October 19, 2011

Three Times A Charm With Melissa Ann Goodwin

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we are joined by author, Melissa Ann Goodwin, and her newly released book, The Christmas Village. Melissa, tells us about you.

I treasure wonderful memories of a happy and carefree childhood growing up in the beautiful New England town of Andover, Massachusetts. I am especially grateful to the teachers there, who encouraged me to read the books that inspired me to become a writer. I now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with my husband, artist J. Richard Secor. I have written many stories, poems and articles for children's magazines, and my non-fiction work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers. The Christmas Village is my first novel for children.

Melissa, you have a new release out in the world. Tell us all about it.

My book, The Christmas Village, is a middle-grade fantasy adventure. It is available in print from Amazon.com, Createspace.com and select independent bookstores. It will also soon be available as an e-book through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.

Here’s a bit about it:

When 12-year-old Jamie Reynolds comes to his grandparents' Vermont home for Christmas, he just wants things to go back to the way they were before his dad disappeared. Time and again he is drawn to Grandma's miniature Christmas Village, where he imagines that life is perfect. Late one night, the village comes to life before Jamie's eyes, and his fantasy of escaping into it becomes very real indeed. He discovers that the village is called Canterbury, where the year is 1932. Jamie becomes fast friends with Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, and is taken in by Ida, who runs the local boarding house. But he also makes a dangerous enemy of the mysterious and menacing Jim Gordon, whose return to town is nothing but trouble. As Jamie desperately races against time to find his way back home, he is suddenly faced with a terrifying choice: to go ahead with his plan to leave, or to stay and help his friends, at the risk of never going home again.

Although The Christmas Village is a children’s book, it’s a holiday story the whole family can enjoy, filled with suspense, secrets and surprises to the end. It’s also a story that adults can feel good about giving to the children in their lives, because of its positive themes about enduring friendships, family and forgiveness.


Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better.


  • Top 3 skills to hone for people just starting in your business.
1. When I was a younger writer, I put a lot of pressure on myself to have my first draft be perfect, or near-perfect. It was a ridiculous, arrogant goal, and it reflected the fact that I really didn’t understand yet that most of writing is actually “revision.” The piece of advice that totally freed me as a writer came from Anne Lamott, who says that writers should allow themselves to write a truly awful, dreadful, pathetic first draft, just to get started. (She has a more colorful way of expressing it, but that’s the gist of it). And then to whack away at it, again and again and again. So, the skill to hone is revision, and lots of it. 

2. Be true to yourself. That doesn’t sound like a writing skill, but it really is. Sometimes writers get so focused on the idea of “success,” that they veer away from what they really want to write about, because they think they have to write about whatever is popular now. I think that if you write what YOU want to write, your writing will be better, and your readers will find you.

3. Learn to study the publications where you want your work to appear. You not only have to look at what types of stories or articles they take, but you have to analyze those pieces. How many words are they? How are they formatted? Is there a typical flow to the way information is presented?  It can seem formulaic, and in fact, it often is. The creativity will come from your idea for the article and from your unique perspective on it. But you have to learn to present that to the publisher in a way that makes it easy for them to say “Yes, please.”

Wow, great advice, Melissa!

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Be kind to others.
  • Do yoga. It builds strength, flexibility and balance, and tends to make you feel good about yourself.


  • Top 3 authors
  • Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. To me, it’s still the most perfect book I’ve ever read.
  • JK Rowling, author of, well, you know. I think that the way she carried her story through seven books, with all the threads and details that had to link up and sync up throughout, was mind-boggling and absolutely brilliant.
  • Mary Stewart, author of Madam Will You Talk, The Rose Cottage and many other wonderful old-fashioned stories. In Stewart’s books, there is always a capable young female protagonist, a mystery, a bit of danger and a nice romance. They just make me feel good.


Melissa, where can our readers find information about you and The Christmas Village online?

Sales links:



Blogs:
http://thechristmasvillagebook.blogspot.com The website for The Christmas Village
http://writeryogini.blogspot.com My blog, where I write about writing and life and whatever floats to the surface. It’s not all about the book.


Twitter: @GoodwinMelissa

Kai, thank you so much for hosting me here on your blog. I'm very excited about my book coming out, of course, but one of the best parts has been meeting generous and supportive bloggers like you. I really appreciate this chance to visit with you and to chat with your followers. It's always fun when book lovers and writers get the chance to share their thoughts and their "favorites." That's why I really like your blog, with the "top three" questions - it gets everyone thinking and wanting to share.

Melissa, thank you for visiting with us today. I love getting to know fellow authors and you’ve been a lovely guest. Best of luck with, The Christmas Village!

If you’re an author, editor, illustrator, blogger, agent, publicist or in anyway involved in children’s publishing, I’d love to feature you in an upcoming Three Times A Charm. Just email me; kaistrand at yahoo dot com.

6 comments:

  1. Great interview!!! I especially appreciated Melissa's advice, and will take it to heart. I know Melissa is a wonderful writer, and I am looking forward to reading The Christmas Village.

    Thanks for hosting, Kai. It's great to meet you!

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  2. Nice interview:-) I like the video clip book trailer.

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  3. Thanks friends! Appreciate you stopping by - Kai's blog is terrific. This was a fun interview - different questions and fun to think about.

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  4. Julie, I too was struck by the wisdom in Melissa's advice. Nice to meet you, too, and thanks for stopping in.

    Jabblog, I'm glad you could stop in as well.

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  5. Melissa's book is on my to read list. It sounds delightful.

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