Today’s guest is one of my fave authors … and I was shocked recently to discover that I’ve NEVER interviewed here on the blog! Well… we are correcting that post haste. As in, right now.
MELISSA JAGEARS is the Carol Award-winning author of the UNEXPECTED BRIDES series and the TEAVILLE MORAL SOCIETY series, a homeschooling mother to three, and an extreme night owl. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com, and follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Bookbub, Amazon, and Goodreads
Her upcoming release, A Chance at Forever, releases March 6, 2018!
In early 1900s Kansas, Mercy McClain, determined to protect Teaville’s children from the bullying she experienced as a child, finds fulfillment working at the local orphanage and serving on the school board. When Aaron Firebrook, the classmate who bothered her more than any other, petitions the board for a teaching position, she’s dead set against him getting the job.
Aaron knows he deserves every bit of Mercy’s mistrust, but he’s returned to his hometown a changed man and is seeking to earn forgiveness of those he wronged. He doesn’t expect Mercy to like him, but surely he can prove he now has the best interests of the children at heart.
Will resentment and old wounds hold them back, or can Mercy and Aaron put the past behind them in time to face the unexpected threats to everything they’re working for?
Hi Melissa! Welcome to the blog! (How have we not done this before now???)
Melissa: I have no idea why we’ve not yet done this. I love your blog….why’ve you been holding out on me?! 🙂
Carrie: (searches Book Bloggers manual for answer) Would you accept ‘temporary insanity’ as a legitimate reason?
Melissa: Uhhhh…. Raspberries. Because apples are dry and oranges are too citrusy, but raspberries? They’re like candy.
Carrie: Clearly you have been eating the wrong apples. #Honeycrisp
Melissa: Summer. I’d rather sweat than freeze. Plus swimming is way better than any snow activity.
Carrie: “I’d rather sweat” … i cannot comprehend this answer…. lol.
Melissa: Cats. Because they’re an introvert’s perfect pet. They don’t look at you with sad eyes and make you feel guilty for not having time for them, and they often don’t have time for you, so the feeling’s mutual. You can have a spontaneous snuggle fest for like twenty minutes and both of your love tanks are filled up and that will get you through several days of ignoring each other again.
Carrie: We may have hit upon why I haven’t had you here before now 😉 (Kidding!)
Melissa: Uhhhh….. Milk. Because coffee and tea taste like dirt.
Carrie: YES. You are so right! About this. Not about raspberries or summer or cats. But I’m totally with you on this one 😉
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Melissa: Is this a question about what’s my best talent or what I wish it was? I’ll go for what I wish it was. I’d like to freeze time, but without affecting me. Then I could get work done while everyone else was frozen and also take a nap in uninterrupted, absolute silence. Then when I turned time back on, I’d be free to give everyone my undivided attention.
Carrie: Oh I like that! I could use one of those superpowers too – to catch up on my reading! 😀
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Melissa: Garfield. Sarcasm is my real superpower….but unlike the cat, I have the ability to actually vocalize that condescending sarcasm—and learned not to do that real quick if I didn’t want to get in trouble and have people still like me…..so he and I had a bond in the fact that our sarcasm was best kept in our own little thought bubbles.
Carrie: haha! Sarcasm and thought bubbles are totally underappreciated.
Q: If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Melissa: It would tell you that I’m afraid that the day I take out the spare pair of shorts, one of my children will pee their pants no matter how old they’ve become (it’s happened, so I’m never taking them out again), that I’m always on the lookout for bookshelves because I carry around a measuring tape so I can call my husband and ask him what the distance between two things at home is in hopes of finding a bookshelf that will fit every single tiny wall space left in my house, that I will die without blistex, that my children have left the house without me noticing that their hair was unbrushed enough times that an emergency brush is paramount, that I have very little money, and I NEVER have business cards when I need them.
Carrie: LOL! Love this.
Q: I have so enjoyed the Teaville Moral Society series, partly because you’ve spotlighted historical issues of injustice and morality that are still timely today. In A Chance at Forever, you address bullying. How was that an important issue during the book’s time period and why do you think it’s still so relevant today? (i.e. why are we still struggling with it)
Melissa: I think the human race has been plagued with pride and insecurity since the beginning. Believing you are better than others or wanting to make yourself feel better about yourself when someone seems to be more put together is the seed that sprouts into bullying. All of us are tempted to do things to make ourselves feel better at the expense of another—it might not be outright bullying, it could be as little as a white lie. Humility does not come naturally, and if it does, I think that’s just God’s grace to you.
My hero, Aaron, was an outright bully at one time, but Mercy realized that though she didn’t trip little children and laugh at them, when she had the power to do as she thought best for herself and could rationalize away the hurt it would cause another…well, sometimes we’re not any better than those that commit the major sins “we’d never commit.”
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. Matthew 5:21-22
The cure for bullying? The grace God has provided us to become imitators of Christ if we accept his lordship in our lives.
But until all of us humble ourselves like Christ:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
I’m afraid we’ll be struggling with bullying until the end of the world.
Wait, what? You didn’t ask for a sermon there? Well, at least it was free! Free sermons for everybody!
Carrie: This is so insightful – and so true. Humility like Jesus demonstrated is the cure to so many of our world’s woes today but our human nature rebels against it, doesn’t it?
Q: As a child, Mercy was bullied by Aaron, now the hero of A Chance at Forever. Which of these two characters do you relate to the most?
Melissa: Aaron. (See my Garfield comment!) Plus my personality type is well known for being “the jerk” (AKA Mr. Darcy—well, actually men are portrayed as jerks in literature/film, women are portrayed as serial killers…. 🙁 ) and so I often inadvertently make people feel bad, but then….sometimes I know in a split second that what I’m about to do/say will make them feel bad and I just can’t keep it to myself in those flashes of “superiority.” And to my everlasting shame, in first grade, I helped out some older bullies….you see, the traps they were setting up for the kindergarteners wouldn’t logically or physically work, so I had to point out how ineffective their traps were and if they had any hope of success, well, they’d need to come under my tutelage….and so those 6th graders took my advice…..and then after they were caught, it came to the teachers’ attention that I was the reason their bullying actually worked….and so I buried my head in my school desk for the rest of the day out of shame for being a logically superior idiot.
Carrie: awww lol – part of me is laughing out loud at your ‘tutelage’ and the other part of me wants to give 6th-grade shamed-you a hug! I was totally Mercy – the bullying started in Kindergarten by a little boy who kept me trapped on the slide ALL OF RECESS EVERY DAY because if I slid down he was waiting to pull my pigtails. It continued through high school and, sadly, did not involve the now-amusing simplicity of ponytail pulling. But, you know, there is hope for each of us. The recovering bullied and the recovering bully-enabler ♥
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from A Chance at Forever?
Melissa: That those who have failed worse than you need forgiveness just as much as you.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Melissa: I’m moving to WYOMING. Not literally, just in my books. I’m sauntering out of Kansas and heading up to the northern frontier. And the first is a marriage of convenience story, my favorite!
As for life, it’s going to be completely different, hopefully the health issues that have made me slow way down will be fixed by some modern medicine miracles and there will now be two self-employed adults in this house without a single W-2 job to count on. Lots of prayers will be said so that we can provide enough food to feed our three bottomless pits!
Carrie: I looooooooove MOC stories – yay! And definitely praying for y’all ♥
Melissa is offering a signed paperback of A Chance at Forever to FIVE of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? Were you the bullied or the bully? (no shame here! We are a safe place with thought bubbles!)
I was bullied as a child and as an adult.
Ugh! I’m so sorry
In my childhood shyness I was bullied by name-calling a few times. The flip side was that I learned how important it is to treat everyone with kindness.
Our trials certainly do help us learn how to be better/live better often times!
I suppose I was fortunate in not being bullied, but I just basically wasn’t bothered with or heavily influenced by my peers, so things didn’t matter. I was a little quiet and a math person, hence my later major. The first book in this series was one of the best books I have read in the last few years, with the second book excellent….so am looking forward to this conclusion, with the societal issues. An excellent idea and so relevant.
I hope I you enjoy the last one just as much as the first two! And like you, after my first grade stint of “bully enabling” I just didn’t care what my peers thought, I had a few people try to bully me, but I seriously didn’t care, and they felt that and moved on. Now, maybe it wasn’t great that they moved on to other people to bully, but they certainly know how to pick their targets unfortunately.
Honestly don’t think I were either. I never picked on others but didn’t take any from others either. Being a military brat, when friends came and went so quickly, I don’t think we took the time to bully as much as you hear about nowadays. When someone was mean, there were always others to stand up for the smaller ones and the bully usually high tailed it and ran.
When you know people aren’t going to be around long, that sure does put a different perspective on things!
I couldn’t honestly say bullied, but maybe not caught up in all of the cliques. So glad to never return to high school! Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.
I had my group of good friends, but I could talk to most anyone in those more definite cliques, what I thought was crazy was one teacher, after seeing me walking and talking with a boy who certainly would not fit in with my close friends group, said, “You’re actually friends with that boy?” and I thought that sad though I could totally see why she was surprised, I thought it unfortunate she’d said something which might have pushed me to stop befriending someone outside of my circle. Cliques certainly don’t help us all get along.
I got bullied hard by my best friend, Melanie Armstrong. Some days she would be my best friend, and some days she hated me and was SO mean. It was one of the most complicated relationships that last from kindergarten until her wedding 8 years ago.
Those types of friendships are SOOOO hard to know what to do. Getting out feels like you’re awful, staying in makes you feel awful.
Was not a bully and did not get bullied. Somehow I think my childhood years (oh, so many years ago) were the gentler kinder years.
I know my childhood school days were much nicer than what I saw when I grew up and taught. I’m sad at what it seems to be now. 🙁
I so appreciate the logical practicality of finding the better way to do things! But I’m an ISTJ so.. does that make me “worse” than Mr. Darcy?
I’m really much more fun than he is, though. I hope you enjoy Montana Melissa… I mean your characters! It’s so beautiful there, you’ll enjoy it too.
Darcy’s an INTJ, quite close to that ISTJ in being an exacting sort of character, so I get ya. All that the Darcies of the world need is a love interest, I’m way better after I met my husband, INTJs can sort of be fun after we find our hearts. 🙂
Loved this interview! Carrie, you made me laugh out loud several times! And great ‘purse question’ answer! I never bullied and was really never bullied just teased for being shy.
Carrie’s blog is always so fun, isn’t it?
Haha thanks, sweet friend!
Yes I was bullied as a child but I learned to stand up for myself.
I don’t think I was either altho I do remember calling some kid I didn’t even really know a name. That happened 60 years ago and I still remember it. I must’ve felt so guilty that I never did it again! My daughter was bullied in middle school and that was pretty awful for her. Thank you for the interview, chuckled a few times esp as Melissa kept giving answers so opposite to you, Carrie! Would love to win a copy of the book. Thanks for the opportunity.
❤️ I love Melissa Jagears books ❤️
Carrie, I am so glad you did this interview, I loved it!
Yay! Thanks, friend!
I was the bullied. :/
If a child is a bully, I cannot imagine what their home life is like.
I was not bullied nor a bully, but looking back there were certainly times I could have helped stop the bullying of others. My perspective certainly changed once my son became a victim of bullying that got to the point we pulled him out of school to homeschool. I now work in a public school & am always alert to the signs that someone may be a victim of bullying so I can advocate for them to help it stop. Looking forward to ready the book!
I was not bullied.
One school I attended for two years was dreadful….mean kids….probably why I have a tendency to be compassionate.
I was bullied. I was a nerd and did not like confrontation.
Neither but I didn’t like confrontation. I was the nerdy girl walking down the hall greeting everyone. Thanks for the chance to win! I have never read your books….what is wrong with me? I do have a few at my kindle that I need to get to!!
I don’t remember either being bullied or the bully.
I was the bullied. Put an introvert girl, with the wrong last name and struggling parents into a wealthy small community school and you get an instant target. My siblings were likewise bullied. Oldest sister and brother both dropped out of school around 9th grade. Us youngest 5 graduated but not without pain. It’s actually made all of us pretty likeable and polite.
Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise – but it sure hurts in the meantime
I was bullied. I was very small for my age and very skinny. But it didn’t last long . It was better when we moved to a new school area.
I was bullied 2 time periods of my life. One time was before I ever started to school by a neighbor of my grandmother. My grandmother made her quit coming because she was always mean to me and I wouldn’t take up for myself.
Another time I was in 10th grade and my cousin was in 11th (we started the new school at the same time) and was a minority. This was a mostly black school and being new and different my cousin and I were just good targets. We wore very modest dresses and skirts all time and we looked different.
I do not hold this against my fellow students. I began to know some of them and we were friends and right today one of my best friends is black. No racist here.
It’s always different being part of the minority isn’t it?
I was neither the bully, nor the bullied. Mostly I spent time with my siblings and we (aside from the occasional fights) got along fairly well.
I love that!
My younger sister was bullied in fourth grade. she was short and tiny for her age. Some kid made fun of me when I was in 9th grade but he had no room to talk. His mother would give him home permanents and that just wasn’t cool then. All water under the bridge now.
Hahaha oh my! Poor kid.
I’m sorry to say that I was bullied as a child and teenager because I dressed differently. It’s funny because I wouldn’t stand up for myself when I was teased, but if one of my friends was bullied, watch out because I was a tigress then. 🙂
Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I’m adding this book to my TBR list right now.
Haha! I’m a protector too, Loraine!
I was never bullied or remember seeing any going on.
I have been waiting for this third book in the series,
I can’t wait to read it! Beautiful cover!
I can only remember being bullied one time — and it wasn’t that big of a deal. There was also one time I made someone feel bad on purpose, and it still makes me so sad to remember that!
It does make you feel terrible for a long time, doesn’t it? I still feel so bad about things I did wrong as a kid. 🙁
Jesus’ grace covers even those things!!
Ooh I really want to read this book!! Thank you for the giveaway!! ❤
I was much too insecure and needing to be liked, to ever be a bully. I don’t really remember being bullied too much, either.
I was bullied. Not in school but a little by neighborhood kids. Mostly though, I was by my brother 🙁 One of the neighborhood kids that bullied me is now my sister in law, she married my bully brother. We get along now but I still harbor animosity toward my brother for the way he treated me. But he did set me up with my now husband, who is wonderful. 🙂
Ha! Seems like they were made for each other 😀
Way back in the 1950’s I was beat up and bullied once.
I was bullied when I was very young. Kids can be very cruel, and it seems like I’ve been more sensitive since then. I always felt like I didn’t’ fit in.
aww i’m sorry, Jocelyn!
Maybe not in the traditional sense, but since I began wearing glasses in the First Grade (sort of unheard of, way back then), I got a lot of teasing about having “four eyes”. Now glasses are practically a part of everyone’s wardrobe . . . . things do change.
On of my nieces wears no prescription glasses because they’re “cool.” Can you believe that? Quite the change!
I was not bullied nor did I bully others. I was shy and quiet with a few friends, but no one bothered me. I really don’t remember that being a major issue in my day (which was quite a few years ago ???). The bullying today is very sad.
I don’t think I was either.
I was bullied in my own family – out of nine kids, I was the middle girl. Picked on constantly by my brothers that were older and then the 3 younger siblings. So, to this day I have a hard time being in a large group.
Since I was homeschooled, I never really experienced much with bullying. However… I’m a leader, if that says anything??
You may become an enabler like Melissa lol
I bullied my youngest sister, but there were 4 of us girls, so things got a bit crazy! At school, I occasionally said some dumb stuff, but mostly I was bullied. Being smart and unpopular makes for some rough years!
I was sometimes the bullied and sometimes the bullier. I was probably most often the one standing up for someone else being bullied, though. I would put up with a lot if it was directed at me, but I would fight for my friends.
But, all in all, none of the bullying I experienced or gave out was very harsh. Some amount of meanness is just part of childhood.
I’m a fight for my friends kind of person too!
I’d like to think I was neither the bullied or the bully. I have always felt like I tend to be the person who tries to be friends with everyone. (Though probably if you looked close enough at my life, you would find out that I have been both the bully and the bullied at some point.)
I’m sure we all have!
I was picked on unmercilessly by upperclassmen when I was in middle school.
I’m so sorry :-/
I was bullied.
I’m sorry :-/
I don’t remember being bullied or being a bully either.
Thank goodness I was never bullied, but my daughter was because of her weight. I would tell her: sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me: and she would tell me, “but mama they do hurt”. I was at a lose as how to help back 35 years ago. How I would have handled it differently.
I was bullied in school during elementary through junior high. Being a preacher’s kid is not easy.
I do remember a time in 5th grade where I was bullied by a girl. We got paired together at 5th grade weekend camp. It was miserable! She kicked my bed all night long, and every activity we had to do together was a nightmare! A fresh reminder to be compassionate, kind, and stick up for the underdog!
Thanks Melissa and Carrie, for the fun interview and the opportunity of this giveaway!!
Ugh! What a miserable time that must have been!
I was only bullied slightly, but I refused to let them get me down, so I ignored it and they quit pretty quickly. I was fortunate. I never put up with bullying…toward myself or others, so I ended up being the person who stood for the bullied. It was super important to me!
Good job! The world needs more people who stand up for each other
I grew up not fitting in, even in my own family.
I’m so sorry <3
No, I don’t remember being bullied as a child. Neither was I a bully. I pretty much played by myself at school. Sometimes I played with other girls, never with boys unless it was a required group play. My sisters and I played together at home and didn’t fight much at all.
I was one of those insecure kids in the middle: so afraid of being teased that I often was the bully, especially to “creepy” boys. This breaks my heart now–I can’t help wondering how much my thoughtless, cruel comments must have hurt some insecure little boys. 🙁 During high school I just became an introvert (voted “most shy” in my senior class), but the judgmental thoughts were still there. Learning to genuinely love people is a lifetime lesson.
As mom of a home-schooling military family that moved around a lot, I taught our four children to look for the lonely, outcast children in each new place and befriend them. Those who tried this became respected and popular overall–and they made some lasting friendships. They also picked up some clingy, difficult friends–but this provided growing experiences in other areas, such as setting boundaries.
I love this – yes!
I was more of a retaliator than a bully. I kicked a boy into an art rack because he offended me. I pushed at another one when he was making fun of my friend. And once, 3 boys snatched my sister’s red jacket on the way home from school. When they finally gave it back, I punched their arms and kicked them in the shins, then ran down the hill before they could get me back. I promise I’m not a violent person. But in my childhood, I guess I could be if provoked.
Neither really. I was rather shy when I was younger, and looking back now, more of an introvert than I realized at the time. I had a hard time talking to people I didn’t know well. I had a small group of friends all throughout school who I felt comfortable with and would talk their ears off. I was never really bullied at any point that I can recall and I don’t remember ever bullying anyone. I did stand up for a friend a time or two when someone did or said something to them I didn’t like. Though I never bullied anyone, I did have someone once tell me they had thought I was a snob before they got to know me. We figured out that it was because I was shy and didn’t say much that she had thought that. It made me wonder how many other people had that impression of me and it saddened me because I never meant to come across that way.