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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CFBA Blog Tour - Melanie Dobson and Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa

Don't forget the new rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa
Summerside Press - (March 1, 2010)
by Melanie Dobson


MELANIE BEROTH DOBSON is the author of the inspirational novels Together for Good (2006), Going for Broke (2007), The Black Cloister (2008), Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana (2009), Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (2010), Refuge on Crescent Hill (2010), and The Silent Order (2010) as well as the co-author of Latte for One and Loving It! A Single Woman's Guide to Living Life to Its Fullest (2000).

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

by Melanie Dobson
Published by Summerside Press


Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?

What item would the heroine of this novel love if it was available?

Readers, buy your copy of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I’ve been intrigued by the Amana Colonies and culture since I lived in Iowa during my high school years. There is no place else in the world quite like the picturesque and peaceful Amanas so it was an honor for me to visit and write a story of what life would have looked like in these communal villages during the late 1800s.

The story is about a lively Amana woman who thrives in her community and a broken man from Chicago who longs for the security of a home for his daughter. As I worked on the story, I contrasted the contented Amana people with the stress and worry following the financial Panic of 1893. The collision of these two very different worlds is the premise of my book.

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

Liesel Strauss is the heroine in this novel, and her personality reminds me a lot of my youngest daughter. Liesel thrives on her friendships, and she's content in her surroundings. She's also delightful to be with--funny and full of life. I'm a much more driven person than Liesel, and I often find myself getting grumpy instead of being content, but writing from Liesel's perspective on life brought me a lot of joy. I admired Liesel just like I admire the mix of both peace and energy that my daughter exudes wherever she goes.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

If bubble gum ice cream was invented in 1894, my heroine would have been a huge fan. Liesel loves having fun and delights in all aspects of life both big and small. If she’d been born in the 1920s, she would have been blowing bubbles.

4. Are there any themes in Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

In today's culture, we often sacrifice our friendships and community for the busyness of life. The heart of this book is the importance of community and how the Amana people both cared for each other during the communal era and still care for each other today. Even though most of us can’t live in the Amana Colonies, writing this story was a good reminder to me to take a step back from the never ending craziness found in the world and savor the peace and joy that Jesus offers all who choose to follow Him. And it also reminded me to spend more time cultivating the relationships with the friends and family members I’m blessed to know and love.

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

My least favorite part of writing any novel is testing and growing my characters because I never want anything bad to happen to them. The trials that Jacob and his young daughter Cassie faced broke my heart and those scenes were difficult to write, but these hardships made writing their victory so much sweeter. My favorite part of this novel wasn’t the actual writing—it was spending five days researching in the Amana Colonies. I loved learning about the Amana heritage, tasting the amazing pastries pulled out of a hearth oven, and walking along the pristine canal that wove past several of the villages.

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

Refuge on Crescent Hill is my next novel, and it releases in May. This is a contemporary romantic suspense set in a dilapidated Ohio mansion—a mansion hiding a number of both past and present secrets. The Silent Order, my next romantic suspense novel through Summerside, releases this fall. The Silent Order is set in 1928, and the story is about a detective named Rollin Wells who hides out in the home of an Amish family as he tries to find out who exactly in Cleveland wants him dead.

* * * * *

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

NEW!! Readers, find the question buried somewhere in the spotlight and answer it in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Merry said...

I've never read about the Amana colonies, so this is an interesting setting. Liesel would like bubble gum ice cream with her fun loving personality. Please include me, this sounds great!


Casey said...

I am going to say the bubble gum ice cream- and I found it for myself- I didn't read the above comment first. :)

Email in profile.

This book looks great- thansk for the chance to win!!

Casey said...

Oops, I meant JUST bubble gum, not the ice cream part. :)

Cherie J said...

If bubble gum ice cream was invented in 1894, the heroine would have been a huge fan. Liesel loves having fun and delights in all aspects of life both big and small. If she’d been born in the 1920s, she would have been blowing bubbles.

Enjoyed the interview. Thanks for another great spotlight.


Carole said...

Inserting that question is a cute idea. Liesel would have loved bubble gum ice cream if it had been invented in 1894.

Melanie's book is getting great reviews and I'd love to read it. Thank you for the interview and chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Rosalie Patience said...

Please enter me in the drawing. It sounds great! :)


abster . rose @ yahoo . com

Anonymous said...

"bubble gum ice cream" ... this book sounds like a fabulous read...thanks for the opportunity to read it

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Edna said...

don't want any bubble gum ice cream yuk

Please enter me


Melanie Dobson said...

How can you not like bubble gum ice cream? :) My girls and I are big fans.

Thanks for your great interview, Tiffany. I enjoyed "chatting" with you. I loved writing this story set in the Amana Colonies, and I hope your readers will enjoy it as well.

windycindy said...

Liesel would have enjoyed bubble gum ice cream if it were available in 1894. In the 1920s, she would have been blowing bubbles. I have been to the Amana Colonies and they are wonderful. Many thanks, Cindi

Anonymous said...

Bubblegum ice cream....sounds is ...have tried it.
Please enter me. Thanks!!!

Michelle said...

"If bubble gum ice cream was invented in 1894, my heroine would have been a huge fan."

Thank you for entering me, Tiff!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this one. It sounds very interesting.

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Carolynn said...

If bubble gum ice cream was invented in 1894, my heroine would have been a huge fan.
Thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald [at]hotmail [dot]com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have sent your mailing address to Melanie so she can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.

Cherie J said...

Thanks so much Tiff! I am thrilled to have won.