Melissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an assistant professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. The Dating Charade is her debut novel. Melissa was recently featured in the May issue of Welcome Home. She generously answered a few questions about becoming a writer and what’s next for her!
1. Why did you become a writer?
As an extreme extrovert, I had never once considered becoming a writer until the day I actually became a writer. I could hardly stand being away from people for twenty minutes, let alone sit in a chair and write in solitary confinement for hours upon end.
But, right after graduation from seminary in 2011, my husband and I had a surprising turn of events and lived in an Extended Stay for a while (my husband was a traveling construction manager at the time). Because we had expected the job to only last a few weeks—which kept extending, and extending, and extending—I never sought a job. So, for that first year after I graduated I was in a new town with no job and no friends and no search for employment. About a week into the life I found myself obsessed with a new series and the thought popped in, “I wonder if I could write an adventure like this, but slide in the hope and message that is meaningful to me?”
And from that first day I started typing on the blank page, I was hooked.
2. What inspired your current book?
I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to start writing The Dating Charade, aside from the idea popping into my head, “Huh, how funny would it be for
a couple to have a fantastic first date, tell each other they don’t want kids, and then come home to find three children dropped in their laps each!”
But also, at the time of writing The Dating Charade my twins were two and I had a newborn. The idea of the male in this novel, with no experience with kids, to get surprised with sudden guardianship of twin 2 year olds and a newborn overnight and see how he handles it was fun for me. It was even a bit therapeutic, watching my character struggle through my own comedic parenting struggles.
As for my female, Cassie, she ends up with three children through her work as a director for an after-school program, and for several years I was the teen coordinator for my YMCA after-school program. Those teens meant the world to me. Some of their home lives were really tough, though, and so in a way I wrote from the perspective of, “What would it have been like if one of my teens, whom I loved so dearly, ended up being put in foster care and threatened with being split up from her sisters if I didn’t take them in?”
3. What is next for you?
My newest romantic comedy, The Cul-de-Sac War, comes out November 10th and I cannot be more excited to share my own amazing area of Abingdon, Virginia—truly the world’s most charming, Hallmark-worthy town—with readers! Tap dancing, the nation’s oldest live performance theater, and an escalating prank war for two neighbors with love and hate sharing a backyard. I absolutely can’t wait for release.