Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Please Welcome Melinda Evaul to My Blog This Week!
She's giving away a copy of her "Grow Old With Me!" Please leave your comment and email address.

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I started writing about six years ago when my mother needed constant care and came to live with us. Writing became stress relief from the care giving and a break from her game shows and baseball games.

While communicating with people on a TV show forum site, I felt called to tell them that God had more to offer than the world. My posts communicated my faith. God gradually led me to attend conferences and online classes. I honed my skills so I could extend my witness for Him. Since then, I’ve written four novels, won several article contests, and published an article. Grow Old With Me is my debut novel. My other books may get a facelift in the future.

English was a strong point for me during school. I’ve always enjoyed creating stories in my head and I won essay contests back then. I never considered writing as a career. It’s my mid-life change of pace.

What is the genre you write in?

I write contemporary inspirational romance.

Would you explain what it is?

My novels are modern day love stories. I like to show the development of a true-to-life relationship where internal conflicts or external problems keep the hero and heroine apart. My characters grow closer to God as their personal relationship develops.
How do you spend your writing days?

I teach or attend water aerobics in the mornings and write during the afternoon and evenings. Add that to pastor’s wife, grandmother, and part-time nurse—life is very full. I’m in the research phase for my next book. It’s the time where I get to know my characters, learn about their spiritual needs, and form the plot in my head.

Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day?

I try to have a goal but it’s not a rigid plan. I make lists and end up ignoring them when other items take precedence. I never have enough hours in the day to accomplish the items on the “to do” lists.

Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

I’m a perfectionist. Letting go of my “baby” is hard. I allow myself a year to pull everything together and arrive at the point where the book is ready for viewing.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us?

Grow Old With Me
Novel # 1 in the Quilt Trail Series
A modern day Beauty and the Beast meet in their fifties when a disfigured carpenter becomes a long-term 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?
This back copy from my novel gives a hint at the story. Grow Old With Me pairs two middle-aged, hurting, and damaged people who discover they complete each other. Along the way, they develop a strong relationship with God.

It’s set in the real town of Love Valley, NC. Most descriptions are true to the town. You can view 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 miles from Love Valley. I found it while following a quilt trail. The Unicoi County Heritage Museum in Erwin, TN was the home I’d imagined while writing about Sarah’s B&B. If the mention of a quilt trial leaves you clueless, visit my website to learn about quilt barns and quilt trails.
How and where can readers buy your books?

The paperback version is available from my website The e-book version is sold on Amazon. I’m formatting the book for Nook and other e-book readers. I’ll eventually have the paperback edition available in other locations. Those are items on that perpetual “to do” list.
What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

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. God longs for us to be totally dependant on Him. That was the message Benjamin and Sarah needed to learn. I’ve faced some tough situations in my Christian walk too. My works of fiction allow me to share answers with readers who face similar fears and questions.
Do you ever feel like giving up?

Of course! Writing is hard work but so rewarding when God uses the words I write to change lives.

Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

I sought agents and publishers for Grow Old With Me. I wrote this book based on a request from a publisher. I felt sure they would offer me a contract. After six months, they rejected it. I realized I could sell this series as niche books to an audience of quilters and people who value the heritage of rural America. Once I found that target audience, I established roads to reach them. The traditional publishing route didn’t fit my goal, so I chose to publish my own book. I didn’t want to wait several years for my book to release and my story won’t languish in some draw or hard drive. I believe I wrote a book worth reading. God will place it in the hands of those He wants to reach with its Christian message.

Who’s inspired you the most?

My husband believed in me and encouraged me to devote time to writing. He’s a great proofreader and doesn’t hesitate to offer the male perspective for the hero. More than once, he told me Sarah’s words would offend Benjamin’s male ego. I thought she’d said words of encouragement! I listened to the male in my life. My critique partner, Lynn Dean, saw me through many edits and pushed me to write the best book possible. She helped my husband create a beautiful cover design and drew the interior quilt graphics. I wouldn’t be writing blog interviews without these two special people God placed in my life.

Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?”

It’s not a simple task in the world of traditional publication. As publishers shrink their yearly acquisitions, the field for new writers becomes very narrow. Agents and publishers reject most manuscripts. I decided to form my own publishing company, Winding Road Ink. In addition to creating the book design and hiring a printer, I handle the marketing. Most traditionally published authors fulfill that marketing task anyway. Thanks to e-books and POD technology, the cost was reasonable. I’m not sure I want 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.

Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

Hardly! In many ways, the work has just begun. Marketing requires time. I love traveling and meeting new people. Receiving emails from readers and invitations to speak or do a book signing brings me great satisfaction. Book sales are consistent and readers are spreading the news about the novel and my husband’s beautiful note cards. I don’t expect to earn huge money. Few writers ever become rich. I’ve given myself six months to work on establishing this novel’s reader base. Another book in this series will broaden that field, so I’ll switch to the task of creating my next set of characters and a new spiritual dilemma. It’s a constant cycle of writing and marketing. My goal is to have another novel ready by Christmas of 2011.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests?

  • The swimming pool is my second home since I can do exercises in the water I could never do on land.
  • In my younger days, our family enjoyed snow skiing, hiking, and camping. I’m getting softer as I age, so a tent isn’t home after a hike.
  • Photography is my husband’s hobby so we share that by traveling the quilt barn trails or some rural back road.
  • Reading and chatting with my FB friends are downtime events.
  • Spending time with my grandchildren is special treasure.
Where would you like to travel if you could?

I love cruises and have taken several fabulous excursions in the Caribbean. I won a travel-writing contest with an article I penned after a cruise. I’d love to visit Alaska at some point.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out?

  • My blog and webpage are at
  • I also send a quarterly newsletter to readers who subscribe.
  • I joined not long ago and have an author page there.
  • April and May are travel months with a long book signing tour. A list of events and locations is on my website and at Melinda Evaul-Author on Facebook. If you live nearby, come see me.
Anything else you’d like to share?

Many of my husband’s photos are available for sale as note cards, prints, or postcards. We make a donation to preserve barns and the heritage of quilting from these sales.

Promotional information?

Contact me through the webpage or my publishing company email
I love to hear from my readers.
Thank you for hosting me today, Carole. I’m anxious to see who gets the free copy of “Grow Old With Me.”

And thank you being on my blog, Melinda. Loved having you!
Readers, Comments and email addresses.


Linda Kish said...

I may be the first but I hope I get lucky. I think us "oldies" need love, too. I like love stories involving an older couple. I think it is sweet. Gives me a little hope. But, no, I am not looking. Sounds like a wonderful story.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I just love this whole interview! What a wonderful testimony to God and his faithfulness in obedience. I'm glad you persevered and published anyway. I live outside a small rural town in NC that has many homes just like the one on the front of your book. Quilting is truly an artform here! My MIL is an avid quilter, and she has made each of us our won special quilts.
Thank you for the giveaway.


Kathryn Page Camp said...

I love bed and breakfasts. Sounds like a great setting for a romance.

Carmen7351 said...

What a great story line and the Scripture it is based on. Marrying in your fifties...hard enough in your twenties. Very interested in your book. Please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

jude said...

Carole, a wonderful interview and Melinda, confirms my belief that you and your work are awesome. I relate to the theme of your book and would love to win it!

Faye said...

I have heard so much positive about this book! Sounds great Melinda!
Thanks Carole and Melinda, for the great interview.

Please enter me
crazi.swans at gmail dot com

Melinda said...

Thank you for the kind comments. I'll check back daily to answer questions and leave some tidbits of info.

Linda, I liked writing about an older couple. It was easy to relate. :)

Anne,that house on the cover is actually in Erwin, TN. I think the horses were in Valle Crucis, NC. Gotta love photoshop. The book is set in Love Valley, NC. A real old-west town. Pics on my website.

Kathryn, I've met some interesting people at B&Bs. I chose the name Mosey Inn for Sarah's home. It fits the town of Love Valley.

Carmen, I had to think about all the problems a late in life marriage might bring. That was a fun aspect of writing this book.

Jude, nice to see you here, friend. Thanks for your sweet words.

by Pegg Thomas said...

This book sounds great, I love the concept. Thanks for a chance to win.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Nancye said...

This book sounds great! I would love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Ann Lee Miller said...

I think we have parallel lives--aqua aerobics, writing, pastor's wife, traveling, and I'm going to be a grandma soon. :)

Mom R said...

Such an encouragement reading your interview, Melinda! Some similar threads to our life stories.

I especially perked up when you mentioned Erwin, TN. I was born and reared in Mountain City, TN.

Keep up the good and godly effort through the written word. Your passion for serving the Lord with words comes shining through your answers to the interview questions.


Melinda said...

Peg and Nancy, thanks for the compliments.

Ann, we do seem to have much in common. Interesting! I have you beat on grand kids, ages 8, 2 and 4mths. They're super special.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This sounds like an awesome book that I would love the chance to read. Thank you again.


Melinda said...

Eileen, my husband grew up in Banner Elk, NC. You were almost neigbors.

Rebecca, thanks for your sweet comment. I wish all of you could win.

Penny Zeller said...

I thought I would drop by since I was in the neighborhood, lol!

I have read Grow Old With Me and it is a fantastic book! Melinda is a talented writer and a wonderful person too. Whoever wins this book will be so blessed!

BTW, I love Carole's blog too! :)

Penny Zeller

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