She's the woman of a million stories, and with more than 200 books under her belt, she's successfully on her way to telling them all! Author Melody Carlson's well of inspiration runs deep, and you'll find her writing everything from teen to children's books, chick lit and even non-fiction books, just to name a few. Her audience is as large as her book collection and indicative of the numerous lives she's touched. Find her books here.
What is your name?
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
ONCE UPON A WINTER'S HEART is a contemporary Valentine's Day novella. Emma Burcelli concludes that love is dead when her grandfather—the last "true romantic"—suddenly dies, leaving Emma’s grandmother devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which her grandmother insists must be decorated for Valentine’s Day (just how Poppi used to do). Feeling like a Valentine’s Scrooge, Emma sets out to deck the walls with hearts and cupids. But it’s not until Lane Forester steps into the picture—with chocolates and Dean Martin—that Emma starts to get in the real spirit of the romantic holiday.
How and why did you become an author?
I’ve always loved to write. And the process always came easily to me. For that reason I probably took it for granted. But I eventually reached a place in life where I felt like I would explode, or implode or something really messy, if I didn’t write. Without having any real plan (and very little time) I started writing a book onto a yellow legal pad. That was many books ago.
What is your secret to writing over 200 books and selling more than 5 million? How long does it take you to write a typical book?
Actually, my sales are more than 6.5 million now. :-) As I mentioned, I started writing when I had very little time. I was running a full time day-care/preschool and had to school-aged boys and lots going on. Yet, I was driven to write. As a result of limited time, I learned to write very quickly. Finally, when I could afford more time, I discovered that writing fast was simply the way I worked best. It’s just the way my mind works and I continue to write at a “breakneck” speed which I’m sure most writers think is crazy. I usually complete the first draft for a book within five or six weeks.
Your books vary widely in topic. What do you do to keep your ideas fresh?
I’ve always had a lot of varied and unrelated interests. Plus I’ve worked at a variety of unrelated jobs. And I’ve traveled around the world—literally. As a result, my writing doesn’t fit neatly into one particular genre. I know this is a frustration for some of my publishers (who would like to ‘brand’ me). But it’s simply the way I am. I honestly wouldn’t enjoy writing for just one genre. Sometimes I feel driven to create a story that’s serious and edgy. Sometimes I want to write something fun and light. I like to keep it interesting and slightly random. As far as keeping ideas fresh...I like to think that stories are as limited as the population of the planet—I believe if I spent enough time with any person I could find the inspiration to write a book about it. But I hope no one puts me to the test.
You've written many books for teens. What pressures do you see teens facing in today's society?
The pressures on teens aren’t all that different than previous generations. Common issues like low self-esteem, dating dilemmas, peer pressure, the future...are all still there. But there are also more serious issues like substance abuse, risky behavior, bullying, etc.. However, a lot of these adolescent challenges get ramped up by the constant access to media and social networking and, as a result new problems arise. Living in an electronically hyper-connected era doesn’t just take a toll on social skills, it opens the door to things like cyber-bullying, sexting, and dangerous online relationships.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment - both personal and professional?
I was recently honored with Romantic Times Career Achievement Award—that was a pretty cool milestone. But it’s nothing compared to having been happily married to the same wonderful guy for more than 35 years. Now that’s a milestone!
What are 3 things many people don't know about you?
Despite that I speak publicly and consider my life pretty much an open book, I am a hermit. Sometimes I don’t leave my house (a cabin in the woods) for up to a week. I’m grandmother to an adorable nine year old (who my husband insists is just like me). My favorite TV watching is TCM and HGTV.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
I'm going to do some independent publishing. And I'm thinking about taking up art (again) by attending a painting class a friend teaches.
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by MRH, CMO