to win the book.

  31. pat cowans says:

    I love the cover. It sound like a great read. would love to win.
    thank you for doing this

  32. Susan Ferrell says:

    Up until about a year and a half ago, I NEVER read fiction — then I found Amish Literature. My mother-in-law had given me FOUR Amish Lit. books for Christmas (Oh, I though, how she doesn’t know me!) The books sat on my shelf for FOUR months until I finally picked it up, I’ve now read hundreds and am obsessed. My mother-in-law has now passed to me several “Love Finds You” books. I love the historical-based romances (helps keep my tied to my love for non-fiction!) AND, Melanie Dobson is one of my FAVORITE authors in the series. Would LOVE to win this!

    On an aside, is Melanie related to Focus on the Family’s James Dobson in any way?

    Thanks for the opportunity! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your note, Susan! I really hope you enjoy this book as well. Oddly enough, my father-in-law is named “James Dobson” but probably not the one you are thinking of. 🙂

      Many blessings,

  33. Toni Coleman says:

    What a lovely picture on your book. Also I would love to win this book !!

  34. Sara White says:

    Would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance to read a new book.

  35. Carol Carman says:

    I love Author Spotlight. It introduces me to writers I don’t know yet or lets me get to know even better the ones that I already know. Thank you for all you put into it.

  36. Kathy Schulz says:

    I’d love to win a copy of this new book! It sounds intriguing and I’ve love to add another new author to my favourites list.

  37. Sharon Holweger says:

    I would love to win this book

  38. loretta says:

    Since I’ve never been to Macinaw Island, I can go vicariously through your book!! If I win!!

  39. Nancee says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading this book. I’m a lifelong resident of Michigan, and have been to Mackinaw Island numerous times. Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  40. Bonnie Rohrer says:

    would so love to win a copy of your book as i have been to Machinac Island a few times & could relate to times of long ago being in Michigan.

  41. Oh, how I love Mackinac Island and the journey just to get there from lower Michigan where I live. I love everything about this quaint little island. This book sounds like its perfect for my summer reading list, and you’re a new author to me, so it should be fun to get to know your view of the island in fiction. Even better to win a copy! Thanks Suzanne, for having Melanie.

  42. Glynda Shaw says:

    I really enjoy the “Love Find You” books and especially look forward to reading this one with the setting in Mackinac Island.

  43. Kathleen B says:

    I’m always excited to learn of another great book to read! Melanie Dobson’s Love Finds You in Mackinac Island Michigan sounds like a winner. Thanks for the recommendation, Suzanne Woods Fisher!

  44. Susan H. says:

    Enjoyed the interview. Love these author spotlights. Thanks for chance to win.

  45. Judy Burgi says:

    Love Finds You in Mackinac Island Michigan sounds like a wonderful read. I just love this cover. I have to have this book for the cover alone! I would be delighted to win a copy. Some day I hope to visit Mackinac Island again. The last time I was there was for my 3rd wedding anniversary.


  46. sally says:

    I read a book about the Island in Michigan and would love to be able to visit the Island again through this book you are offering.

  47. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win….

  48. I just know I would love this book. Would love to win it. Also enjoyed the interview. I haven’t read any books by Melanie yet! Maxie ( )

  49. Vicki Carlisle says:

    Being from Michigan myself I would love to read this, I don’t live up by Mackinac Island by still by the water in the thumb region. Beautiful book cover!

  50. felecia says:

    I love historical romances. This one looks great.