By Kelly Bridgewater
Hello Melissa. It is so nice that you have consented to be interviewed by me, so I can share about your latest book with my readers. Through the Bethany House display at the ACFW conference in September 2013, I wanted to read your first book, Made to Last. After the conference concluded, I purchased your book, enjoying every minute of the tension between Randi and Matthew. I’d like to ask you a few questions that I think would help authors aspiring to write, to grow in their craft.
1.) Do you have a certain type of drink or candy that you drink or eat while writing?
For sure! I almost always have a can of Diet Coke with Lime and a cup of coffee and a glass of water. Which I realize is complete overkill, but if I’m sitting down to write for a long while, I want to have as little reason to get up as possible. So if I’m fully stocked on beverages, that’s one less reason to leave my desk. Haha! I also munch on baby carrots and grapes. And when I’m feeling indulgent, Twizzlers or M&Ms.
2.) On to more serious matters, what made you a writer, and how did you start?
Well, I have always loved stories. I was your typical bookworm as a kid and at some point, I had the realization that someone was writing these stories that I loved…and I decided someday I’d be one of those people. It wasn’t until fall 2009, though, that I got serious about pursuing writing as a career. I attended a My Book Therapy retreat that fall and it changed the course of my writing, for sure. So though I’ve always written and certainly played around with writing stories long before 2009, that’s really what jump-started my journey to publication.
3.) Where do you get your ideas?
Everywhere! Which I’m sure most writers will say. J I’ll overhear snippets of conversation or catch a clip of something on TV or hear about a funny situation…and my mind suddenly starts hopscotching toward a story idea. I also get lots of ideas from movies. I’m a huge classic movie nerd so I’m constantly itching to take bits and pieces of those and form my own story. And too, sometimes an idea starts with a simple “What if?” question.
4.) What tip(s) can you give my readers who are working toward writing a book worthy of being published?
Definitely one of the very best things I ever did for my writing was get involved with My Book Therapy. The coaching is just phenomenal. MBT retreats are worth every penny.
Too, I’d say, get comfortable with revisions. For me, that’s been where the real magic of storytelling happens…when we take the time to dig into our scenes and characters and take things just a little deeper, work just a little harder. And I know everybody says this, but when you’re in the pre-published stage, you don’t have a hard deadline…and that’s a luxury! So I would encourage people to take advantage of that.
Finally, and I don’t mean to sound glib or trite, but I honestly believe God opens publishing doors at the right time. We can trust his timing and his faithfulness. So if possible, just focus on telling the very best story you can. Dig into the craft and enjoy the process and trust him to open the right doors at the right time!
5.) Tell us about your upcoming book, Here to Stay, which releases on May 6, 2014.
Well, the idea for Here to Stay was born during the writing of my first book, Made to Last. As I wrote MTL, I started to love this guy, Blake, who was a side character in that story. In that story, he plays the fake husband of my main character. I kept thinking, man, why would this guy basically give up his personal life to pretend to be someone he’s not? I knew I’d have to tell his story next.
6.) Can you tell us what you’ve got planned for future releases?
Following Here to Stay, my next book releases in spring 2015 and is titled From the Start. It kicks off a new series (the Walker Family series) set in Iowa. The second book in that new series comes out fall 2015. And actually, I’m also writing a novella, probably to be released sometime in early 2015, that will help bridge Here to Stay and the new series. So, I’ve got lots of writing to do these days—which I’m very grateful for!
Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Twitter (@Melissa_Tagg.There you can also sign up to receive her newsletter.
Kelly Bridgewater holds a B.S. in English and a M.A. in Writing from Indiana State University on the completion of a creative thesis titled Fleeting Impressions, which consisted of six original short stories. She has been published in the Indiana State University Literary Journal, Allusions, with her stories titled “Moving On” and “Life Changing Second.” In fall 2011, she presented her essay, Northanger Abbey: Structurally a Gothic Novel, at the Midwestern American Society of 18th Century Studies Conference. Kelly’s writing explores the ideas of good prevailing over evil in suspense. Kelly and her husband reside with their three boys and two dogs.