Throwback Thursday- An Interview with Melody Carlson
I am so thrilled to share an author interview with one of my favorite authors since I was a pre-teenager. Now don’t get the wrong idea about this Throwback Thursday… Melody is still very much writing today! However, I felt it was an appropriate throwback Thursday post because of how long I have loved her books. I was giddy with excitement when I saw her response to my email and I was able to ask her all the questions I had always wondered about. Here are two of her newest books!
1. You have written over 200 books with such varied topics. Where do you get your story ideas?
Story ideas come from all over. Sometimes I see an intriguing scene, something that remains in my memory… and it grows into a story. I can be inspired by something going on in a loved one’s life. Or something in the news captures my interest. Occasionally inspiration comes from a dream.
2. What was the most challenging-to-write book you have written and why?
Finding Alice was a challenge because it was the first book I wrote in present tense and first person. Plus it was about schizophrenia. I’ve done a number of books on mental illnesses or social issues. Those stories are tough to tell and usually a challenge to write, but when I’m done, I feel it’s worth it. Ironically, Finding Alice is probably my favorite book.
3. What book would you suggest a first-time reader of your books read and why?
That would totally depend on the reader. I have such a variety of books—something for everyone. Even within age groups, there are choices. For teens, I have lighter series such as The Dating Games or heavier series like Secrets. Same with women’s novels, I’ve got lighthearted fare like Love Gently Falling, and more serious titles like Finding Alice. I like to get to know someone a little before I recommend something.
4. You’ve also written a number of Christmas stories. Is that your favorite holiday? What does Christmas look like at your house?
I do love Christmas! And, although I’ve simplified much over the years, I still enjoy the traditions of decorating, cooking, gifting, and most of all spending time with family and friends. Also, it’s my husband’s birthday so that always adds a little something.
5. What made you begin writing or have you also wanted to be an author?
I always loved writing, and the process came easily to me. I started creating stories very early on, but I took it for granted, and I never believed that I could be a real “author.” It wasn’t until my sons were approaching their teens that I got serious about it. It was like a time bomb went off and I had to write.
6. What’s the hardest thing about writing?
I actually like everything about the writing process. Although I do tend to procrastinate the starting of a new book. Of course, deadlines help me in that area… you can only put it off for so long. But as far as the whole publishing process, I guess I find the “marketing” part of writing to be the hardest. It’s hard for me to “sell” myself. And nowadays, authors are expected to self promote a lot. I’m still adjusting to this.
7. Your stories often deal with the character’s minds and emotions, especially in the face of extenuating circumstances. Do you have a background or interest in psychology?
Other than a few classes, I don’t have an academic background in psychology, but I’ve always been a student of human nature. People fascinate me. And I like reading and researching about how our minds work. And mental illnesses intrigue me. Writing is actually a fun way to study how people think, and how they might respond to various challenges, how they might learn and grow through them. In a way it’s a bit like being a psychologist (a fictional one). LOL.
8. What do you hope readers take away from your stories?
I want readers to feel encouraged and hopeful when they finish one of my books. And even more than that, I want them to experience a sense of grace—a willingness to look at themselves and the people around them with more kindness, understanding, and love.
9. What is your personal favorite book?
I have many favorites—depending on my mood. My most recent favorite is Sue Monk Kidd’s Invention of Wings.
10. What do you do with your free time?
This past year, free time was scarce. I felt like most of my ‘free’ time was spent working to ‘sell’ a home we’d inhabited for about 20 years, downsizing into a much smaller home, reducing, remodeling and readjusting. But I’m looking forward to spending more time at our beach cabin, and I’d like to do some gardening this spring and, right now, because we have some good snow, I want to do some cross country skiing. I’m really hoping that, thanks to our downsizing, 2015 will have much more free time.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Melody! It was so exciting to talk to such a successful author of over 200 books! I love that she can write in such a variety of genres and for a variety of age groups.
***The photos and links above are from Amazon.com. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews- they are 100% my personal, honest opinion! I do, however, receive a small commission when you purchase a book through Amazon by clicking one of the links above. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***