A MATCH OF WITS TBCN BETHANY HOUSE FEATURED AUTHOR


MELODY CARLSON UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL New Christmas Book SIMPLE WISH


ABOUT AUTHOR: Melody Carlson has written around 200 books for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her books range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including the Rita and Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com

What was your favorite scene in A Simple Christmas Wish? Which was the must fun to write?

The scene that comes to mind is early in the book when “Aunt” Rachel and her young niece Holly drag a Christmas tree into Holly’s parents’ sleek upscale Chicago apartment. Rachel knows that her brother and sister-in-law (who are on vacation) wouldn't approve of the over-sized clunky tree or the homemade decorations she and Holly create, but the two of them have fun and make a memory (before their whole world is turned upside down).

You've written a lot of Christmas Stories, one of my favorite ones is Christmas at Harrington’s what inspired you to write that story? What do you hope readers take away from that novel?

The inspiration came from a character that popped into my mind. Out of the blue, I imagined a Mrs. Santa—a woman with some serious troubles who reluctantly takes a department store job. Then I heard an alarming statistic about how many women are released from prison with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. I knew that was going to be part of the story. As with all my Christmas books, I want readers to simply enjoy the story, but I also hope to remind everyone (including myself) that the people around us need grace and love more than judgment and criticism. Especially at Christmastime.

Nora: Thanks for answering this question Melody!

Did you have a say in choosing the cover for this book? How did the process work? The girl on the front cover is adorable, the whole cover is eye catching and screams pick me up and look inside.

I love that cover too! And, yes, I do get a say in the covers and I've been very fortunate with my Christmas novellas. For A Simple Christmas Wish I had suggested a snowy
Amish countryside scene with a horse-drawn buggy in the background. But the little girl on the front was totally their idea. I loved it immediately and even offered to make changes to the book to include the scarlet red coat. I’m very pleased with this cover. And over the years I've come to realize how important covers are to books.

What do you hope readers take away from A Simple Christmas Wish?

Audrey in my office
Again, I hoped to provide readers with an enjoyable read. Isn't it great to slow down in the midst of holidays and just lose yourself in a story? Beyond that, I hoped to show the contrast between two very different cultures—in the hopes that we both can learn something from one another without passing judgment.

There are many things about the Amish lifestyle that I admire. The slower pace and can-do spirit for starters. And in this age, when Christmas is so commercialized that stores are stocking Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over, a reminder to slow down and simplify can be refreshing.

Nora: So true the book store I work at started playing Christmas music last weekend! Yikes!

Can you give us a sneak peek into what you are working on now? When will it be out?

Harry & I having a moment together outside

I just finished the final edits on next year’s Christmas novella. It’s very different from anything I've done so far, but I had such fun with it. I’m curious to see what kind of cover it will receive. It’s called The Christmas Cat and the main character is a tenderhearted young man with a very strong aversion to felines. But, of course, a cat (or make that a bunch of cats) will cross his path before the story’s done.

Nora: Can't wait to read this one.  I have two cats that are polar opposites of each other. Cats are fun!

FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK

What was your favorite show on T.V. when you were growing up? Why is it your favorite? If you didn't watch TV what were your favorite books?

That’s a tricky question because TV shows came and went. But Bonanza comes to mind for several reasons. It was the first TV I ever saw in color (on my grandparents’ TV) and that in itself was amazing. Plus it was my grandpa’s favorite show and I loved watching it with him. But also it was long enough (an hour) to have a fairly involved story-line—I think that appealed to the young writer in me. And, oh yeah, Little Joe (Michael Landon in his younger days) wasn't too hard to look at. J

If money weren't an issue where would you like to go and do?

Melody & her husband
I've been blessed to have traveled a lot (been around the world and toured Europe a couple of times). But my husband’s travels have been more limited. Because he has Irish/Scandinavian roots, I would love to take him to Ireland (which I've visited and loved) as well as Norway and Sweden (which I have not visited). And it would be fun to take about a month to see and experience everything.

Nora: That sounds like fun!

Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?

What a great question! Because I love sounds and sometimes think if I had to choose between being blind or deaf, I would keep my ears. But hopefully that won’t happen. I think my favorite sound might be the ocean. We have a little beach cabin where that sound soothes me to sleep at night. We just left it yesterday and I still miss it.

There are so many types of weather which is your favorite? Which to you try to avoid?

Melody loves to travel
Another great question. I actually love almost all types of weather. Snow is great as long as it doesn't stay too long. Rain is good because it smells so delicious afterward. I like a good storm too. Where we live, we get a little bit of everything. Well, except tornadoes and I’m not sure I’d like that. I think my least favorite is really hot weather because it makes me want to stay inside. And I like being outside.

We all live busy lives and all of us are in different seasons of life; that as a given what part of your day requires the most patience from you to get through? Causes you to pray the most?

My biggest challenge is watching loved ones suffering. Whether it’s due to a bad choice or just life circumstances, it’s hard for me to see people I care about struggling. Of course, it drives me straight to prayer because usually there’s nothing I can do about it. Well, besides loving them...and waiting for life to get better. But it’s not easy and it often wakes me up in the middle of the night. But that’s a good time to pray too.

Melody

Nora : I agree with you Melody!

THANKS for stopping by Melody. It's great to know you and your books better. I've enjoyed and have been touched by your Christmas stories. I'm thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Revell Publishers has at TBCN Starting November 20th. There will be a 5 book giveaway and discussion. You've come up with three fun questions to ask readers. I'll be interested in that discussion.

Stop by The Book Club Network (TBCN) NOVEMBER 20th
Check out the Front page CLICK the Link that will take you to the entry author page. www.bookfun.org 

SEE YOU THERE!!

Nora :o)

ALL ENTRIES ARE MADE AT TBCN NOT ON THIS BLOG POST!! www.bookfun.org 

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