Melinda is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and grandmother of three. She’s a registered nurse, CPR instructor, and a water aerobics instructor. She is an award winning article writer. Her debut novel, Grow Old With Me, is a 2011 Dan Poynter Global eBook Award Finalist.
Avid photographers, Melinda and her husband enjoy traveling America’s back roads where rural culture and history are preserved through a unique art form—quilt barn squares. Each book in the Quilt Trail Series deals with some aspect of quilting and its influence in the Appalachian region.
Proceeds from note cards, post cards, and photographic prints sold on her website contribute to the preservation of quilting and rural American culture. Melinda also donates money from her book sales to support various charities or quilting related projects.
Contact Melinda at www.melindaevaul.com
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So, please share with us about your book.
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?
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Purchase a paperback edition on Melinda’s website.
Love it...sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it.
A female friend who is middle-aged and had never married found her mate a couple years ago. This sparked the idea for an older couple relationship in Grow Old With Me.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are fictional but some have loose roots in the real world. Ella Baxter sprang from an article about a woman who searches for missing persons. I like real locations so Mosey Inn’s layout is a modification of a B&B near New Orleans. I found the “real” Mosey Inn while following a quilt trail through Erwin, TN. The Unicoi County Heritage Museum was the country home I had imagined while writing. That house became my cover art.
That's so neat and must be fun research to check out actual locations for your novels. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I chose to set Grow Old With Me in the town of Love Valley, NC. In 1954 Andy Barker established this cowboy town. It's like walking the streets of the old west. I visited there on several occasions to take pictures, meet residents, and get a feel for the tourist town he'd created. If you visit my website, you'll find pictures of Love Valley plus my human and animal friends who live there. Horse lovers will drool when they see my shots of Love Valley, NC.
Where do you go to do your research?
I like to write about places I know. Part of my writing style is to have accurate and detailed descriptions. I’ve had fun doing research for my next book. During my spring book singing tour I stayed at the home of a quilt barn painter. I also went to Ohio for “The Quilt Trail Gathering.” It was a treat to meet the first people who hung a quilt barn square, and to rub shoulders with quilters, painters, and artisans from across the USA. I add my brush strokes to a quilt block we painted at the convention.
Sounds like such fun fellowship! Love reading books where I know the author has done his or her research. Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes, I’m writing Book #2 in the Quilt Trail Series. For those who read Grow Old With Me, I’ll expand Ella Baxter’s story in this book. You’ll meet Sheriff Marcus Bruster’s daughter. She’ll introduce you to the art form of quilt barn painting when she seeks refuge on a Christmas tree farm in the mountains of western North Carolina.
Can't wait to meet your book characters. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
1. Readers should relate to your characters.
2. Identify your target audience and establish roads to reach them.
3. As publishers shrink their yearly acquisitions, the field for new writers becomes very narrow. If the traditional publishing route isn’t working for you, consider publishing your own books.
4. Be prepared to market your books via many avenues. In this day of e-books and POD companies, the cost can be reasonable and your story won’t languish in some drawer or hard drive.
5. If you have a book worth reading, God will place it in the hands of those He wants to reach with its Christian message.
Such great advice, especially like # 5. It is comforting to know that we can trust God to work out all the details in our writing careers. What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
One aspect I enjoy as an independent publisher is the freedom to set my own schedule. Writing the first novel was easier. I didn’t have marketing to consider. Part-time jobs consume much of my time. I spent the summer wearing my grandmother hat. I teach water aerobics two days each week and attend class most other days so I write in the afternoon or evenings. I want to have another book ready as soon as possible, but I’m thankful I don’t have a publisher imposing a rigid deadline.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
I wanted to have an older couple and a bed & breakfast in a rural area. I discovered Love Valley, NC through a publishing company. I wrote a synopsis and book proposal. They loved it and wanted to see a full manuscript. With no guarantee of a contract, I wrote Grow Old With Me and sent it away with high hopes. Six months later, the rejection letter arrived. I had a niche market in place and a book ready for those readers. I chose to begin my own publishing company, Winding Road Ink, and selected a POD printer. It was the right move for me. I’m happily getting fan mail instead of rejection slips.
That's an inspiring story of perseverance and following your dreams. I actually just received a rejection letter yesterday from a publisher I waited six months to hear from. God is good, though and He has a plan. Who is your favorite contemporary author?
I read many genres from a wide selection of authors. My laptop has 104 books loaded for reading. I’m currently enjoying Lynn Dean’s More Precious than Gold. A couple on my “to read list” are Naomi Musch’s The Green Veil, and Penny Zeller’s Hailee.
These are a few of my friends who write Christian fiction. We write to spread the gospel to people who might never read a Bible or attend church. When I read a book I try to post reviews. A simple positive review or a mention on a social media site can create sales. It’s a precious gift any reader can give an author.
A blog interview is another gift we treasure. I’ll end by thanking Joanne for this opportunity. I’ll stop by to read comments and answer questions while you wait for Joanne to announce the winner of the Grow Old With Me giveaway.
Melinda, thank you so much for guesting today. I really enjoyed our chat and getting to know you and your work.
If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a copy (reader's choice of print or eBook) of Grow Old With Me, please feel free to leave a comment. Melinda would love to chat with you.