Guess what day it is ...
That's right! It's HUMP DAY!! And today we have an interview with Melissa Pearl, author of YA paranormal novel, BETWIXT.
Welcome to We Do Write, Melissa. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me :) Well, I'm a mother to two beautiful boys (6 & 2). They keep me very busy. My gorgeous husband is a teacher at an international school in China, so we are stationed in Suzhou for another couple of years before heading home to New Zealand. While my boys are at school/kindy, I work from home, building my small writing business and loving every micro-second of it.
You can't beat working on something you love. How long have you been writing?
I've always had a vivid imagination, but I didn't really start writing until I was in my early twenties. My best friend told me I had to write one of the stories bouncing around in my head. I thought, "Why not?", so I sat down and started writing and haven't looked back. I absolutely love it :)
Tell us about BETWIXT. What’s the story about?
This story is about redemption and second chances. It's about finding out who you really are beneath all the crap and discovering who you actually want to be. It deals with some pretty tough issues, but my favorite aspect by far is the relationship between the two main characters - Dale and Nicole. I fell in love with them together as I was writing and they will remain in my heart always. In fact, I love them so much, I'm actually giving them a cameo in my next novel - True Colors, which is coming out in February 2014.
Love! <3 How did the idea of the story come to you?
The premise is based on a movie I saw years ago - "Invisible". It was about a boy who was beaten up and left in the woods. His spirit haunts his attacker until she comes to help him. I loved the concept so much, but I was disappointed with the ending. It was appropriate for the movie, but I didn't like it. I wanted to write something like that, but with my kind of ending. I sat on the story for years until it evolved into something quite different to the movie. The premise may be similar, but I wanted to make the story my own.
I remember that movie. Now I want to read BETWIXT even more. I'm telling you, this To Be Read pile of mine is staggering in its scale. Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?
Yes - I have developed a system that works really well for me and I will continue to use it. After my own edits I send it to my critique partners - other authors who understand the craft and mechanics of writing. After I hear back from them, I do my second lot of edits. It then gets sent to a copy editor who looks at all my wording and picks up any other structural mishaps that need fixing. I then do my third lot of edits. I then send it to a few proof-readers, these are a mixture of authors and avid readers. Once I hear back from them, I do my final edits and then I publish it.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A plotter all the way. I spend nearly as much time planning out my books as I do actually writing them :) In saying that, once I get into the story, the plan does change a little - new ideas come to me and the story evolves, but the basic structure and character growth is all done during the planning stages. That's what works best for me.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you?
It used to be the first edit, but now I find the first draft stage is often my most challenging in the sense
that I often suffer from First Draft Blues. Those little demons in your head that tell you your story is weak and everyone will hate it. But then I get to that first edit and realize it's not as bad as I thought it was. I start to build on what I have and end up coming away pretty happy.
Oh yeah - and then there's the marketing :P I really wish I could just write and the books would market themselves, but no such luck.
I am learning though and I now have an amazing PA/publicist helping me out. I'm learning to channel some of my creativity into marketing as well and it's making things a lot more fun :)
Wouldn't it be awesome if a book marketed itself? *sigh* Oh, well ... What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?
A glass of water.
I also have my walls plastered with pictures of what I think my characters look like. At the moment I have two lots for my two WIPs. It's so cool looking up at the wall and seeing my characters gazing back at me. It helps me bring the story to life.
What are you reading right now?
I've just finished Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles. It was brilliant!
Next on my list is Finding Colin Firth by Mia March. It's for my book club and I have to finish it by next week! Better get a wiggle on! After that I will probably read an indie author or two. I belong to a group called Indie Inked and I'm trying to read at least one book by every author in the group. I am half way through and have yet to be disappointed. I feel very privileged to be involved with a group of such talented writers.
Go indie authors! *shakes pompoms* If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Hmmm - nice question. One of my favorite super heroes is Mystique from X-Men. I think it would be so cool to be able to morph into any other human being.
That would be very cool. Mostly because you'd be naked all of the time, but whatever. What's the weirdest thing you've googled?
LOL :D Another great question…. probably something to do with book research. I'm not much of a web surfer - I just don't have the time. But my husband loves surfing the web and I have been beside him when he's typed in things like World's Worst Tattoos. That's one of the most cringe-worthy websites I've ever endured.
Um ... wow! I just got sucked into that google search and couldn't get out. People are crazy.
Anyway .... Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: twisted, between, and luxurious.
Her body twisted beneath the soft sheets, a luxurious smile creeping over her face when she realized she was no longer alone and if she wanted to, with a little shuffle backwards there'd be nothing between her and the man she'd unexpectedly fallen in love with.
Wow - how NA of me. Haha :) I don't usually write scenes like the one above, but now that the sentence is out there, I'd really love to see where it goes :D
Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ... playing with my kids, watching a movie with my husband or quickly rushing through one of the many household tasks that keeps my family happy.
Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.
Man, SO many people.
My bestie - thanks for starting me on this writing journey.
My brother - thanks for sending me down the self-publishing path.
My parents - thanks for being the world's best cheerleaders.
My husband - you are my rock and I love you.
My boys - thanks for making me smile everyday. Watching you grow is one of life's greatest privileges.
My PA/Publicist - you are the best and working with you rocks.
My critique readers, editors, graphic designers - working with you all has been a privilege and a pleasure. I look forward to many projects to come.
Indie Inked - thanks for making my writing journey so interesting. Your friendship and support means so much to me. Our Facebook group is one of the first things I check each morning. Love you girls.
My street team - what would I do without you? THANK YOU!!
My readers - I wouldn't be here without you. Thank you for taking the time to read my work. Thank you for allowing me to entertain you with characters and story lines I love. Every book contains a small piece of my heart and I feel so lucky to be able to share it with you.
My inspiration - thank you for every story you give me. I love you and would be lost without you in my life.
And finally, where can people find you and your books online?
My website is probably the best place to start: www.melissapearlauthor.com
I also have my books published through all major distributors - Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords.
You can also visit my Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor - and my blog - http://melissapearl.blogspot.com.
And of course you can subscribe to my newsletter and be the first to hear all my latest news. You'll find the sign-up form on the home page of my website.