How long have you known you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been compelled to write ever since I began jotting down my thoughts into a bright red diary while I was in second grade. During middle school, my fascination with pushed me to start a number of “mysteries,” but I discovered early in life that endings are hard to write so I never finished these stories. After college, I pursued a career in public relations and journalism instead of fiction writing. I always thought I would start writing stories again when I was “older,” but it wasn’t until a few months before my thirtieth birthday that I realized I was indeed older. God renewed my passion for fiction, and a decade after the big 3-0, I’m still writing novels.
Are you a regimented writer? Or do you just write when the urge hits?
Until I became a mom, I wrote when the urge hit, but six years ago, my husband and I adopted two beautiful girls. Motherhood has forced me to become a more regimented writer, and as a result, a more productive writer as well. When I’m in the midst of a book, you will find me working at the local coffee shop while my girls are in school. My goal is two thousand words a day, and I do my best not to stop writing until those words are on paper.
Do you have someone you look up to? Maybe another author or a relative?
I admire author and her writing (the Mitford series). Jan has a gift for sweeping readers into her stories through subtle description and great characters, and I love how she weaves her plots together. I’ve also learned a lot from reading novelists such as Angela Hunt, Kristen Heitzmann, and Beth Webb Hart.
Is there something you can tell us about you that most people would be surprised to know?
I am obsessed with abandoned houses, ghost towns, cemeteries, and dead end roads. My husband is very patient, regularly stopping our car so I can explore a dilapidated house or overgrown cemetery. The towns make me wonder what happened when people actually lived there, and my mind begins to weave together a story.
Wow!! Sounds like fun:) The houses part. Not too sure about the cemeteries:D
What one event would you love to be at? Either historical or future?
One of the reasons I love writing fiction is so I can experience historical events on paper. My latest novel was set in the in Iowa, a peaceful commune until the Great Depression. The Amana lifestyle was modeled after the church in the book of Acts, and they worked together, worshipped together, and shared all their goods. From everything I’ve read, they were a community who loved God and loved each other, and I wish I could have spent a year or two in the Amanas while they lived in such close community.
Do you have any other novels besides Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa coming out this year?
My next novel, Refuge on Crescent Hill, actually releases this month. This is a contemporary romantic suspense set in a dilapidated Ohio mansion—a mansion hiding a number of both past and present secrets. The Silent Order, my next romantic suspense novel through Summerside, releases in the fall. This story is about a Cleveland detective hiding out in Ohio’s Amish country during the late 1920s and an Amish woman who can’t let him find out about her past.
I will have to make sure to pre-order The Silent Order!! It sounds very good and I always love suspense novels.
Thank you so much Melanie!! It was a blessing to get to know more about you as an author. And please make sure you stop by her website everyone to get more info on her new books!!
And if you are a follower, please leave a comment for a second chance to win this book. Also, if you tweet about this giveaway or post about it on your blog, or any other way to get the word out, come back and comment again!! Only one tweet per day though, please:)
Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the communal Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society.
Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacob’s growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the one place that finally feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?