Fan-favorite author Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than seven million. With her novel Courting Mr. Emerson (Revell), Melody pens a story of two delightfully eccentric characters who get a second chance at life and love. When quirky and spontaneous artist Willow West meets buttoned-up, retired English teacher George Emerson, their wildly different personalities clash. Despite the odds, Willow makes it her mission to get him to embrace change and find his love of life again. In this interview, Melody describes the book, shares her inspiration for the delightfully at-odds characters, and explains what makes this book different from her others.
Can you briefly describe your new novel?
George Emerson is stuck in a rut. A quiet, conservative English teacher about to retire, he avoids modern technology and intimate relationships. Meanwhile, free-spirited artist and gallery owner Willow West is determined to “help” George reinvent his life.
But old habits die hard, and as much as George likes Willow, he’s not sure he can change his ways—or if he even wants to. Yet Willow seems to have no shortage of creative ideas to loosen George up and manages to fill his summer with people, plans, and, in his opinion, just plain problems.
What was your inspiration behind your two main characters, who are so different at their core?
The old adage “opposites attract” was tugging at me, perhaps because my husband and I are opposites in some ways. I grew up as somewhat of a free spirit in a hippie town, whereas my husband came from a fairly traditional upbringing and wanted to be a cowboy.
But over the years (forty!), we’ve learned to give and take—and to appreciate our differences.
What makes this book different from your others?
I don’t usually write about older characters, although I find them rich and layered and charming. The idea of finding romance at this later stage of life is different too. But I really enjoyed the experience and would welcome the opportunity to do more.
Courting Mr. Emerson is about getting a second chance at love and life. Why did you want to write about these messages?
I absolutely love the idea of second chances. Who doesn’t appreciate an occasional do-over?
I like to think that at any age or stage of life, anyone can have a second chance. Whether it’s a new job, a new home, a new friend, or even a new soul mate, it makes for a good story. And I think the best kinds of second chances include a spiritual element. This story contains all those ingredients.
What do you hope readers gain from Courting Mr. Emerson?
For starters, I hope this story will simply offer an enjoyable break. Beyond that, I hope the characters will enlarge the way readers view themselves and the people around them. Finally, I hope readers will feel encouraged and uplifted when they finish the story.
Visit Melody Carlson’s author page:
Courting Mr. Emerson