"...IF YOU FOLLOW YOUR BLISS, DOORS WILL OPEN FOR YOU THAT WOULDN'T HAVE OPENED FOR ANYONE ELSE." - Joseph Campbell

"SOMETIMES ON THE WAY TO YOUR DREAM, YOU GET LOST AND FIND A BETTER ONE." - Lisa Hammond

"IT IS POSSIBLE AT ANY AGE TO DISCOVER A LIFELONG DESIRE YOU NEVER KNEW YOU HAD." - Robert Brault


"IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN." - George Eliot

"WE DID NOT CHANGE AS WE GREW OLDER. WE JUST BECAME MORE CLEARLY OURSELVES." - Lynn Hall

"GO CONFIDENTLY IN THE DIRECTION OF YOUR DREAMS! LIVE THE LIFE YOU HAVE IMAGED." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 13, 2014

* MELISSA GOODWIN - AUTHOR INTERVIEW *

I'd like to welcome author Melissa Ann Goodwin to my blog today. Melissa writes a lovely blog, is quite the traveler, and is definitely a warm and kind-hearted person. (And her husband is an amazing artist!) Melissa is one of my blog friends I've never actually met, but I know that when we do meet, we'll be instant life-long friends and talk like we've known each other since childhood.


Melissa Ann Goodwin grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where she spent a happy childhood living in her imagination and writing stories in her head. It was only a matter of time before those stories spilled out onto the written page. She has been published extensively in children's and national magazines and won a Writer's Digest Annual Poetry Competition Award in 2010. Her first book, The Christmas Village, won the 2013 Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Award for children’s adventure.  The Christmas Village and its sequel, Return to Canterbury, are the culmination of her lifelong dream to write the kind of books she loved to read as a child.



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Back cover blurb for Return to Canterbury:


Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That's when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie's life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing for almost a year.


Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they'll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it's too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father's disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!
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When I told Melissa I'd be happy to be one of her blog tour hosts,
this is part of what she wrote to me:
 
"I thought it would be more fun to do an interview...... like a chat between friends in which you ask me any silly thing you've ever wondered about me or even some of those funny questions people ask like, "if you had to choose between being an eraser or a piece of chalk, which would you be and why?" Or what's your favorite ....???"
 
So, ask and you shall receive! Below are the questions I came up with and Melissa's fascinating answers!
1)  If there was going to be a movie made about your life, who would you like to play you at your current age? 
Melissa: Can we meld Helen Mirren and Jennifer Lawrence? They both have a free-spiritedness at very different life stages, and I relate to each of them at those stages.  And they seem very comfortable with who they are, which I feel I have, finally, also become. If we can’t do that, then let’s go with Mary Steenbergen. She’s closer to my age, we have similar facial features and she seems very nice.
 
2)  Do you ever submit stories to Calls for Submissions or enter contests? Why? Why Not? Which ones?
Melissa: I don’t really do this so much now. When I first started writing I did more of it. The challenges could be fun and give you practice trying different things. And I even had some success – one of my poems was a top prize winner in Writer’s Digest’s annual competition. But I found that it’s easy for me to get distracted with such things. They can become subtle forms of procrastination or avoidance – a way to give myself credit for writing without actually working on what I should have been. Now I really just work on my projects. I’m not for or against contests or challenges – it’s just that I’ve done them and now don’t feel drawn to do them anymore.
 
 
3) I’m intrigued and kind of envious of your life “on the road” in your RV in 2012(?) 2013(?). You’ve already mentioned some of the ups and downs about it on your blog, but can you share some things with us?
Melissa: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” might sum it up!  In many ways it was glorious – we traveled to great places (San Antonio, New Orleans, Charleston, Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Nashville, Memphis).  We visited with friends and family along the way. We had miraculously glorious weather throughout.
I loved the RV; I loved being in the campgrounds. I loved being on vacation all the time. I loved experiencing new places and revisiting familiar ones. I loved being able to spend so much time with my husband, learning together, having fun, discovering new places, solving the unique problems of RV life together.
On the flip side, there were scary times and the experience tested me emotionally.  We encountered extremely high winds in the mid-west that were truly terrifying. We also had some problems with the motorhome and I think that because it was our home, problems with it scared me more than they otherwise would have. I struggled with the idea of not having a homebase, and I wasn’t able to establish a writing routine. So, after just under a year, we came off the road and settled down again.
It was probably the most significant year of learning and growth in my life.  I’ve always been a homebody, so I’m proud that I was able to do it and will cherish the memories of our experiences always. My husband and I plan to write a how-to Ebook for new RVers – it will be informational and educational, but also funny and full of road stories.
 
4)  If you could travel anywhere in the world (for free) where would you go, and what would be your main reason to be there?
Melissa: I think I would go to Vienna, Austria. My great-aunt was from Austria and as a child I was mesmerized by pictures of buildings and castles there that looked so magical – like fairyland. The Sound of Music might have influenced my fascination too!  So that would be first, and then I’d like to go to Italy, Greece, France, and back to the U.K.
 
5)  Please tell us anything else you’d like us to know about your books and/or your writing.
 
 
Melissa: My books, The Christmas Village and its sequel, Return to Canterbury, are targeted to readers ages eight and up, and reflect a great deal of me and my feelings about my childhood.  I was a quiet girl who loved to read. I constantly gathered in my surroundings – the beauty of my town, the people, the shifting moods that come with changing seasons and the emotional undercurrents of families and friends. All of that gestated inside me until mid-life, and when I came, finally, to write, it fell out as if it had been waiting patiently there for me to come and claim it.
My personal way is not to bring darkness into the world, so my books will always have positive themes. They are not necessarily all happy-happy – I hope I have done well with bringing in that balance of sadness that makes our joy sharper and more meaningful.  I’ve been told that my characters and settings are vivid, and that makes me happy because I hoped to write the kind of stories in which the characters feel like old friends and the setting becomes a place you never want to leave.
The stories themselves are quite action-packed, filled with suspense and surprises. But the underlying themes deal with the importance of friendship, family and forgiveness.
Both books are available in print and Ebook on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. They are also available in digital formats (Ipad, Nook, PC download) from Smashwords.
My next books will be historical fiction, not children’s books.
 
 
Thank you so much, Melissa! I've really enjoyed reading your answers to my questions. I wish you fabulous sales, and look forward to your next books!
 



 
 
"Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written in his works." -- Virginia Woolf

35 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the author's answers and her books look like they will appeal to children.

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    1. Hi Terra! Thank you for stopping and commenting. Melissa is a real sweetie and a great writer, too. I forgot to mention in that I bought and read her first book, "The Christmas Village," and I really liked it, even though it IS a children's book.

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    2. Hi Terra, thank you for the kind words. I hope you'll consider my books for the kids in your life - or for yourself! The grown-ups seem to love them just as much! Warm regards, Melissa

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  2. What a wonderful interview, and I love the additional information about a blogger I have followed for quite some time. And when my unread tower reaches more manageable proportions I will succumb.
    Thank you Melissa, and thank you Becky.

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    1. Thanks, EC! I love learning more info about blog friends, too. And I can really relate to your Unread Tower! LOL

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    2. Thank you aso EC, for your warm and supportive friendship from afar. xo

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  3. Great interview and she seems a lovely lady. We wish her well in all she undertakes. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Hi Molly! Thank you, and yes Melissa is a very lovely lady! Wishing you a marvelous week!

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  4. Dear Becky and Melissa....What a totally delightful post!

    Loved your questions, Becky, and Melissa's answers.

    Of course, being from Massachusetts, I was especially drawn in. Melissa is adorable, too!

    Oooooo, the year on the road sounded intriguing and will make a great book!

    Thank you both so much! Hope you each have a great day today. Susan

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    1. Hi Susan, thanks for your sweet note and especially for saying I am adorable :) Warm regards, Melissa

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    2. Hey Susan! Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked our questions and answers!
      Have a wonderful week! Oh....and yes...Melissa IS adorable! :)

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  5. Hi Becky, thank you so much for doing the interview here on your blog. You have lovely friends :). Your memoir has now climbed to the top of MY Unread Tower, so I expect to read it in the next few weeks. And yes, we are peas in a pod, birds of a feather, words in a sentence - or something! Kindred spirits and I hope we DO meet in person some day. Hugs, Melissa

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    1. Melissa, thanks! I love all the ways you described us!! Hugs back to you!

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  6. Wonderful interview. I loved Melissa's blog posts about her RV travels and I've no doubt the ebook will be great. The Canterbury books are both excellent.

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    1. Hi Julie! I, too, loved Melissa's posts about her RV travels. I know the book will be a favorite of mine!

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  7. This was perfect little get away for me this morning. Enjoyed it as I have read the first Christmas book and liked it. Will have to put the second book on my To Do list which is as long as a new roll of toliet paper right now!!! Which reminds me, Becky, I have not forgotten your request...will do when I can. Also forgot Ms. Goodwin had a blog I guess! So I went there and signed up for alerts! You gals are inspiration for me this morning...after 82 degrees on the weekend and now 35 with snow around, I needed something fresh! Thanks.

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    1. Hi Bookie! I'm glad you liked The Christmas Village - I think you'll find Return to Canterbury very satisfying!! Yeah, I have a blog - not as active as I was, but I do post :) Take care, Melissa

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    2. I loved all of your comment, Bookie! I agree about the crazy weather we're having, but it's also great to know that it IS April....and not the beginning of winter! I'm thrilled Melissa and I provided inspiration for you! :)

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  8. Thanks for posting this great interview! I will definitely check out her blog and books!

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    1. Hi Mary! Thank you...I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview!

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    2. Thanks so much Mary! I appreciate it. ~ Melissa

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  9. It's always good to hear words of wisdom from the wonderful, Melissa Ann Goodwin! :)

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    1. Hi Margo! Thanks for stopping by, and yes....Melissa always has words of wisdom, I agree!

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  10. Wonderful interview! Wow, a year in an RV sounds like an amazing (and courageous) way to generate some writing ideas. I'll bet Melissa will have some fascinating stories to share in the e-book.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Hi K9friend - we definitely have stories! Funny thing is, the events that were worst at the time, make the best and funniest stories now...

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    2. Hi Pat! I agree, I can't wait to read about the RV adventures. And Melissa, I know how those things that seem so "un-funny" at the time, can be hilarious later on!

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    3. Yes, enough time has to go by for that "we can laugh about it now" dynamic to kick in......

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  11. Melissa, thank you again for being my guest this week! I learned a few things I didn't already know about you...such as who would play you in a movie! I loved that part!! :)
    Congratulations, too, on the sequel and I wish you tons of book sales!

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    1. Thanks Becky, for hosting me and also for the good wishes.

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  12. Great job on the interview. Thanks for taking the time!

    =)

    PS. I blogged about my new poetry site today. Hope you can hop over and check it out!

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    1. I just read your poem, Flight of Whimsy and thought it was lovely. I write some poetry too from time to time. I love that Robert Frost quote - it really describes poetry writing for me - I'm only drawn to do it when there's a lump in my throat.

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    2. Hi Sue! Thank you! And I'm hopping over to your new poetry site right this minute! Thanks again, Melissa, for being my guest last week!

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I love comments, especially because I know the time it takes to stop and type one, even a short one! Thanks very much!