about the author
Melissa Ferguson is an adjunct professor for Bible and religion at King University. She lives in the charming town of Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband, twin toddlers, and baby girl.
She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now her hobbies include admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” en route to the library.
What is your favorite activity or hobby not related to books?
M: My favorite thing to do probably in the world is walk with a friend/hubby. Ever since we had children (especially starting out with twins) it’s been challenging to get out and do it (3 kids, stroller only holds 2, and they all get pretty crabby), but I used to go with my husband and walk at least three or four miles a day. Once we went on a walk on this beautiful creeper trail one Sunday and ended up going 17 miles!
B: I love walking, too!!! (my knees do not but hey, I can’t make everyone happy)
Share your inspiration behind The Dating Charade.
M: 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 that be for a couple to have a fantastic first date, tell each other they don’t want kids, and then come home from that date to find three children dropped in their laps each! I suppose several factors came specifically into play in bringing about this idea, however.
First, at the time I wrote The Dating Charade, my twins were two and I had a newborn. The idea of the male lead in this novel, who doesn’t love kids, to get surprised with twin 2 year-olds and a newborn overnight and see how he handles it was fun for me. Who knows, maybe it was therapeutic, watching the guy struggle through my own comedic parenting struggles. 🙂
As for my female lead, Cassie, she ends up with three children through her work as a director for an afterschool program, and for several years I was the teen coordinator for my YMCA afterschool program. Those teens meant the world to me and we got really close. 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 split up from her sisters if I didn’t take them in?”
So, I suppose, this was the inspiration behind my story.
B: Ah, now readers will know why this story is so funny… because it rings of truth from experience!
What did you learn or discover about yourself while writing The Dating Charade?
M: Well, God actually taught our family about fostering through this book. We were looking pretty seriously into international/domestic adoption at the time, with zero intention of getting into fostering. But as I wrote this story, the six kids come into the adults’ lives through the foster system (kinship in one case, work in another), and while the chapters unfolded, God honestly changed our hearts about fostering—especially being supportive of fostering with the intent of reunification.
There was even one day while I was writing this story with no contract in sight and sat back, thinking, “Man. I wonder if God is going to use this book to help change the world for fostering?” And my immediate, startling thought came back, “Or what if God is using this book to change you.” After about 10 months, we are finally approved to foster.
B: This is so powerful and I’ve loved following your journey as you share your heart on social media.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
M: Oh boy. I always have a few. I just bought The Princess Bride, I’m reading a book by Sophie Kinsella, I’m trying to work my way through The Creator and the Cosmos by Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross, and I’m quite fond of a Toot & Puddle I’ll Be Home for Christmas book I just received and have been reading with my children.
B: THAT is quite a variety, my friend! Your reading life is well-seasoned!
What is your reading style?
M: Print only.
B: I salute you.
What is your next release and/or what are you working on now?
M: The Dating Charade released December third (woo!!!) and I’m working The Cul-de-sac War coming out fall of 2020. 🙂
B: Woo hoo! Thank you so much for chatting with us and sharing some of your thoughts on The Dating Charade, Melissa!
about the book
The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson
Contemporary Romance, Christian
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 336 Pages
December 3rd 2019 by Thomas Nelson
Just when you think you’ve met your match . . . the charade begins.
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband—and children—altogether.
But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.
No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?
Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.
All the hearts on the cover of The Dating Charade are entirely fitting because this story has heart in a big way (and a healthy dose of hilarity, too… often at the expense of the main characters)! I laughed, I cried, I hugged my kids, I told one of my kids to read this book!
There is entirely too much I love about this story to put it all into words! The author has nestled Cassie and Jett’s story in a diverse and dynamic community of friends, family, and coworkers like a big ‘ol hug that’s always there when you need it. Many of these secondary characters practice love in action and in words, even if they have to get creative, pushy, or brutally honest about it.
The romantic element is innocent and sweet with more almost-kisses than I could keep track of amidst two simultaneous (and semi-secretive) parenting crash courses… and I can’t find a single thing to complain about besides the fact that the story had to end. Melissa Fergeson’s debut is a “nothing but net” three-point shot for the win! I highly recommend this story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Be sure to check out the Prism tour on Instagram as well!
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