BOOK BIRTHDAY BASH
January 18 - 22
As part of the A Promise to Keep Book Birthday Bash we’ll be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the book’s release by Melony Teague.
Make sure you enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card. The giveaway will run from Jan 18 – Jan 22, and the winner announced the week of Jan 25th. Giveaway entry link at the end of this post. There are many stops on this tour, so be sure to check out the full schedule link posted at the end of this post.
BC: We are celebrating your one-year anniversary of A Promise to Keep, so let’s start with what this publishing year has been like for you.
Melony: That’s a great question. It certainly didn’t turn out to be the year I expected, or the launch I expected, but it was a dream come true nonetheless. Without the support of fellow 2020 debuts, such as yourself, the year would have been much more challenging than it already was. Reaching out to support one another and knowing we are all going through the same thing was priceless. Not to mention making new friends along the way. One of the most rewarding parts was hearing from readers that they enjoyed the book, stayed up late reading it, or that it reminded them of happier memories was a treasure I will never forget. What would we be without our dear readers?
BC: You missed the COVID shutdown with your release date of January 21st. Did you do any on-site book signings? Launch party?
Melony: You might have thought that I missed the shutdown, but during release week, a snowstorm shut down my onsite (Niagara Falls) launch. Therefore, we planned to go down to Niagara Falls and take footage where some of the scenes in the book were set when the weather improved. In Canada, it was March/April by the time the weather improved; the pandemic had blindsided us and all in-person events were cancelled. I did however get to talk at one senior’s group about the value of story and fiction in our lives before that happened. Boy, did that talk turn out to be well timed? So really, by the time I recovered from the first bit of reeling from the sudden changes we had to adapt to (my teens suddenly learning online etc.) we did a virtual launch online in July – better late than never, right? Unfortunately, bookstores were closed, so no signings. Nevertheless, we did our best. In some ways, I think this book birthday may just be what I need to mitigate that pandemic 2020 launch.
BC: What do you wish you’d done differently?
Melony: Maybe not stressed about it all as much. I guess that makes me human, right? My goal for 2021 is to give myself a little more room and some grace. I think I am my own strictest critic and I put pressure on myself. Recognizing it will hopefully help me do better in that area. Fingers crossed!
BC: Let’s talk about your book, A Promise to Keep. What was your inspiration for writing this particular story?
Melony: My 20th high school reunion was being organized a few years ago in South Africa (where I was born) and for obvious reasons, I couldn’t go. I live in Canada. It’s a bit far and expensive to travel to South Africa at the best of times. But it got me wondering about reunions and the myriad of emotions that could be attached to memories of high school. Old flames. People not turning out to do or be what we thought. For those who didn’t have a good high school experience, a reunion wouldn’t seem like such a great idea. But for others who loved school, well, the social part at least, might see it differently. I wanted to explore these things and I dug deeper. Also, I thought about what would get someone who really did not want to go to their reunion to attend. That’s where the idea of the promise came in. Savannah makes a promise to her dying husband that she’ll attend their high school reunion and that promise ends up changing so much in her life.
Michael was a troublemaker at school, but let’s just say, he’s not the same boy he used to be. These two have a history they need to deal with. I may, or may not have a crush on my hero, Michael McCann.
BC: How long did it take to write this book?
Melony: The first draft took me about 8 months to write, then there were beta readers and many revisions which took a few months more before I sent it out to publishers. I landed my contract through a twitter pitch party, so that was different.
BC: Tell us about your publishing process. How long did it take to find an agent/publisher?
Melony: I don’t have an agent yet, but I’m working on it. I first submitted my story, with another title and only 55K words to a category romance publisher. They rejected it and so I reworked it, fleshed it out and added a few more thousand words. On a whim, I participated in a Twitter pitch party, not expecting a response.
I was asked to submit to what became my publisher, and submitted my query and first three chapters to my acquisition editor as a result of a Twitter pitch party. Within a few days she emailed to ask for the full manuscript. I almost fainted. Then I submitted that and it wasn’t long before I heard it was before the acquisitions committee and next thing I knew, I was being offered a contract with the publishing date of Jan 2021~ Basically 6 months from contract to publication! I could hardly believe it!
Then the hard work started, the developmental edits, and the content edits and all the other rounds of editing needed to bring this story to readers in the best shape it could be. The biggest challenge was getting news of my younger cousin’s diagnosis of terminal cancer and flying off to Europe to be with her, all while trying to do content edits. She has passed away since, but that book will forever be linked to memories of my time spent with her.
BC: What was the editing process like? I'm so sorry for your loss.
Melony: I love, love, love my editor, Candee Fick. She gets me. She is not only an editor, but she’s a coach and taught me so much about the process and what I needed to do to make my story shine. She is worth her weight in gold. She worked with me, and not against me. I appreciated that the most. I’ll admit, I had the hardest time trying to get the time zones sorted out in the book. She helped me with that. Who knew time zones could be so complicated, especially when the characters are in different ones!
BC: I know this is your debut, but is it the first book you’ve written?
Melony: No, it’s not the first book I’ve written. I completed a manuscript in 2010 during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but that one will never see the light of day! It’s full of newbie mistakes which I will spare the readers from. But I had to start somewhere, right? I have about 5-6 other manuscripts in various stages of completion.
BC: Let’s talk about you: What do you do besides write?
Melony: Eat chocolate. And try to manage a household through online learning and through a pandemic. Sigh. But typically, when we are NOT under lockdown, I have taught seniors at the local community center to write their personal stories. It’s like a memoir class. I miss my students. I’m not sure if and when that will get back up and running. Also, I’m a freelance writer, so I do communications and freelance projects (including editing) for other clients, some of which are non-profit organizations. When I’m not working, I love to read and bake. We’ve really perfected the bread making process during this last year! Haha!
BC: I know you love to bake. Care to share a recipe?
Melony: In the book, A Promise to Keep, Savannah and a few others have a bit of an incident with the punch at the reunion event. So I decided to make my up my own punch recipe. Here you go!
BC: Are you working on a new book? Do tell!
Melony: Yes, I’m working on another book, but to be honest, for months my creativity was affected by the pandemic and the stresses we were all facing. But I’m determined to finish my manuscript, because I love my characters and their story needs to be told. That’s all I can tell you for now because I have to go through all the channels to get it published and into readers hands. You know how it is, Barbara. I’m also working on a little novella for my newsletter subscribers. I hope that will be coming out sometime this year.
BC: Tell me a secret: Tell me something about you that I don’t know, that your readers don’t know, that will make us love you even more.
Melony: I’m a hopeless romantic. But that’s not a secret.
ABOUT THE BOOK
A Promise. A High School Reunion. And a pact that proves harder to keep.
Research librarian Savannah Sanderson wants nothing more than to escape into her happily-ever-after novels with their larger-than-life fictional heroes. But a promise to her late husband has her attending her dreaded twenty-year high school reunion, drinking ghastly punch, and taking desperate measures just to keep her vow, even if she has to hide behind the décor to do it.
Once a reckless troublemaker, Michael McCann fled town after graduation. Now a professional technical rescuer, he’s back for the reunion, but on his trip down memory lane, he soon comes face to face with unresolved issues, namely Savannah. Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melony Teague is a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. With foamy lattes in-hand, she writes Contemporary Romance with a dash of humor. Though she has no hobbies outside of reading, writing, and eating chocolate, she is a member of ACFW and The Word Guild. She teaches seniors in her community to write their memoirs. She confesses with no shame that she has a strong belief that pumpkin pie is an acceptable breakfast food since it’s mostly vegetables. Her Fiction Debut, A Promise to Keep, released in Jan 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her husband, their two teenagers, and two cats who think they’re humans.
You can connect with her here: