Today, We Welcome an “Author of Hope,” Melissa Wardwell.
Melissa Wardwell wears many hats from one day to the next. She’s a devoted wife, mother, taxi service, friend, caregiver, daughter, sister, as well as author and blogger. Melissa was raised in and still resides in a little farm town in Mid- Michigan called Corunna. It’s quiet and uncomplicated, just the way she likes it.
She decided to give writing a try because she needed something to occupy my down time. When she read the first draft of her first book, What God Brings Together, she then understood that God had a much bigger plan.
Melissa has always felt a call to reach out to women and mothers, to encourage them in their lives. So naturally, all her stories revolve around women who are mothers: single mothers, widowed mothers, young mothers, married mothers, and even women who have a mother’s heart but no children of her own.
Mom always told me that “God will wash away the pain and restore hope.” Your book, What God Brings Together is about two people who have lost hope in their lives. What was your inspiration for the book?
It is difficult to explain.
When my kids were in dance, we drove 40 minutes round trip twice a week. While on that drive through the country, scenes from the book played out on my dash like a movie in my mind. It wouldn’t stop.
A Dear friend of mine insisted I write it and publish it. The story moved her so that she threatened disownment if I didn’t – hehe (we have been friends since High School)
Later, during the editing process, I discovered that it reflected the previous three years of my own marriage. Though divorce was never the case, it doesn’t mean it was a happy time. That’s when I understood that this writing isn’t just for fun, but to minister to others.
One 5-Star Reviewer had this to say: “An amazing story of forever love. I laughed, cried and cheered through this wonderful story of God’s guidance for this couple! I’m looking forward to reading this author’s next book.”
Hope flows into our lives in the most unexpected ways. How do faith and hope intertwine throughout this novel?
For Emma to move on from the pain and hurt of the past, she must forgive – it is a difficult task when it is easier to just hold on to the pain. She had to have faith that God had a bigger plan for her life and those of her children. Emma couldn’t see it in the beginning, but it all became clear later. Once she surrendered her anger and her life into God’s hands, her hope was restored.
Beyond Emma and Ryan, who was your favorite character and why?
Dr. Mike Emerson. I developed quite the soft spot for the guy.
You wrote this novella because people fell in love with the characters of Emma and Ryan. What a perfect holiday gift for your readers. How long was this ending in your mind before you wrote it?
About six months or so. I kept receiving questions about the Emma and Ryan, so I thought I would write this little novella as a way to answer those questions, plus have fun with a wedding.
I will be doing a bit of an overhaul on What God Brings Together and incorporating this novella. I feel like it would be better suited that way.
Can you share a little about your storybook wedding with our readers?
We have been together since high school. I cannot imagine living my life without him.
Our wedding was simple and elegant and full of love. I wore an ivory ball gown that had no bead work but was adorned in rose and mocha colored embroidery. My darling wore an ivory coat with black pants and a harness wrapped around his shoulders. He had broken his collarbone in a motorcycle accident a month before. It was our first test in the determination to see this marriage be a success and it taught me about how to serve my husband.
Dance And Be Glad was the second book in your Promises from Above Series.
Like Jillian, I was reunited with my former sweetheart after many years. One of the concerns of second love is the child. How does Dr. Emerson convince Katie to accept him?
Katie is a very open young lady. Knowing that Mike was her mom’s former sweetheart and the uncle to her best friend, she kind of figures it is the best of both worlds. Momma’s happy, and Katie gets a sister out of the deal. I put in parts of my daughter into Katie’s character, and she is a very open child. There are no strangers.
What is Jillian’s greatest challenge in rekindling her relationship?
She feels like she has had her chance. Twice actually. One with Mike as kids and then with her deceased husband. Both situations ended badly. She isn’t sure she wants to open herself up to that again. She lies to herself in the thinking that she is happy with just having her daughter around.
How does faith enter into the story?
It takes great faith to trust God’s hand in the midst of turmoil and heartbreak. Both characters must learn to do that. Once they learn to trust God, they will be able to trust each other.
I love Savannah. Why did you choose that as the backdrop for this gripping story?
It started out in image searching. I wanted to write in a location other than the frozen north. I hopped on Pinterest and looked up small southern communities. Then, I came across images of Isle of Hope, GA. It is a suburb of Savannah. So, I began to play on words a bit, and that gave me a location and a title. I knew I wanted to have the story give a bit of love to the single moms out there, but I hadn’t pictured her starting out in Savannah.
For awhile, I struggled to get a feel for the area, so when we went on a road trip to Florida, my husband took the kids and me to Savannah. I was beyond excited. Being there, I got a real feel for not just the big city, but for Isle of Hope and Tybee Island. He promises me a return trip, just the 2 of us. I can’t wait.
Your life seems perfect. How do you find the inner anguish that envelopes your characters?
Oh, wow! If people only knew the level of struggle and heartbreak I have had in my life they would see how imperfect it is. Seriously, the list is long and painful. It has been my faith that has kept me smiling and hoping for better outcomes in life. God’s hand had been in my life and the lives of my family members, keeping us from harm. Or, at least take us to the edge and then being that guardrail that keeps us from falling over the edge.
You have three releases planned for 2017. Can you share something about the stories with us?
The three has gone to two, and one of those was recently published.
The first is a collaboration with Author, Toni Shiloh. We wrote novellas for Spring of Weddings. We published it in May of 2017.
My contribution to that was “Hope Beyond Savannah.” In this story, you meet Nik, a hunky Samoan Evangelist, and Lily, a funky chick who is looking for someplace to belong.
When you begin the story, they have been dating already so I start you off with a romantic engagement. Things get a little crazy when his mother come to the U.S. She is always looking down her nose at Lily, and it has her questioning if she is strong enough to make it to the wedding day. Nik takes care of his bride and does his best to encourage her, and his mother, to look past their faults and embrace each other as family.
You can get that on Amazon now: http://amzn.to/2syYn2y
My other work in progress is the third installment of the “Promises From Above” series titled I Know the Plans.
It’s about a couple you have seen a few times in Dance and Be Glad and What God Brings Together. It is Ryan’s sister, Tiffany and her husband, Sargent Bradly Jones.
Married for nearly a decade, Brad’s return from his recent tour in Afghanistan reveals that he is not the same man he was when he left. Tiffany also faces a difficult choice that will affect their future even more.
I wish I could give more details, but I am still early in the writing phase.
What is your favorite family leisure-time activity?
I love playing Mario Cart 8 with the kids. It is the only game that I can get everyone together to play.
My husband works nights and weekends, so having the whole family together for fun time can be difficult.
Does Melissa Wardwell have any advice for budding authors who haven’t published their first book yet?
Just put that pen to paper and start. Know what you want to write about and then let the words flow. You can go back later and make changes. Just get started.
Thank you so much for joining us here today, Melissa Wardwell. We are looking forward to many more years of entertainment from you!
Thank you for having me. It is an honor.
You can connect with Melissa Wardwell below:
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