Author Talk: September 2013
Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade, is a stay-at-home mom on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house, whose passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. She is the author of the full-length novel A BRIDE FOR KEEPS and the companion novella, LOVE BY THE LETTER, a romance about finding love in unexpected places. In this interview, Jagears opens up about the real collection of true mail-order bride stories that inspired her to write about the subject, how much of herself she puts into her characters, her addiction to Facebook, and the surprising reason she decided to write romance novels to begin with.
Question: What led you to write a mail-order bride series?
Melissa Jagears: I read a fascinating collection of true mail-order bride stories and couldn’t help but make up romance stories for the stranger ones. In romances there’s a happily ever after of course, but I wanted to cameo the insanely various ways mail-order bride situations didn’t go as planned.
Q: Most authors put a little of themselves into their stories. What did you put of yourself into this one?
MJ: I tend to only share my true feelings with a very select group of friends I trust. Both of my main characters take after me in that area --- they need to feel safe with the other characters before they trust them with their feelings.
Q: What were you most concerned about getting right in this story?
MJ: In this story and all my stories, I’m most concerned about getting the romance right. In real life, I’m actually not very adept at emotions or romance --- I think that’s why I read and write them, to practice using emotions vicariously! But romance books are what I most enjoy reading. I’m always disappointed in a book touted as a romance if I can’t feel the characters falling in love. So every book I write, I’m mostly concerned about writing a satisfying romance no matter what else happens in the story.
Q: What do you hope readers will get from your books and why?
MJ: I tend to write characters who feel they are unworthy of being loved. I struggle with that myself, especially when I realize God chose to love us though we are miserable sinners and continues to love us though we are so achingly slow at becoming Christ-like. And if I wonder why He would bother to love me, I also wonder why anyone else should. So I want my characters and readers to go through that journey. Though they aren’t perfect, they should be thankful for and enjoy the love they receive without reservations and feel free to love back --- I’m not sure I’m there myself, so I’m preaching to me.
Q: How can readers keep up with your work?
MJ: The easiest way to find me is at my website www.melissajagears.com. And I might be a little addicted to Facebook so that’s where I play around the most. You can find my Facebook page links and other social media links on my website.