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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spotlight on Susan Meissner and Blue Heart Blessed

Today, I'm introducing an author with a standalone book that has already been set out to be a featured selection in a lot of bookstores across the country. Enjoy!


Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. A devotee of purposeful pre-writing, Susan encourages workshop audiences to maximize writing time by planning ahead, mapping the writing journey and beginning from a place of intimate knowledge. She is a contributing writer to the Christian Authors Network marketing blog and the leader/moderator of a local writer's group. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at her San Diego church.

by Susan Meissner
Published by Harvest House



Left standing at the altar, Daisy Murien, a wounded but hopeful romantic, opens a secondhand wedding dress boutique, hoping to soothe her broken heart while giving doomed wedding dresses a second chance at love. Her predictable days take a sharp turn, though, when the retired Episcopal priest who blesses the tiny, blue satin heart she sews into each dress falls ill.

When the priest’s brooding and recently divorced son arrives with plans to take his ailing father away, a contest of wills begins between two stubborn—and hurting—souls. While fighting to keep Father Laurent close by, Daisy finally begins to understand why she has routinely convinced potential buyers not to buy the one gown that started her business—her own: She doesn’t want to give up on the dream of a fairytale romance. This compelling story is about the magnificence of unconditional love and God’s impeccable timing in bringing it about.


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

A couple years ago I was talking with a college-age student while we were on our way to see someone in the hospital. She told me she had just seen her roommate's wedding dress and she described how beautiful it was. I said something like, "It's too bad a dress as beautiful as that is only worn once." The minute I said that, an idea popped in my head. What if someone opened a secondhand wedding dress shop? What if there was a place for wedding dresses to go so they would be worn again? What kind of person would open a shop like that? By the time we reached the hospital I had Daisy (my quirky main character) fairly fleshed out in my head and I knew why she had opened a used wedding dress shop. She had a dress to sell; the dress she never got to wear because her groom caved 10 days before the wedding. And I knew it would take her 350 pages to finally be able to part with it.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the character of Daisy? What aspects became traits that were hers and hers alone?

I'm happy to say I married a great guy who loves being married to me so I never had to recover from the kind of disappointment Daisy did. But I did make tons of bridal paper dolls when I was little, just like Daisy did. And I did plan my wedding's every tiny detail, just like Daisy did. I love gelato like Daisy does, I play piano, and so does Daisy. And I love "He Shall Feed His Flock," from Handel's Messiah, just like Daisy does! But Daisy has a hard time letting go of her past and I am usually okay with saying goodbye to things that have hurt me.

3. What themes exist in Blue Heart Blessed that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The theme I wanted to weave in more than anything was don’t hurry true love. The real thing is worth waiting for. It's not something you make happen. It happens while you are concentrating on others, not yourself. The more subtle themes are: 1. Assumptions are dangerous critters – don't assume anything about anybody! – and 2. The love of God will always be there for you, when all other loves fail. Always.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

It was kind of hard to keep the two people I want to have get together in this book apart. They were perfect for each other, but I had to keep them apart until the end otherwise it would've been a really short book! I loved writing the scene where Daisy realizes the one she loves loves her and they kiss. :)

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next release is also a book with a romantic thread but there are a lot of other threads that make up the fabric of the plot. It deals with a college lit major, a reclusive 83-year-old librarian and the 400-year-old diary of a victim of the Salem witch trials. The story in a nutshell is this: the lit major, an only child who grew up in a very affluent family and feels pressured to live up to the family dynasty, agrees to transcribe the diary, which belonged to an ancestor of the librarian. The librarian has her own reasons for having the diary transcribed, and of course the victim of the Salem witch trials was innocent, as nearly all the people executed in Salem in 1692 were. So there are some sad, some poignant moments in this book. But I think we can learn from the past. We have to or we're doomed to repeat it, so the saying goes. So even though I don't race backward through time to save a girl who was falsely accused and executed for witchcraft, we learn from her. And that’s the next best thing. The book is called The Shape of Mercy and it will be released by WaterBrook in the fall of 2008.

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Thanks, Susan, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Blue Heart Blessed. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, insert your email when you leave a comment. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

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windycindy said...

Hi, What a marvelous interview and her books seems like a very great book to read. Please enter me in the drawing for her book. Thanks very much.....Cindi

Carolynn said...

Thanks for the great interview...I would love to read 'Blue Heart Blessed' and also look forward to reading 'The Shape of Mercy' when it's released!
Thank you for the chance to win:)

Anonymous said...

great interview! i've been hearing great things about this book! i would love to win a copy! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com thanks!

tetewa said...

Sounds like another good one!

Cherie J said...

Sounds like a great book! Would love to win this one.

Lacy J. Williams said...

Oh, please enter me! This one is on my must-read list!



Susan Meissner said...

I loved your questions, Tiff! They were very unique. I can't remember the last time someone asked me how much of my main character's traits were my own and how many were hers alone. It was kind of eye-opening to realize how many me-traits I gave Daisy. When I stared to take an inventory, there were more than I thought! Thanks for lettimg me visit :)

Susan Meissner said...

. . . I meant when I "started," of course. And I never intentionally go by "usan."

Sheesh . .

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Ok, we finally have a winner for this one folks! And that winner is:


I've sent your mailing information to Anita so she can mail out your book.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support. Visit the other spotlights in February to see if you've won!