Friday, January 18, 2013

Interview & Giveaway with Melanie Dickerson!

I was privileged to read The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson (click on the title for my review -- it comes out January 22). Anyway, it was SO good! Definitely a book I'm keeping! So I asked Melanie if we could do an interview and giveaway...and she said yes. The result? You see it before you! Enjoy this interview, it's a lot of fun.

Melanie, welcome to Austenitis! I am so excited to be talking with you today about your newest book, The Fairest Beauty. Before we get into that, would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you so much, Charity!!! I am so excited to be on Austenitis! I am the biggest Jane Austen fan. She is my favorite author, and my daughters and I can’t get enough movie adaptations of her novels! We watch them all the time, and I own quite a few.

About myself? Besides being a Jane Austen fanatic, I live in north Alabama. I’ve been a special education teacher and a missionary in Ukraine, and now I lead an ordinary life as a stay at home mom who happens to make up and write stories. I have two amazing daughters and one amazing husband. And it has rained so much in the last few weeks here in north Alabama, I’m thinking about taking up ship building.

Yay, another Austen fan! Those movie adaptions are the best. :) Good  luck with your ship building! Please tell us a little bit about the plot of The Fairest Beauty.

It is a Snow White retelling, set in Medieval Europe, and it is about a girl who longs to escape her life as a scullery maid to the cruel Duchess Ermengard. When a young man, Gabe, appears, telling her she’s the daughter of the long-dead Duke Baldewin and that she’s betrothed to his brother, she isn’t at all sure she should trust him. NOT trusting people has kept her alive and sane and she’s not too sure she should change her policy now. But she ends up having little choice in the matter when the duchess tries to have her killed. She and Gabe flee for their lives, heading toward the safe haven of the Cottage of the Seven, a mysterious place where they’ve been told they’ll find refuge.

Yes, readers, it's just as good as it sounds! Melanie, what was your favorite part of The Fairest Beauty to write?

My favorite part? Well, I like writing the exciting turning points and action scenes. I also like writing any kind of pivotal turning points in the characters’ mindsets, when they come to terms with a problem or realize they’ve been wrong, those kinds of things. I try to leave out all the boring parts. :)

You succeeded in that! Not a slow minute in the book. What gave you the idea, or inspired you to write The Fairest Beauty?

I got the idea from the Snow White fairy tale, particularly the Disney version of the tale. I thought it would be fun to take the story of Snow White and make her realistic, and give her a hero who desperately wants to save her. But she’s very tough, and she intends to save herself.

Is there any special story about the beautiful cover?

This cover is gorgeous, isn’t it? Zondervan hired the same freelance guy to do this cover, Mike Heath, who had done my previous covers. He also creates my trailers, which can be found on my website, I really had nothing to do with the cover. My editor asked me what I thought would look good on the cover, and I said I thought it would be cool to have a bright red apple in the background somewhere, to show that it’s a Snow White story---since the evil “queen” tries to kill Snow White with a poison apple, and I did include that element in my story.

I really enjoyed the way you portrayed the seven who are commonly known in the classic fairy tale as the Seven Dwarfs. How did you come up with the ideas for their different (and entertaining) personalities? 

I really have a lot of affection for my Seven men. :) I drew on my background as a special education teacher, and I used the original Seven Dwarfs’ unique characteristics. The leader is indeed a dwarf, or it’s more polite to say, “little person.” But none of the other men are small, they just all have different things that might make other Medieval people afraid of them because they don’t understand them.

For instance, my “Sleepy” character has narcolepsy and falls asleep easily; my “Happy” character is severely mentally impaired and is loveably emotional; my “Grumpy” character has had a brain injury that has affected his personality, and so on.

I love that you did that! I know you’re already preparing another book for publication this fall. Can you tell us a little about it?

My next book is already finished, it just has to be edited, and they are almost finished with the cover, which is very beautiful, BTW! It is called The Captive Maiden and is about Valten, Gabe’s older brother. At the end of The Fairest Beauty, Valten isn’t very happy, so I wanted to make sure he got to have his own heroic story. He saves the “Cinderella” character, whose name is Gisela, not only from her mean stepmother, but also from his own rival, who keeps trying to defeat Valten in jousting tournaments but keeps losing.

Can't wait to read it, and see the cover! :) What is your favorite time period to read about? How about to write about?

I love reading about Medieval times and Regency England, and those are the two time periods I love to write about as well.

If you could be any literary character, who would you be? Why?

Hm, I guess I would be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, because she gets Mr. Darcy, and Darcy is my favorite hero. :)

Good answer! :) Is there a random fact about you that most people don’t know?

My favorite flower is the tulip.

What is one thing you dread doing?

I dread dieting, so I rarely do it. I also dread exercising, but I force myself.

Haha, I think you aren't the only one to hate either of those things... ;) What’s a book you recently enjoyed reading?

Lately I’ve mostly been reading about the Regency (I will have a book set in Regency England coming
out before long … stay tuned!) but the last novel I read and really enjoyed was Moonlight Masquerade, a Regency romance by Ruth Axtell. I got to read an advance copy. It comes out March 1st, and I highly recommend it!

I'll keep an eye out for it! Which of your book covers is your favorite?

That is a hard question. I think The Fairest Beauty, because of the color and intrigue.

The colors on this cover are lovely. Thanks so much for coming today, Melanie! The Fairest Beauty is a great book, and I’m already anticipating reading your other books. Where can readers find you on the web?

I love to hear from readers, and you can write to me on my website, where you can also watch my book trailers, or through my facebook page, So please come by and “Like” my author page and say hi! I’m on facebook a lot (probably more than I should be!)

Thanks again, Melanie! Readers, we're back to just me.

So, any of you think you might want to read The Fairest Beauty? If not...well, it's your loss. But hey, if's an opportunity to enter to win it! And let me tell you -- this is a book well worth winning and reading. :) Enter via the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Debbie Lynne and Kathy said...

I love the twist you give the 7 dwarves! I am eager to read this book--big fan of Melanie's, and of fairy tales. Nice interview.

Kathy Maher

karenk said...

i have read...and loved...melanie's previous novels.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I have read The Healer's Apprentice and really enjoyed it. I have been looking forward to the realease of The Fairest Beauty and can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win.
Katie Johnson

Patty said...

I enjoyed 'The Merchant's Daughter', but havent read 'The Healers Apprentice' or this book. The covers are great!


Rosie said...

I really enjoyed your version of the dwarves, Melanie! They were awesome! :-) The Fairest Beauty is definitely a favorite.

Merry said...

I really enjoyed The Healer's Apprentice. Love to be entered for Melanie's newest!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Leah Dymesich said...

I have read The Merchants Daughter and The Healers Apprentice. I loved both of them! I can't wait to read The Fairest Beauty. It looks and sounds so good!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Charity!!! And hi to everyone commenting so far! I love my readers! Thank you for your kind comments! :-)

Kara said...

Great interview Charity and Melanie! It was so wonderful to get to know you and your new book better, Melanie :)

I enjoyed both previous books, but I'd have to say The Merchant's Daughter holds a special place in my heart.

That's so cool about the red apple being on the cover and the seven men having different personalities, can't wait to read this! Thanks so much for the giveaway, blessings to you both ladies :)

Kiri Liz said...

I've read The Healer's Apprentice, and I quite enjoyed the fact that it didn't follow the typical fairytale lines (love at first sight and immediate marriage type of thing). Instead, the hero and heroine learned to trust and love each other before they gave each other their hearts.

Amada Chavez said...

I haven't read anything yet, but I there are many that I've been dying to get review copies of. :)

My favorite fairy tale (movie) retelling is probably...The Huntsman or Mirror Mirror.
I like the snow white ones A LOT that's why I REALLY want to get this one! :)

Liz R said...

I haven't read anything by Melanie yet but I've found myself with some downtime (very rare!) and plan to do a lot of reading! Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite Disney movie so I think I'll start with The Merchants Daughter.

Jasmine A. said...

I have read The Healer's Apprentice and The Merchant's Daughter and I loved them both! I am really looking forward to reading The Fairest Beauty this year.

Hayden said...

I can't wait to read this!! I've pre-ordered it, but it hasn't arrived yet :(

A sequel??? Yay!!!! I'm waaaay to excited now. I thought this would be the last of the series, so I was really sad. *happy days are here again* :)

Brittany Britta said...

I have never read any of her books, I sure would like too.

Amy Campbell said...

I have not read any of Melanie's books. I like the retelling of a Beauty and Beast story.

Amy Campbell said...

I have not read any of Melanie's books. I like the retelling of a Beauty and Beast story.

Wendy Newcomb said...

No, I haven't read any of her books but my daughter likes them.


Marissa said...

I've read The Merchant's Daughter. I love fairy tale retellings!


Pam K. said...

I read The Healer's Apprentice and really enjoyed it, as did my daughter. I gave her a copy of The Merchant's Daughter for Christmas and am waiting my turn to read it. We both would love to read The Fairest Beauty. I like how Melanie takes traditional fairy tales and gives them a new twist. Thanks for the chance to win this new book.


Mary Beth said...

I haven't read any of Melanie's books....yet. :) This one sounds really good. I'll have to see what our library has by her!

I'd have to say....oh goodness, no, I can't choose a favorite. Perhaps Beauty and the Beast.

Rachelle Rea said...

I've read all of Melanie Dickerson's other fairy-tale retellings and they.are.awesome! Thanks for this opportunity to win her latest one!

Rachelle Rea said...

Oh, my email! So sorry! Here ya go:

inspiringdaring (at) yahoo (dot) com

Abbi Hart said...

I have read both of Melanie's previous books and absolutely loved them! I can't wait to read this one!

Veronica Sternberg said...

I've read Healer's Apprentice so far and really liked it. Would love to win this one!shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

Laura V said...

I just finished The Merchant's Daughter, the first book of Melanie Dickerson's books I've ever read. Really enjoyed the fresh spin on the tale of Beauty and the Beast. I'm about to start, The Healer's Apprentice...the anticipation just keeps growing to finally pick up, The Fairest Beauty! I've been drawn to if for the last several months, since I saw the cover, eagerly awaiting it's release date.

Jemimah C. said...

I have never read any book by Melanie, but I know I'm missing out a lot. I sooo can't wait to read those fairy tale retellings! Snow White happens to be one of the fairy tales I least like, but the way the plot of The Fairest Beauty sounds so interesting.

My favorite retelling is Ella Enchanted, though. Such a fun, creative story!

Samantha Kuiper said...

I haven't read any of her books... I just love fairy tales! My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I try to read almost every version of B & the B I can find. :)

Rebecca said...

I totally agree with you about want to be Elizabeth Bennet. Oh Mr. Darcy!!!

I would love to your new book. I haven't had a chance to read any of your older books but I definitely will now.

KayM said...

I haven't read any of Melanie's books, nor any fairy tale retelling that I can recall. I would love to read this one.

Little Lady said...

Yes!! I love Melanie's books, and my sister and I have been waiting anxiously for this one to come out! Add me in the drawing if you would! :)

Little Lady

Hannah Mary said...

Lovely interview. I'd love to read this book!

Scullery Maid said...

I never enter givaways, but when I saw the subject, I could'nt resist! I've read The Healer's Apprentice and the Merchant's Daughter, and it's so hard to chuse between them! But I'd have to go with The Merchant's Daughter.

C. Cruz

Anonymous said...

I have not read any of her work, but it looks like such fun! I really LOVE the cover art as well. :) I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover...but I do. ;)
It isn't a book, but I enjoyed the Snow White and the Huntsman movie retelling. :)

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

I haven't read any of her books, but I do have the Healer's Apprentice on my bookshelf and can't wait to get a chance to read it. thank you!

Anonymous said...

I loved The Merchant's Daughter, partly because I love the Beauty and the Beast story and partly because it was just a great book. I can't wait to read The Fairest Beauty.

Bluerose said...

I read The Healer's Apprentice, and now I can't wait to read this one!

Anonymous said...

I loved The Merchant's Daughter and the Healer's Apprentice! I cannot wait to read Fairest Beauty! Cannot put these books down!

Katelyn said...

The Fairest Beauty sounds quite intriguing. I have not read any of Melanie Dickerson's books, but this may have helped me find some new reading material. Thanks for the help!