Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Prelude to Christmas: Becky Melby's story "Do You Know What I Know?"


Welcome another new person to the blog today! Becky Melby is our special guest. She's here to answer my questions about her Christmas story, Do You Know What I Know? AND she's agreed to give away a copy of her novella to the winner of the book giveaway contest! :)



Book blurb for Do You Know What I Know? – a Holly Park novella:

When a phone call from the obstetrician’s office goes to the wrong person . . .

Elizabeth Schmidt can’t figure out why her husband doesn’t seem excited about the news she’s sure he heard. Is he unhappy? Or is James cheating on her?

Pastor Jay Davidson is in shock. Bethany Schmidt, the woman he’s in love with, is pregnant. Should he walk away, or is God asking him to play the part of Joseph in real life and not just in the church Christmas program?

Bethany can’t figure out why Jay is acting so weird. Has he figured out one of the two secrets she’s keeping until after Christmas?

Can a ponytailed itinerant carpenter with a pet chicken help unravel the confusion?


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WIN a copy of Becky's book by filling out the form on this Rafflecopter widget:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enjoy Becky's insights about her novella, found in the following interview!
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Interview with Becky Melby, author of Do You Know What I Know? –A Holly Park novella:


Alexis: Congrats on the publication of your Christmas novel! How did you come up with the story’s title? What is the significance of it being a “Holly Park novella”?

Becky: Thank you, Alexis. I liked the idea of using a line from a familiar Christmas carol and giving it a dual meaning. I scrolled through a list of carols and found the perfect verse in “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Holly Park is a fictional Milwaukee neighborhood named in honor of Buddy Holly whose last concert tour began in Milwaukee. I came to love the unique characters in this neighborhood and plan to revisit them soon in another Holly Park story.

Alexis: Your story’s premise of a phone call from the OB-GYN going to the wrong person is interesting! What inspired you to make this the core conflict of your story?

Becky: My husband Bill is a great brainstorming partner. When I decided to write another Christmas novella, he brought up something that happened back in 1973. Back then, there were no home pregnancy tests so I’d gone to the doctor and was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant with our first child. But the bill for that test went to my husband’s aunt and uncle whose daughter was also Becky Melby—she was only fifteen at the time! We’ve had a lot of laughs about that over the years. When Bill brought it up and asked if I could do anything with the idea, I couldn’t wait to get started on this story.


Alexis: Who is Elizabeth Schmidt and what role does she play in your story? Give us insight on her character, personality and desires.

Becky: Elizabeth is 41 and has been married to James for eighteen years. When they weren’t able to conceive a child earlier in their marriage, they stopped trying. When she finds out her test is positive, she’s afraid to believe it. Elizabeth entertains a steady stream of “what ifs” about pretty much everything in her life. Finding out she’s pregnant births a whole new batch of fears. What if James isn’t happy? What if they fail as parents? What if James isn’t showing excitement over the pregnancy because he’s cheating on her? Elizabeth is an assistant manager at a garden center that becomes a crazy place to work at Christmas. She would love her job if not for her overly-critical boss. She’d love to start her own home decorating business.

Alexis: Who is Pastor Jay Davidson? What role does he play in this story? Describe his looks, personality, character flaws and key strengths.

Becky: A reader recently told me she wants to marry Pastor Jay, so I guess I’ve managed to describe him the way I see him! He has thick dark hair and brown eyes that make Bethany “melt like butter on pancakes.” Jay is a man of integrity. Above all, he wants to honor God. Having spent his childhood in the foster care system, he has some insecurities. As the pastor of Bethlehem Community Church in Holly Park, he takes the job of shepherding his people and impacting the neighborhood very seriously. He’s an intelligent, well-spoken man, but his confidence disappears when it comes to asking his beautiful church secretary for a third date.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Bethany Schmidt. What’s she like? Share details on her style, heart, character and strong points.

Becky: Bethany is the church secretary and a single mom raising a nine-year-old daughter. Protecting Ava is her top priority. She’s in love with Jay, but no relationship or job is more important than her daughter, and this complicates things. Bethany has a huge heart. As church secretary, she is involved in the lives of church members, the community, and the woman of Serenity, the maternity home started by Bethlehem Community. If asked what she likes to do for fun, she’ll say very few things top the thrill of a good thrift store find. Her clothes and apartment reflect her fun, eclectic second-hand style.

Alexis: Why does Pastor Davidson think that Bethany is pregnant? Why would that make him walk away? Why does he wonder if God wants him to be like Joseph was to Mary in the Bible story about the birth of Jesus Christ?

Becky: I don’t want to give too much away, but when Jay hears the news he feels betrayed. He’s worked closely with Bethany for five months and he’s been in love with her for almost as long. Why didn’t she tell him herself? And who is the baby’s father? Since he and Bethany are playing Joseph and Mary in the church Christmas program, the parallels are striking. What is God asking him to do?

Alexis: Where is the setting for this story? Paint a picture of it with words. 

Becky: Holly Park is a fictional Milwaukee neighborhood. Like many big city neighborhoods, it was once a beautiful area with well-kept two-story homes and green yards with flower gardens, but over the years it became run-down, physically and morally. Bethlehem Community Church members volunteer to paint houses, and groom yards while forming relationships with residents. The church also has a program to attract entrepreneurs to the area. As homes receive face lifts and new businesses provide jobs for the locals, hope is returning to Holly Park.


Alexis: What do you want your readers to cherish about this story?

Becky: I want to be like Jay and Bethany and the flawed and forgiven believers of Bethlehem Community church who live their lives focused on following God and making room for his people. It was heartwarming to watch Elizabeth’s ideas of a chic and sophisticated Christmas morph into a desire for something with deeper meaning. I guess what I want my readers to cherish is the idea of always making room for joy.

Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I could have Christmas dinner with any of my story’s characters, I would choose to dine with ______________ because ____________________.

Becky: If I could have Christmas dinner with any of my story’s characters, I would choose to dine with Hoover and Esther because I learn so much from people who have a deep faith and seem to always be at peace because of their relationship to Christ. And who doesn’t want to have Christmas dinner with a chicken named Esther?

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Becky! Do you want to share any closing thoughts?

Becky: Thank you so much for this opportunity to share with your readers, Alexis. I just want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and then a very Merry Christmas with hopes that it is, in Elizabeth’s words, “whimsical and nostalgic” and, as Pastor Jay would say, “honors the Holy One who came to earth to show us who He is and how much He loves us.”

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Author bio: 
Burlington, Wisconsin author Becky Melby writes Contemporary Christian Fiction. Do You Know What I Know? is her sixteenth book. 

Married for 44 years, mother of four, grandmother to fifteen, Becky thrives on writing, reading, camping, rides on the back of a silver Gold Wing, and time with family. 

Connect with her at www.beckymelby.com or Facebook.

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Purchase links for Becky’s book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble


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*A special note from Becky: For four days, beginning today (Nov. 24), I'm going to be donating 100% of the profit from the online sales of Do You Know What I Know? to an organization building a maternity home in Mombasa. This is a friend's ministry and I want to do what I can to support it. Would you please support this ministry too? Here is the link, http://www.infinitelymorewi.org/Kenya-Women-s-Center-.html
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9 comments:

  1. This story sounds really good. I own all of Becky's Heartsong Presents novels and would love this novella to add to my others.

    nina4sm at gmail dot com

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    1. Fun to "meet" someone who's read my Heartsong books! How you enjoy this one, Sylvia!

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    2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Sylvia! :) Yes, Becky's story is really good. Did you fill out the form on the Rafflecopter widget? That's how you can have a chance to win her book.

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  2. I'm so excited about this novella! Congratulations, Becky! The story sounds awesome and the book cover is beautiful!

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    1. Hi Susan! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm excited about this novel too! :) I agree with you that the book cover is beautiful. Remember to enter the book giveaway contest by filling out the Rafflecopter widget entry form, if you want a chance to WIN this book. Take care and God bless you! :)

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  3. I read this book - I loved it! A great Christmas story.

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    1. Hi Cathe! Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy to hear that you loved Becky's story! :) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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