CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – MELISSA WARDWELL
“Most importantly, I am the Daughter of the Most High King.”
“God does not give his children a desire just so that
it can go to waste. I never anticipated
the journey God would put me on through writing, but
I am excited to see what He has in mind for the future.”
rem: Welcome to my blog, Melissa. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
MELISSA: I was born and raised in a small farm community in Michigan. I am literally a half an hour from Lansing and a half an hour from Flint. I have never left this area though I would like to move out of state once my children are a little older. Speaking of children I have 3 who are 14, 13 & 10 and are all home-schooled. I have also been married to my high school sweetheart and recently celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. Aside from our children, I still have two chihuahuas, a pitbull mix, and two cats.
rem: Tell us three things about yourself.
MELISSA: Aside from the obvious love of books I enjoy the thrill of a motorcycle ride, I have several tattoos, and dream of touring Europe someday soon – on a motorcycle with my husband
rem: I love motorcycle rides, I want (a) tattoo(s), and one day I will visit Europe!!! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?
MELISSA: Hazelnut coffee with 3 tablespoons of half and half and a teaspoon and a half of stevia. I lost 10 pounds just by cutting out creamer in my coffees and not buying the foo-foo coffees at the coffee shops.
rem: Hazelnut? Really?? Me too!! Vacation: beach or mountains?
MELISSA: How about a mountain cabin that overlooks a beach
rem: I like that idea! What is your greatest fear?
MELISSA: That my children will not allow themselves to know the full extent of what a life in Christ can be like.
rem: I can’t imagine anything sadder. What is your greatest regret?
MELISSA: I never found out whether or not a high school friend of mine accepted the Lord before she was murdered. She and I had talked frequently during our school years but she never made that commitment at that time. I guess I will find out when I get to heaven.
rem: Melissa, I’m so sorry for your friend’s death. I pray Father give you peace and confirmation of your witness to her. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?
MELISSA: Stories that you know the author did not do their homework beforehand drives me a bit nuts. I also have a problem with Christian romances that are too fluffy. I like reality and a little bit of drama.
rem: YESSSS!!!! Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
MELISSA: Believe it or not it is not a fiction book. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst has impacted life quite a few times.
rem: She is a beautiful and gifted writer. Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?
MELISSA: Chautona Havig, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Christina Correll and T.I.Lowe….to name a few.
rem: What would you do if you weren’t writing?
MELISSA: I would still be a wife and mother who had dreams of owning a bridal shop.
rem: Bridal shop! What fun that would be! First of all, how do you even have down time? You wear “many hats”— devoted wife, basketball and dance mother, teacher, taxi service, friend, caregiver, daughter, sister. 😉
MELISSA: LOL My downtime happens when everybody goes to bed. There are nights that I will stay up till two o’clock in the morning to read or write. Yes that means I sometimes function only on 5 hours of sleep but that little bit of time to myself keeps me sane.
rem: LOL Tell us a little about your writing journey.
MELISSA: It actually started in a local sports bar over a sandwich and a coke with an old friend of mine. I blame her for creating a monster because I have found that now this journey has begun there is no end in sight. The stories just continue to flow. Funny little story… when I was a toddler I was an only child so I created imaginary friends to play with me. They didn’t have names but there were 100 boys and 100 girls. My mother says I called them “boys and girls”. She jokes that now all those “boys and girls” have grown up and have stories of their own begging to be told.
rem: Sounds like your mother is right! LOL What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook? I have no routine.
MELISSA: I wish I did. I write in a corner of my living room with my back to the TV so that I am not tempted to watch whatever is on. Unfortunately having children home all day long and 3 dogs that constantly need attention, because they’re needy little buggers, I have had to leave the house to get any writing done. I hate doing it because I just bought a nice new desktop for writing on. I hope I get to use it someday soon for something other than surfing the internet or my children using it for school work.
rem: Guess I have a distinct advantage, then, in being home alone most of the time. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?
MELISSA: My biggest struggle is my own insecurities. It took a while for negative reviews and criticism to not get me down. After talking with other fellow authors, I was glad that I was not alone. They helped me to see that those who leave negative reviews are not necessarily my target crowd and to just let them roll off my back.
I also struggle with finding time to write during a time that my brain will function properly to develop a story. Like I said before I only have the evenings to myself but most nights my brain is mush and I cannot recall all the wonderful ideas I had earlier in the day. Recently I bought a writing journal from my friend Elizabeth Perry so that when I am not near my computer or my tablet I can write down my ideas. It seems to have worked so far.
rem: Oh yeah, I always have pen and paper on me! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?
MELISSA: Definitely the creating. Editing shows me how terrible I am in grammar and punctuation. When I receive my first draft from my editor it looks like a Christmas tree, there are so many things highlighted.
rem: LOL What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
MELISSA: I get to tell stories that can impact a life. They are bits and pieces of stories I have heard from those around me in each of my books. I get to relay the struggle as well as the outcome in each situation. Some of events I over-exaggerated on but there are other things that are as real as the dog sitting next to me as I do this interview.
rem: So much to love about being an author—not the least of which is sitting next to your dog while you (dictate) an interview! 😉 Tell us a little about your latest book.
MELISSA: My latest book is called Dance and Be Glad. It is the second book in a series that has spontaneously spiraled off of my first book that I had ever written. It is about unexpected Life Changes and finding love that was thought to be dead and gone.
rem: You say on your website that you write to encourage women and mothers in their daily lives. What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
MELISSA: My character, Emma, is a single mother of a 9 year old little girl. She lost her husband before her daughter was even born while he was serving our country. She becomes so wrapped up in her daughter and in her dance studio that she doesn’t allow herself time to pursue relationships outside of her family. She feels like she has had her chance at love and now her sole obligation is to the dream of a life her and her husband wanted and to their daughter. I have seen many mothers, both single and not, who put their children and their job before their spouses or significant others as well as their walk with Christ. It is such a slippery slope that is easy to fall into. It is imperative that we women must find balance in our spiritual lives and in our relationships with those around us.
rem: So true, Melissa. Kids are a blessing and they have to know they are loved and of value to their mom and/or dad. But they are not our first priority and love. Christ is first, spouse second, then kids. Thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!
“My greatest hope is that each story touches your heart, gives you hope, or just gives you a moment away from the chaos of life. Lord, knows we have earned it.”
Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Melissa Wardwell, A Christmas Wedding, Finding Hope in Savannah, Dance and Be Glad, What God Brings Together