How did you get started as a writer?
The first time I opened a Thesaurus I fell in love with words. Writing has always been a dream of mine. I’ve tried my hand at poetry, and even song lyrics. But mostly I journal. I talk to God by writing things down. I’ve shared a few things with close friends who encouraged me to pursue it. That’s how the it all started.
You write romantic suspense, what led you to that genre?
When I began writing Hidden Thorns I didn’t know that it would become a suspense novel. I had no idea what the term “pantser” meant. The story developed organically. I knew where it began and where I wanted it to end. But the mystery/suspense aspect of Lil and Michael’s story just happened. Hidden Thorns is the first in a series, tentatively titled “Impossible Grace”. The series will feature many characters introduced in Hidden Thorns, all with a romantic element at their core, but not necessarily suspense.
However, if you check out my website, you’ll see that I have a different work in progress in the suspense genre.
Do you have a writing process? If yes, what is it?
My writing process is still developing. I have so much to learn about my craft. I’ve begun using the Scriviner software and I’m discovering my version of plotting. But I’m still amazed at how the story can twist and turn as the characters reveal themselves.
Each chapter begins with a blank page. I start with big plot points. When I hit a wall, I put down a few descriptive directions and move to the next scene. That’s the purpose of a first draft, right? 😊
What has been the best advice you’ve received as a writer/author?
“You can’t edit what’s not on the page.” For the life of me I cannot recall who said this or where, but it’s golden wisdom. And it’s a good reminder not to stress too much about the first several drafts. If there are words on the page, you have something to work with.
As a writer, mother and wife, how do you balance your writer life and your family life?
We are very recent “empty nesters”. Two of the kids are on their own, and two are still in college. I am also very fortunate that my husband supports my writing efforts.
My primary balancing act is being a caregiver for my father who is in a nursing facility. Currently, I have three dedicated writing days. If I can grab another, that’s great. God willing, I will have many years left to write. But time with Dad is a priority.
Let’s talk about your debut title, tell us a little about Hidden Thorns.
Lil is a woman of quiet, godly strength. She is recently divorced, and navigating her new-found independence. But her seemingly idyllic new life is abruptly interrupted by a stalker.
Enter confirmed bachelor, and very handsome, Detective Michael Corsey. Initially, taking the case as a favor to an old friend, Michael soon finds himself caught between duty and desire. A relationship with Lil, a conservative Christian, has Michael wading through uncharted waters.
As Lil and Michael’s relationship blossoms, the threats from the phantom stalker grow increasingly violent. Lil is torn between a second chance at love and protecting anyone she cares about. The ensuing events will test the strength of Lil’s relationships, her faith, and possibly even her life.
Tells us a little about Lillian and Det. Michael Corsey.
It is so fun to be able to describe their personalities. It’s something that must be inferred when you read the book. But as the author, I know these characters intimately.
Lillian is a very loyal person. It took thirty years and her husband’s infidelity to leave a marriage of neglect. Even when given the opportunity to malign him, she chooses not to. She has accepted that life long love has passed her by. But when she meets Michael, glimmers of hope begin to twinkle.
Michael is a complex character with deep wounds. His devotion is to the badge alone – until he meets Lil. You’ll see beautiful changes in him as the story progresses.
What is next for Melissa Bennett? Are you working on any new projects?
The second book in this series, currently titled Veiled Blessings, is my project of the day. It will feature Lil’s best friend Katie. Southern, sassy and very guarded, Katie has depths that we have yet to explore. She will have a second opportunity for real love and the fulfilment of dreams that she thought were long buried. The question is, will she allow herself to be vulnerable enough to recognize and accept them for the gifts they are?
What is your favorite quote?
There are so many! But as a quinquagenarian who is just beginning her writing career, I like this one best:
“You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” ~ C. S. Lewis
Where can readers find you?
Check out my website www.melissabennettauthor.com and see what things I’m working on. There’s a place there to send me an email if you’d like to chat.
About the Book
After a 30 year marriage, Lillian (Lil) is enjoying her new independence. But her seemingly idyllic new life is abruptly interrupted by a stalker. Enter the handsome Detective Michael Corsey. Though initially the case was a favor to an old friend, he quickly finds himself caught between duty and desire. And the attraction is very mutual.But relationship with Lil, a conservative Christian, is uncharted territory for Michael, who hasn’t exercised his faith since he was a young man.
Soon enough, Lil is torn between a second chance at love and protecting anyone she cares about from the increasingly violent threats of the phantom stalker.
The thrills, chills, joys and pains of Hidden Thorns, are sure to have you captivated.
Purchase at Amazon.com
Learn more about Melissa Bennett by visiting her website.