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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spotlight on Becky Melby and Dream Chasers

To all my regular readers, winners have been selected for all previous blog spotlights. Make sure you check out the spotlights all the way back to March 13th with J.M. Hochstetler's Wind of the Spriti.

Thanks so much for your patience. And now on to this week's spotlight.


BECKY MELBY has co-authored seven inspirational romances. Walk with Me, the first in a series of Heartsong Presents romances based in Minnesota, was chosen as the Heartsong Presents Editor's #1 Contemporary Pick for 2008. Dream Chasers is the second book. Stillwater Promise will be released later this summer and Pleasant Surprises, the first of an Illinois series, will follow. A three-in-one collection, Wisconsin Blessings, by Barbour Publishing came out in February of 2006 and a novella, Over the Wall in Race to the Altar by Barbour, released in September of 2007.

Parents of four sons and nine-going-on-ten grandchildren, Becky and her husband Bill live in Wisconsin. They host and lead a small group Bible study in their home and enjoy motorcycle rides and RVing.

by Becky Melby & Cathy Wienke
Published by Heartsong Presents/Barbour Publishing


April Douglas is determined to fulfill her sister's dream list—the things Caitlyn would have done if she hadn't died so young. Things like climbing a water tower and chasing a tornado.

April faces each challenge with feigned bravery to honor her sister and interest the small radio audience that's listening in on her adventures. But the man April blames for Caitlyn's death—TV weatherman and storm chaser Seth Bachelor—appears at inopportune times, forcing April to face strong fears and misconceptions.

Seth can't figure out why April resists him. When he learns of her devotion to the dream list, he offers to help April check them off and overcome her fears...only to be faced with his own shortcomings at every turn.

Just when April thinks Seth can be trusted, she learns he may not be the man she thought he was. What will it cost them—or gain them—to chase God’s dreams together?

Buy Your Copy of Dream Chasers today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Contrary to the way it looks, this idea came to my writing partner, Cathy Wienke, and I long before "The Bucket List" came out. We were sitting in the Nashville airport after the 2005 ACFW conference when the idea for the first book in the series sprouted. Walk with Me begins with an apartment fire. We decided to make the series about three women who had some involvement with that incident. April Douglas in Dream Chasers is a reporter who covered the fire. We just started brainstorming about April and came up with a character who recently lost her teenage sister to leukemia complications and is now trying to fulfill her sister's "Dream List." To add inner conflict, we gave her an angry father who was more out than in her life. And then we brought in Seth Bachelor, one of the meteorologists she blames for her sister's death. The man has anger issues, at least in April's eyes. When she starts to see a gentle side to him, she's afraid to believe it can last.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Like April, I have a fear of heights. But that girl is determined to overcome her fear. The story opens with April climbing a water tower. Me? Never. She is far gutsier in the social and career realms, too. April is also terrified of storms. Unlike her, I would love to see a tornado at the closest possible safe distance. April has a problem with transference at times—she assumes Seth is going to react in anger the way her father did. I've been guilty of that too often. My co-author's childhood experience of being raise by grandparents for the first five years gave credibility to April's sense of loss over an absent father.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

While April has a passion for Bridgeman's Wolf Tracks ice cream, if she were an ice cream flavor, she'd be Praline Pecan. She's in the process of finding an inner strength she didn't know she possessed and regaining the confidence and passion she lost when her sister died. There are lots of sweet surprising nuggets in the vanilla of her life.

4. Are there any themes in Dream Chasers that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

Our theme verse for Dream Chasers is Psalm 37:4—"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." April and Seth both have dreams they think will never be realized. Both discover that surrender to the Lord's plans brings peace. In my own life, God has shown me His faithfulness over and when I finally reach that moment of surrender. April's relationship with her parents unfolded as we were writing. Her father's anger and abandonment and her mother's depression have left scars. Throughout the book, she learns to accept what she cannot change.

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

While I often bog down just past the halfway point, this book was different. With forty-two things on the Dream List, there was a new adventure and setting at every turn. That kept things exciting while I was writing. The tornado scene was my favorite. In describing the storm I got to use all the senses, and sneaking in a bit of romance in the eye of a tornado was pure fun.

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

Stillwater Promise, the third book in this Minnesota series, will be this summer. This story was a challenge to write, but may just be my favorite.

It's about Sara Lewis, who was one of the residents in the apartment building where the fire broke out in Walk with Me. Sara has been separated from her husband James for two years. They have two little girls. She is struggling to balance work and home and working hard toward her dream of owning a bed and breakfast—all without any help from her husband. Suddenly, James shows up, claiming to be a changed person because of his faith in Christ. Cathy and I were excited about the opportunity to write about the difficulties of marriage, but we were afraid it might be difficult to generate enough romantic sparks between two people with so much history.

As it turned out, starting with a couple in gridlock was the perfect setup for lots of wonderful making up...after lots of additional road blocks, of course. Writing a story that encourages perseverance in marriage made me recommit to working at my own marriage and I pray it does the same for our readers.

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Thank you, Becky, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Dream Chasers.

Make sure you leave your email address (name at domainname, or your name won't be entered into the drawing. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

You can also check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and any further comments will be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Linda said...

I'm from MN, so I am familiar with storm chasers. I can deal with most any kind of weather, but tornadoes make me nervous. I pray, but they still make me nervous. It would be great to win a book from an author from MN. Please enter my name.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Becky Melby said...

Linda--I think tornadoes are supposed to make us nervous!! In Dream Chasers we used a quote from Mark Twain: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but resistance to the mastery of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say it is brave.” Don't you just love that?

Merry said...

Dreams are so powerful and to honor someone you love by reaching for their aspirations is an interesting adventure. I would love a chance to win Dream Chasers. Thanks!

Emma said...

This book sound wonderful. I would love a chance to win Dream Chasers. Thanks!

Michelle E. said...

That is a beautiful statement from Mark Twain.I believe this book will be encouraging to those that get the chance to read it. Please enter me in the contest and good luck to all.God Bless!

windycindy said...

I have been married for 23 years this month! I think a good marriage is work and takes a lot of perseverance! This book would be a blessing to read.
Many thanks, Cindi

Becky Melby said...

Congratulations on 23 years! Marriage does take work. We're in our fourth decade and still have a lot to learn. But the time we put into staying connected is paying off in these empty nest years. There are rewards for all that work!

Edna said...

congratulations on your 23th anniverary, we just celebrated 48 years together, a lot of water under the bridge!

Please enter me into your contest