Friday, January 4, 2013

Small Town Life with Author Melissa Keir

Most of the stories that I write involve a small town.  Either it’s the setting or a part of the make-up of the characters. I’m a small town girl.  I graduated with a class of only about 100 students.  It was a town where everyone knew everyone else. Think about the opening song from “Cheers”… “where everyone knows your name.” My series The Wilder Sisters actually takes place in my own hometown of Amherst, Ohio.

Most of the people that I knew were friends of my parents.  The school librarian and my mom used to be best friends in high school. The mother of a classmate used to date my dad before he married my mom.  One time when I was stopped for speeding in my parents’ car, the police officer was a friend of my mom’s and called her to tell me about the ticket before I got home.

I loved growing up in a place that was safe from crime.  We could play outside all day long safely and never worry about anything.  The whole town was watching out for us.  That had a downside as well.  Every adult in town felt that it was their responsibility to help raise us, discipline us, and let us know when we were treading on the path to no good.

There were issues as well with being a part of a small town.  Your reputation became something that you were judged by.  The mistakes that you made couldn’t be hidden under a rug.  People have long memories and they would and could remember every transgression you made.  This prejudice made me want to leave my town as soon as graduation.

Today I still visit my town.  My family lives in the same area that they did when I graduated.  The people are the same when I visit my favorite restaurants.  I know that I’ll always see a former classmate or friend around every corner and I’ve enjoyed sharing my town with my own children.  In fact, I found another small town to raise them in.

As you can tell I have a fondness for small towns and the memories that they hold for me.  This is why my characters have an aspect of that feeling in their own lives, whether it’s in the form of a history or the setting for their story.  I invite you to visit my small town through my stories and the characters that I write about.  Who knows… you may find something that reminds you of your own hometown.

A Christmas Accident
by Melissa Keir

Sherri Wilder Davison wants nothing more than to spend time with her father and sister over the holidays, but fate has a way of changing her best-laid plans. Adam Davison is willing to do anything to make his pregnant wife happy. He will face hell to take her home for the holidays.
When a holiday storm causes an automobile accident that puts the lives of those she loves on the line, can a Christmas miracle save them?

Available now from Secret Cravings Publishing

Amherst, Ohio is a small town which brags it’s the Sandstone Capital of the World. Sandstone, once a precious commodity in Amherst, was mined by the families living there. Some of my own great grandparents worked for the quarry. But, over time, other companies came to Amherst. The outskirts expanded to include many other city staples like fast food restaurants, chain retail stores, and large grocery chains. However, the downtown area remained quaint yet quiet with many beautiful sandstone buildings and architecture.
Dad’s home stood south of the downtown area, off one of the main roads just down the street from the Catholic church. Dad was a devout Catholic who went to Mass each week so the location suited his life. More so, since the death of my mother and his own illness. Dad seemed to rely on the rituals, taking comfort in his church.
Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I took a look around the room. Sunlight streamed in the window. Strange was the only word to describe sleeping once again in the same room you grew up in. Syn had been using the room for her jewelry business but when she found out we were coming to visit she moved a full-sized bed into the room. No matter the differences in the bed or the paint on the walls, the room remained the place I’d spent so many nights giggling with my sisters over boys or working on my school work. While I wasn’t sleeping next to Adam, at least the room was a place I knew very well.
Sleep had come easy last night despite the different bed and the fear on my mind. My shoulder was still sore and would probably need some medicine today, but I felt refreshed and hopeful. Maybe the hope was going to end up hurting me more if things didn’t turn out well, but I had to hold onto something or else I wouldn’t be able to put one foot in front of the other. Hope was all that kept me going.
Smelling bacon cooking on the stove, I wrapped a robe around my bulging waistline, then headed over to the bathroom before venturing down to fill my hungry belly. Using the bathroom had become my favorite pastime over the last few weeks as the baby’s weight pushed more and more on my bladder. So, a visit to the bathroom always took precedence over the need for food.
Walking toward the kitchen, you would hardly know there had been a fire in here just a few short months ago. The onset of Dementia had caused Dad to put his clothes in the oven instead of the clothes dryer. They quickly caught on fire, the fire department arrived, and no one suffered any injuries. Dad and Syn had spent some time cleaning and re-doing the kitchen. Luckily, Syn’s fiancĂ© is handy and helped out with much of the work.
My dad stood over the stove, like a maestro conducting an orchestra. There were three pans going on the stove. One had bacon frying. The other had hashbrowns cooking and the final pan had scrambled eggs. Toast already sat on the plates. He looked happy to be cooking and taking care of someone.
I watched him for a moment. It had been a long time since I’d seen my dad. Thankfully, the Dementia hadn’t worsened yet. Age certainly had taken its toll on him but he would always be my first hero. Thinking about all the times he used to chase us girls around the house or play horsey with us, I couldn’t have asked for a better father. Touching my belly, I thought about Adam lying in the hospital bed. Would he be a father for our baby? Will Adam be alive to see the baby born?

Melissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver.  Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines.  In middle school and high school, Melissa wrote sappy love poems and shared them with her friends.  She still has those poems today! In college, her writing changed to sarcastic musings on life as well as poems with a modern twist on fairy tales and won awards for her writing. You can find many of these musings along with her latest releases on her website and blog.

As a writer, Melissa likes to keep current on topics of interest in the world of writing.  She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and EPIC.  Melissa is always interested in improving her writing through classes and seminars.  She also believes in helping other authors and features authors and their books on her blog.

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a book reviewer, an editor for a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature “happy endings” and is often found plotting her next story.

Her releases include “Forever Love” in the Love, Again Anthology. It’s sequel Beach Desires. These stories tell the tale of five daughters who moved away from their small town but now facing a father with Alzheimer’s. Melissa also has a story about finding love after divorce titled Second Time’s the Charm and a twisted tale of the Three Little Pigs titled Protecting His Wolfe.  In this story, the Wolfe needs protecting by the pig.

This is what readers are saying about Melissa’s books:

  • Amazon 5 star review for Second Time’s the Charm- “Such a sweet and heart warming story. As I read it, and the details unfolded, I was engrossed to see if what I thought was going to happen, would really happen.” – Lacey Wolfe, Romance Author
  • Barnes and Noble 5 star review for Protecting His Wolfe- “Great read. I couldn't put it down. I really liked the characters, especially Betsie and the Pigg brothers. A love story with suspense and surprise.” – Anonymous


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