Author interview! Joy Avery Melville Author of Sown in Peace
Hello, Joy! Thank you for visiting the blog, we’re thrilled to have you with us today.
Thanks so much for having me, Stacy. I love your blog with the variety of genres and authors you’ve promoted.
Thank you, Joy, I love showcasing authors works. Congratulations on your second novel, Sown in Peace Operation Return to Peace Book 1. Can you tell us about your novel?
I love to talk about it. Lol. When God gave me the idea to write about a wounded warrior, I hesitated at first. Then, He nudged me to make the wounded warrior a woman. I wasn’t sure how to realistically portray her, but I knew she’d be having to leave her dream of becoming a career Army soldier. She had to face what others face when having to medically separate from the military life they’ve known for years… even decades. In the case of my Tori, she had nine years invested in her career, loved serving, loved being a part of the battle buddy system, even with the grueling missions and the heat of the arid portion of Afghanistan where she served out her four deployments.
Coming home, she had to face, not only her medical hindrances, but her emotional and mental changes brought about by acute PTSD. Then, returning home also made her face emotional issues she’d run from back to the military between her third and fourth deployments. A an emotionally-charged full-plate, you might call it.
Although the story is fiction, there are so many truths woven in… things I hadn’t intended to write at all.
Your novel reads like a popular, gripping movie that’s shown in theaters or can be streamed at home. How much research did you have to pour into your story to give it this absolute touching realism?
Much of my research came from several books written as non-fiction by soldiers, officers, and therapy dog trainers. I spent many hours and lots of money on Amazon.com. I commenced reading about forms of therapy used on soldiers reintegrating into civilian life. I read about so many issues our soldiers face coming home to the U.S.
That’s when I started praying and praying hard for some personal… human resources to bring what non-fiction works I’d been reading to life. God answered those prayers rapidly and gave me two men with acute PTSD. I asked the Lord to provide men and/or women to tell me what it was like being on a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. What the correct terms and settings were like.
God gifted me way more than that. First, He prompted an editing client of mine to introduce me to her nephew. Then, my own editor was prompted by the Lord to introduce me to her friend’s husband. I was privileged to spend hours and hours in conversations with these two men. I met personally with one in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and we spoke often on the phone, in numerous FB chats and emails. With the second, he lives in Bryan, Texas. As of this interview with Stacy, I haven’t met him in person… yet… but have spent hours with him on the phone, FB chat, and lots of emails.
When I went looking for technical information, logistics, military jargon, and acronyms, I received that and oh so much more. Jeremy Rockstroh and Keith Youngblood gave me SO much of themselves, their personal experiences, their feelings, their hearts. I am ever indebted to them for their service to our country and the sacrifices they’ve made. That is amazing in itself, but Sown In Peace became the novel it is, due to the heart these men shared… experiences… memories… that has given the novel depth I most likely wouldn’t have written in without them. In the past two weeks, I’ve even had the opportunity to meet with them both on Facetime, able to watch as they opened gifts I had made for them to commemorate their part in Sown In Peace – that was a blast!
They sound like wonderful gentlemen. While reading, there were two dogs in the story that captured my heart, I loved the support they’ve given your characters and the bravery and courage of the one. Tell us their names and a bit about them. Have you encountered one of these precious dogs in person?
I’m going to answer your last question first, Stacy, if you don’t mind. I haven’t met any of these dogs personally, but Jeremy found when he returned home, one of the family dogs adapted himself to Jeremy in a self-ordained therapy dog, much like both Brick and Halley show in Sown In Peace. Halley is the first dog mentioned in the novel as a fully trained military working dog (MWD), but after sustaining a life-threatening injury in a bombing in Afghanistan, and after the military officers deemed her emotionally unfit to return to service (even going so far as planning to euthanize her), she adapted herself as a full therapy dog to one of the secondary characters who she’d served with for his deployments, Tanner Michaels. Brick is the second dog mentioned as far as a therapy dog already in training. He attaches himself in the story to Tori, exhibiting an unusual empathy toward her. He does what dog trainers hope to instill in the dog with a specific warrior… the ability to sense when a PTSD episode is about to happen, or dealing with a backup for when hypervigilance is an issue with a wounded warrior… watching their six for them. I based Halley’s character on two real-life dogs who went through what she did and turned out doing as I show in the novel. Our MWDs and Therapy Dogs deserve so much credit in the saving and healing of our military men and women!
Sown in Peace is book 1 of your Operation Return to Peace, will your readers get to see more of Tori and Griff in subsequent novels?
Tori and Griff will certainly be in the second and (hopefully) third and possibly even, fourth book of the Operation Return To Peace Series – they each continue to play important roles in the therapy dog organization, Paws That Care.
Can you give us the first paragraph from Sown in Peace?
Heated words pinged against the outside wall of the port-a-john. Military Police Staff Sergeant Victoria Archer leaned, dipping her head, trying to catch the rapid torrent of dialogue. Why was the angry conversation in Dari at an U. S. Forward Operating Base camp? Men’s voices. Too bad she was suffering brain-fog. If she’d only studied the local language more.
Where can you purchase Sown in Peace?
Where can readers connect with you?
Facebook Author Page http://facebook.com/jamauthor
Facebook Personal Page http://facebook.com/joy.averymelville
Thank you, Joy for stopping by, we’re all wishing you many blessings with your beautiful new novel.
I truly appreciate this opportunity to share Sown In Peace with you and your readers, Stacy. Loved the time spent with you!
~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~
Joy Avery Melville’s heart’s desire is to be the author God has called her to be by sharing Him with readers in such a way they long to have a deeply committed personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.
Fully intending to write Historical Romance—had in fact— she had no plans to deviate from that. God had something else in mind for that ‘call’ He’d made on her life back in 1967. A mere eighth grader at the time, she had no clue about the topics she’d be drawn to write about.
Surrendering to the genre God placed on her heart has given Joy new insight into the hearts and lives of those who too often hurt in silence.
The settings of Joy’s books are near where she lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan with her husband of nearly 47 + years and their 21 mo-old Yorkie, Is-A-Bella Bindi, (Is-a-beautiful little girl) who thinks she’s a much larger breed with tomboy tendencies.
Joy loves to hear from readers and will respond!
SOWN IN PEACE
Back Cover Blurb
How much can one wounded soul take?
Victoria (Tori) Archer has the heart of a soldier. Taken down by an IED during her fourth deployment, she’s permanently separated from her military career and left with physical scars as well as PTSD. Moving back to her hometown of Three Rivers, Michigan, she’s forced by circumstances to live with an irascible and unsympathetic aunt. Tori’s battle with pain, horrific memories, and loss of independence creates a deep yearning for peace. Will God grant her even a small measure of it?
Retired Military Dog Handler Griffin (Griff) McKay turns to training dogs at his farm for wounded warrior therapy, desiring to bring former military men and women emotional and mental healing. Implementing his plan proves to be more difficult than visualized with the arrival of one stubborn soldier. Why has God placed that particular warrior in his path?