Becky Melby’s interview

» Posted on Feb 3, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Becky Melby’s interview

If you want to be entered in the drawings for Becky Melby’s Walk with Me and/or Allie Pleiter’s Bluegrass Courtship, please leave a comment with your email address. This is necessary in order for me to contact you–you will not be entered without an email address included or you can email me at to be entered. The drawings end this Sunday evening.

Becky Melby’s interview:

1. What made you start writing?
An overactive imagination that just started spilling onto paper as soon as I learned to make letters and turn them into sentences—probably around the age of seven or eight. I wrote short stories and poetry for years, but about fifteen years ago Cathy Wienke, my good friend of eighteen years at the time, literally threw a novel at the wall, picked up the phone, and said, “We could do better than this!” We wrote our first novel as a fun pastime while homeschooling our kids.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I got serious when I took a creative writing class in high school and had a teacher who took my passion for words seriously. Cathy and I sold our first book to Heartsong in 1994.

3. How do you handle rejections?
I still tend to take it very personally at first, but I’ve done a fairly good job of taming the self-talk that tells me I’m a complete and utter failure. I pout, I pray, and then I either move on with my current project or work on improving the one that didn’t sell. Rejection is part of life and one of a writer’s best teachers.

4. Why do you write?
It keeps me sane! If I weren’t writing for publication I’d still be journaling and writing poetry for no one but God and myself. I’m one of those who can’t not write. The reason I write fiction is because I love the creative process of inventing people, places, and problems. And I write Christian fiction because I believe in the power of story to convey Truth.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?
Reading someone else’s writing! That’s my constant lament—I don’t have enough time to read. I’d also be spending more time with family and friends and finishing the doll house and scrapbooks that are gathering dust upstairs.

6. What are you working on right now?
Cathy and I are working on our third contemporary series for Heartsong Presents. This one, Pleasant Surprises, is set in Illinois. It’s about a woman who has found her identity in her party planning business. When her company is in danger of bankruptcy, two men step forward to offer opposing advice and she finds herself in a triangle of confusion.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?
Not intentionally, but friends say they “hear” me all over my writing. I do use personal struggles and the things God has taught me as themes.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.
Walk with Me is a contemporary romance set in Minnesota. The hero, Trace McKay, is fresh out of prison where he served three years for secondary manslaughter. Heroine Sydney Jennet is a strong proponent of her church’s new program to reintegrate prisoners into society, but when an apartment fire results in the program’s first ex-con living in the basement of the house she shares with her parents, she has to rethink her stance. It doesn’t take long for her to be drawn to Trace, but there are people in the little town of Pine Bluff, Minnesota who are intent on driving him away. When threats force Trace to leave town, their budding relationship is also in danger.

The next two books in the series, Dream Chasers and Stillwater Promise, come out later this year.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Bathe your work in prayer—before, during, and after. And approach writing the way a concert pianist approaches his or her talent. You may have been gifted with natural ability, but it takes hours and hours of practice and studying to hone the craft. Finally, don’t give up! I’m always encouraged by stories of famous authors who accumulated mountains of rejection letters before that final breakthrough.

10. How important is faith in your books?
Absolutely essential. I don’t know if I would continue to write for publication if I couldn’t write stories that offer hope. Cathy and I both look on this as a ministry. I love crafting Christian Cinderella stories that illustrate how God takes our brokenness and even our mistakes and transforms them into something beautiful for Himself.

11. What themes do you like to write about?
Second chances are big in all of our stories…the Cinderella theme. The importance of strong marriages and family connections are also really important.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
Possibly our third Minnesota book—Stillwater Promise. I really struggled with this one while I was writing it. It’s about a married couple with two little girls. The couple has been separated for two years and now the husband, a new Christian, is attempting reconciliation. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to develop enough romantic “spark” between two people who knew each other so well and had hurt each other so deeply. In the end, I loved how the story played out and I even learned a few things to apply in my own marriage!

13. What is your writing schedule like?
As an empty-nester, I am blessed with time. I have two full days and two half days each week to devote to writing. I try to keep roughly the same 9 to 6 or 2 to 6 hours my husband does, but my Wednesday afternoons are gloriously devoted to watching my eight-month-old grandson (one of nine grandblessings