Sherwood author keeps busy helping inspire other writers
An award-winning author who resides in Sherwood has a mission of helping would-be writers gain confidence as they pursue their dreams.
Melanie Dobson has a busy schedule these days. She is scheduled to attend the Cascade Christian Writers Conference at the Canby Grove Conference Center June 23 through June 26.
"They changed it from the Oregon Christian Writers Conference to the Cascade Christian Writers Conference, I believe, because they have people coming in from all over the Pacific Northwest," Dobson said, noting people can come from other states and other countries, too.
"It's writers of all different genres: nonfiction, poetry, obviously fiction, which is what I write," she said. "They come together. It's just a time of learning and encouragement."
Dobson continued, "It's just kind of this like-mindedness of the people who come. We understand each other."
The conference allows networking and lets writers know about the publishing industry.
"This one in particular just has this atmosphere of encouragement," Dobson said. "You can really tell that attendees and faculty really care about each other."
Dobson has attended the conference for about 12 years. She has taught multiple coaching classes and workshops.
Dobson has lived in Sherwood for a little over 15 years. Her husband works at the Bible Project, which is located in Portland. Her oldest daughter is in the Navy and training to be a hospital corpsman, while her younger daughter, Kiki, is attending Sherwood High School.
Dobson has put together decades of writing.
"I've been publishing fiction for about 20 years," she said. "I have been writing fiction my entire life."
Dobson has published almost 30 books, involving many genres, over her career.
"My most current novels are called 'time-slip fiction,' where they are past and present plotlines that kind of come together to create one cohesive story," Dobson said. "Most of my recent novels are World War II-era."
Her next novel will be a Gilded Age-era story.
"My last book that I wrote (which came out in January) is called 'The Winter Rose,'" Dobson said. "That one is actually partially set in Newberg."
"The Winter Rose" is about a Quaker woman in Newberg who goes to Europe in 1938 to help Spanish refugees crossing the Pyrenees into France.
Dobson has written historical fiction over the years, including historical romance. She has also written suspense for biblical fiction, as well as contemporary fiction.
"My heart is really to write fiction … I love history," she said. "I like to say I could just research all the time and never write."
Dobson developed an interest in writing at an early age.
"Somebody bought me a journal, when I was about 7 years old, and I still have it," she said. "I typed out my very short autobiography when I was 9 years old."
Dobson continued, "We lived in Amish country in Ohio, so there was no local library or, of course, no Amazon. But the bookmobile would come, a mile from my house, and I would get on my bike and head over there about once a week … I discovered the joy of reading."
She recalled, "Nancy Drew was my big inspiration. I would write and write. Nobody told when I was a kiddo, about 12 years old, how hard it is to finish a story."
Becoming an award-winning author was certainly not an overnight accomplishment for Dobson.
"It wasn't a fast process," Dobson said. "It took me seven years of learning, editing, sending out manuscripts and getting rejections, then finally getting published."
Her advice for young writers who get rejection letters from publishers: "Rejections are super-hard to receive. When I send out a manuscript, I usually start something else pretty quickly, so if I get rejections on that original manuscript, I already have something else going."
Dobson noted, however, that rejection letters can sometimes offer good advice.
"I will take those gems, I'll take the good advice and apply it, if I am able to," Dobson added.
Dobson said writing brings joy to her life.
"I just feel blessed to be able to do what I do," she said. "I love it. It brings me a lot of joy to be able to communicate the stories that I believe God has given me."
To learn more about the conference, you can visit oregonchristianwriters.org and go to the conferences tab.
Learn more about Dobson at melaniedobson.com.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.