Meet Melanie Dickerson

I first met Melanie when she was one of the directors for ACFW’s Online Bookclub and moderating the author chats and book discussions for the monthly choices the group makes by voting. When I heard she had her first book coming out this fall and discovered what the book was about I was excited at the opportunity to introduce her to my readers along with her book, The Healer’s Apprentice.

About the Author:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

About the Book:
The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
Zonderkidz (September 3, 2010)

When destiny sleeps, it can only be awakened by true love’s kiss.

In this historical romance loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a woodcutter’s daughter becomes the town healer’s apprentice. Rose’s job is to care for the sick and injured in Hagenheim Castle. But she gets sick at the sight of blood and is more suited to making up stories than sewing up wounds. She is determined to overcome her weakness and prove herself a competent healer, or she faces marrying a disgusting old merchant her mother has picked out for her.

Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of the region, is injured and Rose must overcome her squeamishness to save him. He is everything that is noble and good, but loving him is forbidden. He is already betrothed to a mysterious woman in hiding.

With two noble-born brothers vying for her affections, Rose learns that the people of Hagenheim are not always who they seem. (ISBN#9780310721437, 272pp, $9.99)

Now I’m handing the keyboard off to Melanie so we can all get to know her a little better and of course hear about her book. In a short while I’ll also be sharing my own thoughts on Melanie’s book.

1. Who do you want to meet and why?
I’d love to meet Harper Lee, because she grew up near my hometown, and I’d just like to talk to her about writing. I’d also love to meet Beth Moore, because I think she’d be such a fun person to be friends with. I just love her infectious, enthusiastic love of God and the Scriptures!

2. What’s your favorite comfort food?
Chocolate! And I also love cooked vegetables, all kinds.

3. What would be your dream vacation?
To tour old castles all over Europe, especially Germany and Great Britain.

4. Is there anyone who has influenced / encouraged you to write other than God who ultimately gives us any talents including creativity? Who and how / why?
My husband often told me I should write a book. I thought he was silly.

5. Can you give a brief synopsis of your journey to publication with your first book?
I submitted it to lots of agents and a few publishers as an adult Christian romance, went to conferences and pitched it, and finally got an agent two years ago. Just when my agent and I had pretty much given up on it, we submitted it to a Christian YA publisher, Zonderkidz, as a Young Adult romance, and it sold! After over three years of trying to get it published, it finally was accepted.

6. What else have you written / are you currently writing (including unpublished works)?
I have a second YA medieval romance, based on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, that is being considered by my publisher, Zondervan. I also have an adult romance series set in 1880 Alabama that several publishers are currently considering. And I hope to write more medieval romances based on fairy tales. I LOVE writing them.

7. What first gave you the idea for this book?
I’ve always loved fairy tales, and when I started getting the idea for The Healer’s Apprentice, my two girls were very young and they watched a lot of the Disney princess movies and Barbie movies which were based on fairy tales. One day they were watching Sleeping Beauty and I started thinking how unrealistic it was that a prince, who was betrothed from childhood to a princess, would meet a peasant girl in the woods and decide on the spot to marry her. I started thinking, what would this story be like if it was realistic? If it actually happened? And I thought, if this guy was betrothed and fell in love with someone else, he would feel a lot of inner conflict. He would want the respect of his family and his people, so he’d fight his attraction to this girl he’d fallen in love with. So that’s how the idea started.

8. What else would you like to share with readers about yourself or this book?
This is the book of my heart, and my greatest desire is that it will glorify God and draw others closer to Him.

9. What five books would you take with you to a desert island?
The Bible, of course, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and I’m not sure after that.

10. What concept or scripture is God revealing more deeply to you in this season of your life? And how is that revelation influencing your life?
God is showing me that I can trust him, even if the worst thing that could possibly happen did happen, God could still give me joy and still save me.

11. Why did you start writing and when?
I started writing as a kid and fully intended, in high school, to earn a living as a published novelist. But I gave up on that dream when I realized how hard it was to get published. When I started college I gave up writing. Then I started back when my second child was just a year old. I decided if I could earn money by writing and not have to go back to work, my life would be complete. I guess you could say my dreams MIGHT be coming true.

12. How do you choose names and get to know your characters?
I choose names by looking at a census of the time period and area where the story takes place. I am not very methodical about getting to know my characters. I basically have to wait for them to reveal themselves to me.

13. What’s your favorite character / scene from this book/series (so far)?
Oh my, that’s a hard one. I have several favorite scenes in this book, and of course, I love Rose and Wilhelm the most. The kissing scene at the end has to be my favorite.

14. Do you have any teasers you can share for the sequel or your next book?
Hopefully I will know something soon about which of my books will be published next!

15. Are there any closing remarks you’d like to share?
Don’t give up on your dreams! God can do anything, and he has great plans for your future. If you don’t need God to make your dreams come true, you’re not dreaming big enough!

Codicil:
A big thanks to Melanie for taking the time to share with us. Visit Melanie’s Website by Clicking her name or photo above. For more about the book or to purchase a copy click the Title or Cover above. My review will be coming up very soon. Thanks to Melanie for a review copy of her book.

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