Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seekerville Welcomes Zondervan Debut YA Author Melanie Dickerson

What do you think of when you think of Young Adult (YA) books?

I think of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a favorite of mine that brings back great memories both of reading it when I was younger and reading it to my daughter. So many of my favorite YA’s are sweet romances, like the romance of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables books. And my favorite books of all time are Pride and Prejudice—and all the other Jane Austen books—and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

In addition to these classics, nowadays Young Adult readers have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Which I have to admit, I picked up in the library one day, opened to a random page, and started to laugh out loud, it was so irreverently funny. Forgive me, Jane.), not to mention a proliferation of vampire stories, not begun by the phenomenally successful Twilight but certainly perpetuated by it.

A recent article in The Los Angeles Times titled “Young Adult Lit Comes of Age” called the YA genre a “juggernaut of a trend.” It also said, “Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.”

I recently got an email from with the subject line: Spring Reading for Teens. Here were some of the titles:

Burned (House of Night Novels) Spirit Bound: Vampire Academy Book 5 The Carrie Diaries The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls Fallen The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Book 3) The Dark Divine

Anyone for a little light reading?

Ah-hem. Anyway, after I got over my dismay at the “dark” subject matter, I got to thinking, is this really all that different from what I was reading as a teen? I can remember reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the originator of all the vampire books. I also loved a good ghost story, and I didn’t mind the violence in Ivanhoe, or the dark subject matter of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Still, it does appear there is a serious fascination today with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other “paranormal” characters.

Not only has the subject matter changed, but the audience has changed as well. Here’s a quote from that same article in The Los Angeles Times:

“It used to be that the only adults who read young adult literature were those who had a vested interest -- teachers or librarians or parents who either needed or wanted to keep an eye on developing readers' tastes. But increasingly, adults are reading YA books … Attracted by well-written, fast-paced and engaging stories that span the gamut of genres and subjects, such readers have mainstreamed a niche long derided as just for kids.”

Out of curiosity, When was the last time you read a YA? What are your favorite YA’s, whether they’re classics or new titles?

Besides the ones I mentioned above, here are three more of my favorite YA’s:

Beauty by Robin McKinley
Christy by Catherine Marshall
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Please leave a comment because I will be giving away a copy of my new YA, a medieval romance, The Healer’s Apprentice, autographed and hot off the presses—when I get my first copies in a few months.

You can view the official trailer for The Healer's Apprentice here.

When destiny sleeps, it can only be awakened by true love’s kiss.
In this historical romance loosely based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, a woodcutter’s daughter becomes the town healer’s apprentice. Rose’s job is to care for the sick and injured in Hagenheim Castle. But Rose gets sick at the sight of blood and is more suited to making up stories than sewing up wounds.

Lord Hamlin, the future ruler of the region, is injured and Rose must overcome her squeamishness to save him. He is everything that is noble and good, but loving him is forbidden, as he’s already betrothed to a mysterious woman in hiding.

With two noble-born brothers vying for her affections, Rose learns that the people of Hagenheim are not always who they seem, and her own heart can mislead her.

You can preorder The Healer's Apprentice here.


Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. She now spends her time writing, daydreaming, chatting on the Seekerville blog when she should be working, and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at or at her blog Melanie Writes.

The Healer’s Apprentice … Fairy Tales Do Come True


Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Good morning, Melly and Seekerville.

We are delighted to have Ms. Mel with us and thrilled to share her first sale excitement with her.

The giant coffee pot is on (the silver one). Melanie requested biscuits and real butter and preserves so those are over there against the wall. Biscuits in the warmer. Help yourself and help us welcome Mel.

Mel, what else is coming from you and Zondervan??

Missy Tippens said...

I thought I was late. But joy!! I'm early!!! My gosh, I beat Ruthy here. Of course, I'm up on the late side of the night, and she'll be up at some ungodly hour. :)

Meanie, congrats again on your sale! And thanks for your great post. I love to read YA!!

One of my recent favs is a Rita finalist (YA category, and not inspy) titled The ABC's of Kissing Boys. It was so cute! So I went and bought her first one, How to Hook a Hottie. Another very cute story with a moment at the end that made me almost sob. (I so didn't see it coming!) Another fun one (secular as well) was Oh. My. Gods. (about Greek gods, in case you're wondering.)

It's a new genre for me, and I'm really enjoying reading. Oh, and I absolutely cannot wait to read yours!!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

I love YA too. I read YA RITA Winner Tera Lynn Childs, Oh. My. Gods.--based on Greek mythology. It is just too cute, and I ate it up.

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Oops I didn't see Missy read the same book. Okay now ya'all go out and get Tera's book while you are waiting for Melly's to arrive.

Katy said...

Interesting questions! I remember reading and loving Christy when I was a girl. :) But I think YA was not as big of a genre when I was that age, so I kind of skipped forward to adult fiction around high school.

The last YA I read was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (read it in January), which is pretty heavy reading and a bit gory. But I'm finding I kind of enjoy the dystopian YA. The Giver by Lois Lowry is another recent YA I read and enjoyed.

I'm generally not really interested in paranormal fiction, so most of the "hot" YA titles don't interest me at all. But I do like historical fiction--a lot--and am always happy to pick one up. Stories based on fairy tales are also such fun to read! I really enjoyed Ella Enchanted, which is probably more of a younger YA book, but was delightful reading. Melanie's upcoming novel sounds delightful. I'll be looking for it in September!

Christy LaShea said...

Great post! Melanie, your book sounds so good and I can't wait to read it.

I remember reading Christopher Pike series as a kid. They were mystery type stories. I tried to write my own at 13, LOL!

I was suprised to see the titles of the YA are so dark. But there is much angst when you're a young adult...

Nora St. Laurent said...

Can't wait to read this Melanie. LOVE the cover of your book. WOW!! I'm excited for you.


Nora :D

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Good morning Everyone!

I remember the Nancy Drew books as a pre-teen - quit reading for the same reason I don't read mysteries now - can usually figure whodunit within a chapter or two.

I loved the Black Stallion books and read them all but I don't normally read YA at all right now -my kids are grown and grandkids too young -but your book sounds facinating.

Good luck and God's blessings!

Dianna Shuford said...

Melanie, your book sounds wonderful. I can't remember ever reading any one specific book when I was a child because I've always read just about everything. When my children were young, and I homeschooled, as a family we got into the Magic Tree House series of books. They were great for history and a great first step away from children's picture books.

I would love to read your book when it comes out. It sounds intriguing.

Kav said...

I am sooooooooooo excited about your debut novel, Melanie!!!!!! I LOVE this genre! It's been a quiet little segment of the publishing industry for years but more books have been published recently and they've been really well received and have created their own niche with very loyal followers.

I think the Harry Potter series contributed to the current trend of more adults reading YA books.

My favourite author as a YA was Madeleine L'Engle. Camilla, A Wrinkle in Time, The Young Unicorns, Meet the Austins, Moon By Night, Arm of the Starfish...there are too many to list. Madeleine had a real grasp of teenage angst but tempered it with the hope and love that can only come from strong family relationships.

The last time I read a YA novel?

April 18 -- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.(already mentioned)
Definitely violent, but not overly graphic and Katniss is one of the strongest heroines I've ever read in YA lit.

April 17 -- A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. A retelling of Rumplestilskin and so cleverly done. It's much more than a fairy tale though -- it's a story about compassion and forgiveness with enough twists and turns to keep your mind spinning right to the very end! I believe it's Bunce's debut novel as well. This is one that adults who like this genre would definitely enjoy reading.

March 17 -- Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Another debut novel about a teen who discovers her faerie heritage. Very innovative -- the author has created her own folklore and it's so cleverly thought out you'd swear she has first hand knowledge. And there's a love triangle -- Laurel finds herself attracted to a mortal boy (her best friend) and a faerie. Oh and there's trolls...evil trolls. Very evil trolls.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, guys! Thanks, Tina, for the biscuits!!! So Southern of you. I'll contribute some sausage and eggs. Gotta have protein or I'll be eating again in two hours! :-)

Tina, thank you for inviting me to be on Seekerville. I just love this place! Seekerville has the best advice and the best articles and the best visitors, so I always feel special--and a little intimidated--guesting here! But everyone is always sweet and friendly! And as hospitable as any Southerner!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Missy, you Southern belle! Thanks for coming by!

And thanks for letting me know about those YA's. I need to break out of my historical romance addiction and read those!

I hate to mention this, but it's just too funny so please forgive me. I never realized before that my name, if you leave out the "l" is actually "Meanie!" LOL!!! Yikes. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Katy, for stopping by and talking about YA's this morning!

I read Ella Enchanted, too, a few years ago and thought it was great. It's really nothing like the movie, which I also thought was great. I love fairy tales, and it put a lot of new spins on Cinderella, which basically has been done to death, but the author made it really fresh.

I'll be back! Gotta go get the kiddos ready for school! Talk amongst yourselves!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Sooooo, Mel, what else is coming from you and Zondervan??

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, I forgot to answer your question, Tina. While the girls are getting dressed I'll take a moment.

The answer is, I'm not sure. My editor (who is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, by the way) has my second medieval fairy tale retelling, based on Beauty and the Beast, on her desk right now. I'm waiting to hear what she thinks of it. I have no idea if Zondervan (Zonderkidz, really) is going to want it or not. I imagine it depends on whether The Healer's Apprentice starts out well. Sooooooo ... please buy my book!!! (Is shameless begging allowed?)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Christy! Thanks for coming by! I remember seeing you at the conference last year and seeing you win the Genesis! You go, girl! I was so excited for you, even though I don't think we've ever met. You just look so sweet!

I haven't read Christopher Pike, but I hear he's good. Thanks for your comments and thanks to you and Katy both for saying you want to read my book! :-) It's really good, I promise. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Nora! The Georgia Girls are congregating in Seekerville today! Thanks so much! Nora is such a sweet person and a great coordinator for the ACFW Book Club. If you haven't joined the Book Club, it's a lot of fun. Go to Yahoo Groups and join today!

Thanks for your kind words, Nora! I was really impressed with Zondervan's creative people and what they did for my cover. OH! And MY TRAILER!!! If you haven't seen it, it's like a little movie! So cool.

Ruth said...

I love YA fiction - in fact, if I could have minored in the study of it in college I would've done so - I took enough classes that would've qualified. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairy tale, so I am anxiously awaiting the chance to read this latest retelling! Two of my favorite SB retellings (to date) are Spindle's End by Robin McKinley, and Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey.

Melanie Dickerson said...

I don't think I've read either of those, Ruthy! I need to get them!

I should explain that my book is less a "retelling" of Sleeping Beauty and more a "loosely based on" kind of book. When I started writing it, I didn't even realize fairy tale retellings existed as a genre. I just thought it would be cool to write the Sleeping Beauty story as a more "real" story, as it might have actually happened. When I was in middle school or high school, I wrote a short retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I wasn't satisfied with those short fairy tales! I wanted details! I wanted more story and characterization. And that's how I ended up writing in this genre.

Janet Dean said...

Melanie, wonderful to have you on the post side of Seekerville! I love your cover and can't wait to read The Healer's Apprentice!!! I remember reading this book in a contest I judged. Been wanting to know what happened ever since.

Mega congrats, Mel!

Thanks for breakfast, Tina. I love biscuits!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Pamela, thanks for stopping in! Black Beauty is a wonderful classic, isn't it?

Hi, Dianna! My daughter is hooked on Magic Tree House books. She loves those things. I think she's read just about every one of them by now!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Kav!!!!! I think I've mentioned this before, but you are my new BFF. LOL! Thanks for being excited about my book! You are so knowledgeable about the genre! Bunce's book sounds good. I may have to go out and get it. I think she may have one or two more out now.

Thanks for being here today!!!

Jody Hedlund said...

Just showed the trailer to my tween daughters. Excellent job! Got them totally excited about reading your book, Melanie! I'm looking forward to it too!

Glynna Kaye said...

Congratulations on the sale Melanie! And such a BEAUTIFUL cover!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Sorry, Ruth, for calling you Ruthy! I have the right face to the name now! Where IS Ruthy, BTW? She would have something to say, surely, about Missy accidentally calling me Meanie. At least, I think it was an accident! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Janet, aren't you sweet? So sorry for keeping you in suspense! I will just say that it ends happily. :-) For everyone except the villains, of course.

BTW, I finished The Substitute Bride! You did a great job with the characters! Great story. I love those Marriage of Convenience stories!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Jody!!! I love tween girls! I let my 11-yr-old read The Healer's Apprentice, so it is "safe" for the tweens! I'm so glad your girls liked the trailer!

Leah Heil said...

Hey, Melanie! Can't wait for your book to come out! My favorite YA book is Christy and all other books written by Catherine Marshall. Been a long time since I have read YA books, though.

Mary Connealy said...

The book sounds wonderful.
I love that trailer
I think YA is an area ripe for great books.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Glynna!!! I was very pleased with the cover. I wondered where they found a castle window! The trailer looks like it was filmed inside a castle but it was actually filmed in Colorado Springs in a chapel on the campus of Colorado College, I found out. And I was really pleased with the cover, although I had imagined something completely different. The girl has the perfect look on her face, kind of scared. :-)

Mary Connealy said...

I got all the Cedar River Daydreams books for my girls and loved them.

I just love the tone of so many YA books, about the struggles with adolescence and trying not to get sucked into peer pressure and loving who you are.

Playground Monitor said...

waves to Melanie!

Melanie is a brand new member of our RWA chapter and we're thrilled to have her.

I have to admit I've not read any of the current YA books. And I never really thought of Christy as YA, but I loved that book. Maybe I should familiarize myself with this genre since I have a granddaughter who is 4 going on 14. LOL! She'll be reading before I know it.


Mary Connealy said...

FYI, Shameless begging is allow.

Just ask Ruthy.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Leah!!! Fancy seeing you here! Thanks so much for coming by! I bet your kids have grown a bushel since I saw you!

I am actually reading Catherine Marshall's Julie to my daughter now. I've never read it before, but it's good so far.

Erica Vetsch said...

Good morning, Melanie!

The Healer's Apprentice sounds soooo good!

I was a voracious reader as a teen, and my tastes ran to all things cowboy/horses. Zane Grey, Glenn Balch, John Richard Young, Leland Silliman.

My two teens are into Paolini, Lawhead, Morrill, Bryan Davis, and my son's all time favorite, Donita K. Paul.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary!!! My favorite cheerleader/screamer/mentor!!! Thanks for taking time off from your many book tours for Barbour to come and say hi! I'm dying to read your new book, Wildflower Bride. I keep checking, hoping to find it in my mailbox... maybe today!

Yes, YA's have great themes. Accepting yourself, death to mean girls, loyalty, and loving your neighbor. I guess my book kind of has a theme of finding God's will for your life and not trying to force your own will, because God's plan is much better than ours anyway! Also, true love, and good triumphing over evil.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Marilyn!!! Thanks so much for coming to say hello! I'm really excited about being a part of HOD, my local RWA chapter. Everyone has been really friendly!

Yes, YA is a totally booming genre, new and different from what we remember! But a lot of great reads, too. I'm thrilled to be part of it.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Erica!!! My daughter loves Donita K. Paul, too! Her FAVORITE author. When she told me my book was as good as the Dragon Keeper series, I knew that was the best compliment she could have given me, and I was so flattered! LOL!

Little known fact: My father was named after Zane Grey. His name was Zane Grey Lee. The doctor asked my grandmother to name him that. I'm guessing he was a fan.

Dawn Ford said...

I got turned on to your book by one of my fellow inksters from our blog inkspirationalmessages. It sounds to be right up my alley. And to think of someone re-writing fairy tales, the same ones I loved even as a teenager, is so exciting to me. I can't wait to read your book(s).

The books I've read lately are "Thirsty" by Tracey Bateman, dark but very good. And "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. It was very interesting to me. I have several more in my pile-but then I wouldn't get my YA book written. LOL.
Dawn Ford
dawnford001 at msn dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Yay! Thanks, Dawn! How fun to meet a fellow YA author! And those Inksters are really sweet, aren't they? I have several good friends in that group.

I have a question. I've asked you how you feel about YA's, but how do you feel about Medievals??? What do you think of the time period? There are VERY FEW Inspirational medievals out there. I would say none, but there have been a few published over the years. Does the time period put you off? What do you think of when you think of medievals?

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oops. I think I got my Inksters mixed up! BLUSHING. I was thinking of the Inkies! I've just become acquainted with the Inspirationalmessages bloggers! And I love your blog. Thanks for commenting, Dawn. And everyone who has commented so far is in the drawing for my book, don't forget! And if Tina doesn't have your email address, please leave it in your comment.

Dawn Ford said...

LOVE medievals. I read Ginger Garrett's "In the Arms of Immortals". I fell in love with the book. Can you do that? I have 2 more of her books in my pile to be read. I also gave it to my neice and she loved it as well. It is written during the black plague days. Lots of supernatural elements which is really me. (My MS has supernatural elements in it)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Dawn, ABSOLUTELY you can fall in love with a book! I haven't read that one by Ginger Garrett. The Healer's Apprentice does have just a little bit of the supernatural in it, also, but only toward the end.

Ruth said...

Melanie, no problem with the family calls me Ruthie anyway. :) And I should probably clarify, I tend lump "inspired by" retellings with straight retellings...and Spindle's End definitely falls in the "inspired by" category as well.

Pepper Basham said...

Good Morning, Melanie.
And congrats again!! Woohoo! Still grinning.
AND, that trailer is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.
Ooo, and don't forget Frankenstein. I read that as a YA along with Jane Eyre and Dracula. Even wrote a sequel for it. LOL.

I was a big Louisa May Alcott fan and Nancy Drew - plus others. Loved Sherlock Holmes...and those could get really spooky.
Is the Harry Potter series considered YA? LOVE IT!
Stephen Lawhead is awesome too.
Bryan Davis is great too.

Oh, and Melanie - beautiful cover for your book too. I can't wait to grab it. My sons won't be interested in reading it probably, unless there are dragons, flesh eating monsters, or young wizards - but I can read it :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Pepper! YES! You can definitely read it. :-) It came oh so close to being published as an adult historical romance by a very big CBA publisher that will remain anonymous. This was a year before Zonderkidz gave it the thumbs up. I frankly never thought it would get pubbed as a YA. But then the genre exploded--yes, partly due to the Harry Potter books, and partly to the Twilight books--and the YA door opened and my book slipped in. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Well, Ruthie you shall be! Thanks for sharing my love of fairy tale retellings/inspired by's. I didn't really discover them until I was an adult, but I would have also loved them as a teen.

Julie Lessman said...

MELANIE!!!!! Every time I see that fabulous cover of yours, my heart skips several beats, WHICH, young lady, is not good for my atrial fibrillation! :) But I'm guessing that's what's INSIDE of that gorgeous cover will have my pulse dancing just a little bit more ... :)

I was greatly enamored with Nancy Drew and Emile Loring, who wasn't actually YA, but I devoured her books from the bookmobile in grade school ... ALL romance, of course! :)

I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on your hot, little book, my friend, and may it go straight to the the top of the lists.


Sandra Robbins said...

Great post, Melanie. It made me recall some of my favorite books from years gone by. Little Women was a favorite, and I loved Christy by Catherine Marshall.

Of course being the mystery nut that I am, I have to say Nancy Drew was my favorite heroine. She brought me hours of endless enjoyment as I followed her adventures. I'm sure you're going to bring that same excitement into other young girls' lives with your books. You have worked hard on your journey to publication, and I'm happy for you, my friend.

Sandra Robbins

Leigh said...

Morning, everyone, and congrats again to you, Melanie!

I'm always looking for clean YA to recommend to my girls at church, so will definitely check yours out and pass it along. I've hooked some of them on Jenny B. Jones and Stephanie Morrill lately, and even some of my favorite historical authors. Melanie Dickerson could be next! :-)

I read a lot of juvenile fiction (as opposed to YA) because of our kids. They're huge readers and finding things they'll enjoy but that are appropriate can be tricky, so I like to keep up with what they're running into.

When I think of YA favorites, The Witch of Blackbird Pond always comes to mind. I don't remember what it was exactly that captured me so, but it was the first book I read several times. Part of me wants to read it again now but part of me is leery of that -- I don't want to spoil the memory!

leigh at leighdelozier dot com

Golden Keyes Parsons said...


So excited for you and the pending release of your book. YA favorites of mine also were "Ivanhoe" and "Little Women." And I loved the brooding "Wuthering Heights." Reading "Black Beauty" was the first time I ever remember crying while reading a book.

Cannot wait to read your book!

Rose said...


Congratulations on your soon to be released YA novel. What a beautiful cover.

I read quite a bit of YA/middle grade since I also write for children. Here are a few titles I've recently read and enjoyed.

Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
The Other Sister by Susan Thompson Underdahl
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Trudy by Jessica Lee Anderson


RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

Courtney said...

I'm seventeen, and I do not like the whole dark vampire/werewolf fascination. Mostly, I read Christian women's fiction, like Steeple Hill's lines and chick lit. Your book is certainly one that would catch my interest.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Aw, Julie!!! You are the sweetest!!! Thank you. I can't WAIT for you to read my book! I hope it won't disappoint. You were very encouraging to me, more times than I can recount, at times when I really needed it! I nearly despaired of ever getting this book published. Our journeys are actually quite similar.

Casey said...

Oh, oh, pick me, PICK MEEEEE!!

Lol, I really want to read this book, but I think anyone who gets are going to be in for a treat. :)

When was the last time I read YA?? I read Sandra Byrd's latest book, of which the title escapes me, recently. It was enjoyable.

I don't really read YA now, but I loved Black Beauty (still do) Anne of Green Gables was another one. The Secret Garden. Then a plethora of other titles. Like the Trailblazer series, Grandma's Attic series, and many others...


I hope your book does GREAT- it looks AWESOME!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Sandra!!! What a wonderful person you are, a dedicated, loving educator, elementary principal, and fellow Southerner from Tennessee! You are blazing quite a trail with all your Romantic Suspense books! Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope I get to see you this year in Indianapolis!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Leigh! I remember liking The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Thanks for letting other girls know about my book! A lot of dedicated YA fans have indicated interest in my book, but I haven't heard from the "Christian teen" set at all. I hope I can get the word out to them as well. Marketing is a tricky thing and a bit bewildering.

I get to revisit my favorite juvenile and YA books by reading them to my daughters. That is REALLY fun. I love seeing their reactions to the stories. Maybe you should read The Witch of Blackbird Pond to your kids. It's also great that you can lead them toward the right takeaway from the book, if that makes sense.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Melanie,

Congratulations on your book! It looks great.

As a kid, I read the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, all the Anne of Green Gable books, and the Lion, Witch & Wardrobe (now Narnia series). As I got a little older, I got into the romances more - I liked Victoria Holt's books and of course the Harlequin Romances.

I don't usually ready YA, although my daughter got me into the Twilight series, which I enjoyed very much.

Speaking of fairy tale remakes, I must tell you about one of my chapter mates here in Toronto named Maureen McGowan. She has just sold two (poss. three) remakes of fairy tales which will be out in October and are available on Amazon pre-order. The first two are called "Cinderella Ninja Warrior" and "Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer". You can check out the covers (excellent!) on her blog, I believe. They sound like so much fun!

So that whole twisting the fairy tale idea is big right now!

Best of luck with sales. I'm sure they will fly off the shelves.


sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Golden!!! For all the encouragement! :-)

I liked Wuthering Heights, too. It drew me in and fascinated me, but I couldn't take the movies. Too dark and intense. Somehow I liked it better as a book. :-)

Kav said...

Hi again,

I just wanted to say that I'm glad you mentioned you read your book to your eleven-year-old because I was going to ask you if it was appropriate to be put in an elementary school library. We had a meeting of school librarians this week and shared book trailers and I showed yours. Talk about a stir of excitement!!! I wasn't able to tell them if it would be appropriate for elementary schools but now I'll let them know it is.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Rose! Thanks for listing those titles. I will have to check those out!

Courtney! Thanks so much for coming to Seekerville today! I know what you mean, I haven't been drawn to the vampire/werewolf stories, either. I'm pretty much addicted to historical romance!

Susan Anne Mason said...


Just watched the trailer and was totally impressed. It's the best book trailer I've seen yet! Now I want to see the movie!! LOL.

Did the same girl on the cover play in the trailer?



Melanie Dickerson said...

Casey! LOL! I love your enthusiasm, girl! If you don't win this week, I will be doing more giveaways when the release date gets closer, in September and October. The book, I'm pretty sure, should be available in mid-Sept.

I loved The Secret Garden too! One of my favorites!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Kav, I hate to say it, but it probably isn't appropriate for elementary school kids. I meant to say earlier, it is okay for 11-yr-olds, but probably not for kids younger than 11. There's of course no bad language, but just the fact that it is a romance makes me not want to recommend it to anyone in grades 5 and below. I would say it's for Grade 6 and up.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Susan! I will have to check out those books by Maureen McGowan! The more fairy tales turned on their heads, the better! :-)

I started reading adult romances very young, too. I sort of skipped a lot of the YA's! I'm trying to catch up now. :-)

And yes, that was the same girl in the trailer that they picked to be on the cover. A lot of people have said they want to see the movie now! Wouldn't that be awesome, if they did make a movie! My eyes are as big as dinner plates just thinking about it! Not that this is the first time I'VE thought of it! LOL

MJ said...

Beautiful cover. would love to read it. rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

Missy Tippens said...

LOLOL!! So sorry, MeLanie!!! :)

Yes, it was late when I stopped by. Couldn't spell. So no reflection on you, sweet thing. :)

Kav said...

Our elementary schools go from kindergarten to grade six so we buy more 'sophisticated' stuff for our high end readers in the sixth grade. I'm thinking that "The Healer's Apprentice" will fit in perfectly.

Oh -- and I LOVE books set in the Middle Ages. There aren't enough of them. Anyone read 'Catherine Called Birdy' by Karen Cushman? Another notable YA title.

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Hahaha I read YA ALL THE TIME! I love it...but maybe that's because I haven't grown up yet or maybe because I'm 24 I'm still a young adult???

I love your favorites list Melaine! I think Eva Ibbotson's romances are so well written and researched so you learn a lot but you're not bored to tears LOL! I haven't read Beauty by Robin McKinley but I have read Rose Daughter a few weeks back and loved it!

I am so excited for your book and can't wait till Fall!

Please don't enter me, I think I'm already getting a copy ;-)

XOXO~ Renee

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for coming by, MJ!

Missy, LOL! I thought it was a really funny typo! :-)

Kav, yes, it would be fine for 6th grade! Our elementary school only goes up to 5th grade.

Debra E Marvin said...

Hey Miss Melanie. I was here at 6 am and went off in search of a title floating around in my head. A YA book my daughter introduced to me. She says she seems to be reading mostly YA these days - by the way she turned 30 last year.

Still haven't recalled the book I wanted to suggest but I thought it was best to get in and say hi and see if there were any biscuits left. My favorite!

I'm so excited about this book, and honored I got to be in Denver and talk with you right after your discussion with Zondervan. Look what God has done since then.

Melanie may have the most amazing book trailer ever made, too!

Sending a cyber-hug and dreams of more contracts to follow you!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Ohhh Katy and Kav I LOVE The Hunger Games too!!! Definitely the best YA series I've ever read, I think!

As for Christian YA I forgot to add that I like Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Him, I haven't read It's Not About Me but I'm sure it's really good too!

XOXO~ Renee

Edwina Cowgill said...

Congrats, dear friend! I'm so excited for you!!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Melly, tell us about that trailer. That is some professional job. WOW!!! It's more like a movie trailer.

Okay, this room is crowded. Can someone please make another pot of coffee? It's only 9:15 PST...I'll bring in the fresh biscuits for round two.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Renee! Great to see you! I need to read Rose Daughter. And I'm a lot older than you, Renee, so you are definitely not too old for YA!

Debra, my friend! Yes, you were privy to my raptures in Denver, weren't you? :-) Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it was God who "done it." He arranged it all perfectly, didn't He?

Edwina! Thank you! You're such a good friend!

Regina Merrick said...

My head is spinning with YA books, past and present! When I was a YA, it was before the market exploded, so it was Nancy Drew and Jane Eyre until I got ready for Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring romances! And "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" was an ABSOLUTE favorite!

Kav, I never got around to "Catherine, Called Birdy," but I do remember reading "The Midwife's Apprentice" by Cushman. Most of my YA reading was in library school, in Lit classes, which I LOVED!

I am REALLY looking forward to reading your new book. Anything based on a fairy tale intrigues me, and I always loved the Sleeping Beauty tale!

Thanks for a great post! You've made me think a little more about perusing that YA section in my library!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ah yes, the trailer. From the beginning, when I got the offer from Zondervan, there were plans to do a trailer. But I never envisioned it being so like a movie trailer! And apparently the same guy that Zondervan hired to make my trailer also made the trailer for Ted Dekker's book, Burn. It made me feel a bit like Cinderella going to the ball! An "unknown" author like me doesn't normally get a trailer like that! The Ted Dekkers of the world do, but not me!

I found out the trailer was filmed at Shove Chapel in Colorado Springs. It looks so much like a real castle! I loved the stained glass windows and the authentic looking medieval first aid kit!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Regina! I liked The Midwife's Apprentice, too. I actually was afraid for my publisher to change the title to The Healer's Apprentice for fear it sounded too much like The Midwife's Apprentice. My original title was The Woodcutter's Daughter, which sounds more fairy tale-ish, I think. But The Healer's Apprentice actually fits the story really well, as you'll see by reading the first few chapters. Speaking of, I believe Zondervan may let me put the first chapter up on my website closer to the release date.

Anyway, thanks for coming by, Regina!

Lorna said...

Melanie, your book sounds wonderful and the trailer is great. I'll have to get this for my girls (and I'll read it, too).

Susanne Dietze said...

Oh, I am so late. Any coffee left?

I am so happy for you, Melanie! Congratulations! I cannot wait to read the book and share it with my daughter. The cover is gorgeous.

I read a lot of YA too, and so many of my favorites have been mentioned already, but a few I love are Mrs. Mike, Christy, Jacob Have I Loved, And Both Were Young, and The Series of Unfortunate Events. Right now I'm reading the Percy Jackson books. I may not have stuck with them but I like to read what my kids are reading.

I've been eager to read The Hunger Games, too. Sigh, my TBR pile is huge.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Lorna!!! I hope your girls will let me know, when they do read it, what they think of it. They can send me an email from my website. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Susanne! Who is a great writer herself! Get that Regency published so I can read it! :-)

There were a few one-liners that I cut from The Healer's Apprentice because my editor said, Moms read their kids' books sometimes to make sure they're okay, so we might ought to cut this line. I always agreed with her! I try to be "real" but sometimes it's better to be "silent" than "real," if you know what I mean. ;-) I cut all the things I wouldn't necessarily want my 11-yr-old to read, although they would have gone over her head anyway.

runner10 said...

Thanks Melanie for writing YA novels. I have a teenage daughter and it is so hard to find appropriate books for her to read.
Good luck. I know you will do well.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, runner10! I hope you teen will like the book!

It looks like Zonderkidz has moved up my release date to September 3rd!!! YAY! I'm so happy. I know September seems like a long time away, but when you think it's only four months ... okay, yeah, it still seems like a long time, but it's coming!!!

KC Frantzen said...

Wow - moved it up and everything... I'm still loving the way the book looks magical at the end of the trailer.

Super good!!!

Diana Sharples said...

I read a lot of YA, because I write YA! Most of what I read, though, is the sometimes raw, unpublished YA as my critique partners go through their first, second, and third drafts. :-)
The success of the genre in general fiction is very encouraging, but in the CBA it seems the publishers are still going the safe route with books for girls and fantasy. That would be fine... except that I write male protagonists. I grew up with three brothers, played in a rock band, rode a motorcycle--still do--and I'm just more comfortable with the male POV. Still, girls will read and enjoy books about boys (while the reverse almost never happens). In the ABA there are plenty of titles with male protags. I'm waiting for the CBA to catch up. They're starting to...
The recent movie, "To Save A Life" is also a novel with a male protagonist. This one got me really hopeful!
Recently I've read Stephanie Morrill's "Me, Just Different," "Always Watching" by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins, and "Diamonds in the Shadow" by ABA author, Caroline B. Cooney. And I highly recommend the "Blood of Kings" series by Jill Williamson, for those who like fantasy.

Melanie Dickerson said...

With boy protags, Zonderkidz has a Sci-fi/Fantasy series by Robert Elmer and another one by Bryan Davis, and a supernatural series by Bill Myers. I'm not sure about the other CBA publishers. But with the success of Harry Potter, I think they are probably looking for good books with boys as the protagonists. Don't despair! Keep knocking on the door! Sometimes it takes a lot of persistence before the door opens.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, KC! Only four more months to go! :-)

Karen Barnett said...

I also write historical YA, so I'm excited to read your book, Melanie. My kids are just starting to read YA titles and still like for me to read aloud to them (hooray!. We loved Bryan Davis' Dragons in Our Midst series and are currently reading through the Warriors series by Erin Hunter (or three different authors writing under that name). I'm a sucker for a well-written animal book and my favorite book as a teen was Watership Down by Richard Adams.

Go YA!!!

Audra Harders said...

Melanie, congrats big time on your sale!!! I can't wait to get my hands on it : )

I love YA works, it's really all I judge anymore. What creativity!

Actually, I think I just love reliving my youth, LOL!

Seriously though, some of my best remembered scenes came from YA when I was a teen. Can't for the life of me remember the title of the books, but the plots and the characters were real -- I could've walked right onto the pages.

That's definitely something I need to keep in mind as I write. If you create your characters 3D, the reader can't help but have a stake in your story.

Mel, I've seen your trailer and read the blurbs of The Healer's Apprentice. Awesome work! Like I said, can't wait to read it!!!

Doing the Snoopy dance for you : )

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Karen! How great to meet another YA author! I still love reading to my kids, too. My daughter loved the Dragons in Our Midst series. She loves anything with dragons!

AUDRA! I'll snoopy dance with you anytime, girlfriend!!! Are you coming to ACFW in Indianapolis this year? Or maybe RWA in Nashville?

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Okay so there are a lot of people here today so forgive me if this was already asked Mel...but how did this msc do on the contest circuit.

The contest divas in the audience will want to know.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Tina. This manuscript, then titled The Woodcutter's Daughter, won the Fiction from the Heartland Award, and it won the South West Writers contest. It also finaled in several other contests, but it failed to final in lots of contests, too. I feel like I really learned to write much tighter and better by entering it so many times.

Audra Harders said...

I'll be looking for you in Indianapolis, Mel! Can't make it to Nashville.


But saving $$ already for New York next year!

Lindsey said...

Hey Melanie! Sorry I'm late, I just got off work.
I have been looking forward to this day ever since I saw it about a month ago In the save the dates that your were blogging :)
I am just so excited about your book coming out, I love the Medieval era !
When I looked at your blogger profile, and saw you were writing a story In the Medieval time, and read the description of what it was going to be about I knew I was going to love it!
I have a feeling your going to have a big fan on your hands!:)
PPLLEEAASSE add me to the contest I would Love to win!!:) Thank you so much!:)

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Mel. Glad you enjoyed The Substitute Bride!


Virginia said...

Great interview! I really enjoy reading YA books myself. I am not much into paranormal but I loved the Twilight Series! This series is what got me started reading the YA books. I read them and then let my great niece have them because I want her to read, read, read!


Lindsey said...

Oh I forgot to writ my favorite YA books.
I think some of my favorites when I was younger, I'm not sure that there young adult, but I loved Nancy Drew, Magic Tree House, American Girl, and my little sister has found one that I am sure I would have loved at her age Junie B. Jones, she is hilarious!
We have gotten the book on c.d. before, and the reader does the voices for the kids perfectly, we have laughed so hard our sides hurt:)

Helen Gray said...

I read just this week that, if you're going to network, you should bring something to the table. I'm out of my element here today and didn't have anything to bring to the table, so I just stayed out of the way. (I don't write historicals, YA, or medieval.)

But then Tina asked the right question.

Learning of your contest journey with this manuscript was enlightening and appreciated.
Congratulations on your sale, and thank you, Melanie, for sharing.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Lindsey!!! I can't wait to hear if you like the book. I have always had a special place in my heart for the medieval time period. It just always seemed so romantic to me. And I fell in love with medieval architecture when I was in Germany. Thus it was natural that I would write a book set in medieval Germany! And my love of fairy tales played in there as well.

Oh, Junie B. Jones! How I love Junie B. Jones! I read them to my daughters. My 8-yr-old still lets me read them to her. I think I've read them all at least once. But to have the audio book!!! What a trip that would be! I would buy those even if I didn't have kids! I can just imagine how much I would laugh!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Virginia! That's cool that you have someone to share your YA books with!

Helen! Yes, contests are a big part of my writing journey. This book got bashed quite a few times! You can't please everyone ...

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Melanie, thank you SOOO much for sharing with us in Seekerville. You are a gem to hang around so long.

We wish you continued success and look forward to your release and many more books from you.

Melanie Dickerson said...

It was my pleasure, Tina! I always have fun in Seekerville. I'm just a little sad Ruthy never showed up. :-( I missed her wit and long-winded humor. :-)

Debby Giusti said...

Can't wait until your book comes out!!! It'll be my all-time favorite YA!!!! I'm sure of it! :)

Love the title, cover and trailer. I know young and old alike will fall in love with the The Healer’s Apprentice. Congrats, Melanie!

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Congratulations, Melanie!!!
The last YA I read was Tuck Everlasting. When I was a teen, I was reading either V.C. Andrews or Crime fiction like Joseph Wambaugh, or historical fiction like John Jakes.
I read Christy as an adult and LOVED it. YA is a genre I would read more of if I knew more about it. I will definitely hunt yours down when it comes out. I am a sucker for redemptive and romantic fairy tales. :)

Kathleen L. Maher said...

D'oh! I take that back. I read Kim Vogel Sawyer's Katy's World just a couple of months ago, and it was the last YA I read. Had to correct myself. :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Debby, you are soooooo sweet! :-) You must really like me. I hope you like the book, but even if you don't, you'll still like me, right?

Kathy! Thanks for come by! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's a sucker for a fairy tale romance! I haven't read any of those authors you mentioned (except of course Kim Sawyer!) but I saw the movie of Tuck Everlasting.

Well, good night everybody! I'll check in the morning if anyone comments tonight! It's been a blast talking YA's and medieval and fairy tale talk with you guys in Seekerville today. Tina will announce the winner of my book on Monday! Thanks again, Tina!

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Saturday. Saturday, Weekend Edition !

Teri Dawn Smith said...

Melanie, I had a very busy day so I'm sorry to be stopping by here so late, but I just wanted to say congratulations about you new book. It looks awesome!

I sat by you at ACFW registration table in Denver. I remember you were a bit discouraged about this book. I was so thrilled to hear your great news. Congratulations and here's wishing you great sales!

Valerie Comer said...

The most recent YA I've read are books by Nicole O'Dell, who is one of my crit buddies. Just out: Magna and Making Waves, plus I've read the next two in her Scenarios for Girls series (due out next year) as well as an uncontracted novel of hers.

I love the sound of your book, Melanie, and I'd love to read it.

valerie at valeriecomer dot com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, Melly.

I missed the day. We have the stomach plague here. We will not discuss this in polite company. Just envision small children...

You get the picture. And then I had to go pick up Logan from Mom and Dad this evening and bring him here, (not here to the blog, but here to our house of germ-laden death) because he'd passed it to them. So at least HE should be safe here.

One word for all that: YUCK.

And I cannot, cannot, cannot wait to read this lovely book that I glimpsed in a contest years ago and fell in love with it promptly.

I was even NICE.

I remember it well.

It's a rare occurrence.


Words cannot say how happy I am for you.

And Rose.

And just so you know, someone in our parish up here in WNY named their little girl (I kid you not, it was in the baptismal records... BRIAR ROSE)

Yes, they did.

I'm pretty sure it was because they heard about your book.


Great blog, I love the trailer (who WOULDN'T???) and cannot wait to give you deserved hugs in person!

Super, mega congrats from WNY!!!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I'm reading these comments and weeping over missed opportunities...

Missy and Tina stepping on one another's toes.

Mary calling you "Meanie" like it was an ACCIDENT....

Yeah, and Gretzky never meant to score that goal... Mel, are ya' kiddin' me, girlfriend???? She only pretends to be nice. Sheesh...

Okay, must go

How did I miss this fun???? Melanie, this was not a good trade off, believe me!!!!

I'd take you over gastro-intestinal issues any day. Really. I mean it.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Suzanne Dietz just mentioned Mrs. Mike!!!!


I thought I was the only person in the world that ever read and loved that incredibly beautiful piece of work!!!!

Suzanne!!!! We can be blood sisters.

Or something.

Or maybe friends!

I hate missing parties!!!! But I LOVED Mrs. Mike!

Oh Be Joyful!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Junie B. Jones!!!!

Another fave!

Oh my goodness, when I read them out loud I do Junie's voice LIKE A REAL BRAT WOULD....

And the little kids laugh out loud and squirm with delight.

I love Junie B. She's such a bratinski.

Cindy W. said...

It had been years since I had read a YA novel but last year I picked up the Narnia series and fell in love with them. I would love to read your book. Please enter me into your giveaway.

Cindy W.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Teri!!! Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, you were a kind and thoughtful person to listen to my moaning and crying about how no one wanted this book. And it's such a great story, too! LOL Just goes to show, one never knows what God has in store. Great to see you! :-)

Valerie! Thanks for coming by and throwing your name in the hat!

Oh, Tina, I have no memory of typing Monday. I knew it was the weekend edition. I must have been tired!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ruthy, I should have known it was something like that to keep you away from my post today! No need to explain. We had that stomach bug a few weeks ago. I was off the computer for about two days, so I understand.

I know it sounds like something Mary would do, but it was actually sweet little Missy who called me Meanie. So you know it was a typo. The weird thing about it was that I never realized that by leaving out that one letter you could make that word with my name. Hilarious!

Just want to say, I missed you, Ruthy! Sorry you were sick--or was it just the kids who were sick? Either way, I can commiserate!

And thanks for being nice to me and liking my book all those years ago--The Barclay Sterling three years ago, I guess it was. I think that was the very first contest I entered this book in, so I know it was really rough. But you were the nice judge! I've always liked you, Ruthy, ever since.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for coming by, Cindy! I've never read the Narnia books. I've read C.S. Lewis' nonfiction books, but not the fiction. Strange but true.

Ruth Logan Herne said...


I was only nice because your entry was wonderful and showed signs of greatness.

Trust me.

Not everyone finds my judging as nice as you did.


So they know where to mail the anthrax... ;)

Love you, kid!

Melanie Dickerson said...

You were smarter than those other judges, Ruthy. That's what I suspected all along. ;-)

Carman said...


I really like Michelle Sutton's YA books. I've never really enjoyed reading YA books, as they tend to be only "fluff" and I like books with substance and a message. That is why I like Michelle's stuff, b/c it really deals with issues that teen's face every day.

Melanie, your book sounds awesome, and it will definitely be going on my TBR pile. :)

Robin Johns Grant said...

I love, love so much YA of late. They're so imaginative, and you never know what to expect. The Hunger Games is amazing! I adore the Harry Potter books, and I read another sort of sci-fi one I really liked, called Gone, by Michael Grant.

On the other hand, I heard that "angels are the new vampires." There's a slew of YA books about girls falling in love with fallen angels out there, and more to come. I find that pretty disturbing.

I think the teen fascination with the supernatural is something that Christian publishing should take hold of, because who knows more about the supernatural realm, right?! I recently bought a Christian YA called The Prophecy that I'm hoping is doing just that. Haven't started reading it yet, though.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

LOVE this cover. Mel, I am SOOOOO excited for you!