Find a Christian store

Interview with Melissa Jagears

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that affect your work as an author?

I am an extreme introvert. When I take personality tests that measure introversion and extroversion, introversion is almost always the dominant factor! I’m not sure it affects my writing any differently than introversion affects any other part of my life.

I do tend to like online writing groups and online marketing better than face-to-face alternatives because it gives me time to think before responding and I can do it through writing instead of talking.

Paint a picture of your writing space. Why do you love it?

I’m in our living room with 11 of my bookshelves lining the walls—which is exciting since I now have enough shelves for all my books! There is something about being surrounded by full bookshelves that makes me happy and relaxed.

I have my computer connected to a 40-inch television so I can have two documents up side-by-side and the font is big enough that I don’t squint and I don’t hunch. I had worked on a laptop, but it was getting painful and hard on the eyes. And an ergonomic keyboard is a must!

Describe your passion as a historical romance novelist. Why is it your niche? How did you decide to write for that genre?

I started my writing journey with a YA romance, but I was told I was writing with more of a Nicholas Spark’s voice than a true young adult voice and I could see that, so I thought about all my story ideas. And though I had a smattering of ideas in a few genres, the bulk was in Historical Romance Land.

When thinking of the future and which genre I thought I could have ideas come to me forever, it seemed that this was where I should be imagination-wise. So I decided to start a historical romance and I got the comment that my voice naturally landed there when I shared it with my group. I read a ton of Christian historical romance, so it would make sense that it would come to me pretty naturally.

In what ways do you hope your stories will help Christian believers mature in their faith?

I hope the spiritual things my characters struggle with are portrayed realistically and not in a cotton candy way. I hope that in each book some readers’ convictions are challenged and those convictions either change or grow stronger as the story unfolds.

Of course, I don’t want anyone developing their theology—or learning history for that matter—based ) on novels, but I hope my stories will illuminate spiritual matters in such a way that readers question what they believe and work through it along with the characters. It is always good to re-examine what you know and believe from time to time.

Tell us about your new novel, A Heart Most Certain. What is it about? Why did you choose that title?

A Heart Most Certain is about two people who do exactly what I want readers to do as per the above question. They’re forced to reconsider what they believe. I loved the title for this book because each one of them was pretty certain they were right, and truly, you shouldn’t be basing your life and actions on anything less than what you believe is the truth. But when you come up against a challenge to your beliefs, you have to be willing to be vulnerable enough to realize that what you are most certain of might be wrong.

Who or what inspired you to write A Heart Most Certain?

A physical landmark, plot devices, and history were the inspiration to this story. First, I was driving past the Brown Mansion in a nearby town—it’s the one on the cover. I thought it would be fun to write about an out-of-place mansion in a little prairie town like the Brown’s residence.

So I was then reflecting on the fact that fairy tale and literary retellings were pretty popular. I started going through classic stories that I couldn’t come up with anybody having retold and thought of a way to combine Scrooge and Aladdin (a miser and three wishes). And then the history of Carrie “Mother” Nation and the moral societies in Kansas added the other spark and it came together from those thoughts.

Tell us about the heroine, Lydia King. What’s she like? What are her flaws? Her strengths?

Lydia is a young bookworm in a precarious family situation. Her strength is the desire to do what is right. Her flaw is not trusting God to help her and leaning more on her understanding than His, which I would guess is the flaw of quite a few of us.

What is the Teaville Moral Society and why did Lydia join it?

Back in that time, many were concerned about the vices and moral problems they saw in their hometowns, etc., and they banded together to take a stand. Lydia joins because she does want to take a stand against immorality and to help the unfortunate with what little resources she has.

What about your hero, Nicholas Lowe? What’s he like? What are his flaws? His strengths?

Nicholas is a bit cynical about others’ motivations considering what happened to him in his past—and even his own past motivations that weren’t that great. Most everyone considers him to be the town’s wealthy miser, and he is fine being viewed as such since it makes his ministry easier (he thinks). His strength is the desire to help others. His flaw is his difficulty in believing highly of others, a prejudice based on his past.

What draws your hero and heroine to each other?

They’re drawn to each other by trying to prove themselves right in the other’s eyes.

What do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

Contests and networking. Both were key. If I hadn’t networked, I’d not know about contests. If I hadn’t entered contests, I wouldn’t have been given so much help in improving the story to catch people’s attention or gotten the editor request and agent (at least not at that time). If I hadn’t networked, I wouldn’t have already been introduced and already considered by my agent prior to the request through a referral, nor would I have been able to get the endorsements I had, one of which came from a contest judge. So I think those two things worked hand in hand.

How does your faith in God affect your storytelling?

It is naturally a part of my life so it shows up! It colors my worldview and no matter what you write, what faith you are, your worldview colors what you do.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Lately I haven’t had much time to do any R&R. Obviously reading. Also watching period movies, crocheting, and repurposing things.


Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and has released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing the next big story, she can be found listening to music, enjoying food, shopping at her favorite malls, and spending quality time with loved ones.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.