Sit-Down Saturday with Melinda Curtis

Today we’re celebrating the February release of Summer Kisses
It takes place in Harmony Valley, a town that looks like this

So, Melinda, where did you get the idea for this novel?

I think I’ll need to back into this one.  The heroine in this book is a caregiver for the elderly who tries to follow her heart and do what is right by those in her care.  Unfortunately not everyone thinks she’s made the right choices.  Also unfortunately, my family has had a run in with an elderly caregiver who took advantage of someone in our family.  So when I introduced Grandpa Ed in the previous book in the series, Dandelion Wishes, I had an idea about a caregiver in desperate need of a job who the hero isn’t sure he can trust.

Tell us briefly about "The Call!"

Yikes! Don’t want to date myself, but that was awhile ago. Let me just say that the editor who originally bought me – Paula Eykelhof – took me to a place where they served champagne. I’ll always be grateful that she told me in-person and created such a lovely memory.

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?

Flynn at the end of the book after he cut his hair (it is rather longish for most of the pages).

How long did it take you to write?

This book took me eight weeks.  I do my first drafts in two weeks, shooting for 40 pages a day (Mr. Curtis doesn’t usually make me cook during this time more than 1-2 times, plus I crock-pot).  Then I have time to go back and edit with any deep revisions needed – because life always gets in the way.

What is your favorite scene?

The hospital scene.  There are things being said there that I said to my husband when he went through a similar time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I absolutely love Flynn.  He was a hard man to let go of (hence his strong appearance in book 3).

If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?

Fictional? I envision Flynn as having more in common with Prince Harry than just a bit of ginger in his hair!  Becca is more like Cobie Smuthers from How I Met Your Mother.

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

The bond that war widows have with each other.  Reading their blogs is truly touching.  That was where I decided to use the idea of the pennies being sent from Becca’s husband to guide her decisions.  I had heard of the practice before, but found several blogs about their experiences and faith in love everlasting.

What music would match the mood of this novel?
(Rolling my eyes here)  I can’t write with music on anymore, so I’ve lost that whole association.  Each writing session starts off with the latest pop hit.  For example, this week I pumped myself up by playing “Timber” about 10 times as I organize my notes.

This is your fifteenth book. Exactly what does that mean to you?

That I’m not crazy yet!  This is my 11th with Harlequin and I’m still driven to write more.  I use Roz Denny Fox as my inspiration.  She’s in it for the long term and so am I.

What do you plan to work on next?

I’m waiting on final approval for the number of books for Heartwarming to continue the series, but I’m working on a novella right now.

What are you reading for pleasure right now?

My guilty pleasures are varied.  I have a lot of books with bookmarks in them (virtually on my kindle) because I’ve been revising this month.  So the books I started on vacation are sitting – one from Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum), one from Suzanne Brockmann (her novella collection), and one from Courtney Milan (historical).  I’ve been having a  yen for a good biography, so if anyone can suggest one, please do so.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Melinda.
B & N


  1. Sounds like a great storyline and I love the illustration of the town. It looks like a small town I'd like to live in.

    1. Thanks, Laurie! Hard to believe I studied how small towns were settled around primary transportation routes and/or rivers. Yeah, I work too hard on the small stuff

  2. Congratulations, Melinda! Best wishes for a wonderful Launch Day. Summer Kisses sounds amazing and you are right about the bond between war widows- very tight :)

  3. Love the interview, Mel! And the map of Harmony Valley :). I can't write with music either. I need total silence. Congrats on your release!!

  4. Mel, Love the map. Since I grew up in a very small town I think I have a life-long affinity for them. I loved Dandelion Wishes and can't wait to read Summer Kisses when my February books come. Boy, you put pressure on me being inspiration. But I use Vicki Lewis Thompson for mine. She has a work ethic I strive for, but will never match. What's nice is that we're all friends and able to encourage one another. Just keep writing.

  5. Thanks, all! And Roz, I remember one of my first breakfasts at RWA with you and Paula where you told me about work ethic. Thanks for always being so gracious. Happy February!

  6. Great interview! Can't wait to read the book!

  7. Mel! I'm so impressed with forty pages a day! I can't imagine that. I thought I was a work horse with ten! And bless Mr. Curtis for not making you cook. Could he have a word with Mr. Jensen? Congratulations on the birth of your new book - love the cover and the neatly connected titles. I can never think of those things.

    1. Muriel, you just have to say what your pace is and stick to it, realizing it's only for 2 weeks. I can fix badly written pages, but it's always harder for me to fill a blank page with a deadline looming. We each have our own style.

  8. 40 pages a day? You are amazing! I wish words flowed out of me that freely. Flynn sounds like a real charmer. As soon as I am finished writing for my Valentine's Day deadline, The Harmony Valley series sounds like something I should get reading. :)

    1. I cannot claim the creation of the 40 pages a day madness. I picked that up from Candace Havens. I write scene by scene (write the scene and take a break - always noodling what comes next). Is the middle hard? Yep. Sometimes I skip to the end, which upon writing often sheds light onto what is supposed to go on in the middle.

  9. I'd have to quit my day job to write forty pages a day. I'm always aiming for five.
    I love love love the map.

    1. Pamela, who said I quit my day job. EEEEEK

    2. Not you, me. LOL. Today, besides going on a bike ride withmy eight year old I also went hunting for the scooter he wants for his birthday in 20 days. Every store is out.


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