Thank you for joining me for this exciting Author Spotlight!
First, a bit about Melanie.
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.
She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.
Here is my interview with Melanie:
1) Do you find that writing under a deadline takes the fun out of writing? How do you deal with that? Any special snacks you like to have handy?
I actually like writing under a deadline! Deadlines help me focus and stay motivated. I can do so much more when I know I HAVE to get it done! But if I start to panic and the fear creeps in, I just pray and say, “God, I know you have this worked out. You gave me these contracts and you’ll give me the available time to get these books done.” And that helps.
As for snacks, I drink a lot of green tea! I especially like coconut flavored green tea, which is kind of hard to find. I stock up when I find it. I also like dark chocolate when I’m writing, especially Lindt dark chocolate truffles. They give me that tiny burst of caffeine and whatever it is in chocolate that makes you feel good. (Ladies, you KNOW what I’m sayin’.) And I like Snapea Crisps. Have you ever had those? I recently discovered them and they are so addicting!
2) Do you attend writer retreats, conferences and the like? Do you think they’re necessary – or helpful – for your writing?
I have never been to a writer retreat, although that sounds like fun. However, I’d probably talk the whole time and get very little writing done! I love conferences, but now that I’m published, and since I have plenty of contracts to fulfill at the moment, and since I have such an amazingly competent agent in Natasha Kern, conferences aren’t really necessary for me right now. (Although I do love to socialize at conferences! Love my writer friends.)
I do teach at one or two conferences a year, which is also fun. Writers conferences are great places to learn and network, but there are a lot of other ways to learn the craft of writing a novel that are a lot less expensive. Books on writing, and writing websites and blogs are wonderful ways to learn. Also, there are lots of great organizations online where you can get advice, as well as “meet up with” critique partners. Also, entering contests and getting feedback from judges is a wonderful way to hone your skills as a writer. I would highly recommend all these ahead of attending a conference. Although, going to conferences is also a good thing to do, in moderation, and if you can afford it.
3) Do you have a folder or a file where you keep future ideas for stories or do you just come up with all of your ideas after a suggestion from your editor/agent/friends?
I do have a file for story ideas, but there’s basically nothing in it! I also have a list somewhere (not sure I could find it!) of fairy tales that I might like to turn into novels someday. But I have basically been just coming up with story ideas as I need them, i.e. when I’m writing proposals. And no, I don’t have any unused proposals lying around. The only planned series I’m NOT working on is the one set in Alabama in the 1800’s. That one has been put on hold for now.
4) In The Healer’s Apprentice, most of the married people had never experienced true love… how true to real life do you think this occurs? Do you personally know couples who have married for reasons other than love?
I think you are referring to a line in The Healer’s Apprentice where Rose cynically says that she had never experienced love, but most married people didn’t either, or something like that. But I was trying to play up the rarity of true love, as well as Rose’s cynicism. In Medieval times, marrying for love was not the norm. People married for various other reasons. In my lifetime, I’ve never really known any couples who didn’t marry for love. Whether that love lasts is another story.
5) In The Merchant’s Daughter, Annabel’s own mother and brothers don’t treat her with love or respect… did you write this from imagination or from real life?
All of my books are written both from my imagination and from my own experiences. We all experience painful moments—rejection, mistreatment, triumph, jealousy, love, hate, etc. We writers use those emotions and experiences to color our stories. I don’t write directly from my own experiences, but indirectly.
6) Many best-selling authors, including Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Tricia Goyer and Shelley Grey are self-publishing novels… would you consider self-publishing? What advantages/disadvantages do you think there would be in self-publishing?
There are many pros and cons to self-publishing. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to self-publish an out of print book, as well as a new book that you haven’t found a publisher for. Someday I could see myself self-publishing something, certainly. But since I have never done it, I can’t really speak to the advantages and disadvantages. It is definitely a viable option in this day and age of digital publishing!
7) What are you working on now? Are there other genres you are interested in writing?
I am working on the first Regency romance in a new series, and I’m really excited about it! I’ve been writing Medieval romances for so long, but I love Regencies too, and it’s been fun to explore a new setting, with all its own rules and parameters. I also would like to write books set in the Deep South in the late 1800’s. That’s my other favorite setting. But it’s hard to imagine myself writing anything that’s not a romance. The romance is what makes a book exciting! I’m just a romantic at heart.
My first book geared toward adults is the romantic Medieval mash-up of Robin Hood and Swan Lake, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest, releasing May 12th with Thomas Nelson Publishers. The second book in that series, The Beautiful Pretender, releases next spring.
My Rapunzel story, also a Medieval romance, The Golden Braid, releases in November.
My first Regency romance, tentatively titled A Spy’s Devotion, is set to release in February of 2016.
Here is Melanie’s book list:
The Healer’s Apprentice (Hagenheim Castle #1)
The Merchant’s Daughter (should be read before The Princess Spy)
The Fairest Beauty (Hagenheim Castle #2)
The Captive Maiden (Hagenheim Castle #3)
The Princess Spy (Hagenheim Castle #4)
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest (Thornbeck Castle #1)
Thank You Melanie… and God bless you!
Today’s the last day to enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!
God bless you!
© 2015 DJ Mynatt