Celebrity Melody Carlson
Synopsis: December 7, 1941, San Francisco is on high alert following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Mulligan family is grappling with the news that Peter, beloved son and brother, is among the missing.
Each of the Mulligan sisters Bridget, Margaret, Colleen and Molly strives to find her place in the rapidly changing world in these early days of World War II. With their father ailing, Margaret takes over management of the family’s grocery store trying to keep hoarders at bay while daydreaming of a June wedding. Meanwhile Bridget focuses on her board exams and hopes to be accepted as an Army nurse. Beautiful Colleen, the “family flibbertigibbet” just wants to have fun despite the dire news of the war. But it’s the “baby” fifteen-year-old Molly who seems to be the glue that holds the family together.
With siblings, friends, and beaus being shipped out weekly, the remaining Mulligans quickly realize that this war will be fought on two fronts at home and overseas.
Each of the strong, hopeful Mulligan sisters will do their part if they hope to see victory and the end of the war.
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Melody Carlson, who has written over 200 books. Welcome to my blog Melody.
CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?
MC: I’ll Be Seeing You is set in the World War 2 era and will transport you to an important, unforgettable, and exciting time in history.
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?
MC: Ideas come randomly to me—and in all shapes and forms. Sometimes, a character with a distinct voice and an interesting problem will show up in my head. Occasionally, a great location or intriguing era will call out to me. I’ve even written books that were inspired by dreams. Usually, the story is only partially there when I start to write—and I’m compelled to go looking for the rest of it. That’s my favorite way to create a book, not knowing what’s around the next corner and being surprised along the way. It’s what keeps me going back to my computer, after more than 200 books.
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?
MC: My World War 2 trilogy (The Mulligan Sisters) is partially inspired by family stories that I heard as a child. Whenever older relatives spoke about the ‘war era,’ I could tell that it had played a huge part in all their lives. My uncles both served overseas—one in the European front and one in the Pacific. And my mother’s family, like the Mulligan’s, had owned a small grocery store on the home front. The women dealt with things like rationing, volunteering . . . and even painting “nylon seams” on the backs of their legs, when shortages called for creativity.
CH: Where did you get the idea for the series?
MC: I think I secretly envied my older relatives for getting to live out the challenges and rewards of the World War 2 era. And I must admit to an ongoing fascination with 1940’s fashions. But writing about the war from the perspectives of four sisters living in San Francisco (which is my birthplace) was hugely appealing. Plus, it felt like a story that was too big to be told in just one book—thus The Mulligan Sisters series was born.
CH: Since this is the first book in the series, have you decided on how many books will be in this series?
MC: I only planned on three books. Each one is titled after a popular song during WW2. I’m about to start the third (and I think final book) but there is still a lot of story to tell. I hope I can fit it all into one book. Or maybe I can talk my publisher into adding a fourth. 🙂
CH: A reader said that the book is full of rich history, family drama, and war-time romance. How did you decide to write about World War 2?
MC: World War 2 is so full of story potential. And the idea of writing about young women serving (for the most part) on the home front intrigued me. I probably wanted to live vicariously through them. Plus, it’s a great way to learn history—the research has been interesting and fun. And so many stories have surfaced (thanks to the internet) in recent years that it’s not hard to find inspiration.
CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?
MC: Some pieces of the characters are extracted from people in my life. Some that have passed, and some that are living. Bridget Mulligan is similar to a niece whose name is also Bridget and she’s a nurse too. Margaret is a bit like an aunt who’s passed on. Colleen is a morph of a couple of glamorous people. And Molly, the youngest, is a sweetheart that you can’t help but fall in love with.
CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was your favorite to write?
MC: Margaret is probably the hardest to write. She’s simple, but complicated in that she only seems interested in becoming a wife and mother—and at the same time, she struggles with feeling a bit jealous of her sisters for wanting more than that. Plus, she’s saddled with a lot of responsibility in running the store, when her dad gets sick. Colleen is fun to write because she’s somewhat unpredictable. She’s the glamour girl and family “flibbertigibbet” but she actually has some surprising layers and strengths that show up later—when she’s faced with some severe trials.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?
MC: I hope readers will feel like they’ve been on a journey with me—going back in time and seeing up close how lives were changed, strengthened and challenged during World War 2. I hope these women’s stories will remind each of us how sacrifices were made . . . and how many rewards followed. Life wasn’t easy for them and yet, it was fulfilling.
CH: Did you have to do a lot of research on World War 2?
MC: I’m constantly researching as I write. I keep maps and timelines handy, and I’m always pulling up true stories from the internet. Sometimes they’re so interesting, that it’s a distraction (although a good one!). And fashion research gives me a good excuse to watch classic movies from that era—something I love to do anyway. All in all, it’s given me even more respect for the people who lived through that time.
CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?
MC: The biggest challenge is keeping it true to the era—and yet, relevant to contemporary readers. I hope that I’ve managed to do that. So far, the comments I’ve received from all age groups is encouraging.
CH: You’ve written over 200 books. What contributes to your success as a writer?
MC: I’m not sure how you define “success.” But I’ll admit that I’ve written a LOT of books and I like to think I’ve improved over time. I never meant to be this prolific, but I write extremely fast—it’s just the way I work—and that’s resulted in many stories, which translates into many readers (about 7.5 million) . . . as well as some nice awards. So, if that adds up to success, well, then I’m very grateful!
CH: Is there a message in this book that you want the readers to grasp?
MC: If there’s a specific message . . . it’s probably simply to encourage all of us to remember that good things come out of hard times. The WW 2 era was an extremely dark time in history for most of the world. Horrific things happened. Millions of lives were lost. It could’ve felt utterly hopeless . . . and yet, good people rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to get through it victoriously. This encourages me a lot.
CH: You seem to have quite a following. What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?
MC: So far, the response to the start of this new series has been positive. I’ve been hearing “when’s the next book coming?” a lot. And it will be released this spring. And the third book in the upcoming fall.
CH: How to Find Melody Carlson:
- Melody’s Website: www.melodycarlson.com
- Melody’s Author Page: http://amzn.to/2iSX49g
- Melody’s Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2iKQy0P
CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?
MC: Print and e-books are available on Amazon and several other online bookstores.
CH: Any closing remarks?
MC: Thanks for taking time to ‘visit with me’ today. If you get a chance to ‘meet’ my Mulligan Sisters, I hope you’ll like them as much as I do. They really feel like family members to me. I think we can all learn a thing or two from them.
CH: Thank you so much, Melody Carlson, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers. It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience. And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book. I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience.
Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Melody Carlson.
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