Name  – Melissa Jagears

Age – Just turned 34!

Where are you from – Southwest Missouri, but currently Southeast Kansas

A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect

I’m an ESL teacher by trade and a stay-at-home homeschooling mother to three on a tiny bit of Kansas farmland with a fixer-upper house.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I just released a debut novel and prequel novella for my first book series with Bethany House. There will be 3 books and 1 novella all together in the Unexpected Brides Series.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started when my oldest was a year old and patty cake and diaper changing was taking a numbing toll on my brain.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm, I suppose I am one, but I don’t know. Maybe the day I decided after a conference that told me getting published traditionally was really, really hard and decided I’d do it anyway.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was a Young Adult Romance that’s sitting on my computer for now. It was inspired by two kids in my second year of teaching ESL.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t try to write in any specific way, just the way I like to read, I suppose. In other words, I haven’t thought about it. J

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I originally titled it Whichever Bride Stays, that was the working title of A Bride for Keeps. But my agent thought that was not very romantic sounding, so we brainstormed together before we sent it off to the requesting editor.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That nothing that you’ve done or has happened to you that can keep you from the love of God or keep you from being worthy of love.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

I try to make everything realistic. And it never fails that the things people point out as not realistic is something I pulled from life experience or history accounts.

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, purely my imagination.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

The Bible, Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Gary Friesen, several of John Piper’s books

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

As in a writing mentor? I suppose Lori Wick, not that I ever studied her writing, but that’s who I grew up reading the most of.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

As in as new as me? Um, Kristy Cambron’s The Butterfly and the Violin. It’s not out yet, and I haven’t read it, but the cover is beautiful and the blurb sounds intriguing.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I’m about to turn in Book #2, A Bride in Store, and start plotting Book #3.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My critique partners past and present. Everyone I’ve ever worked with tried their hardest to help me succeed.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I don’t really think I started writing for a career, as I said it was more for the academic exercise while I stayed home with the babies, but I rarely do things half-way, so now I do.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Um, I don’t think so, it was the best that the story and characters I had in mind could do at the level of talent I was at.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I never wrote really, just “thought I could” and would come up with an idea and jot it down and throw it in a box. I’m sure I only did that because I loved reading so much, so I guess loving to read is where I gained my interest.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A mail-order bride comes to town to marry a man to fulfill a lifelong dream: to own a store. But he’s not there when she arrives, but his business partner is, and he has a whole bunch of trouble envisioning his friend and this strangely attractive woman together….

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Conveying emotions realistically and consistently, I’m not very emotional in real life, or rather I might be, but it hardly resembles most of the human population’s emotional processes!

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don’t have a favorite I have a handful of favorites! I’m in awe of any author who can deliver a heart-satisfying romance—because if you can make unemotional me feel warm and fuzzy, you’ve got talent!

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No, I sure wish I had the money to travel for writing research, then I’d start writing stories set in Europe because I’ve always wanted to visit the myriad historical sites there. And castles!

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My publishing company’s Dan Pitts.

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Making it stand out at the beginning from just an ordinary story.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’ve learned that writing a book is much easier when you add exterior plot! After I realized that I shouldn’t finish my YA romance and needed to start writing historicals and knowing how much of the writing craft I had yet to master, I decided the best thing to do was to focus on solely my two characters, no external plot devices, extra point of views, etc. My agent told me later she thought that doing so was the HARDEST thing an author could do!

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Join with likeminded authors who are willing to tell you exactly what they think of your work and not coddle you and enter contests where anonymous judges can tell you what’s lacking. You’ll grow faster the less you hide your work from those who can tell you what’s wrong with it.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

With physical bookstores disappearing, your reviews, even online reviews, help your favorite authors attract more readers and gain sales. Sales are what determine if a publishing company will buy more books from your favorite author. SO keep your favorite authors writing books by telling people about them! I didn’t realize back when I was just a reader how important reviews are.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies

I used to, but staying home with little ones and homeschooling keep me plenty busy. Crocheting and Reading were my biggest hobbies.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching

I don’t have TV. I like most period films. If there’s period dress on the cover, I want to watch it! And Romantic Comedies.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Does milk qualify as food? I can drink 3 gallons a week by myself…

Blue

I am not much of a music person. I like Kris Allen, Pentatonix, Bing Crosby, 12 Stones, Nine Lashes, lots of Broadway Music. How’s that for eclectic? But really, I don’t listen to music much.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Be an editor!

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?

www.melissajagears.com