Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Part One of my Author Interview with Melinda Inman and a Book Giveaway

Thanks to a fun connection, (think: “friend of a friend” type-of-thing) I recently had the opportunity to interview author, speaker and teacher, Melinda Inman.  She was gracious to share with me information about her upcoming book, Refuge, about being involved in ministry and what the life of a writer looks like.  

I'm super excited to share this interview with you....and even more excited to give one of my blog readers a free copy of Melinda's book, Refuge, published by Koehler Books.  

Besides being a novelist, Melinda is involved in teaching through a prison ministry, she speaks at women's events and at Cru events(formerly Campus Crusade) and she leads women's Bible studies.  Melinda and her husband Tim have six children, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.  

According to the official website of author, speaker and teacher, Melinda Inman:

Refuge is a tale of love, murder, revenge, and redemption, pulled from the oldest known source of drama—the Bible. Can we find God even after we’ve deliberately violated our consciences, wounded everyone we love, and committed an act that we feel is unforgivable?

Intent on total destruction, Satan notices Cain’s obsessive lust for Lilith and the dark roots of jealousy growing deep in his soul toward his do-gooder brother Abel. Satan goads him to the point of madness, barraging his mind with thoughts of hatred, lust, and futility. In a blinding rage, Cain wrecks everything. Wracked with shame, he flees into the vast wilderness, unable to possess the one thing he truly desires—Lilith. His life is destroyed, and he wonders if he will ever find his way back. He longs for refuge, and wonders if he will ever find God again? 

Here is the official book trailer:

And without further ado,  I’d like you to meet Melinda Inman!

How do you answer the question….is this a scary story? 
This is a scary story if you are uncomfortable considering the fact of spiritual warfare. We tried to capture that ominous truth visually with the book trailer. Two of the characters in the novel are God and Satan. Satan’s viewpoint is shown as he tries to entrap Cain and to destroy and bruise Adam and Eve and all of their family. In the novel readers see Satan’s machinations, his conversations with God (as in the book of Job), and the hierarchy of his demonic world. But the story’s emphasis is on the people in the novel. The characters struggle against temptation. After seeing scenes of what is happening in the spiritual realm, the reader then must determine how these realities are being carried out as they observe the characters’ thoughts and actions.  

What is the one message you hope readers take away from this story?
Everything I write is for broken and wounded people like myself. I want my readers to know that God loves them and no matter what they’ve done or what has been done to them, God’s love is a solid, never-changing fact. The Savior’s arms are open wide. He is willing to forgive and to heal the wounds our own sins—and the sins of others—produce in our lives. And he wants to make beauty of the ashes, to use even the hurtful things to produce good in our lives.

How much time (or how many years) are invested in researching and writing this story?
Because this first series of three novels (there are two others besides Refuge) are from Genesis and are, therefore, foundational, I spent about twenty years pondering, considering, studying, and researching. I had to study demonology—not something I ever thought I’d want to study, ancient history, ancient mythology, the problem of suffering, and biblical history. This involved serious Bible study. During the final eight years of my twenty-eight years of homeschooling, I converted our curriculum to a classical program. It was a joy to study these topics alongside my two youngest children as we studied through history, theology, and literature in chronological order. I had a lot of questions and pain I had to hammer out with God before I could start writing. 

What did you love about the official author interview?
It was a blast to film with the company doing my publicity work! The Christian men who comprise Nuu Church Media are fun to work with and are very insightful about the Christian life. It was wonderful to get to tell more of why I had written the story and to answer their questions that dug out that information. They helped me to feel comfortable talking publicly about difficult topics and the process of going from a broken girl to the woman I am now.

(To view the official author interview, click HERE)

What do you wish the official author interview would have conveyed…but didn’t?
Of course, in five minutes you can’t say everything you’d like to say. But no one wants to listen to a long interview. I had prepped for a very long list of questions, but then we only got to talk about a few things. I always have more to say!

What is/has been the hardest part about having a book published? Do you find it difficult as a writer to come out from behind your keyboard to share and be in the public eye?
It’s difficult to let go of total control of your manuscript, its shape, and the way it will be presented. But after you sign a contract it becomes a team effort. You, the publisher, and the editors are all working for the same thing, to produce a book that is “a work of art” as my publisher says. When you’ve been trying to get published for a long time, you’ve had sole control for a while. Sharing responsibility was and is challenging, especially for a perfectionist.
It’s also strange to be a “public” person. Someone stole my name and my picture and set up a fake social media account. That was creepy. I had to work behind the scenes to get that situation rectified. I try to be as available and open as possible while still guarding as much privacy as I am able. 

What is the next step for you? 
I’ll be marketing, marketing, and marketing some more. And I’ll be getting the next novel—Fallen—ready! I have editing and polishing to do! I have a yearly work schedule that I’ve followed since I started writing fiction in 2008. I start every day in God’s Word, but I only write Bible study material from July through January. I write or work on fiction from January through July. That’s usually how my work schedule goes, based on my church’s needs. This is January. I’m wrapping up the Bible study for 2 Timothy, which will soon be used in my church and will be for sale to others on my website. Once that’s done I’m starting on Fallen

Will you travel to speak on the subject of this book?
I hope so! There’s a potential speaking engagement in Colorado that’s being discussed. I have some radio and blog interviews scheduled (including this one! Thank you, Robin!). And I hope to schedule more of both of these. 

Is this book just one of many stories that you would like to share?
I have five novels written so far. Three are in the same series with Refuge. One is a historical about my great-grandparents early courtship and marriage in Oklahoma, and one is a modern novel. Some manuscripts are very polished. Some are very rough. I have more stories to tell.

Do you do public speaking of some sort? 
I teach in prison ministry every week. I speak at women’s events and at Cru (formerly Campus Crusade) events. I lead women’s Bible studies, and I co-lead a ministry with my husband. I have taught How to Study the Bible classes for teens. I’ve always done a lot of teaching in the home school co-ops I’ve been involved in. I used to be a childbirth education. I’m pretty comfortable talking about most subjects!

What is the daily life of a writer like?
People often ask me what I do all day, since I have so much “time.” I am a very busy woman. I never get my to-do list done. Every day unfinished work gets moved forward to the next day. Yes, my days are largely spent in the quiet of my home. But if I’m not hunched over my laptop writing, I’m reading, researching, marketing, emailing, or placing phone calls. If I have a difficult writing problem to work through a walk helps me sort it out. I pray through it, asking God what’s wrong, what I need to do to fix the passage, and how to go about it. I have exercise and eating scheduled on Outlook, so it will pop up and force me to take care of myself. When I’m working, I am so focused I forget. I keep working wondering why my stomach hurts until it dawns on me that it’s 4 p.m. and I forgot lunch. I’m tenacious about my work. I don’t watch television during the day. Ever. Nor do I eat bon-bons

Okay Write-On, Mom!'s your turn.  Want to win a free copy of Refuge?   I've got three ways for you to do that:

 When you do any one, or ALL THREE of these things, leave me a comment to let me know.  Each "Like" or "Friend" is worth a chance to win a copy of the book, Refuge

I'll post the winner's name next week when I share Part Two of our interview:  Melinda's thoughts on being a "prodigal."   

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