"YOU'RE A DOCTOR?"
Cheryl leaned toward Mel and raised her voice
to be heard over the din of Mazzio diners. "You could
help me paralyze someone, then, couldn't you?"
Mel stared at her with some trepidation. This was the "nice
young lady" his pastor, Brother Ron, wanted him to meet?
"Um . . . well . . . what, exactly, did you--"
"I'd better explain myself," she said with a smile.
"I write novels. I'm doing research on book number thirteen,
and I need one of my characters to be paralyzed through part
of the story. Any idea how I could do that without damaging
With relief and sudden interest, Mel gave her all the information
she needed. Actually, she received more than she needed, in
detail. He couldn't understand why she only ate half a slice
of pizza the whole evening.
Thus was Cheryl's introduction into the world of an emergency
room physician. It was Mel's introduction into fiction. They
were both fascinated. A year and a half later, they were married.
fascination grew as Mel shared more of his world and Cheryl's
imagination took over. Together they generated ideas for a
story. With Mel's medical input, encouragement and help with
plotting, and Cheryl's writing skills, they developed their
first novel together, and called it Sacred
Trust. Bethany House published it in 1999. Eight months
later came the sequel. Solemn Oath. To end the three-book
series, Silent Pledge was published in December 0f 2000.
Both Mel and Cheryl Hodde (pronounced Hoddee) dreamed of their
chosen professions since they were children. Mel remembers
the decision he made when he was ten years old to become a
the time his dream was to be an old-time country doctor who
knew all his patients as well as he knew his own family, prayed
for them, and
sometimes even accepted chickens for
the pen name for the writing collaboration of Cheryl and Mel Hodde.
chose the name "Hannah Alexander" to incorporate their twonamesinto one.
They have read that
"her hope is inthe
"servant of mankind."
his career didn't develop in the way he expected, he can't imagine
anything more rewarding, especially now that he is able to incorporate
his knowledge into novels with his wife.
remembers composing songs and stories before she knew her ABC's.
When she wrote her first romance novel in 1985 she realized
that no romance, and no life, can be right without Christ at
the center, and so that was how she wrote—with Christ at
the center. After she and Mel got married in 1995, they worked
together on rewrites of her previous manuscripts. This time,
when she marketed them, they began to gain notice from publishers.
Three of her first novels, entitled The Healing Promise, Ozark
Sunrise, and A Living Soul have now been published by Heartsong
Presents under the name of Hannah Alexander.
"I hope this is just the beginning," Cheryl says.
"Mel and I have a lot of stories yet to write."