Tuesday, November 29, 2011

with Melanie Dickerson

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Melanie!
Is there a story behind this book?

After I finished writing The Healer’s Apprentice, I knew I wanted to write more medieval romances based on fairy tales, and since my favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, it was a natural choice. I saw the story as having an English, gothic feel. I liked the idea of setting the story in a rural village in England, which seemed a good place to explore the great themes of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Historical romance is my preferred genre, but I also read some literary fiction. I love the classics, and my favorite books are all of Jane Austen’s novels and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Among contemporary authors, I love Mary Connealy’s cowboy romances, and I love Julie Lessman’s family dramas, Ruth Axtell Morren’s British-set romances, and Linore Rose Burkard’s Regencies.

Is there a fun fact about your book or the process of writing it that people might find interesting?
When I was writing The Merchant’s Daughter, I was trying to get The Healer’s Apprentice published. Nobody was interested in a Medieval, nor were they interested in a YA romance or fairy tale retellings. So about halfway through The Merchant’s Daughter, I decided to stop writing it and write something completely different—a romantic comedy, something lighthearted and fun. But when I started my romantic comedy, I got terrible writer’s block for the first time in my life and couldn’t write past the first few pages. I finally decided it must be because I was supposed to finish The Merchant’s Daughter first, so I went back and finished it. The Healer’s Apprentice found a publisher a year and a half later, so I went back and revised The Merchant’s Daughter and turned it in to my editor, and my publisher accepted it as well.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
My white chicken chili once won first place in a cook-off. Here is the recipe:

White Chicken Chili

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 med. Onion, minced
1 4-oz. cans mild green chilies
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cumin
2 cans great northern beans, or navy beans
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken breast
8 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 min. or until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 min. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until hot. Turn off heat. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted.

It’s good for taking to a sick friend, since it isn’t very spicy.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
This is also a hard question. At different times in my life, different verses have meant a lot to me. I held on to a lot of Hope Scriptures when I was trying to get published and getting rejection after rejection. I printed out Julie Lessman’s list, which is on her website here: www.JulieLessman.com/from-the-heart and I used to read them often. Here is one: Romans 15:12-14 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” And I like this one: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
The Merchant’s Daughter releases officially on November 18th, and it is a Beauty and the Beast story set in Medieval England. Here is a blurb:

An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf’s bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff’s vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

And here is the review of The Merchant's Daughter I promised:
As I read The Merchant's Daughter, I was drawn into Annabel's life. I could not put the book down, even though my grandparents, whom we get to see twice a year, were visiting. I spent from mid-morning to mid-afternoon reading it because it was SO good.

When I turned the last page and closed the book, I was, literally, wishing it didn't end. I wanted to keep reading and feeling like I was right there beside Annabel and Lord Ranulf. I wanted to know what happened next in their lives.

Readers of all ages will enjoy this wonderful story set in 1352, England. It's not just a book teens will enjoy, but one adults will too. And guys, this is a book you'd probably enjoy too!

You can purchase The Merchant's Daughter from Amazon.

Melanie is giving away a copy of The Merchant's Daughter. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


Linda said...

Definitely interested in your book. Please enter me. Thank you!

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

marybelle said...

I would absolutely love to read THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER thank you. It is exactly what I enjoy reading most.


wfnren said...

This sounds like a good book, thank you for hosting the giveaway.


Patsy said...

That chili sounds wonderful! I've been wanting a good White Chicken Chili recipe. Must try this one. Would love to read this book!


apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Suzanne said...

I love YA historicals and stories about medievel times. So this book sounds like a winner to me. I'd love to win a copy.
Suzanne :O)

Merry said...

I love the heart of Beauty, so I am looking forward to meeting Annabel in The Merchant's Daughter. Thanks for a chance to win it.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Teela said...

I would LOVE TO WIN THE MERCHANT"S DAUGHTER! And Melanie, thank you for sharing your white chili recipe! Can't wait to give that a try! Looks s

Courtney said...

Really Really want this book!! Love Melanie's writing!! Thanks for the chance to win!

kcmelone at yahoo dot com

Pam K. said...

I thoroughly enjoyed The Healer's Apprentice. I would expect The Merchant's Daughter to be equally good, if not better!
Melanie's recipe for white chicken chili sounds delicious, I plan to try it.
Thanks for the interview and a chance to win a copy of her new book.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you so much, Esther!!! And Patty! For having me on your blog! It's been a crazy day, first a trip to the doctor, then a phone chat with my agent, and lastly I was speaking at my library tonight and just got home! But I appreciate everyone who came by and left a comment. Thanks!!!

Lady DragonKeeper said...

"Nobody was interested in a Medieval, nor were they interested in a YA romance or fairy tale retellings."

If the new "Once Upon a Time" tv show becomes popular enough ... I think you got published at just the right time! God's timing ...

Thanks so much for the chance to win!

Lane Hill House said...

I would love to read "The Merchant's Daughter." I am a Historical Fiction reader and 1352, England, would be interesting to learn about.

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