Author Interview/Giveaway With Melinda Evaul and a winner!

Yay! We have a winner of Melinda Evaul’s new release “Grow Old With Me.”

Drumroll please…the winner is Pegg Thomas. Pegg, Melinda will be contacting you soon by email. Congratulations! Thank you again to all who entered and don’t forget, for those of you who didn’t win, Melinda’s book is available on Kindle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Old-Quilt-Trail-ebook/dp/B004IE9VEU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301063336&sr=1-1 or the paperback version at www.melindaevaul.com

Please join me next Thursday when I’ll be hosting nonfiction author Stephanie Shott for an interview and another giveaway. In the meantime, check out the post https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-fifty-cent-prayer/ about God hearing our every prayer.

Below is the interview with Melinda…

I am thrilled to have author Melinda Evaul as a guest on my blog. I am in the middle of reading her novel Grow Old With Me and it is fantastic! Already it has earned the highest five-star rating  from me and I can’t wait to finish reading it. Plus, Melinda is giving away an autographed copy to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment before the March 24 deadline. 

And now, without any further ado, I introduce to you – Melinda Evaul!

Melinda Evaul

Please tell us a bit about yourself.  Thank you for asking me to be a special guest today. It’s an honor to be your featured author. I appreciate the invitation to interact with your blog readers. 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 grand children. Life is busy in the town of Soddy Daisy. Yes, I get many questions about that name. It’s a suburb of Chattanooga. I’m a part-time RN in a doctor’s office. Most mornings you’d find me teaching water aerobics. During the afternoon, I’m at my keyboard, marketing my novel somewhere, busy with church activities, or rambling along some back road in search of quilt barns or interesting rural photos. If quilt barns leaves you clueless, visit my website and photo galleries after you read the rest of this post.

I love quilts and am amazed at the detail and time that goes into them! So, Melinda, tell us about your writing journey.  I won writing awards during my school years but I never considered pursuing it as a profession. I began writing 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 medium to share my Christianity. After my mother’s death, I continued the newfound career and my regular jobs. Several of my articles were published and I sought homes for two of my four novels. It’s an arduous task to find an agent or publisher. After much prayer and thought, I chose to form my micro-publishing company, Winding Road Ink, and have Snowfall Press print Grow Old With Me. I knew there was a good market for the book among quilters, the areas around Love Valley, and people who support agri-tourism along the quilt barn trails.

As I mentioned before, I am really enjoying your debut novel “Grow Old With Me.” Can you give us a short blurb? Grow Old With Me is the first novel in my Quilt Trail Series. Here is a short blurb:

A modern day Beauty and the Beast meet in their fifties when a disfigured carpenter becomes a 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?

I really like the plot line. Can you tell us about the setting? I set Grow Old With Me in the real town of Love Valley, NC. Most descriptions are true to the town. You’ll find pictures of Love Valley on my website. The characters and some structural details are fiction. Mosey Inn doesn’t exist. The house on the cover is many miles from Love Valley. I found that house while following a quilt barn trail. When we pulled in the drive, I discovered that The Unicoi County Heritage Museum in Erwin, TN was the exterior of the house I saw in my head while writing. A bed and breakfast near New Orleans inspired the interior layout of Sarah’s home.

The cover is beautiful. So, what advice would you give to other writers who want to publish a book? Be certain your readers can relate to your characters. Identify your target audience and establish roads to reach them. As publishers shrink their yearly acquisitions, the field for new writers becomes very narrow. If the traditional publishing route isn’t working for you, publish your own books. 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 draw or hard drive. I believe I have a book worth reading. God will place it in the hands of those He wants to reach with its Christian message.

What role does faith play in your writing? Huge! God gives every person talents and gifts. He expects us to use them. I enjoy writing about real life in small-town American. I love flawed characters that need God’s healing touch. I’m not in this for money or fame. (That seldom happens in the publishing world) God can reach someone through a work of fiction who would never open a Bible. My goal is to show readers a personal relationship with Christ in a non-preachy way. As I write, I try to find God’s theme for the book. The Holy Spirit leads me to write words that will honor our Creator and further God’s kingdom.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? I can’t say that any one verse is my favorite. God provides different verses to further my faith, strength, and spiritual growth on a daily basis. My focus verses for Grow Old With Me came from Heb. 4:15-16. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (KJV) Just think about it! Christ faced every tough question and temptation of life. God lets us boldly ask questions. He can equip us to face every need and never turns us away when we seek answers. What an awesome promise. That was the message Benjamin and Sarah needed to learn. I’ve faced some tough questions in my Christian walk too. My works of fiction allow me to share some answers with readers who face similar fears and questions.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In other words, what are your hopes, dreams, and goals? I don’t want to handle the stress of a huge writing contract. I’d love to keep writing Christian fiction and living my life much as I do now. That’s another advantage to self-publication. I’m under no obligation to fulfill a deadline or contract unless I self-impose one. Time with family and travel are high priorities. My children want to take a long excursion across America when the grand children are older. 

What’s next on your writing agenda? I have five books planned for the Quilt Trail Novels. Each book will focus on a different aspect of quilting and rural American life. Several readers have asked about recurring characters. Each book will be a stand alone held together by the common thread of quilts. I may bring a former character back from time to time. I’m still planning and plotting. I didn’t start Grow Old With Me with a series in mind. It happened as I became interested in Quilt Barn Trails and met people with stories worth telling. My target audience influenced my plans for the series. The next book in my Quilt Trail Series will feature a Christmas tree grower and a quilt barn painter.

I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series, Melinda. Can you tell us where can readers connect with you? My website is www.melindaevaul.com and my blog, Road Ramblings, is located there as well. I send out a newsletter at least quarterly to update my readers about events, appearances, or happenings in the Evaul family. Readers can contact me through the website or my publishing company email windingroadink@att.net My FB page is Melinda Evaul-Author. I have an author page on www.goodreads.com I also post a monthly writing lesson for teens on Lynn Dean’s website www.aNOVELwritingsite.com

Can you tell us how and where readers can order a copy of Grow Old With Me?Readers can order Grow Old With Me as an e-book from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Old-Quilt-Trail-ebook/dp/B004IE9VEU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300372086&sr=1-1  or in paperback via my website at www.melindaevaul.com 

Thank you again, Melinda, for being my guest.  It was great to have you here. Now don’t forget, readers, to leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Grow Old With Me. Giveaway ends March 24.