Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Bride for Keeps - Interview with Melissa Jagears

Hi! Jodie Wolfe here with a fun interview with Melissa Jagears about her debut novel, A Bride For Keeps.

1. Tell us about yourself and your writing journey.
I'm a mother of little kids and I write, so I don't do anything particularly exciting anymore, besides try to fix plot problems in my head while I clean up shattered glasses of chocolate milk on the floor while someone announces that her sibling stinks because the potty training isn't going so well, all the while convincing myself that ignoring the dishes piled up beside the sink is simply an ingenious homeschooling project--what better way to observe, experiment with, and talk about ants!?

Yep, I did that today....I know you envy me. :)

As to my writing journey, it started because diapers and patty-cake wasn't exercising my brain. If I'd known how hard writing was to get right and make everyone happy, I might have bought some more logic puzzle magazines! But as hubby said, if I didn't write, I'd have found something else to do late at night, so I'm good--and I can't seem to stop any more......

2. Are you crafty?
I used to crochet a baby blanket for every newborn I knew since I was 12. But I'm an impatient crafter. When I started my first attempt at a baby jacket that had to be sized properly (unlike a blanket) it was big enough for a four year old no matter what I did or needle I used! So I visited one of those ritzy yarn stores with weekly get-togethers and was taught how to properly do would take me 5 times longer to do things the right way! So I started winging patterns rather than following any so that my fast stitching made the size I wanted without using gauge. Real crafters are probably appalled at me now.
I used to make-up silly crochet projects in college, like Mary Jane slippers and little animals, to avoid studying....
And then I graduated to frugal art when I started staying home with my kids, no wasting money on buying yarn! So I'd use what I had already to meet my needs...and some people were just amazed that I made cloth diapers out of free thrift store t-shirts, flannel robes, and moth-eaten wool sweaters or that I used a blog instead of scrapbooking to keep a record of my children's lives, or that I saved egg cartons for the kids to use as blocks (which take up lots less storage space) etc.

So that's when I started my most popular blog ever (which shames all my other blogs with the amount of page views it still gets everyday though I've quit really putting anything on it about 2 years ago). You can peruse the archives at Making Do with the Not so New if you're so inclined to see what I make out of discards basically.

3. Tell us about something fun/funny you've come across in your writing research.
I'm actually going to share a book (that you can get for free on kindle) that I just purely enjoyed reading although it was totally a research book, it was like reading a novel.
The writer had an absolutely wonderful personality on the page, her observations of her neighbors and their escapades were entertaining, and she described the landscape sooo beautifully I actually enjoyed reading it (and I'm not a description reading kinda-girl). As good as any novel, and it's true (from her perspective anyway!)

4. Tell us about a time someone told you something or you read something that left an impression on you that still affects you to this day.

Once when my youth minister was praying on a mission trip I took as an 8th grader, he asked God to be "so kind as to help Melissa realize how to put her socks on right-side out." He was just being funny, but every time I put on socks to this day, I can't let that little seam be on the outside no matter how much of a hurry I'm in or how hardly noticeable it is or that no one will ever see!
But on a serious note, that same youth minister, when I asked him years later to tell me my faults so I could correct them, refused to tell me any, saying I was too hard on myself as it was. That's all he said, but I realized then that most people could likely list off what they saw were my many fault--including him, but I don't need to fix stuff about myself to make other people happy, I need to concentrate on fixing what God was nudging me to fix next, and then move onto the next thing He showed me. It's Him I should be striving to please, not everyone around me.

So lesson? Be careful what you say to teens, they do listen no matter how much they look like they aren't . . . .  and it can affect their sock wearing choices forever.

5. Tell us about your most recent book:
I've actually got two coming out really close together, the first is a FREE novella (ebook only), so you can download it today for nothing! Check it out here.

Love by the Letter is the romance story I made up for the neighbors in A Bride for Keeps.

Dex Stanton’s first attempt at acquiring a mail-order bride fails when the lady writes back ridiculing his atrocious spelling. Rachel Oliver, the smart little brunette who sat in front of him in school, is the last woman he wants to ask for help. How can he handle her knowing what a dunce he really is?

Rachel Oliver has had enough. She’s lingered in town for two years mooning over Dex, and now she’s done, done, done. If the fool wants to write to a mail-order bride company so be it. She’ll help him find a fancy eastern wife and then go to college as her parents wish. Except once she starts working with Dex, she wants to stop. How can she help him capture another woman’s heart as thoroughly as his laidback charm has captured her own?

And my first novel is A Bride for Keeps which comes out October 1:

Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won’t humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again–not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She’s the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, and it’s just not possible she’s there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she’s determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?
Thanks for having me, Jodie!


You're welcome, Melissa. I know I can't wait to read my copy of each of these. Congratulations on this achievement.

Pull up a chair and stay for a bit to ask Melissa some questions.


  1. I love this interview! Melissa, you are a woman after my own heart! As the mother of three young children myself, I can totally relate! Reading late at night is my getaway.

    I had the privilege of reading an ARC of A BRIDE FOR KEEPS and it is written with such tenderness and depth. It is a wonderful novel and I highly recommend it! It is certainly a book for keeps!!!

    1. Britney, thanks for the nice endorsement there. I wish I had time to read more late into the night. Though now, the newborn totally sucks that time away!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Britney.

    Enjoy your little ones. They grow up so quickly. :)

  3. Thank you for this wonderful interview. I cannot wait to read A BRIDE FOR KEEPS. I have heard great things! I am amazed at Melissa's talent plus the fact that she has a little more going on in her life than just writing which would be overwhelming in itself.

    1. Yep, I second "overwhelming"....what was I thinking????? :)

  4. The sock thing is funny because my Mom, who passed this on to my daughter, always wore her socks inside out because the seam hurt her toes she said. There, now you have a good reason to wear your socks inside out, lol.

    1. I can put them on inside out on my newborns since it seems to bother them, but that voice taunts me all day if I try to ignore it. Now if the seam bothered me I might have the courage to ignore the voice in my head.....but since it doesn't,,,,