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 Regina Jennings is Merry! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (

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.

Best Surprise
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
Line dancing

Best Indulgence
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….

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. Katie J. says:

    I really enjoyed reading today’s interview with Melanie. Thank you!

  2. Sharyl B. says:

    I really like reading these interviews. Would love to win a book by Melanie. Thank you!

  3. Shirley M. Franklin says:

    I love reading about the various authors that you select, and this one is no exception. Melanie Dobson has a wonderful life story which makes me think that she has wonderful stories flowing from her fingers into her computer and ultimately into the printed page.
    Please add my name to the list of those desiring a copy of her book “Where the Trail Ends”.
    Many thanks.

  4. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  5. KayM says:

    I enjoyed the interview. It was nice to get to know Melanie a bit. I haven’t read any of her books, as yet. Thank you for offering a chance to win a copy of Where the Trail Ends.

  6. Interesting interview with Melanie. Would love to win this book!

  7. Sandy Barnes says:

    Would love to win the book!

  8. Lisa Gill says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book! Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Johnda S says:

    Nice interview. I’ve read Melanie’s books and would love to win this one.

  10. I just finished reading the interview with Melanie. What a great interview and what a romantic husband she has!!! I don’t recall reading any of her books and I love Historical Romance books as well as the Amish Books. Please enter my name in the drawing for Where The Trail Ends. Thanks much.

  11. I’m sharing this contest on my FB page.

  12. Mary-Louise Johnson says:

    A while back I read “Love Finds You in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.” Since that is where I grew up, it was especially meaningful. I’m eager to read this new book by Melanie.

  13. Joann Stewart says:

    Would love to win this book. God Bless.

  14. Lisa Medeiros says:

    Would love to win and read this book! 🙂

  15. Robyn L says:

    love these author spotlights and thanks for doing this.
    I’d love to read Where the Trail Ends so enter me please and thanks.
    It seems my kind of read.

  16. Marg Z says:

    A great book and a cup of tea is my favorite way to spend a spare hour of my time too. I would love to read this book!

  17. Shelia Hall says:

    a good book and glass of sweet tea is a great way to spend a spare hour or two! Love to read your book!

  18. Donna Harmon says:

    I want to read this book and I will definitely have to get a copy for my daughter whose favorite genre is historical fiction! I so enjoy getting to know writers on your blog!

  19. Elaine says:

    I do enjoy reading about various authors. I’m an avid reader without any talent for writing, so I find it interesting about the people behind the books that I read.

  20. Sue Hess says:

    I can’t wait to read this book!!!

  21. Frances Tucker says:

    I love historical fiction, have not read this author. Thanks for spotlight on her.I wwould love to win her book.

  22. Sandi Ansell says:

    I enjoy finding new authors and would love to have this book. Thanks

  23. Phyllis says:

    I too, like finding new authors and I would love to win this book. thanks and God bless.

  24. Barbara Thompson says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this interview. I would love to win this book.I believe it would be a great book. Thank you!

  25. This page had opened a whole new world of Amish writings for me. I haven’t read any of these authors books, but I will sure start now. Take that back, I have read Suzann Woods Fisher and enjoyed it very much. She is on my Facebook page, so sorta keep up with her. Good luck to all the authors !

  26. Sharon says:

    Nice!! A new author for me!!!

  27. What a fun life! Enjoyed your post today. Line-dancing! I can’t get synchronized … but I’ve got boots!
    Would love to win your new book! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  28. Pat Moore says:

    Melanie: I’ve read several of your books and have enjoyed each one. Would love to win one of our books. I just recently started reading historicals (around the civil war era, WWII, prairie-wagon trains, etc). Thanks for the opportunity.