Please join me welcoming author Melody Carlson to the blog to chat about her new novel with the super-cute cover, The Happy Camper!
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.
THE HAPPY CAMPER
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2020
Home is the place to heal . . . right?
At least, that’s what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon’s old room. After a few nights of sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift–her grandfather’s run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.
But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon’s noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses . . . and a ring.
Hi Melody! Welcome to the blog!
Q: Can you briefly describe your new book, The Happy Camper?
Melody: Ready for a change, Dillon Michaels quits her job and heads home to help her ailing grandfather on his farm. But her estranged and eccentric mom is already there and taking over. So Dillon, feeling displaced and confused, questions why she came home. When her grandpa offers her an old vintage trailer, she is thrilled. Despite its dilapidated, mouse-infested condition, she feels like she’s won the lottery. Working to restore the sixties camp trailer, Dillon is befriended by hardware store owner Jordan Atwood. And although life and love have their ups and downs, Dillon discovers the secrets to becoming a happy camper.
Carrie: I think the trailer would have lost me at mouse-infested haha!
Q: Vintage trailers are very popular right now. Can you tell readers how a vintage camp trailer was a key component in bringing two people together in your story?
Melody: Dillon has never set up housekeeping, much less restored a trailer into what she hopes will become her tiny home. But she’s determined to go the DIY route. This necessitates numerous trips to the small-town hardware store. Jordan, owner of the store, is also a vintage trailer expert, resulting in a friendship that gets challenged on various fronts.
Carrie: I’m intrigued at the possibilities!
Q: You have written over 200 books. How do you continue to come up with different plots?
Melody: I believe that plots are as limitless as the population of the world—past, present, even future. Every person is like a book with a unique story to tell. That’s how I look at writing—endless possibilities.
Carrie: i love that! yes!
Q: Along those lines, when did you first start writing?
Melody: I started writing as a young child—actually creating little books that contained my stories about lost puppies or kittens playing the piano. But I got serious about writing “real” books in my early thirties and have been publishing for about thirty years now.
Carrie: how sweet is that ♥
Q: Your books are perfect for Hallmark movie fans, and one of your recent titles, All Summer Long, was recently made into a Hallmark movie. Can you provide readers with more details on the movie?
Melody: This is my first Hallmark movie—and exciting for me. I traveled to British Columbia to watch the production, which was very interesting since it was partially set on a cool old boat. I loved seeing the production crew and actors at work and hope this will be just the beginning of more film projects.
Carrie: that is so cool! What a neat experience to have!
Q: Have you always written contemporary romance, or have you tried other genres as well?
Melody: I’ve written a bunch of fiction genres (historical, suspense, literary, issues, teens, mystery . . .), but my first books were contemporary romance—although I was told after winning a RITA Award that I wasn’t really a romance writer because I didn’t use the “romance formula.” I’ve never figured out how to use the formula (and don’t care to), but I still like writing women’s contemporary stories with a love story element. They’re just fun and lighthearted.
Carrie: I always tell people to write what they enjoy writing because the reader will pick up on it!
Q: You definitely have a gift for creating delightful tales full of quirky characters, family drama, and sweet romance. So, with writing all these other genres, when did you know that contemporary romance was your sweet spot when it came to writing?
Melody: I guess I knew early on—after receiving some nice awards to confirm it. Being a prolific and somewhat restless writer, I played with those other genres as well. But I feel most at home with contemporary stories that include an interesting cast, some modern conflicts, a fun setting, and an element of romance. Not surprisingly, those are my favorite kinds of books to read as well.
Carrie: I love it when authors read too – i think it’s so important!
Q: What do you hope readers will gain from reading The Happy Camper?
Melody: Hopefully, readers will be entertained and maybe learn a thing or two about renovating vintage trailers. (This story is partly inspired by my own journey of restoring an old camp trailer.) But most of all, I’d like readers to see how grace can heal broken relationships, and to experience a feeling of hopefulness when they finish the book.
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.
Melody: I just finished my 2020 Christmas novella and am taking a short break. But I hope to start a new contemporary romance soon.
Carrie: Yay! I love your Christmas novellas!
Revell is offering a print copy of The Happy Camper to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) 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? What interests you most about The Happy Camper and/or my Q&A with Melody Carlson?