Although this winter has been very, very mild (especially after the bitter, endless cold of last winter), but this weekend, Mother Nature is making up for it. Wouldn't you know it...we have 70 cadets out on a winter expedition when temperatures will plummet to -46C...yes, everyone will be sleeping outside in their snow shelters. Brrrrrr
OK, let'd move on and meet our next guest, Melanie D Snitker, and her 'hot off the press' new release.......Finding Faith.....yeah!
Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
Sure! I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I made up episodes for cartoons when I was a kid. I wrote a lot of science fiction stories (and even a book) when I was in high school. Once I got into college, I didn’t have much time for writing and finally made it one of my priorities in 2014. I love being able to share the characters I create with other people. It is fun, isn't it? For us, they are so real.
Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
No, I don’t write full time. I stay at home with our two kids and we homeschool. I usually do most of my writing in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed and then I try to get a couple of extra hours in over the weekend. Nice.
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Finding Faith is the fourth book in my Love’s Compass series. Serenity Chandler is a single mom to her son, Gideon, who has autism. She’s always relied on her family for help, but an opportunity to help Gideon presents itself and she chooses to move. She’s now on her own for the first time. This is where she meets Aaron Randall, a music therapist who works at Gideon’s new special needs school. He’s dedicated to help the kids there and make a difference in their lives. He’s always thought that was enough – until he meets Serenity. Unfortunately, there’s an anti-dating policy in place at the school and any relationship between them will put his job at risk. The more they get to know each other, the harder it is to ignore how they feel. They have to rely on faith to find their way through.
I'm reading this going, 'Hey, wait! I know this!' You'll have to forgive me....of course I know this! I've read it :o) And I LOVED IT.
Where does the inspiration for your main character and story come from?
The first book in the series, Finding Peace, focused on Tuck Chandler, Serenity’s older brother. I created Serenity at this point and knew that I’d want to write a story for her and Gideon, but had no idea what that story would be yet. Her character has slowly grown throughout both Finding Peace and the second book, Finding Hope. By the time I got to Finding Faith, Serenity definitely had a mind of her own and the Story unfolded from there. Yup, what a character, lol.
What do you think makes a good romance story?
A great storyline with a good combination of both emotional and physical attraction. I personally like to see a romance develop naturally as a couple gets to know each other through a series of events and over time. As a reader, I’m much more interested in a romance that’s long-term and that has carried over into my writing. I agree, you want to feel it build and evolve in a believable way.
How do you handle the emotional side of romance writing?
For me, the emotional side of romance writing is one of the most important aspects. I’ve read many stories where the physical attraction is the main focus and I feel like none of that means anything if there’s not an emotional connection in place first. In my case, I feel strongly about having my characters get to know each other and build a level of friendship that everything else is based off of. Having that investment in each other makes it easier to develop the emotional side of a romance. Beautiful! Please stand and take a bow.
What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
Some of it developed as my characters came to life. I always start out with an idea for them, but they quickly decide what direction their story is going to go. Finding Faith is especially close to my heart because my husband and I have a son with autism. I wanted to show my readers the real personality behind a child on the spectrum and maybe give them a glance into the challenges and rewards that come along with raising that child. While Gideon is very different from our son in a lot of ways, there are some similarities as well. I can say that tears were shed while writing more than one scene in this book. I was very emotionally connected to it. You made me cry a time or two as well. As a nurse, my first job was with mentally handicapped people that also included autism, though back then they were rare.
Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I used to just go with the flow and that worked pretty well for me – until about mid-novel. Then I’d have to struggle to pull all the pieces together. I guess I’m kind of in the middle now. I do write out some details for specific scenes, but generally I let my characters lead me from chapter to chapter.
What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years?
The novel takes place over about three months.
How much research went into your story?
I didn’t need to do much research for this particular book. I did look into music therapists as that’s not a type of therapy we’ve experienced with our son.
How have the changes in present day publishing impacted your schedule as a writer?
There is a lot of pressure for independent authors to get something published as frequently as possible. This leaves us trying to find the balance between putting enough books out there and making sure we leave ourselves enough time to properly edit and format the books. Our readers deserve quality! For myself, putting three books out a year seems to be working well right now. Wow, three books a year is a lot! Good for you.
How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time?
Marketing has definitely been the hardest part of the independent publishing experience. When I published my first book, I had no idea what I was doing and certainly didn’t have a plan. I’ve since learned that, at least in my case, that doesn’t work. I feel like I have a better handle on marketing and I try to get one of my books out there each month. But when it comes to promotions, I’m still learning. Sadly, things change so fast as we go along, that it always seems as though we have to learn and try something new -yet again.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t give up and write when you get the chance! I remember reading articles where “they” said it was important to write something every single day. I’ll tell you that there were many years where I’d write a lot for a week or two, then may not write anything at all for months. But I was able to use what I’d written at a later time. It’s more important to write when you have time and when you feel the inspiration. If you’re called to be an author, the rest will work itself out. For sure. I think peole should not put pressure on themselves for having a life and other responsabilities, because it takes the fun out of it.
Could you tell us what you’re working on now?
I’ve just started a new series with a tentative name of Reinventing Love. I’m in the planning stages so don’t have a lot to share about it yet. I also have a standalone novel and another book in the Love’s Compass series in the works for this year. You are one busy lady!
Impressed? Want to hear more about Melanie? Well you're in luck. Here's her
I enjoyed writing from a young age. My brothers and I used to watch Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers when we were kids. I would write episodes that I wanted to see and then I would trace images from coloring books and arrange them the way I wanted to create the illustrations for my books. This later turned into writing a couple of scripts for episodes I wanted to see on Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Nothing really came of them, but they were great practice and a lot of fun to write. Oh, well, now if you're a Star Trek fan as well, you have an extra vote of support from me!
My love for writing progressed from there. I wrote a lot of short stories and a science fiction novel that I still intend to go back and polish up some day. I began writing romance in my early college years, but my classes pushed my writing to the back burner. I really wasn't able to make writing a priority until the last year.
I am finally in a place in my life where I can really focus on my writing. My husband and two children (9 and 4) are inspirations to me. I feel blessed that I am able to stay at home with our children and that we are able to homeschool them - an adventure all on its own! Our two dogs definitely add humor (and challenge) to my life as well.
Currently, I am writing Christian romance novels that are clean and appropriate for any age - something I feel very strongly about.
In addition to writing, I also enjoy crochet, baking, camping, archery, learning about and using essential oils, and photography.
Finding Faith is the fourth book in the Love's Compass series.
Single mom Serenity Chandler is determined to do anything to provide better opportunities for her son, Gideon. Moving away from her family support system so Gideon can attend a special school seems like the right choice, even if it means her entire life is about to change.
The satisfaction of helping children and being a part of their lives is one reason Aaron Randall loves his job as a music therapist. When Hope Academy instills a dating policy, he doesn't give it a second thought. Until the new co-worker who'd caught his attention turns out to be the parent of one of his students.
Any relationship between them will put his job at risk. The more time Aaron spends with Serenity and Gideon, the harder it is to ignore what they could have together. With Aaron's job and Gideon's education hanging in the balance, they'll have to rely on faith to find their way.
I know, no one asked me, but since it's my blog I can tell ya'll anyway. I LOVE her book covers. (Finding Peace is my favorite one), but how awesome is it to get a book that is as good on the inside as it is on the outside?!
You can find Melanie and her books HERE: