Monday, June 28, 2010

Melissa Lea Leedom's "To Forgive Divine"



We're happy to have Melissa Lea Leedom with us today talking about her book, To Forgive, Divine. To learn more about Melissa and her book, read on!


1) How did this story come to you?
I think all stories start out with a couple of “What ifs…?” I worked on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity when I lived in Alabama. The Board President who was rolling off just as I was coming on was a man I greatly admired, but who I could see had real privacy issues in dealing with being a pastor. What if, I wondered, this pastor were single and he and a woman equally reluctant to be the subject of public scrutiny, suddenly found themselves alone together in a restaurant—just as one of the biggest gossips in their church is passing by? What if every circumstance seems, at one and the same time, constantly to throw them together when seeing each other has suddenly become awkward and painful? To Forgive, Divine, as its title implies, explores how two people can find their way back to each other through forgiveness.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Having attended a number of writers’ conferences at which the constant refrain was how next-to-impossible it is for an unknown writer to find an agent or get published, and having also been told that even if one DID manage to get published, one would still be largely responsible for marketing the book, I thought, “Well, if I’m going to do my own marketing anyway, let me just go ahead and publish it myself.”
And To Forgive, Divine has been received by readers and reviewers just as it would have been had it come from Harvest House or Tyndale (check out the reviews and reader comments on my website). I sell and sign books at book stores and other author events, I speak at writers’ conferences, and I have people contact me via my website, just like a “real” author. While I haven’t made the New York Times Bestseller List, To Forgive, Divine is still selling, six years later.


3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. Even though I’m very much a “word” person, I minored in math; this was enough to allow me to teach math at community colleges for 11 years.
2. I’m a “late bloomer” who once despaired of ever earning a college degree. I now have a Master’s degree in English. Never say never!
3. I was heavily influenced by Jane Austen in writing To Forgive, Divine. See if you can see some of her plotting elements (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion) in the story.


4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I wrote a small book called The Story of the Bible for a group of teenage girls I work with at my church, which I subsequently posted on my website. Last fall, with the help of two women from my church, I translated it into Spanish, and that version is also on my site. I recently translated it into Portuguese for our minister of youth, who is fluent in the language and who is going to be conducting a mission trip to Brazil this summer. As soon as he has proofread it for me, I’ll prepare hard copy books for him to bring with him, as well as post it to my site. My goal is to have it translated into French and Arabic by the end of the year. It’s by far the most visited part of my website.
Also, there are two sequels to To Forgive, Divine planned.


5) Parting comments?
To Forgive, Divine is the kind of book that makes a great gift to the non-Christian reader. Anyone who loves a good romance will love it. But I’ve had readers, both Christian and non-Christian, tell me they appreciated how the story gets the message of Christianity across without being preachy. And isn’t getting the message of Jesus across really the ultimate goal of inspirational fiction?


6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
http://www.forgive490.com/
forgive490@yahoo.com

55 comments:

  1. Forgiveness is so important for the one who is harboring it! Please count me in...
    Thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  2. This book sounds great!

    edwina[dot]cowgill[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  3. sounds interesting

    aimymichelle[at]gmail[dot]com

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  4. "To Forgive, Divine" sounds like the kind of book that I like to read.
    Kaye Whitney
    kayewhitney@bellsouth.net

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  5. please count me in...thanks :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  6. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance.

    I am an email subscriber.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  7. This sounds really interesting.
    wsmarple/at/gmail/dot/com

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  8. GREAT INTERVIEW...
    I really want to read this and I have a lot of other people who I would like to read this...
    I'm always saying those same words it seems...
    Thank you

    Heidi
    heidijohnjeff@verizon.net

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  9. Thanks for the giveaway
    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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  10. Very appealing review. I'm looking forward to reading the book.

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  11. Forgiveness is an issue that is currently at the forefront in my own family so I would love to read this book.

    Also, a note to Melissa: My daughter is a college student who is studying numerous languages with the goal of becoming a translator. She is already extremely fluent in French and could possibly help you with the French version of The Story of the Bible if you would be interested.

    janmarien[at]embarqmail[dot]com

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  12. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance. I am an e-mail subscriber.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  13. I admire your perseverance to get "To Forgive, Divine" published. The book sounds like one everyone would benefit from reading. I think it is wonderful that you are translating "The Story of the Bible" into all those languages so it can reach so many people. I'm on my way to your website next to read it for myself.

    Thanks for taking the time for the interview - blessings to you & also you, Dawn.

    Beverly
    bgrider2@cox.net

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  14. The book sounds interesting. Put my name in the hat. sharon a lavy at gmail dot com

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  15. would love to read this...

    ohboystrus1@hotmail.com

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  16. Forgiveness is always welcome, This sounds like a very interesting story, would enjoy reading it

    ctymice@gmail.com

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  17. With love comes patience, with patience comes understanding, with understanding comes compassion, and with compassion comes forgiveness.

    MISS PATTY@
    misspattylynn@gmail.com

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  18. Sounds to be a very interesting read.
    I'm interesting in winning this book.
    marshwins at yahoo dot com

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  19. This sounds like a very interesting book.
    George Ferris
    k1n2@sweeps.ws

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  20. I would love to read this book It sounds so interesting. baidar@bellsouth.net

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  21. the book sounds bery interresting. sounds like I may even learn something from this book. thanks for a chance to recieve this

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  22. I, myself, am a late bloomer as well. I am 47 and have returned to college to get my teaching degree while I raise 2 children on my own. You are an inspiration to women and this book is proof of that.

    sandirocks@aol.com

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  23. since i can't go out much when it's so humid due to breathing issues, i like to read a lot during the summer. would love to have this one to read!

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  24. Sounds like a "must read". I am always telling my children that they have to forgive. In this day & age sometime it's a hard thing to do. But forgive you must. Would love to read this book

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  25. Sounds like a great book, I like the fact taht you didn't give up on getting it published, I wish you much success!
    bluefairy68@hotmail.com

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  26. To forgive is taking a huge burden from yourself. Why be miserable when you don't have to be? I would love to read your book.
    Thank you,
    Brenda McClain

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  27. If you don't forgive then life can become miserable.

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  28. I would love this book for my husband a new christian who needs to learn more about forgivness and what it can do for your soul.
    juvides@comcast.net

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  29. This book sounds like something everyone should read and you are very inspiring, thank you!
    Jennifer

    jennifer_mi00@yahoo.com

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  30. Very nice book, I would like to read it. cheryllynne@rocketmail.com

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  31. Should be a Great book and also a book all couples should read. I am looking forward to reading this book!

    momofone1994@aol.com

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  32. to forgive is universal

    rachel999@email.com

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  33. Very intriguing, can't wait to read!! klrousseau@juno.com

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  34. I love the review and I can't wait to win the book to read it!!

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  35. I believe in forgiveness. I would like to read this book then pass it on to those who need to learn forgiveness then to those who know forgiveness. GOD BLESS YOU for writting this book.

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  36. Would like to read this!
    Congrats on pursuing your dream.
    dstiller@telus.net
    A.S.

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  37. The contest is a great idea. I'm a Jane Austin fan too.

    mplsvala@yahoo.com

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  38. and to forget heavenly

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  39. I am an avid reader and would love to add another author my reading list.

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  40. I am an avid reader...I would really love to have a copy of your "new" book to read. It would definitely be a book that I would enjoy and probably wouldn't be able to put it down once I started reading it! Like myself, you can never have enough great books to read!!! joannabrown17@comcast.net

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  41. everyone needs to learn to forgive. sounds like a book i would love to read.

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  42. Forgiveness is important and we all need to search deep in ourselves and forgive ourselves and those that we feel have wronged us in some way.
    Robyn

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  43. I'm just getting into reading Jane Austen's works and I love them! Can't wait to read Melissa's book and find the similarities

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  44. This sounds great. I must read this! I am always telling people that they must forgive.
    dolfinn147@hotmail.com

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  45. Diane SienkiewiczJune 30, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    It is hard for me to forgive some people especially when they really hurt me. I guess to forgive is divine. I hope I could attain that status sometime.

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  46. Life is so short to let anyone keep you down-you just have to find the strengthen and forgive and go on

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  47. Forgiveness comes from within, I can always forgive someone but that doesn't mean that I can easily forget.

    Kim
    klmoore1980@aol.com

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  48. I would certainly like to read this book as I have many areas (people) that I need to forgive and I find it very difficult. I am in a particularly hard time right now.
    Bambi

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  49. would love to win!
    nakiassgeorge@yahoo.com

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  50. I would love to win this book!! Sounds excellent!! It has been a difficult summer- with family problems- so it would be a great inspiration.

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  51. I would love to win this book!!

    ~Steph
    soklad@hotmail.com

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  52. To Forgive Devine sounds like the book I need to read. (brobsn@comcast.net)

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  53. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment and entered. Sandra of Elmwood Park, NJ, was the winner. Congratulations, Sandra!

    I hope that each of who expressed interest in To Forgive, Divine will request that either your church library or your public library (or both) order a copy. That way, when you've read it, you'll be able to recommend it to your friends and they'll have access to it, too.

    Failing that, there are a number of inexpensive used copies available on Amazon.com (if you don't want to spring for the cost of a new one). When you do read it, I sincerely hope that you'll drop me a note letting me know your thoughts on it.

    May God continue to bless you all as you seek to forgive as He forgave us,

    Melissa Lea Leedom

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