Melanie Shankle lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Perry, and daughter, Caroline. She graduated from Texas A&M in 1994 while possibly on scholastic probation. Melanie began blogging in July 2006 when she started her blog, Big Mama. She’s also a regular contributor to The Pioneer Woman. In her spare time she likes to shop good sales, watch too much television and laugh at things that are sometimes inappropriate. Her first book, Sparkly Green Earrings, was released in February 2013.
The first book I ever fell in love with was On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I couldn’t get enough of it and, to this day, I vividly remember the story of Laura luring Nellie into the part of the creek where she knew there were leeches. It fascinated me. I’m not sure what that says about my personality but let’s not examine it too closely.
That book began my love affair with words. I spent most of my childhood under the covers with a flashlight reading Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume and Noel Streatfeild (Ballet Shoes, anyone?) and anything else I could get my hands on.
And something inside me knew I wanted to do what those writers did. String words together and tell stories in an attempt to make people laugh or cry. But no one really walks around proclaiming, “I want to be an author!” It’s the equivalent of saying, “I’d like to be really poor and frustrated for the rest of my life as I receive multiple rejection letters!”
So I got a nice sensible sales job after I graduated for college and tucked away notebooks full of angst-filled poetry and short stories that I never showed anyone.
But, lo, technology progressed and the wonder that is the internet was created. Which led to the advent of a thing called a blog. Maybe you’ve heard of those.
I began to write again. Mainly to capture memories of my daughter’s toddler years that were going by at a speed that would make a freight train envious and left me wondering where my baby had gone. Then, after years and years of recording a lot of stories about potty-training and pacifiers and poop, a book was born. The whole story is too long to tell because you would be all WRAP IT UP, NANCY but there was a moment in the whole process of writing Sparkly Green Earrings that I will never forget as long as I live.
About a week before we sent out the proposal, I was talking to my agent on the phone. It was mid-August and my daughter, Caroline, was sitting in the back seat, waiting on me to finish my conversation so we could go into Subway and order some truly mediocre sandwiches with too much mayonnaise and lettuce that is sketchy at best and e.coli tainted at worst.
After I hung up the phone I said, “Babe, thanks for being so patient. That was an important call about the book.”
“It has taken you a really long time to write a book.”
Since I’m never one to miss a teachable moment outside of Subway, I replied “Yes it has. But you know what? Sometimes in life the things we have to wait on the longest or work the hardest for turn out to be the sweetest things in the end.”
And then she said something that I know was God speaking through her right to my heart.
“Mama? Sometimes we have to walk to our future even when it feels like we want to run.”
It was all I could do to not break down and cry right then. Because it has been a journey and the book has been a dream I’ve had somewhere deep down since all those nights I stayed up too late soaking up the words of Judy Blume with a flashlight.
The proposal went out about a week later and I held my breath and told myself it didn’t matter one way or the other, that I had done what I felt like God had called me to do and the rest was up to Him. Honestly, I half-expected that maybe someone would offer to let me pay them $10 to get it bound at Kinko’s and sell it out of their garage.
But that’s not what happened. And after much writing and editing and rocking back and forth weeping and sleepless nights, my memoir about motherhood and God and life, Sparkly Green Earrings, became a reality and a tangible reminder for me that not only does God put things in our heart, he brings them to pass.
*I am so excited to be giving away TWO copies of Sparkly Green Earrings today.
For a chance to win a copy, please leave a comment. I’d love to know what your favorite books were when you were young.
You can purchase a copy here.
To find out more you can visit my book page here.
And for the book trailer, please click here, or watch below.
By: Melanie, Big Mama