Award-winning author Melody Carlson has a special talent for bringing extra joy to the Christmas season. With over seven million copies sold, Carlson has charmed her way into the lives ofromance readers worldwide. She now crafts another heartwarming holiday tale about giving and forgiving and sprinkles it with just the right amount of romance in A Quilt for Christmas.
When did you start writing?
At age five. Seriously, I wrote little booklets as a child. I always wrote—journals, poetry, letters, short stories, etc. whenever I got the chance. I got serious about writing for publishing in my early thirties. Publishing came relatively soon after. That was about 300 books ago.
Who were/are two of your favorite authors?
That’s hard to answer because it can depend on my mood, time in life, etc.. Early in my writing career, I loved Rosemunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchey.
Do you feel they influenced you? In what way?
I loved how they took relatively simple stories of ordinary people (women) and expounded on them with great character development and wonderful description. I still enjoy those kinds of books.
What do you look for in choosing a setting for your book?
Something that makes me want to go there (then I can go vicariously) or a fond memory of a place I’ve been and loved. For this book, setting wasn’t as important as characterization.
What steps if any are involved in research for your book?
Because A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS is about four women making a quilt, I had to brush up on the steps and tools. I used to make quilts (like 30 years ago) so I was a little rusty. But I live in a quilting town (Sisters Oregon) so there are plenty of resources right here
In writing your new book, what do you feel makes it stand out?
It’s the relationships of four women who were complete and diverse strangers, with some problems, who were brought together for a common goal, but it wasn’t easy getting there.
In your new book, what would you like the reader to feel and walk away with?
First of all a reminder that most people’s lives do not go smoothly (like it might appear on facebook or a Hallmark movie) and the holidays are a good time to reach out to others with grace and nonjudgment.
What is the best writing advice you have received so far?
Ironically, it’s Stephen King’s book ON WRITING because his style is so similar to mine I found it very encouraging and reassuring.
What is the worst?
Don’t give up your day job! You can’t make a living writing.
Between plotting, character development, dialogue, scenes which is easiest for you, and which takes a lot of effort?
I think character development and dialogue come pretty easily, which is probably why I am able to write screenplays too. I am not a plotter. Plotting makes me want to quit.
What do you do if you get stumped?
I don’t believe in getting stumped (AKA writer’s block) but if I do, I just try to step away and get fresh air. Or have a character walk into the room with a bawling baby or let a doorbell ring, something unexplainable to shake things up.
Did you or do you make any sacrifices to be a writer?
It’s a lonely sort of job. I have to watch out from turning into a hermit.
Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
I write is a lot of genres. Most recently it’s been more uplifting contemporary novels, but not limited to that.
What is the best way you found to market your book?
Readers and word of mouth and having written a lot of books for several decades.
Did you actively build a network of readers and if so, how?
Newsletters, facebook, interviews.
Are you on the Social Media Highway and if so, do you schedule times to post?
Not so much. I’ve never really had the knack. I usually feel lost out on that highway.
What advice would you like to give new authors that would help them?
First of all, read a lot in the genre you wish to write. Then just do it. Don’t let your interior editor, or anyone else, shut you down. Get your story completely done before you go back to edit. It’s lots easier to edit a finished book than a partially written one.
What are you working on now?
My 2023 Christmas novella, which is quite different. That’s all I’m saying for now. I’ve also been busily adapting some of my books into screenplays.
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances.
She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice, and her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.