Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Melissa Wardwell & Blended Lives

Posted April 2, 2022 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, giveaway, Melissa Wardwell, romance / 19 Comments


Please join me in welcoming author Melissa Wardwell to the blog today to chat about her newest romance, Blended Lives!

Melissa Wardwell doesn’t mind alternating between the world of writing and the reality of being a mother, but she would rather sit with a good book or a good friend and a cup of coffee.

When she isn’t penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books for her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com


BLENDED LIVES by Melissa Wardwell
SERIES:
Sparrow Island #2, Independence Islands #20

GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Celebrate Lit Publishing
RELEASE DATE: February 22, 2022
PAGES: 202

Wedding bells are ringing on the islands, but more than romance is in the air.

Seth Mikels experienced a fulfilling marriage with his wife until her sudden death left him alone to raise their two daughters. As they approach their teens, it’s obvious that they need a woman’s influence. He’s not looking for love, but he could use the partnership of a wife. Between his handyman business and playing Mr. Mom, time is fading fast.

Sarah Reid has spent the last four years caught in the middle of one island drama after another. Following the most recent fiasco, she hopes to find refuge on Sparrow Island with her two little boys. Climbing bills and a dwindling bank account leaves her no choice but to sell out and move to the mainland. Enter Seth’s handyman skills and an unexpected romance.

With Beth and Scott planning their own Merriweather wedding (complete with a Momzilla), will wedding bells ring out on Sparrow, too?

Read the next Sparrow Island novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

 

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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited


Hi Melissa! Welcome to the blog!

Melissa: Summer – The older I get the less I like the cold

Carrie: I will happily trade you a Michigan winter for a Georgia summer 😛

Melissa: Cats – there was a time I would’ve said dogs but I have become so busy that cats suit my lifestyle more.

Carrie: cats are pretty low-maintenance

Melissa: Ocean – I Live in Michigan. It is cold and gloomy more than sunny. So give me an ocean any day.

Carrie: I’m serious about that winter/summer trade – AND we have an ocean 🙂

Melissa: Card game – they hold a special place in my heart as that was my grandmothers favorite past time while I was her caregiver.

Carrie: awww i love that!

Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?

Melissa: My daughter tells me that I would be able able to read people’s thoughts and move things with my mind. Lol

Carrie: hahaha

Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?

Melissa: I head right to the Christian fiction section. Seeing names of colleagues I know and admire is like walking into a conference center and they are all there. I get a silly smile, my husband tells me, when I see their names and books. “It’s like going to church and seeing so many friendly faces. I can’t help it,” I tell him.

Carrie: right? i call it ‘visiting my friends’ when i go to the bookstore 🙂

Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?

Melissa: “Melissa is unusual and scatterbrained half the time. When she shows up for work, she doesn’t seem to know what she is doing with us. Just when we think she has a handle on our story, she throws us for a wild loop and changes the direction. Melissa also has a bad habit of making us go through difficult situations just so our lives can show how awesome God is…even though we are fictional (We think it is possible that she doesn’t know that we’re not real). By the end of the book, she has brought all the crazy together and makes it work.”

Carrie: silly characters, of course y’all are real LOL

Q: Which of your main characters in Blended Lives is most like you?

Melissa: I would have to say Beth Stevens. She’s in all five of my books for the Independence Islands series. There are several moments that she has that I have found myself in a similar situation. Whether it’s counseling with a friend, navigating her relationships, or even [observing] the joy in her friends’ lives as their families develop and grow. She also likes to cook, which is something that I enjoy. Through writing this series I have expanded my personal menu because I wanted to know how Beth would make it. The one thing that is the closest similarity between her and I is the love for our grandmother. Throughout the five books, readers meet Gram. She is a combination of both of my grandmothers and so I have poured lots of wisdom, faith, and a little bit of sass into Beth‘s grandmother. I think of all the characters I’ve ever written, Beth is the most like me.

Carrie: i was really close to both of my grandmothers, too, so I love this!!

Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?

Melissa: I don’t plot the whole book but I do find value in having a good character outline before I start writing. What my character thinks, feels, their past trauma, and even their level of faith can depict the direction the story will go. I will also make sure that I have a good grasp on the location the story takes place. I feel like if I have those two things figured out, the rest of the story will organically appear. I’m sure you’ve heard of the difference between a plotter and a panster. Well I am a combination of both. I am a plotster.

Carrie: haha ‘plotser’ is a great word!

Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Blended Lives & why do you love it?

Melissa: “When we blend our lives with others, whether in marriage or friendships, we open the door to carry each other’s burdens in life. God gives us certain friendships to help us through tough times to teach us how to be a shoulder for others.” – Gram

For some, it’s very hard to let new people into their lives, let alone deal with the people that are already there. It’s easy to just close off our heart and not let anyone in, but that isn’t what God intended for us to do. How can we have Christlike compassion if we don’t let people into our life and learn to love them like He would? Now, I’m not saying that if you’ve been hurt by someone that you have to allow that person to stay in your life. What I am saying is don’t be afraid to let new people in. Sometimes God sends new people in our lives to enrich it. It’s important that we prayerfully consider not staying closed off.

When we share things with our friends, or our spouse, we open a door of vulnerability that bridges a gap between us. Good friends become support systems that we all need. Blended Lives isn’t just about combining two families, it’s about being willing to let those that love you see who you really are– the good and the bad – and know that they will love you no matter what.

Carrie: amen ♥

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: Next up is the final book in the Independence Island series called Delicious Devotion. For those that have read my previous four books, they noticed that there are some minor plot lines that have been left open. Everything will come together in Delicious Devotion. I wanted to leave readers feeling complete as I wrote “The End” and tied it in a pretty ribbon. It was difficult to complete as it meant we had to say goodbye to some beloved characters, but just as Beth developed and grew through the series, I did as well.

I am also working on a Christmas book that takes place in my hometown and will be my first dip into historical fiction. I can’t wait to share the story of an orphan who gets to go to a Christmas party of a famous author and screenwriter In the 1920’s.


Melissa Wardwell is offering a copy of Blended Lives to one of my readers! (Print is US only. Ebook is available to international winners. 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.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Blended Lives by Melissa Wardwell?

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19 responses to “Author Interview (and a Giveaway!): Melissa Wardwell & Blended Lives

  1. MS Barb

    I struggle with trusting people, so I curious to see if Melissa weaves trust issues into her new book!

  2. Suzanne Sellner

    I enjoy your interviews with authors, and this was an interesting one. The book sounds really good; I’d love to read it.

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