Interview with Melanie Shankle
By jenvido on February 13, 2014
Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for you to write a book? And, what is the most challenging part of the writing process?
Melanie: It depends. If you factor in all the time I waste on Facebook and Twitter and watching funny videos on YouTube and alphabetizing the ingredients in my pantry, then it takes me anywhere from six to eight months to write a book. But if you take all that away and just factor in real writing time? I would guess about three months.
So much of my productivity depends on the day and my mood. There are times I can write a chapter in one day and other times that a chapter takes two to three weeks. I wish I knew why because I far prefer the former over the latter. Ultimately the key is to make myself sit down and write something every day, even if it all ends up being terrible. Writing is all about the discipline, which has never been one of my strong suits.
Jen: Your latest release The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life is an addictive, humorous read about your marriage. What inspired you to write this book?
Melanie: When I was writing SGE, I kept thinking of so many funny moments from my marriage that didn’t necessarily fit into a book about motherhood. And I feel like there are so many books out there that tell us how to be better wives or how to pray for our husbands, but what about just something funny that can make women laugh about how absurd it sometimes feels to share a house and a life with a boy.
Jen: How do you manage to balance your work, marriage, and faith with such a demanding schedule?
Melanie: I don’t know that I always do it well. My goal is always that my faith and family are my top priority and everything else falls in line behind those things. Part of achieving that is that I really try to stay off the computer and social media when my people are around. I write when my daughter is at school and after she goes to bed at night. But it’s a constant push and pull to figure out how to manage it all. Some days I get it right and other days I don’t. The key is to give myself grace.
Jen: What has been the most essential life lesson you have learned from being in a committed relationship?
Melanie: That it’s not all about me. I think one of the most humbling things about marriage is realizing how selfish you can be. I always feel like Mother Theresa until things don’t go my way and then I feel that thing rise up in me where I just want things to be the way I want them. And that doesn’t always happen when you’re sharing a life with another person. But in the long run, the payoff is huge because being married to my husband has made me a better person than I’d be without my husband. He sharpens me and makes me better.
Jen: Are you currently at work on your next book? If so, what may you share with us?
Melanie: I just signed a contract for a third book. I’m still not sure of all the details but I believe it is going to be about my journey of faith from the time I was a little girl until present day. It will be the stories of how I’ve realized God finds us no matter where we are and draws us to him.
Jen: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with my readers. I absolutely loved The Antelope in the Living Room. I highly recommend it to my Jen’s Jewels readers. Best of luck in all of your future projects!
Melanie: Thank you!
Next month, I will be chatting with six-time RITA Award winner Barbara O’Neal about her upcoming release, The All You Can Dream Buffet: A Novel. You won’t want to miss it.