Thursday, December 22, 2022

Melissa Payne lights the a book giveaway

Credit: Eric Weber 2020
We're pleased to have Melissa Payne back at CLC today. Her latest novel, A Light in the Forest, released last week. It sounds really interesting and we enjoyed learning more about it. Thanks to Get Red PR, we have TWO copies to give away!

Melissa Payne is the bestselling and award-winning author of The Secrets of Lost Stones, Memories in the Drift, and The Night of Many Endings. She first learned the real importance of storytelling when she worked for a residential and day treatment center for abused and neglected children, where she wrote speeches and letters to raise funds. The truth in those children’s stories was piercing and painful, written to invoke a call to action in the reader: to give, to help, and to make a difference. Melissa’s love of writing and sharing stories in all forms has endured. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and three children, a friendly mutt, a very loud cat, and the occasional bear. 

Visit Melissa online:

After running away from an abusive relationship with her two-month-old baby, Vega Jones — guided by an old photo of her late mother — finds safety and acceptance in the tiny Ohio town “full of nobodies” her mom left years ago.  

Although she’s welcomed by the locals, like artistic police officer Heff and big-hearted farmer Eve, she soon learns about a tragedy that happened years ago in the area woods — an event that has a connection to Vega herself. But even in this welcoming community, there’s an undercurrent of something unsettled, talk of a tragedy that unfolded in the woods years ago, and a mystery connected to Vega in ways she couldn’t have anticipated. 

As a mother on the run and following a path of mounting risks and illuminating secrets, Vega discovers that even during the darkest of times, there’s light in unexpected places. 

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing A Light in the Forest?
Every book comes with its own unique challenges. Sometimes that’s related to the story itself, other times it’s real life. For this book, it was a blend of the two. With this story as with all my novels, my aim is to write real people. Characters that readers can relate to even if they think they have very little in common. We all have some common ground, and most of us seek similar things: acceptance, love, belonging, relationships, family, community. We might look different but at the heart of it, most of us aren’t that different in what we want for ourselves and those we love. I try to write all my characters from that common ground, from the inside out. And when a reader connects to my characters, identifies with their struggles, desires and hardships, it is always rewarding.

I wrote this book during a profoundly difficult time that challenged my focus and ability to write. It wasn’t easy, but with my own support system, I was able to finish this story and I hope that it’s the better for it.   
What is something you learned from writing your previous novels that you applied to A Light in the Forest?
I have learned that there is no perfect writing schedule or setting. Yes, we love to imagine authors in beautiful writing spaces with books everywhere, lots of leather, a desk made from some exotic wood, whiskey in a hidden cabinet for celebrating and an old-fashioned typewriter where all the magic happens. But my experience is that creating stories happens side by side with the messy realities of life. Getting to ‘the end’ can be a struggle and looks different each time. Sometimes I write at my desk, other times in coffee shops, often in the car waiting for a kid, on a plane, or in a waiting room. I’ve learned to keep my expectations low and write messy, even if I know I’ll have to rewrite that scene or character or dialogue. Sometimes just getting to the end is the start and however that looks is exactly right for that moment because I’ve learned that for me, the true magic happens in the revisions.   
If A Light in the Forest was made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

"Oh My My"/Little May, "Stand Like an Oak"/Rising Appalachia, "You’re Not Alone"/Allison Russell  "Faded"/Conor Maynard, "Resilient"/Rising Appalachia, "Canary"/Joy Williams, "Coming Down"/Tyler Childers, "No Glory in Regret"/John Moreland, "Dead Middle"/Goodnight Texas, and "Redemption"/Nathanial Rateliff 
Which TV series are you currently binge watching?
The White Lotus which I can’t binge because I have to wait every week for the new one to come out. But it’s so, so good and worth the wait. And please don’t judge me, or do, it’s okay, my family does, Love is Blind which I just finished, all three seasons. I have no excuse, I just love the idea of best friends being perfect for each other.  

Who is your favorite celebrity named Melissa?   
Melissa McCarthy because I think she is hilarious and talented and have loved her since she played Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, and of course only loved her more after Bridesmaids.

Tell us about a memorable winter holiday gift you received. 

The year Santa brought me my very own Care Bear. It was Friend Bear and she had flowers on her stomach and a little peach lock of hair coming out between her ears, and I’m pretty sure she might have been my best friend for a bit. I still have her, but she’s very hard, not plush or cuddly at all and none of my kids ever took to her. Except my dog. He loved her very much.  

Thanks to Melissa for chatting with us and to Get Red PR for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

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Giveaway ends December 27th at midnight EST.

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Listen to this book on Speechify!


Lindsey said...

I received two memorable winter holiday gifts in the past. One happened 12 years ago, when I became engaged the week before Christmas. The other memorable gift was my son, who was born eight years ago, two days before Christmas.

traveler said...

My son was born in December. On my birthday.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

I don't remember my childhood. I remember a baby doll I received. I loved it and played with it forever.

Mary C said...

A story written and illustrated by my niece.

Emily Catan said...

I'm from a tropical country and didn't grow up with four different seasons, and definitely didn't grow up with winter. I'm now residing in US and working with special education students for 7 years now. During my first year at this position, the autistic student whom I worked with had given me some little Christmas presents, including a cute small stuffed dove that I'm still keeping it. Seeing it always reminds me of this cool talented boy - he loves to draw and create his comic stories (I guess he's inspired by Captain Underpants)!

Padmini Rao said...

I received an Atari video game system when I was a child. I really loved it!

Mary Preston said...

A hand-knitted beanie.

Xia Lee said...

My first bike at age 6

Lelandlee said...

My son was born near Christmas

Suburban prep said...

After some roadblocks, my family was able to go on a trip overseas for Christmas. That was our gift as it was very generous. I was 15 at the time and it is still so visible in my memory.

Anita Yancey said...

I got an Easy Bake Oven when I was little that I loved.

bn100 said...


satkins said...

I received an engagement ring for Christmas-1970. My husband are still married -we married on Aug ,14 1971.

rubynreba said...

I received a beautiful family necklace from my husband.