I love this book. Here is my review link if you would like to see. http://thelifeandtimesofwanda.blogspot.com/2011/03/grow-old-with-me-by-melinda-evaula.html
Melinda, thanks for taking the time to visit us today! I appreciate you answering these few questions. It will be fun to get to know you better. Tell us a little about yourself. Thank you for asking me to be a special guest today, Wanda. It’s an honor to be here. Born and raised in NC, I’m a transplant to TN. I’m a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and Mimi to my three grandchildren. I work two days/month as a nurse in a doctor’s office. I’m a certified water aerobic instructor. When I add writer to that list, I’d say I wear far too many hats for the allotted hours in a day.
How long did you write before you were published? I began writing about 6 years ago when my mother needed full-time care and moved in with us. Her soap operas and game shows didn’t interest me. Writing became a pastime and a way to share my Christianity. After my mother’s death, I continued to write. Several of my articles won awards and found publishing homes. I sought placement for two of my four novels. It’s an arduous task to find an agent or publisher. After much prayer and thought, I opted to form my own publishing company, Winding Road Ink, and have Snowfall Press print Grow Old With Me. I knew there was a market for the book among quilters, the areas around Love Valley, and people who support agri-tourism along the quilt barn trails. (If quilt barns leaves you clueless, visit my website and photo galleries after you read the rest of this post.)
Tell us about “Grow Old With Me,” the featured book. Grow Old With Me Novel # 1 in the Quilt Trail Series A modern day Beauty and the Beast meet in their fifties when a disfigured carpenter becomes a long-term guest at a bed and breakfast in the western-style tourist town of Love Valley, NC. Benjamin Pruitt plans to repair the town’s buildings before retiring to a solitary life. Sarah Campbell longs for freedom since her long task as caregiver has ended. Can Benjamin and Sarah piece the tattered remnants of their lives into a beautiful design to warm their waning years? Benjamin and Sarah are middle-aged and they’ve never married. They’re damaged, hurting people who find comfort, companionship, and love. My book asks some tough questions about faith and the rough things people face in life. It’s set in the real town of Love Valley, NC. Most descriptions are true to the town. I have pictures of Love Valley on my website. My characters and some structural details are fiction. Mosey Inn doesn’t exist. The house on the cover is miles from Love Valley. I found the Unicoi County Heritage Museum in Erwin, TN while following a quilt trail. I pulled into the drive and saw the house I’d seen in my mind while writing about Sarah’s B&B.
Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your writing journey? My husband believed in me and encouraged me to devote time to writing. We often plot or work on a scene together. He’s my final proofreader. My critique partner, Lynn Dean, saw me through many edits and pushed me to write the best book possible. She helped my husband create the beautiful cover design and drew the interior quilt graphics for “Grow Old With Me.” I wouldn’t be writing blog interviews without these two special people God placed in my life.
What message do you want to be clear to your readers? I love writing about flawed characters that need God’s healing touch. My goal is to show readers a personal relationship with Christ. I want to strengthen their faith as they enjoy a good book. God can reach someone through a work of fiction who would never open a Bible.
What are some of your likes and dislikes? I love ice cream in any flavor. Well, vanilla needs some sort of chocolate topping. Add a good cup of coffee to that and I’m a happy lady. I hate shopping. No fun to look when you can’t afford to buy or find things that fit. Shoe shopping is the worst. I have a closet full and they all hurt my feet or my back.
Your hobbies, interests? Reading is a favorite pastime but it’s hard to find the time in my schedule. The swimming pool is my second home. I either teach or take a water aerobics class 3-4 days/week.
Where do you like to vacation? I love cruises. My husband and I have enjoyed three trips to the Caribbean. Every island is unique. I enjoy hiking and snorkeling. I love to visit the remote areas of an island instead of the tourist sights. Remember, I’m not a shopper. We’ve traveled the US extensively, mostly in a tent or a camper. I hope to take my grandchildren on a grand tour of the US some day.
Tell us a little-known fact about yourself that readers may not know. I sailed on the USS Nimitz from Hawaii to San Diego. They Navy sent roughly 1000 crewmembers home by plane. Selected parents and children boarded in Hawaii to travel the last leg with their sailor. I’ll never forget that special trip home with my son. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
How do you spend your writing days? Mornings are devoted to the pool, so I write during the afternoon and evenings. I’m in the research phase for my next book. It’s the time where I get to know my characters, learn about their spiritual needs, and form the plot in my head. It’s hard for me to rough draft. Most of my book is in my mind before I begin the writing phase. I’m a semi-pantser but detailed character sketches are vital.
Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? I try to set a goal but my “to do” list often gets in the way. The hard part for me is marketing and writing at the same time. Currently marketing outweighs writing.
Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel? “Grow Old With Me” took a year of serious writing time. I did little else besides my water exercises. Polishing it and formatting the book for print took several more months. I’ve allotted six months to promote the book before I jump into full-time writing again. By then, I should have a good reader base and know my new characters fairly well. My goal is to release the next novel around Christmas of 2011. I learned things writing “Grow Old With Me” that should speed along the writing process on this next book.
What are you currently reading? At this time, I’m between books. Ronie Kendig’s “Digitalis” is next on my list. Recent reads include Jo Ann Durgin’s “Awakening” and Penny Zeller’s “McKenzie” and “Kaydie.” Earlier in the month I read Irene Hannon’s “Against All Odds” and Richard Mabry’s “Code Blue.” I read a variety of genres but suspense or thrillers are my favorites.
Do you grow flowers or vegetables? My thumb is not green. I had a vegetable garden when my children were young. We actually harvested a great crop.
What are your favorite flowers? I love daffodils. They’re so bright and cheerful after a long winter. My mom begged and harvested from every flowerbed in town so I could have daffodils in the church for my March wedding. That was 33 years ago, by the way.
What are you writing now? My next book will feature a quilt barn painter and a Christmas tree grower. They’re people with troubled pasts and family situations that need mending. This novel will continue the quilt theme as the painter and tree grower struggle to overcome the old patterns of life with new ones.
How can readers find you on the Internet? My website is http://www.melindaevaul.com I send a quarterly newsletter to those who subscribe. I have a blog at the same location. Readers can order a paperback copy of “Grow Old With Me” from my website. It’s on Amazon as an e-book. I’ll format it for Nook and other e-readers next month. I’ll eventually place the paperback on other Internet sites. I’m doing a book signing tour during April and May. I’ll be in seven different towns. Those events are on my Facebook page Melinda Evaul-Author and on my website. If you live nearby one of these locations, drop by and say hello.
And thanks for spending this time with us, Melinda. We wish you much success. Thank you, Wanda. It was a pleasure to be here. Thank you for promoting my novel. I’ll stop by to make comments and see who wins the giveaway copy.
Melinda is offering her book Grow Old With Me to one of you.
Leave a comment with your name and email address.
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Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. ENTRY DEADLINE April 18, 2011