Friday, September 10, 2010

Fairy Tales Do Come True~They Can Happen To You

Melanie Dickerson
Mary asked me if I’d like to come to guest post in Seekerville, as my book was just coming out. I jumped at the chance, of course. But I wasn’t sure what to write. This is how I started out:

The middle ages is such a romantic time. I don’t know when I got that notion, but I suspect it was when I was a kid reading Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, and King Arthur and the stories of his knights. It’s such a colorful time, with knights in shining armour on their noble steeds, righting wrongs and saving damsels in distress, not to mention the brightly colored banners and flags flying high over a tournament list. Ah, those chivalrous knights. They weren’t afraid of any foe, and they looked really good in the Great Hall of the castle, with their shields and flags decorating the walls.

I wrote an entire article in this vein, and then I changed my mind.

What I really wanted to tell you about are all the spiritual benefits of writing. Did you know you get spiritual benefits from writing? Well, let me tell you …

God gave me a dream to write novels and be published when I was still a kid. I seemed to be good at writing, but when I realized how hard it was to get published, and—trying to be practical and realistic—that I was not likely to write anything worthy of publication for many years, I quit writing, and even reading, fiction altogether. For 15 years.

But God gave me my dream back fifteen years later when I was a stay-at-home mom, bored and restless and seeking something, I didn’t know what. I started writing and felt like myself again, as though I had come home, or had discovered a missing arm or leg. Writing just felt so natural, and I realized that God had given me my dream back.

Everyone longs for a purpose in life, hence the incredible success of The Purpose Driven Life. And somehow, I just knew that my purpose in life had something to do with writing. So, all-or-nothing kind of person I am, I immersed myself in writing. But as most of you already know, trying to get published is not for the faint of heart, and I was never known for my toughness. But God will not give you a dream and then leave you to let you work it out on your own.

I wrote a novel, but wasn’t too thrilled with it, so I shelved it. I wrote a second novel and this time I was thrilled with it. However, nobody was looking for the type of novel I had written. People let me know it was virtually impossible to sell a Christian medieval, much less, a medieval YA romance. “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27.

But God wouldn’t let me give up. He always seemed to give me the encouragement I needed just when I needed it most. Sometimes it was a contest win or a request for a full, and once it was a literal dream, where I had gone to sleep that night crying and telling God I just couldn’t try anymore, just had to quit writing and get a real job. I dreamed that I was holding a cup and God wrote on the cup that he wanted me to keep writing and not stop. And he wrote the words not once but twice.

Still, after three years of trying to get this book published, things looked very bleak. I was discouraged.

Believe it or not, that’s when I really started to realize the ways God had blessed me in my writing journey. Oh, I was still depressed that I’d been trying to sell the same novel for three years and still seemed no closer than I’d ever been, but I began to realize all the friends God had brought into my life through writing. I had more friends than I’d ever had in my life, and that was an answer to prayer. I know it’s hard to believe, but I had a really hard time making friends after we moved. I had an infant, then another baby came along, but the friends didn’t. But suddenly I had friends I could email and who would even call me on the phone to encourage me if I sounded particularly down in an email. And when I come to Seekerville every morning to read the posts and the comments, it’s like getting a Good Morning Hug.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Eph. 1:3

Not only with friends, but God had blessed me spiritually since I started writing. I began to realize all the ways I had grown and matured, how much I had come to trust God as compared to the worried, always-scared person I had been before. God allowed me to go through rejections—at least 32 of them—and tons of criticisms, some of which are burned into my memory forever, I have to confess. But I had actually learned from the criticism and become a more confident, trusting person. It sounds like an impossibility, but criticism made me stronger and more confident. All the angst and frustration of trying to get published, of being forced to pray and trust God, of asking God what he was doing and why it was taking so long, had made me a stronger, more spiritual person.

God is good that way.

I am not the same person I was 7 ½ years ago when I started to write again. Writing has changed me, but mostly I see it as God changing me through the writing and through what I had to go through to get published. And I like the change.

I believe our main purpose in being put here on Earth is to grow closer to God and to learn to love him more. If that is true, then writing IS helping me fulfill my life’s purpose, whether I had ever gotten published or not, because it forces me to rely on him.

And then God gave me my dream, and it is wonderful. No, Mary, it’s not an Eden-like, blissful, no problems zone when you become a published author, but it is pretty awesome. And the fact that it happened to a person like me, with a book that nobody wanted, just goes to show that “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27.

With God, there is no such thing as impossible. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Mark 9:23. So keep believing!!!

What is your life purpose? And what does writing have to do with it, if anything? What has writing done for you? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment and I’ll give a copy of The Healer’s Apprentice to one person.
Melanie Dickerson is a graduate of The University of Alabama and a wife and mother of two daughters. She spends her days in another time and place, which is her excuse for being so forgetful! Her two favorite settings are Medieval Europe and the late nineteenth-century South, where chivalrous, gallant men still roam around saving damsels in distress, and being saved in their turn by said damsels.
See her website,
to find out more about
the world’s first Christian Medieval Young Adult Fairy-Tale-Retelling Romance.


Dawn Ford said...

Oh Melanie, I'm so glad you persevered. I cannot wait to go out and get your book. Ever since someone on a blog described your book, I knew I wanted to read it. Congratulations on your success to date and may God bless your future as well.

What's my purpose? I believe it is also to write something a bit out of left field. So here's to all of us taking the chance and even more to those who have made it into the world of publishing. Salute!!

Bluerose said...

I'm so glad you persevered, too!! :) Along with everyone else, I'm so excited to read your book!!

I haven't did as much writing lately as I would like, so my purpose with what I do is simply for my little boy and future children to have something to know me. I hope to be around to see them grow up, but if not, I want them to know me in some little way. :)And if we all grow older together, I'd still like them to know who I was when they were younger. So obviously, what i write lately isn't anything I'd want published. :)

Mary Connealy said...

I just finished The Healer's Apprentice. It is an absolutely enchanting fairy tale.
I could HEAR the heroine's voice, I could see the world Melanie created. The valor of the hero is just a beautiful, noble thing.

Absolute fun, in a lovely package.
Such a great job, Melanie.

Pepper Basham said...

Beautiful personal story, Melanie - AND beautiful novel.
I'm SOOOOOO glad I had the opportunity to read it and enjoy a lovely adventure in the medieval world (with a SWEET hero)

My purpose?
As often as I fail at it, I believe my purpose is similar to one of the catechism answers I learned
"To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever"
I LOVE the part of 'enjoying' God, and that include the joy of talents and Godly desires He's given to me. The joy of writing and creating.
But rejoicing in Him happens in so many other ways too. Finding joy in the blessings, in the moment, in the good and bad. THAT's what makes life with Him worth living. IMO.
Congrats on both beautiful stories, Melanie. What a wonderful way to enjoy God ;-)

Dianna Shuford said...

I'm so excited for you, Melanie. Way to go for sticking it out. God always rewards the faithful. Would love to read your book. I guess if I don't win it, then I'll have to buy it. **sigh**

I agree with your comment about returning to writing felt like coming home. I too quit writing when I was in college and working full-time (no time) and then when I quit work to homeschool my kids after several years I felt there was always something missing- until I started writing again.

Thanks for your encouraging words. And your story for continuing to push regardless of man's words is very inspirational. Keep pushing and keep writing. The rewards of the faithful are plentiful and neverending.

Rose said...

Melanie, congratulations again on the release of your book. I'm so glad that you didn't give up!

I think that my writing helps me to grow stronger in my faith. A reminder to me that God cares about even the mundane details of my life.


RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Good morning, everyone! Ruthy will kill me if I don't show off my Southern roots and offer some Deep South hospitality with some food!!! This morning we have homemade biscuits and tomato gravy with crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, lots of Golden Eagle syrup and freshly churned butter.

Thank you, DAWN! You sound like a girl after my own heart--writing something out of left field! I pray you find success! Listen to God's leading, and whether he has you published first with the "left field" story, or has you write something else in center field so that you can break in, whatever he tells you is the way to go!!! And he will help guide you as you seek his face daily in prayer. God bless your writing journey, Dawn! And if you ever need a pep talk, look me up!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Bluerose, I think that is so sweet, what you're doing for your children and grandchildren. That is true love and thoughtfulness, sharing your thoughts with them and for them. And if you ever write fiction stories, they will love that too!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, THNAK YOU!!! I was so glad my book wasn't torture for you to read! I mean, it could have been and you are just being nice, but I like to think you really did stay up late reading it because you were enjoying it. :-) LOL! Okay, enough of my insecurities!!! Thanks for letting me come on the show, Mary!

Ausjenny said...

I just love the look of your new book. I know how long you worked to be published and am so happy for you.

I not a writer and am still working out my purpose. At the moment most of my time is spent on tafe (community college) work.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Pepper!!! The busiest woman in America!!! Who took time to read my book and write a review and post it on the net! Thank you, girl. :-)

You know, I was an adult before I ever heard anyone say you should not only glorify God, you should enjoy, or be satisfied in, God. That knowing God is a joyful thing just didn't sink in for a very long time. I was taught more along the lines of "fear and trembling" and the "obey or die" kind of thing. But God is so much more than that. He loves his children, he has compassion on all he has made, and he wants us to have an abundant, even joyful, life. This is one of the themes of my second medieval YA.

Thanks for the insights, Pepper! And for reviewing my book!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, thanks so much for being here to inspire us today!! I'm so thankful you stuck with it along this journey. And I can't tell you how excited I am for you on your debut release!! :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Diana! Thanks for YOUR encouraging words, and for saying I encouraged you. I'm all about encouragement! We all need it! But I really admire you for dedicating yourself to homeschooling. That is also a calling and an unselfish thing to do in putting your family first. Blessings on your writing journey, Diana!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Rose! Thanks so much! I feel like we're walking this journey together. :-) And yes, God does care about the mundane things of our life. He is always there.

Ausjenny, thanks so much for your comment. I pray for you to have great success in your tafe work! So where does the word "tafe" come from? I haven't heard that before. Sometimes in life, we just have to do whatever our hands find to do, and that's our purpose for that day or that season. We do our little acts of love or kindness and know we're doing it for the Lord.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks Missy!!! Your enthusiasm has been very encouraging to me! Can't wait to give you a big hug next week!!!

Zondervan went ahead and let me do my first signing last Saturday, (where I sold 85 books! Woohoo!) but the release actually got pushed back to the 14th. So hopefully it will be in stores starting Tuesday. Hoping, hoping, hoping ... still waiting for that first book store sighting!!!

Ausjenny said...

Tafe stands for Technical and further education.
it use to be more vocational classes like pottery, dress making, photography etc with a few other courses but now its more into certificate courses like im doing.
Cert 4 in business administration.
but it does business courses, finance, alot of trades like hairdressing, mechanics, etc do there theory training at a tafe. We also have agriculture and farming.
You can do computer courses also.
I was talking at computer class about doing things like gardening and other things when I have a life. She said what did you say. I repeated it. with the explanation I tend to spending all my time on the paper based subjects and not doing much else. I do have time to do other things like visit mum once a week but whats required in Cert 4 as apposed to cert 3 is way more almost double the work load. (But hey I do know how to write a report now)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Melanie, What an inspiring story. I'm so with your observation that our purpose is to love God. And what a miracle that your way is through writing.

Like you, I left writing too and felt like I'd come home when I returned. I'm so glad you followed through and look how it brought joy through all your homeschooling. A great model for your children btw They are learning from you how to persevere and not give up on their dreams.

I love the cover of your book and the sound of the story. I must go find it and have another book to enjoy. That time period is enchanting and a great venue for Christian fiction.

Thanks for the great Southern biscuits and gravy. Yum.

I brought some Chocolate Velvet coffee. Forgot yesterday and Ruthy got me on that. LOL

Project Journal said...

Everyone here (I can tell) is so proud of you with your perserverance in your craft and wholehearted dedication to God. Thank you for doing so! These are the types of books that could turn a teenager from bad choices to good. They need a role model or role models, which is exactly what all of you wonderful woman (and men too) become each and every single day you sit down behind your computer screen. Thank you for caring so much!

I am not a writer, so your questionis definitely don't apply to me : ) Lol! But it was really great getting to read everyone else's answers.

Okay, have to get ready to head to class now! After my two classes though I'm headed HOME for the weekend and can hardly contain my excitement : D

Talk to you all later today and again, thank you Melanie!!
Can't wait to check out your book!

Julie Lessman said...

MELANIE!!!! You're finally here ... YEAH!! Just another fabulous reason to love Fridays!!!

What a beautiful and inspirational post, my friend, made all the more special because of your tender heart and the poignant memory I have of you crouching between my and Mary's chair at an ACFW dinner banquet -- was it just LAST YEAR??? I still remember the tears in your eyes because the devil was telling you publication would never happen, like he does to each and every one of us. But he is a liar and God is faithful -- proven in your case with the Scripture that says "Delight yourself in the Lord,and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4.

And Pepper, I LOVE your comment about your purpose is "To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever."

I never really thought of it in that way before -- "enjoying" God, but that is exactly what "delighting" in Him is all about -- taking delight in the fact that we are the "apple of his eye," His sons and daughters that He would do anything for, go to the mat for, die for.

Oh, wow, what a wonderful way to begin a day, Melanie -- thank you!!

Cannot WAIT to read the book, my friend!!


Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, you know I love you and would lie about your book to make you feel good.

However, that was not necessary. :)

I tried to post the book trailer, too, but couldn't manage it. Me and my rusty computer skills.

Here it is for anyone who hasn't seen it. It's the coolest book trailer EVAH
The Healer's Apprentice
Scroll down just a bit.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Good for you, Ausjenny!!! You are pursuing a goal, and education is a great goal! And now I know what TAFE is! I can go to Australia and people will think I'm smart, not the average loud-mouthed American! LOL! And you sound very single-minded. I'm the same way! When I decide to do something, I tend to let everything else go!

Ausjenny said...

Yes you will blend in quite well just remember to shorten any words you can when you come here like brekky for breakfast, sec for second, op for operation and dont tip! we dont tip in australia.
the past few nights I haven't even felt like reading just felt I wanted to watch tv and play silly games on the computer. I have one report to finish and then I get to start the new classes but not til Wednesday so I get to have a little time to get in the garden if it doesn't rain. Ok way past my bedtime so have a great day.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Melanie, it's been a long time since a blog post brought tears to my eyes, but this one did.

Nothing I've done has ever made me feel more alive than writing. Most of my lessons have come from the life outside of writing but I think that's about to change.

Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. I hope you know how blessed I am to have watched what God has done with this book over the last couple of years. Amazing!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Sandra! There is so much about this writing journey that was a miracle. God is good.

Actually, I don't homeschool. I admire people who do that. I help my kids with their homework sometimes when they get home from school and make them do their homework before they turn on the TV. Does that count? LOL! My kids haven't made it to high school yet, but so far so good. They are doing well, and we have incredibly good public schools in our little area.

Sandra, will you be in Indy? If so, I will definitely see you, I'm sure, since I'm a Seekerville groupie! LOL

Susan Anne Mason said...

Melanie! Congratulations on your book. You give people like me hope!

I love your story because mine is very similar. When I was in Grade 6, a wonderful teacher noticed my love of writing long stories and suggested I write a book. I think it took me 2 or 3 years to finish and a while longer to type up on a manual typewriter (thank God for Grade 9 typing class!) I actually did send it to a publishing house and got a very nice rejection.

In high school, I had no time for writing, with a part-time job and 4 hours per night of homework so I just forgot about it. Then came university, marriage and 2 children. When my second child was about 2 years old and I had a minute to start reading again, I discovered Nora Roberts and fell in love with romance novels. So a couple of years later, I decided to write my own. Without a CLUE!! About writing, publication, anything. But I did it for myself. It took 2 years and was really bad. But from researching publishing houses, I found the Toronto Romance Writers and the journey has been amazing since then!
And now I feel called to write stories about human failings and forgiveness and redemption by God. And it's great. I know I'll be published one day. God knows when the time is right. Until then I just keep working and loving almost every minute!

One word of advice to you, one I try to keep at the forefront. Many people will love your book, and some will not (including reviewers, so don't listen to them!) So hang on to the wonderful comments and left the others go. Don't take it personally if you can. "To each their own" - is a motto I keep in mind.

Can't wait to read your story! Thanks for sharing! (Sorry this turned into a life story. LOL!)

sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

KC Frantzen said...

85 sold at your first signing?!

Your debut, breakthrough novel will open doors for others. YEW BETCHA!!!

Does Seekerville have a door-opening trend going? ABSOLUTELY!!

I don't know if others stayed up late reading it or not. My copy was in the house exactly 8 hours before I HAD to start... And * yawn * I was up until a tad after 1AM, page 112, thank you. Oh yeah... that's what I'm talkin' about!!!

Congratulations Melanie - you've been refined by His loving hand and will be a seriously good example, and His ambassador, to all.

Thanks Mary, for inviting Melanie here today!!! Especially for breakfast - yum.

Life purpose? Glorify the One who saved me, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through my writing I hope to have a rollicking good story that does that on a broad level. If I listen to His promptings, it might also help people see that no matter how dark/bleak things are, there is HOPE.

Whether it sells or not, I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

OH - and Hannah...

I am not a writer, so your question's definitely don't apply to me : ) Lol!

EEHHHHHHHHHHHHH - WRONG answer! You're a college girl and all, but here were the questions:

What is your life purpose? And what does writing have to do with it, if anything? What has writing done for you?

So life purpose is the key question -
That's a great thing to think about just starting college, or whenever in life. Good to review from time to time as well!

One last thing, Melanie - you have the MOST gorgeous complexion. Seriously.

You're just a lovely person - I'm SO glad to have met you here on Seekerville, and to know more about you through your lovely work. WTG!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Project Journal Hannah!!! Thanks so much for commenting! And yes, the Seekers are proud of me, since they helped raise me from a baby writer. I was like a tiny shoot, green and tender, and watched me grow tough and experienced! Ha! Okay, that analogy fizzled really fast, and was really bad ...
Anyway, so glad you stopped by! I hope you will check out the book and let me know what you think of it! So glad you are able to go home this weekend! College is tough and trips home are like a mini-vacation.

You know, I really do care. I feel a responsibility when I write to help teens learn from my mistakes!!! Now, I hope people don't read too much into that when they read my books, but I am always thinking about the message I'm sending with my fiction, while writing the most entertaining story possible! Writing is fun, but it's also hard work, and it isn't worth it to me to write a story I don't completely love myself!

I keep going off on tangents, don't I? Anyway, thanks again, Hannah! :-)

Kathy Cretsinger/Katt Anderson said...

Melanie, I love the era you write in. I love castles and the South. I'm anxious to get my hands on your book. Keep on what you are doing.

Melanie Dickerson said...

JULIE!!! I cannot wait to hug you NEXT WEEK! Can hardly believe it's coming up so soon.

Yes, that was only a year ago! God is so good! He must have been smiling knowing what was just around the corner, and the devil IS a liar. He will whisper in our ear that we aren't good enough, that it will never happen, that God doesn't care... all that stuff is lies. You are so wise, Julie. :-) Thank you for praying for me. You and Mary are so special to me! You really have no idea. Or maybe you do. :-) You probably still have tear stains on the shoulder of whatever cute dress you were wearing that night.

Digging for Pearls said...


I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I read your entry today. So much of what you wrote echoed my own life. I too felt that urge to be a published author when I was just a child. I wrote my first novel as a young teen. I wrote another in my early twenties. Then I put it all away as we started a family. Now it is over twenty years later and I felt God's pursuit once again to return to fiction writing.

I struggle with insecurity. I started writing this summer and completed four chapters. Now I feel like I'm floundering and questioning. I'm attending the conference next week, so I'm praying that God uses it in a mighty way to speak to my heart. I long for the writing community and encouragement that you mentioned.

Sorry to go on and on! Your book sounds intriguing. I have always enjoyed reading about the middle ages as well. Romanticism at it's best? :)

Blessings on your new book,
Jodie Wolfe

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, thanks for putting the live link to my trailer in your comment! See, I can't do that! You are more computer savvy than I am.

Ausjenny, I already say breakfy for breakfast, so that means I'm pretty Aussie savvy too, right??? And sometimes I'm so scatterbrained I forget to tip, so there you go! I was meant to visit Australia!

Wendy said...

My life's purpose is to honor God and be obedient to him. I am trying to use writing as a form of journaling.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Deb, my sweet friend!!! Who knew I could love NY yankees like you and Ruthy so much!!! My confederate great-great grandfathers would be turning in their graves! Ha, just kidding!!! You and I are kindred spirits for sure. I was so sad you weren't coming to conference this year, so you have to come next year!

It has been an emotional four years, that's for sure. And I feel like the journey is just starting. Those three really rough years just helped prepare me for what's ahead. But with God beside you, it's all good. :-)
Love ya, girl!

lotus82 said...

Oh, how I have been waiting to read this book. I hear about it constantly and would love a chance to win it. My daughter and I will certainly be fighting over who will get to read it first, lol.

Wonderful interview, as usual!!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Wow, Sue, we do have similar stories! It's wonderful to rediscover writing, isn't it? Like finding that missing arm! :-)

I've been telling myself for years that once I get published I will still get bad reviews. Some people just won't like my books. But I still wait with trepidation for that first bad review. I've steeled myself against it, but I'm sure it will still take some prayer to get over it! It's just hard to hear criticism. And I also get it from my agent and editor, when they work with me on edits. Even though they like my stories, and they are working to help make them better, occasionally it is still difficult to hear something they have to say. Just don't tell them that! I WANT their honest critiques!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Aw, thanks KC (Karen)! That is sweet. :-) Yes, I can honestly say that I want my books to glorify God more than I want them to sell lots of copies. I truly want it to be about God and his purpose. Otherwise it really isn't worth it!

Enjoy the book to the end! If you get started early you won't have to stay up half the night reading! LOL! So far I've kept up one person until 3 a.m. and one to 3:45 a.m.! WOOHOO! :-)

And my complexion only looks that way because of Photoshop, or whatever my photographer used, I'm sure! It looks every bit as old as it is in person! But makeup helps too.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Kathy/Katt! We think alike, apparently! I bet you love courteous, gentlemanly, chivalrous heroes too!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Jodie, thank you for blessing me with your comment!!! Yes, since you are open to hearing from God at the conference next week, "so I'm praying that God uses it in a mighty way to speak to my heart," I can guarantee God will show up in a mighty way. And I love the what you said, "God's pursuit," in terms of your writing. God pursues us. He knows what is best for us, and he loves us so much! He isn't passive about his love, either. He PURSUES US. Isn't that awesome? Beth Moore talked about that in the new study we're starting at my church. I love that book, Captivating by Stasi Eldredge, because it talks about how God loves us and we are absolutely CAPTIVATING to him. Praise God for that. I don't know about you but I need to know that I am captivating to God. :-)

And insecurity. It is the bane of a writer's existence. We must overcome it though. That's where prayer and positive self-talk come in. The devil wants us to be insecure, but we don't have to listen to him!

God bless you, Jodie, in your writing journey! God is with you!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Amen, Wendy! You hit the nail on the head. Honor God and obey him! God's blessings to you!

Steph/lotus82, I love it that you said you and your daughter will be fighting over my book! I envisioned this book to be both for teen girls and women who like historical romance, and it seems that my audience is finding me! Yay! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Emma said...

Wonderful post, Melanie! Reminding us of what is really important and how God blesses us every step of the journey. I think writing friends, like you, whether we've met face to face or not, have been one of the greatest blessings on this journey.

I can't wait to read your book along with my daughters and discuss it.

My life's purpose? To seek Him and share His love. Writing gives me a unique opportunity to do that.

See you in Indy!

Lorna said...

Wonderful post, Melanie! Reminding us of what is really important and how God blesses us every step of the journey. I think writing friends, like you, whether we've met face to face or not, have been one of the greatest blessings on this journey.

I can't wait to read your book along with my daughters and discuss it.

My life's purpose? To seek Him and share His love. Writing gives me a unique opportunity to do that.

See you in Indy!

Angela Bell said...

Hey Mrs. Dickerson! Congrats on the release of The Healer's Apprentice. I've been stalking - uh I mean following your progress via Facebook and various blogs. ;)

I love YA books, and I can't wait to read your fairy tale retelling.

As far as my purpose goes, I'm just following where God leads. When I graduated high school, my Mom and I prayed and felt that God wanted me to write. Two years later, I'm a finalist in the 2010 Genesis contest in the Young Adult category.

I don't know what doors God will open next, but I know His plans are good.


Melanie Dickerson said...

Emma! Thank you so much! Yes, it really is more about the journey than the destination, isn't it? God teaches us so much along the way.

I'm so glad you and your daughters want to read the book! It really would make for some good discussions. In fact, Zondervan had someone make a list of discussion questions in the back of the book. You'll have to let me know what you and your daughters think!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Okay, either Emma and Lorna are the same person, or something's rotten in Blogger-Town!!! LOL!

Lorna, I am totally dying to read your new book! It sounds so funny! Hoping to pick it up at the conference! See you there!!! EEEEK! I CAN HARDLY WAIT!

Ann Lee Miller said...

My purpose is to love and obey God. Writing is my call and my joy. Thanks for asking such a thought-provoking question. :)

Helen Gray said...

Congratulations o yur perseverance, Melanie. And your wonderful attitude.

I'm another returnee to writing. Wrote when the kids were in elementary school. Finally got overwhelmed by life (and rejections) and put it away. Now I'm retired and back to the life.

Wednesday is packing today. Leave for Indy about 11 a.m. Thursday!!!!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Angela!!! You finaled in the Genesis!!! Girl, do you know what a coup that is!?!?! I entered the Genesis three times, with three different books, and bombed out every time. HA! In fact, I got the most scathing criticism ever on the last entry, but we won't talk about that!!! LOL Forgive and forget, right? :-)
Wow, you really should be proud. The Genesis is a major contest. It's so good to see a young person such as yourself really seeking God and his calling. I wish you great success and all God's blessings on your life! Keep coming back to Seekerville so we can all encourage and love on you! And bask in your successes with you!

Mary Connealy said...

I met Angela. She's a sweetie. I'm hoping she'll hang around with us in Indy. I'm hoping ALL the Seekervillains will. :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Amen, Ann! And thanks for being persistent in your pursuit of The Healer's Apprentice! :-)

Helen!!!!! You must look me up in Indy! Can't wait to see you. I will be arriving on Friday, leaving at the crack of dawn that morning. :-) Yay! I always feel like Cinderella at the ball when I go to the conference. God moves heaven and earth to get me there, I feel like!

Melanie Dickerson said...

So Angela will be at the conference? That's awesome!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Melanie, LOVE the trailer. Now I MUST go find that book.

And I'm not going to ACFW. RWA took all my conference funds.

But next year I will meet the new published author. How exciting. Best wishes and have a blast. Give all the other Seekers a hug for me.

Erica Vetsch said...

What a beautiful post, and so many of the things you said had me nodding and thinking "That's how it was with me, too."

Thank you for posting this. Congratulations on the release of The Healer's Apprentice, and Yay for perservering and answering that call in your life to write!

Rain Maiden said...

God didn't give me the writing gift, but he did give me the reading gift. My life purpose is being reveiled to me everyday.

Helen Gray said...


I could possibly at the registration desk when you arrive. I'm on the schedule to work 11:30-1:30 Friday.


Janna said...

This is the book I plan on buying at ACFW conference next week (if I don't win it :-)

My purpose? To raise my 7 children as God would want me to, love my husband and reach children in my community through the Christian dance studio I have. Dance is my passion, reading is my pleasure... I read and review books for authors - I don't write (at this point in my life anyway!)

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, what a great gathering for a great reason!

Yeeeeee Haaaaawwwwww!


Guess what I'm holding in my hand????

A copy of your book that I first saw in a contest YEARS ago and I was stinkin' NICE because I saw the promise way back when.

Sometimes the angels help us get ready 'before the curve', honey, 'ahead of the game' so we're fully prepared when the time is right, the right person, the right story, the right editor.

Angels work VERY HARD.

Oh my gosh, this is so over-the-top wonderful that I might....


Just break my Atkins diet to celebrate in your honor with REAL CALORIES.

Honey, I'm so proud of you! Outrageously proud of you, your strength, your belief, your work...

Now keep working.


Didja think I was about to let you up for breath????? Are ya' kiddin' me, chica?

Laughing in upstate and cannot wait to re-read Rose's dellightful story.

When I first saw it it was "The Woodcutter's Daughter"...

And it had the true whisper of wonderful, even then.

Thank you for being patient and persevering, Mel.

Hugs and fresh baked apple crisp for all!

April Erwin said...

Great post, Melanie. I love hearing your testimony, it helps to reinforce mine every time. I'm so glad you stuck through all the stress, this is a great story and how awesome that God allowed you to be the one to open a door to a new sub-genre! Thanks for all your support and love!

Pamela Mason said...

Hi Melanie,
Congratulations on your release! Didn't I see a book trailer some months ago? It looks wonderful.
When I go to B&N, I always look for books by authors I know and rearrange their 'real estate' to be on the top shelf. If a paid employee insists on rearranging after I leave, so be it. At least I move it up front and center for awhile.
Are your blog touring? Book signings anywhere between GA & AL? Mobile? N.O.? FL?
Your post is so encouraging, because I'm there with you and Dawn, out in left field. Pretty nice company out here too, if I do say so myself!

Melanie Dickerson said...

I understand, Sandra! I can only afford one conference too. Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Erica! Yes, we go through similar things as writers, don't we? The rejections, for one thing, are universal. :-) Thanks for stopping in!

Wyn said...

My life's purpose is under review since I am now 60 and retired. I pray that God will give me a reason to continue. I love to read, it has always been my escape and intellectual stimulous. I love ancient times and have a history major. I would love be able to read the novel.

wyndyc at gmail dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Rain Maiden, Keep seeking and you shall find! God bless!

Helen! Yes, I am hoping to arrive between those hours. Yours could be the first ACFW face I see!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Janna, bless you. I tip my hat to you. You are a brave woman. 7 children is, gulp, a lot, and a calling, and a flurry of kissing and hugging if you have girls like mine. And bless you in your dance ministry. I'm afraid I missed out on the dancing gene. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ruthy!!! You made it, woman! Have your ears been burning all morning?

Wow, how did you get a copy? It's not in stores yet that I know of, although it should be by Tuesday. TUESDAY!!! YAY!

Yes, you were nice to The Woodcutter's Daughter. I think that was the first contest I ever entered it in. It was still quite rough. I still had a lot to learn. But the other judges weren't quite so nice! LOL! That's okay though. I don't remember much of what they said, so it's all good. Ha! I do remember they helped me realize my heroine needed her GMC spelled out more clearly in the early pages. :-)

Ruthy, Ruthy, Ruthy. Thanks for the apple crisp! YUM. And for being you. :-)

barbjan10 said...

A great interview, Melanie. I am anxious to read your book, historical novels are my favorite reads. Your story sounds lovely.

What is my purpose? A question I pray about consistently. I'm such a multi-tasker and I'm never sure. LOL At my age,following a very long and dibilitating illness, I'm feeling a nudge from the Father to write about my life of dramatic/traumatic experiences to let others know they are not alone in their struggles. There are answers and they come from Him. So, I have another new assignment that I need to learn about quickly.

Thank you Melanie for the giveaway and I appreciate the opportunity to win. I hope I do.

Sharing God's Love,
Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

Blogger is making me so frustrated. That is the third time they ate my comment. GRRRRR

April, thanks for coming by! April was one of the very first critiquers to read The Healer's Apprentice! She and two other of my buds, Caren Fullerton and Jamie Driggers, read the first draft. They encouraged me SOOOOOO much and their positive feedback kept me going for a long time! Through a lot of rejections!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Pamela, twice I wrote you a nice long comment. And blogger ate it. It just isn't meant to be, apparently. :-(

No, this time I will save it before trying to post it!!!

Pamela, I am supposed to have a signing in Birmingham on Oct. 30. That's all I know of at the moment.

And I want to thank you in advance for placing my book face out on book store shelves. Actually, I'll be curious to see if they shelve it with the adult Christian novels or the YA's.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Wyn, I'm sure God has a plan! Sometimes it's hard to figure it out, but I'm sure he does!

Barbjan, I'm so glad you have emerged from that tunnel and are well again! May God use you to bless and encourage others! We always get joy from helping others. :-)

Leigh said...

Melanie! So nice to read your story here. You've been a busy lady with blog visiting this week (glad you stopped by with us at Favorite PASTimes, too)!

I agree with some of the other comments -- you have a story of true perseverance that we can all learn from. When God sets us on a path, He means for us to follow it, no matter how long it might be. Some of us are better at sticking with it than others. :-)

My purpose in life? To love and enjoy God, draw closer to Him, and be His light in my little corner of the world. As something in our Bible study said a few weeks ago, He doesn't just want us to go fact-to-fact reading the lessons and filling in the blanks. He wants us to come face-to-face with Him in a real way! Writing is one way that I come face-to-face with Him because it's such an intimate process. My prayer is that it's also a way I can help others reach the same spot for themselves.

Time for some Southern snacks, don't you think? Help yourself to a nice tall glass of sweet tea, lemonade, or peach tea. And we're not counting how many lemon bites or pieces of pecan pie y'all enjoy!

April Erwin said...

Convince them you need to do a signing in the Kansas City, MO metro area. I'll bring everyone I know. :)

Myra Johnson said...

Helen! I'm on registration 11:30-1:30 Friday too! See you there!

Melanie, what a truly inspiring post! I relate to so much of what you wrote, especially the doubt and discouragement over years and years of waiting, striving, and hoping--and not much has changed even with publication, because there's always the uncertainty about the NEXT book.

But God always seems to come through with a nugget of encouragement right when I need it most. So all I can do is continue in obedience to this call He's placed on my life.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Wait, wait, wait....

Biscuits with tomato gravy???


Oh mylanta.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I forgot to state a purpose...

Does annoying Tina count? Because, really, I'm quite good at it.


To help women find themselves through forgiveness and redemption.

Simple, really.


Stephanie :) (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

I've been reading lots of interviews with Melanie and am really excited about the release of this book. Then I read this and I really felt that God was saying that this book was going to bless a lot of people, espcially teenagers. YA historical fiction is my favouirte genre but as a young Chrstian girl it is often hard to find clean teenage hf books for me to read. So this is the perfect combination of genres and I'm so glad that God has made a way for this book to be published.

I'm a thirteen year old aspiring author and I won the Sunpenny Young Wrtier's Competition (sunpenny is a christian publishing company) a year ago and my winning story among with some others were published in their competition anthology.
I also write regularly on my book blog which is called Books Are A Girl's Best Friend (
I love writing and I think that God's purpose for me may be to use it for Him.

I can't wait to read THA now!

Angela Bell said...

Thank you, Mrs. Dickerson! I don't know who's more excited about me finaling, my mentor Miss Teri Smith, or my mom. :)

I'm personally still in shock about the whole thing. I never EVER expected to final. I entered with the thought of it being a learning experience, but I guess God had a different idea. :-)

I will be attending the conference next week, and I am very excited! This will be my very first writer's conference.

I would LOVE to hang out with the Seekerville ladies. It shouldn't be hard for ya'll to find me. I'll be the 12 year-old looking blonde walking around in a daze. ;)

Hey, Mrs. Connealy! Thanks for the comment about my "sweetness". That was very nice of you to say. *This is me blushing* I look forward to seeing you again in Indy!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ruthy, Tomato gravy is true Southern country cooking. First you make a roue (not sure if that's how you spell it) with flour and oil and brown it in a skillet. Then pour in stewed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. It should be very thin. Crumble a homemade biscuit on your plate and ladle the tomato gravy over it and eat it with salty bacon. YUM. My mother makes the best.

Casey said...

I LOVED this post and man, just what I needed as I get ready to hit my editing again on Monday after a summer off and I must admit I am feeling some apprehension and worry about trying my hand at editing again when the first attempt wasn't that successful. But this post and the last couple posts here have been such a blessing, so THANK YOU!!


Cara Lynn James said...

I'm so glad you didn't give up, Melanie, since it's so hard to persevere! Wonderful, uplifting post.

And, your cover is beautiful.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I'm so glad you shared your story. I know what you mean about the early mom years my kids are 2 and 5 and we just moved to a new town a few months ago. Slowly starting to meet people. My writing purpose is to encourage others. I do not plan on even seeking publication until my kids are older. But this is what I enjoy about blogging. My other purpose is simply for the pleasure of it. I'm so grateful for Seekerville and ACFW and all the wonderful writers who have helped me out already.

Julia M. Reffner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

Angela -- So excited about your Genesis final! I forgot to say earlier that I helped judge YA entries again this year. I always love those and was blown away by how great some of them were! Who knows? Maybe I was fortunate enough to read yours! :-)

Enjoy the conference and the whole experience!

Angela Bell said...

Thank you, Miss Leigh! I can't wait to meet you in Indy. :)

Tina Russo Radcliffe said...

Melly, my apologies. I have been out of pocket (love that phrase, don't you???)all week.

I thoroughly enjoyed your post and cannot wait to read your book!!!

Wishing you continued success!!!!

Helen Gray said...


Saw your name on the list at the same time I'm to work---right after I had started your book. I about choked when I learned the setting of it.

That's where I set my last book!!! Twice we've lived in that area--my husband pastored and I taught just a few miles away.

(Notice I didn't name the location.)


Just got in from an all afternoon/evening meeting. I'm beat. So what am I going to do? Take a bath and go to bed with your book, of course!


Walt M said...

Congratulations on your release!

What has writing done for me? It's given me an outlet to drive my family nuts by the amount of time I spend hunched over a computer. :-)

I'm happy to finally get to Seekerville, as I've missed it all week and have a lot to catch up on.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Please forgive me, guys. I fell behind on replying to comments, but I've been reading them all, and I love you guys! I'll try to get back to each of you if I can! Was at my daughter's volleyball match all night--okay, not all night! And I'm on child duty as hubby is out of town most of the weekend. I love you all! *Blowing kisses*
Got that idea from a little boy this morning when I dropped my daughter off at school, he was blowing kisses to his mom as he got out of the car. So cute.

Lady DragonKeeper said...

What an amazing story! I'm sure you're only just beginning to see what God has planned in all this, Mrs. Dickerson. =) I'm sure this has probably been said, but I'd have to say that my purpose is to glorify God and to be an example of Christ to others . . . right now I'm still in school . . . soon, I'll have to decide what to major in, what university to go to, etc. and it sometimes --no, it often-- seems like God . . . like I don't know what I should do and I don't know what God wants me to do . . . even though I know He has a plan for my life . . . so I'm just trying to trust that things will work out as I wait and strain to listen for His voice. =)

I've had limited experience writing fiction, but I do like it, and I still think it would be cool to be published someday, but I don't have a book idea or anything . . .


Edwina said...

What a wonderful testimony and encouraging blog.
My purpose is found in my tag line: "Ministering the Heart of God to the Hearts of Women."

I'm almost finished reading "The Healer's Apprentice," and will have my review posted on my blog within a few days. So, don't enter me in the drawing.

For you who have entered your name, pray that you win - it's that good!

Sandy Elzie said...

Good morning,
What has writing done for me? It opened up a whole new world of opportunities to use the talent God has given me. It also has given me a wonderful new group of friends.

As to my life purpose....easy...serve my Lord any way I can. Right now that's writing the biography of Lisa Hensley who endured abuse starting at 5 yrs old, went through drugs, prostitution and prison, but now knows that God was speaking to her during these times, saving her life numerous times until she was ready to surrender and now she serves Him. This is one of the awesome ways God has been using me and I love it!

Thanks for sharing your life today.


Anna W. said...

What has writing done for me? Writing has given me a way to express myself in ways I never thought possible. It has given me an identity and a purpose. :)

Janet Dean said...

Melanie, I'm so excited about your book!!! I will finally get to read the entire story after reading the opening in a contest years ago. Yay!!! Happy and proud of you for hanging in. I love the cover! Thanks for your inspirational post!!

Hugs, Janet