ABOUT AUTHOR: Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her novels 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, TrueColors 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 Romantic Time's Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the 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

How did you come up with the idea for Christmas Joy Ride?
Husband Chris and Melody Camping
Melody: My husband and I enjoy traveling in our own motor-home (RV) when we get the opportunity. While we’re out camping, we sometimes see some rather eccentric campers who like to decorate their RVs in interesting ways for various holidays and such. I think that’s what inspired my imagination to envision this gaudily decorated motor-home rumbling down a desert highway with an elderly woman at the wheel. And then I had to figure out where she was going and why. Thus this book was born.

Nora: Thanks for sharing this fun picture and what inspired you to write this story. I know I’m going to enjoy this story like I have your other Christmas stories!

What do you hope readers take away from Christmas Joy Ride?
Melody camping

Melody: First off, I hope they’re amused and entertained by the lighthearted story. Besides that, like me, I hope they’re challenged to think of some fun new ways to bless others during Christmastime—and that they’ll in turn be blessed. Finally, I hope it’ll remind them of what’s important about Christmas.

Nora: I know I will be entertained in this story. I’ve enjoyed all your Christmas novellas. They are fun, lighthearted and help readers remember the reason for the season.

What keeps you sane in the middle of craziness? Hope in the middle of stress and Life’s storms?

Melody: To be honest, I feel like I’ve been living amidst craziness for the past couple of years. Long story (moving…family challenges…general trials). But the way I stay sane and grounded is by remembering my favorite chapter in the Bible. In John 16, Jesus describes a branch that must hold onto a tree in order to stay alive. That’s how I need to hold onto God—like my life depends on it (and it does). When I keep the connection between God and me alive and fresh, it literally preserves my sanity.

Nora: Amen! Amen! Thanks for being honest; I’ve felt like that too. I’m glad how God gently reminds me I need to stop trying to do his job and hold onto Him. There’s nothing’s too hard for him. He’s got this!  I’ve felt like the Israelites at times complaining after watching God part the Red Seas! I appreciate you and your transparency.

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

Melody: I’m working on the last Dear Daphne book right now. That series got stopped midstream when the publisher discontinued fiction. I had two books out (Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel and Dating, Dining and Desperation) but still had two more to write. When my readers heard the sad news, they wrote to me, ‘demanding’ I finish the series. So I had to find a new publisher and I decided to go with WhiteFire. Book three (Hearth, Home and the Holidays) releases next month and its set at Christmastime until Valentine’s Day. And the final book (which I’m writing now) is about when Daphne finally gets married in the springtime—A Will, a Way, and a Wedding—and it’s a very fun story!

One of my favorite Christmas stories you’ve written is the one titled, “The Christmas Cat” I’m intrigued by cats. They do have such different personalities. You mention several in this book.  How did you come up with the idea for this book? Which cat was your favorite? Why?

Melody: I think cats are very interesting. And although I know they have different personalities, I wasn’t aware that it was related to their breed and coloring. So I tried to match the cats in the book with the correct character traits—as well as to match them up with the right potential owners. It turned out to be a fun challenge. And my favorite cat was the Maine Coon cat Harry because we had one by the same name (he originally adopted us and was adopted by our neighbors when we moved last year—as an outdoor cat who loved the forest he needed to remain in his habitat). That book has been optioned for a movie too. Here’s to hoping.

Harry and Melody

Nora: WOW, This would make a GREAT, FUN MOVIE!! I hope that things go that way! LOVED the story and Harry! So sorry to hear that you had to leave Harry behind but totally understand! That must have been really hard on you and your family!

I saw that you wrote the novelization for the book Grace Unplugged. How did that come about? Is writing the novel a different process then your other novels? Can you explain how that works?

Melody: That was a very different experience. I received the script for the movie even before it was finalized. And I needed to work fast. So I had to guess and improvise about some things. When I discovered that some of the scripts revisions reflected parts of my novelization, I was pleasantly surprised. It made me feel more involved in the actual film. And when I saw the movie, it really seemed to match the book.

Nora: It was a great book and interesting movie. Yes, the book did match the movie. Thanks for giving us an inside look into this process!

Another one of my favorite books by you is titled Once Upon a Winters Heart, how did you come up with the idea for that story? You have it mostly taken place in a book store? What do you love most about book stores? (This was a heartwarming story with characters I instantly cared about. Loved how you main female character was a Valentine’s Day Scrooge!)

Melody: That is a fun book! And being considered for TV too (praying it happens!). I just thought an old family bookstore was such a fun place—warm and inviting—and an interesting setting for a romance. And then I added Dean Martin songs (which I love) and chocolate and a few other elements and just let the story take me away. The ‘ice-skating’ scene is one of my favorites.

Nora: I’ve worked in a book store for 10 years and I was raised in an Italian family. This story had two of my favorite elements; plus I connected to the main character and her family. Made me smile at all we had in common! I’m EXCITED about this possibility for your book. Praying too!

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? Do tell!

Melody: I was an assistant to a very talented interior designer (because I thought I wanted to become a designer myself—but discovered I really didn’t). I was also an executive assistant to the CEO of an international adoption agency. It was interesting . . . but my writing career was just taking off and I moved on.

Nora: Wow, Fun to know about you and yes I’m surprised.

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? What causes you to pray the most?

Melody: Without going into all the details, it would involve the challenges within my own family. We have had what seems like ‘more than our fair share,’ but then I need to remember that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. We just need his help to handle it. And dealing with these challenges always drives me to prayer—my lifeline.

Nora: I agree with you Melody! Prayer is our lifeline and helps us get thought lives’ overwhelming challenges minute by minute some days!

If you had the money and the time what would you love to do if you could?

Melody: Well, first of all I’d like to feed all the hungry children in the world. But a smaller goal would be to provide quality affordable housing in our region. We have a big shortage right now.

Nora: I often pray for both of these challenges!

What are you passionate about that might surprise people?

Melody: I really care about people who struggle with mental illnesses and addiction and wish that our country offered more assistance to them.

Nora: These are things most don’t want to think about until it runs head on into our lives. I appreciate you sharing your heart!

What Christmas tradition do you look forward to every year?
Christmas Parade with friends
Melody: Just the sweet simplicity of gathering with family and friends with good food and fun times. I used to be concerned with ‘getting the elements of Christmas all right,’ but now I try to just focus on the people. To me that’s what matters most.

Nora: Amen! Great memories come with our special moments with family and friends!


Melody: Thanks for reading! And I hope that you, like me, are discovering that the best Christmas begins in your own heart. For me that means letting go of ‘old expectations’ and just celebrating the moment and whatever unexpected pleasures we find along the way. Merry Christmas!

Nora: I love that reminder Melody it helps us keep the main thing the main thing and look for the pleasant surprises the Lord gives us. The Love gifts that we could miss if we are going too fast. I ask the Lord to help me to slow down and see the things He has for me and my family along the way.

Met Melody ICRS 2014
We just came back from a road trip to visit our son at Naval Boot-camp in Chicago for Thanksgiving. He graduates on Dec. 11th and will fly to Florida after that. Our time together was precious. Just like your time here with readers. Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books.

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was blessed and safe! So, Glad you are here and can get to know one of my favorite authors. THANKS Melody for all your fun pictures!!

I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity Revell hast planned for Christmas Joy Ride at TBCN started the 20th of NOVEMBER at LAST DAY to Enter NOV 30th.

TO ENTER GO TO WWW.BOOKFUN.ORG SCROLL down the FRONT PAGE and CLICK on the LINK ABOVE the BOOK COVER that gets you to the page to enter the Drawing.
If you are not a member of Book Fun You’ll Have to JOIN to Participate. It’s FREE and EASY!!


Nora :o)

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins 
The Book Club Network Blog  
Book Fun Magazine  

Interview Sponsored by: Revell Publishers


  1. Great interview! I love Melody Carlson :)

  2. The book sounds fun. I look forward to reading it.


  3. Thanks for a great interview. Christmas Joy Ride sounds delightful.