Congratulations to the winner of last week’s Author Spotlight giveaway of Murder Comes by Mail by A.H. Gabhart, CONNIE WILLIAMSON. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome Melody Carlson, author of All Summer Long, to Author Spotlight! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a copy.

Carlson_MelodyIntroduce us to you as an author: When did you get bit with the writing bug? How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve always loved writing (and story-telling) but it took me awhile to realize that it was something I wanted to do as a career. I guess that’s when the bug bit. That was about twenty-five years ago and I’ve been writing and publishing ever since. My writing style is what I’ve called “by the seat of my pants” ever since I first started to write. I’m a very casual writer without much “professional training.” I consider myself more of a storyteller than an author. I love the adventure of discovering as I write a story—and that I never know exactly where it’s going.

Tell us about your new release:

All Summer Long is a love story set in San Francisco (which also happens to be my hometown). Tia D’Amico takes a chef job on a lovely old yacht that’s being restored by her aunt to perform dinner cruises in the Bay. To Tia’s surprise, an old flame from adolescence is hired to be the captain. Sounds like ‘happily ever after’ except that the captain is about to marry someone else.

How can readers connect with you online?


Anything new for you on the book horizon?

There’s always something new. Right now I’m finishing up the first installment of my WW2 trilogy (also set in San Francisco). I’ll Be Seeing You is about an Irish family on the home-front. It releases later this year. I also started an indie historical series set in 1880s Colorado—the first book is called Delia and the Drifter.

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

I had short stories published within the first year of writing. But I was prolific and took marketing seriously. It took a couple of years to get my first book published. But by the time it came out, I’d probably written about six other books.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

Coffee is a must. But then it’s a matter of just getting myself into my chair and focused. I tend to look for distractions (including office work) before I get hooked into the story. But once I get going it’s not hard to stick with it.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

Right now I have my office in a ‘spare bedroom.’ But my husband is just finishing up a separate writing studio that I plan to occupy soon. It’s in our backyard, next to a pond, with nice views—and I can’t wait to move in!

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

My critique group (during the first five years of writing) was by far the most helpful.

Do you prefer reading physical books or e-readers?

I like ‘real’ print books best. But if I’m flying, my e-reader is pretty handy. Unless the battery dies. That’s always a bummer.

Why do you write?

Because I can’t ‘not write.’ I think I’m just wired to use words and tell stories and to stop doing it would probably be my demise. I also write to encourage people to see beyond the surface of things. Books allow us to look deeper at human behavior and give us the opportunity to learn about how grace works.

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Best author moment? Worst author moment?

Best moment is when I get a reader letter (usually from a teen) saying ‘your book changed my life.’ My worst moment was—while doing a book signing—when a bookstore owner raked me over the coals for a teen book that she felt was too ‘explicit.’ Although she had not read the book.

If you weren’t able to write, what would you do?All Summer Long-Book Cover

I would have to do something creative. But it’s hard to imagine life without writing.

Right this moment, what does your office look like?

It looks partly like a warehouse because I’ve piled stuff in it that is going into my new writing studio (which will be twice as big). I’ll have to post some photos on my website of my new writing space. It’s going to be nice.


What’s one thing you learned about the publishing industry in last five years? Last year? Last six months?

I actually learned this long ago, but it’s still just as true. The industry is constantly changing and just when you think you have it figured out, it will change again. To succeed in this industry, it helps to be resilient and fluent . . . and patient.

Can a person make a living as a writer?

I think there are two ways to make a living as a writer. 1) Write a NYT bestseller . . . and then another one every few years. Or 2) Be very prolific—which means you write a lot of books and keep them coming, then market them as best you can. Hopefully between royalties and new advances you will be self supportive (that’s what I do).

Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In-between?

I’m an introvert by choice and by nature, but I can force myself to be an extrovert when I have to, although I will be exhausted afterward.

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