Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of ten contemporary and historical novels including her most recent release, Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan. She is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction fulltime. When she’s not writing, Melanie loves exploring the mountains in her home state of Oregon with her husband and two daughters.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m afraid it’s not very exciting. I’m wearing a summer dress and sweating like crazy at our local pool while my girls take swim lessons. If I get distracted, it’s because of one them is shouting, “Look at me!”
What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Great question! I’m a bit of a research junkie (writing is really just my excuse to research) so I’ve learned all sorts of things I find interesting over the years. One of the most significant pieces of information I learned was when I was interviewing an Amana woman about the history of the Amana people. I asked her what was the most important to Amana women who lived during their communal days, and she didn’t hesitate with her answer. It wasn’t their children, husband, work, or church community. The most important thing to Amana women was their friendships. That bit of information transformed my entire story.
If you were told you were being sent back to live in the 19th Century, and you could bring one thing from today, what would that be?
I guess my IPhone or computer wouldn’t work well without today’s technology so I think I would have to test out Edison’s electricity with my Vitamix.
What is something that very few people know about you?
I love to explore caves. When I was in my twenties, I did quite a bit of caving with friends in Virginia and West Virginia. Our kids are too young to rappel or go over large boulders right now, but we’ve had fun in the last year exploring the volcanic Ape Caves in Washington as well as the beautiful Oregon Caves.
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
It sounds so unsentimental, but it would have to be my laptop because it has all my pictures, email from friends, research notes, and both my published work and the “no one reads this but me” writing.
If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, when and where would that be and why?
My husband and I backpacked Europe nine years ago, and I fell in love with it. If I wasn’t born in Illinois (at the tail end of the sixties), I would love to live in a village in Austria, Switzerland, or Germany when there was peace and religious freedom.
Do you think birth order affects the way you write?
I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been told I’m driven because I’m firstborn, but my husband is quite driven as well and he’s the last of three. Come to think of it, though, he keeps telling me to slow down.
If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?
Oh my goodness. That’s another great question, but I’m so bad at titling a 90,000-word book, I can’t imagine trying to title my whole life. It would definitely be something about God’s faithfulness and redemption. And the incredible journey of adopting our girls and pursuing the dreams He’s given us. Where’s my writer’s group? They are so much better than I am at titles!
What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?
Definitely Jan Karon’s Mitford series. I so want to retire in Mitford! I’ve been to Blowing Rock, (NC), but it’s not quite the same….
I love Blowing Rock! Been there many times.
As the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette’s once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money. Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, she spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac’s rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary.
As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island’s most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes’ financial woes, and Elena is torn between duty and love.
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