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Carlson, Melody 1956–

Carlson, Melody 1956–

Personal

Born March 2, 1956, in San Francisco, CA; daughter of William (a musician) and Nancy (a teacher; maiden name, Haga) Hickman; married Christopher Carlson (a contractor), August 19, 1978; children: Gabriel, Lucas. Education: Lane Community College, A.S. Politics: Republican. Religion: Christian. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, camping, hiking, skiing, biking, reading.

Addresses

Home—69741 Old Wagon Rd., Sisters, OR 97759. Agent—Sara Fortenberry, P.O. Box 8177, Hermitage, TN 37036-8177. E-mail[email protected]

Career

Preschool teacher in Eugene, OR, 1976–86; Holt International Children's Services, Eugene, executive assistant, 1994–95; Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, OR, senior editor of Gold 'n' Honey Books, 1995–97.

Awards, Honors

West Coast Reader's Choice Award finalist, and Heart of Romance designation, Romance Writers of America, 1998, both for Wise Man's House; Rita Award for best inspirational romance, Romance Writers of America, 1998, for Homeward; Gold Medallion in children's book category, 1998, for Benjamin's Box, and 1999, for King of the Stable; Rita Award finalist in inspirational romance category, 1999, for Awakening Heart.

Writings

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Jessica (novel), Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Letters from God for Teens: God's Promises for You, Honor Books (Tulsa, OK), 2000.

Piercing Proverbs: Wise Words for Today's Teens, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2002.

Miranda's Story (novel), Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2003.

Kenzie's Story ("Degrees of Betrayal" series), Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2004.

"ALLISON O'BRIAN CHRONICLES"; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

On Hope's Wings, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Cherished Wish, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Autumn Secrets, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Dreams of Promise, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

"DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL" SERIES; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Becoming Me, by Caitlin O'Connor, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2000.

It's My Life, by Caitlin O'Connor, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2001.

Who I Am, by Caitlin O'Connor, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2002.

On My Own, by Caitlin O'Connor, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2002.

My Name Is Chloe, by Chloe Miller, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2003.

Sold Out, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2003.

Road Trip, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2004.

Face the Music, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2004.

I Do, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.

Meant to Be, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.

Just Ask, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.

That Was Then …, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.

Falling Up, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2005.

Bad Connection, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2006.

"TRUE COLORS" NOVEL SERIES; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Dark Blue: Color Me Lonely, NavPress (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.

Deep Green: Color Me Jealous, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.

Torch Red: Color Me Torn, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.

Fool's Gold: Color Me Consumed, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.

Pitch Black: Color Me Lost, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.

Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.

Blade Silver: Color Me Scarred, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2005.

Faded Denim: Color Me Trapped, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2006.

Bitter Rose: Color Me Crushed, Think Books (Colorado Springs, CO), 2006.

FOR CHILDREN

Benjamin's Box: A Resurrection Story (picture book; with audio cassette), illustrated by Jack Stockman, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

The Ark That Noah Built (picture book), illustrated by Steve Björkman, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

Gold 'n' Honey Bible, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

Tupsu, the Squirrel Who Was Afraid (picture book), illustrated by Alexander Reichstein, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

The Sea Hag's Treasure (picture book), illustrated by Helen Kleczynski, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

His First Bible, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1997.

Her First Bible, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1997.

Fruit Troops (board books), nine volumes (including Anna Apple, Blackberry Bart, Gladys Grape, Lyle Lemon, Peachy Pete, Penny Pear, Pineapple Paul, Strawberry Sam, and Tammy Tangerine), Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

The Greatest Gift, illustrated by Jack Stockman, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

My First Bible Brain Quest, Workman Publishing, 1997.

Daniel and the Lions' Den, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

Jonah and the Big Fish, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

Moses in the Bulrushes, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

Noah and the Ark, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.

A Tale of Two Houses (picture book), illustrated by Steve Björkman, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.

The War of the Weeds (picture book), Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.

What Nick and Holly Found in Grandpa's Attic (picture book), Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.

King of the Stable (picture book), Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1998.

The Lullaby Bible, illustrated by Carolyn Croll, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 1998.

I Can Count on God (board book), illustrated by Yvette Banek, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

God Lives in My House (board book), illustrated by Yvette Banek, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

The Lost Lamb (picture book), illustrated by Steve Björkman, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

The Wonder of Christmas: A Family Advent Journey, illustrated by Dan Brown, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

The Wonder of Christmas Activity Book, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

The Other Brother (picture book), Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 1999.

Farmer Brown's Field Trip, iIlustrated by Steve Björkman, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

The Beary Bears Troops (board books), nine volumes (includes Hi, I'm Razz Beary; Hi, I'm Huckle Beary; Hi, I'm Straw Beary; Hi, I'm Mull Beary; Hi, I'm Elder Beary; Hi, I'm Logan Beary; Hi, I'm Cran Beary; Hi, I'm Blue Beary; and Hi, I'm Black Beary), illustrated by Ben Mahan, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000–01.

God Made Them All, illustrated by Yvette Banek, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

God Goes with Me, illustrated by Yvette Banek, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

The Day the Circus Came to Town, illustrated by Ned Butterfield, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

(With Joni Eareckson Tada) Forever Friends, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

O Come Let Us Adore Him, illustrated by Tony Meers, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

My Happy Heart, illustrated by Jim Osborn, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2000.

It's Not Funny, I Lost My Money, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2000.

The Most Beautiful Tree, illustrated by Donna Race, Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 2001.

(Adaptor) Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, illustrated by Dan Brawner, T. Nelson (Nashville, TN), 2001.

Don't Worry about Tomorrow, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2001.

A Treasure beyond Measure, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2001.

Yes or No, Who Will Go?, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2002.

Show Each Other Forgiveness, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2002.

Secretly Do Good Deeds, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2002.

Love Your Neighbor, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2002.

Baby's First Book of Prayers, illustrated by Judith Pfeiffer, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.

(Adaptor) Bruce Wilkinson, Secrets of the Vine for Kids, illustrated by Dan Brawner, T. Nelson (Nashville, TN), 2002.

When the Creepy Things Come Out, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2002.

(With Ron Mehl) How God Decorates Heaven for Christmas, illustrated by Lynn Bredeson, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2003.

I'm Zoë!: I Can Do It Myself, illustrated by Elena Kucharik, Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2003.

The Gift of Christmas Present, Fleming H. Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.

The Easterville Miracle, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2004.

Bitsy's Harvest Party, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2004.

'Twas the Night, illustrated by Susan Reagan, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2004.

Counting Baby's Blessings, illustrated by Judith Pfeiffer, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

ADULT NOVELS

Homeward, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1997.

The Wise Man's House, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1997.

Heartland Skies, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.

Shades of Light, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.

Awakening Heart, Bethany House (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Isaac's Angel, Guideposts, 1998.

A Place to Come Home To ("Whispering Pines" series), Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 1999.

Everything I Long For ("Whispering Pines" series), Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 2000.

Looking for You All My Life ("Whispering Pines" series), Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 2000.

Someone to Belong To ("Whispering Pines" series), Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 2001.

Blood Sisters, Harvest House (Eugene, OR), 2001.

Angels in the Snow, Fleming H. Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.

Looking for Cassandra Jane, Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2002.

Armando's Treasure, Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 2003.

Finding Alice, Waterbrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2003.

Hidden History, Guideposts (Carmel, NY), 2003.

Back Home Again, Guideposts (Carmel, NY), 2003.

Crystal Lies, Waterbrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.

All in the Timing, Guideposts (Carmel, NY), 2004.

Winter Wonders, Guideposts (Carmel, NY), 2004.

Three Days: A Mother's Story, Fleming H. Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

OTHER

How to Start a Quality Child-Care Business in Your Home: Everything You Need to Know, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1995.

Blessings from God, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1996.

Daily Blessings for My Husband, Honor Books (Tulsa, OK), 2000.

Daily Blessings for My Secret Pal, Honor Books (Tulsa, OK), 2000.

(Compiler) The Storyteller's Collection: Tales of Faraway Places, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2000.

Take Time: A Moment for the Heart, Broadman & Holman (Nashville, TN), 2000.

Daily Blessings for My Wife, Honor Books (Tulsa, OK), 2001.

An Apple for My Teacher, Honor Books (Tulsa, OK), 2001.

(With Heather Kopp and Linda Clare) Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them: Encouragement and Hope for Dealing with Your Wayward Son, Waterbrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2002.

Lost Boys Companion Journal, Waterbrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2002.

Also author of Sisters at Heart. Contributor of short fiction to magazines.

Sidelights

Working as a preschool teacher prior to becoming a writer, Melody Carlson also served as a senior editor at Gold 'n' Honey Books for several years before publishing her first book, a nonfiction guide to building a homerun day-care business, in 1995. A prolific writer whose fiction and nonfiction titles for children, young adults, and adults number over one hundred, Carlson has be-come one of the most widely read novelists in the Christian market and has earned several awards for her work. Among her popular books for younger children are When the Creepy Things Come Out, a picture book to calm children afraid of Halloween goings-on; a best-selling adaptation of Bruce Wilkinson's popular evangelist guide The Prayer of Jabez, based on 1 Chronicles 4:10; and the "Fruit Troop" board book series for younger readers. More notable are her teen novels, such as the "True Colors" and "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series, the edgy plotlines of which prompted Publishers Weekly contributor Marcia Ford to dub Carlson "arguably, the most daring … author of hard-hitting novels" geared toward a Christian readership. For adults, Carlson has authored both romance and mainstream Christian novels, one of which, Crystal Lies, reflects her own challenges in dealing with an older teen child whose life is derailed by substance abuse.

Formatted as a journal, the "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series focuses on adolescents caught up the destructive aspects of contemporary society who attempt to reconcile their actions and decisions with their personal mo-
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rality. In Becoming Me, It's My Life, and Who I Am readers get to know Caitlin O'Connor, a conservative Christian teen who is sixteen and frustrated by her father's insistence that she give up driving privileges in Becoming Me. In It's My Life, she attempts to wrestle with her love of fashion magazines while also being a compassionate confidante to a number of troubled friends and family members. Noting that Caitlin "alternates radically between helpful, caring actions and selfish, childish worries," Amy A. Healy added in School Library Journal that Carlson's teen narrator comes across as a real adolescent searching for guidance from God. On My Own finds Caitlin entering college and confronting her first challenge: dealing with roommate Liz, a uninhibited young woman who engages in behaviors Caitlin has up until now avoided. Other novels in the "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series include Face the Music, in which Caitlin takes a back seat to young rock singer Chloe as romance, school stresses, and the wild life of a musician cause the teen to question her life choices.

The "True Colors" novels, with titles that include Pitch Black: Color Me Lost, Torch Red: Color Me Torn, and Burnt Orange: Color Me Wasted, each focus on teens dealing with complex issues, such as alcohol and drug abuse, friendship and betrayal, teen suicide, and sexuality. Also for teen readers, Carlson has contributed the volume Kenzie's Story to the "Degrees of Betrayal" trilogy, a series about a fractured friendship that also features volumes written by Jeffrey Nesbit and Dandi Mackall. Her Piercing Proverbs: Wise Words for Today's Teens recasts the Book of Proverbs in a contemporary context, and "clearly applies them to familiar circumstances and relationships," according to Booklist reviewer Shelley Townsend-Hudson.

Carlson once told SATA: "Writing and storytelling seem to be in my blood. I write for all ages: everything from Dr. Seuss-style rhyme (we share the same birthday!) to more serious novels for adults. Words just seem to live and flow through me. Sometimes I even find myself creating stories in my sleep (not usually worthy of print, but entertaining). My first book (a how-to) was published in 1995 and, since then, I have published more than thirty titles for kids, teens, and adults; finally this propelled me into a career of full-time freelance author. My first love in writing is fiction, and I enjoy creating memorable characters…. In the future I hope to improve my craft and pursue more challenging writing projects. I would love to try my hand at a screenplay!

"My husband and I live in a comfortable cabin next to the national forest, where deer, rabbits, squirrels, and all kinds of birds keep us entertained. It is a perfect place to write. We have two grown sons and a sweet chocolate Labrador retriever, and we all enjoy skiing, boating, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascades. I keep a small garden (fenced from the voracious deer) and a small fish pond (a great place to reflect on writing projects). I travel occasionally to conferences, conventions, and book-signings. In my spare quiet moments, I enjoy reading a good novel."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2002, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Piercing Proverbs: Wise Words for Today's Teens, p. 1835; January 1, 2006, John Mort, review of On This Day, p. 59.

Library Journal, June 15, 1995, p. 78; February 1, 2000, Melanie C. Duncan, review of Everything I Long For, p. 66; September 1, 2000, Melanie C. Duncan, review of The Storyteller's Collection, p. 188; September 1, 2002, Shawna Saavedra Thorup, review of Angels in the Snow, p. 156; September 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of The Gift of Christmas Present, p. 134; November 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of Crystal Lies, p. 68; February 1, 2006, Tamara Butler, review of On This Day, p. 62.

Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, January-March, 2005, Geraldine S. Pearson, review of Crystal Lies, p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, October 25, 1999, review of The Wonder of Christmas, p. 74; July 30, 2001, review of The Prayer of Jabez for Kids, p. 82; April 8, 2002, review of Looking for Cassandra Jane, p. 206; August, 5, review of Angels in the Snow, p. 53; August 4, review of When the Creepy Things Come Out, p. 76; July 7, 2003, review of Finding Alice, p. 50; December 22, 2003, review of Armando's Treasure, p. 38; March 28, 2005, Marcia Ford, "Faith on the Edge," p. 13; December 12, 2005, review of On This Day, p. 39.

School Library Journal, June, 2001, Amy A. Healy, review of It's My Life, by Caitlin O'Connor, p. 143; September, 2002, Linda Beck, review of On My Own, by Caitlin O'Connor, p. 220.

ONLINE

Faithful Reader Web site, http://www.faithfulreader.com/ (November, 2003), interview with Carlson.

Melody Carlson Home Page, http://www.melodycarlson.com (May 28, 2006).

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