Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Becky Melby's "Contest of Wills"

      Title: Contest of Wills, a novella in Cedar Creek Seasons
      Publisher: Barbour Publishing
      Cover blurb:
“A Contest of Wills” by Becky Melby
Minutes after braving frigid waters in the annual Polar Bear Dip near Cedarburg, free-spirited, forty-something Willow Miles literally grabs the nearest man to solve her car trouble. Predictable Wilson Woodworth offers Willow and her children a ride—simple kindness that plunges both into uncharted waters. When a contest to win retail space in the coveted historic district draws the unlikely pair into some outlandish schemes, will they find that opposites attract?

“In Tune with You” by Rachael Phillips
Twenty-five-year-old Chesca Appel, part-time choirmaster and music box shop manager, plans a magnificent cantata to celebrate Easter. Then her pastor requests two unexpected additions: drama and children, neither of which she feels capable of handling. Enter Seth Amundsen, a tone-deaf football coach who loves both. He, the rowdy children, his alluring ex-fiancée, her vengeful mother, and a basketful of trouble all join to make a cantata more memorable than Chesca ever imagined.

“Silvery Summer” by Eileen Key
With art, culture, the scent of strawberries, summer-at-its-finest, and love in the air, newly retired Claire Parsons can’t resist wondering if she misjudged Cedarburg’s—and Eli Mueller’s—influence over her. They both broke her heart once. Does she dare let them work their magic on her at this stage of life? Will love come full circle in Cedarburg?

“Maybe Us” by Cynthia Ruchti
With college more than ten years behind her, Beth Schurmer can’t afford to invest in a love interest. . .plus her Yarn Shop and caring for her great-grandfather. Love has threatened to bankrupt her more times than she can count. It’s a good thing her neighbor, basketball star turned chocolatier Derrick Hofferman feels the same way. But as autumn comes to Cedarburg, Beth considers that wool of three strands might have merit after all.

1) How did this story come to you? 
While sister Wisconsinite Cynthia Ruchti and I were brainstorming ideas for a new novella collection we discovered with both loved the history and tranquil beauty of Cedarburg. We were thrilled when Rachael Phillips and Eileen Key, our cohorts in A Door County Christmas, wanted to join us for another collection. We divided up the year and I was blessed to end up with the first three months of the calendar—a fun-filled time in this tourist town. Cedarburg hosts a Winter Festival that touts events like a bed race and a chili cook-off. Researching these none-too-serious competitions triggered the idea of creating two main characters, polar opposites in life philosophy and personality, competing against each other. During a visit to the Shops at Cedar Creek Settlement, a boutique mall set in an old stone woolen mill, I decided to have my Willow and Wilson compete for a rent-free year of shop space at the mall. When I started writing, I wasn’t sure who was going to win!

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published. 
When the four of us began tossing around ideas via email, we agreed on two main things: we would each take a different season of the year, and the famous bridge (the last surviving covered bridge in Wisconsin) would be featured in each story. We combined our ideas, wrote our synopses, and were thrilled to receive an acceptance from Barbour editor, Rebecca Germany. After that, there was nothing to do but start writing and plan a research trip. Sadly, my mother passed away the week we’d planned to meet in Cedarburg. I wasn’t able to join the other three, but I was there in spirit and gleaned so much from their experience of seeing Cedarburg in June in its full bloom of flowers and tourists. We finished our novellas before our October deadline and now we’re proud to hold our new “baby” in our hands!

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I once won a black olive-eating contest.
2. I had the joy of being present at the home birth of two of my grandsons.
3. I can trace my genealogy back to Ethan Allen.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you? 
I’m currently working on a three-book series. Like my Lost Sanctuary series, these are contemporary stories that each contain a historical thread. I went back to the 1852, 1912, and the Roaring Twenties for Lost Sanctuary, and this time I’ll be writing about characters in the nineteen-forties, -fifties, and -seventies.

5) Parting comments? 
Thank you for this opportunity! I’m looking forward to meeting some of your followers.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet? 
www.beckymelby.com, Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/becky.f.melby, Twitter: @BeckyMelby

Cedar Creek Seasons (Romancing America)