November 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm 7 comments

Both for Overworked and Underlaid, and I Said Never, I’ve gone through the stories. I don’t know what I can add to make the romance fuller. It’ll come to me. I’m not going to push it. Both heroines aren’t done living in my head. I’ll let them stay there for a while and stew. So you know what that means?

You’ve guessed it right. I’ve started another story. But you know what? I’m taking it slow. I’m not going to put myself under the pressure of a daily word count. I’m going to write until I hit a wall for the day and quit and come back the next day. I haven’t done that in while. I kind of like it. I don’t think I even want to tell you guys about the plot or what’s going on so far. This story is going to be my little secret. So all I’m giving you is…In Time as the working title. It’s a romanctic suspense. Ha. I like this feeling, I forgot what it felt like.

So on to other things. The interview gig has been going good. I’ve gotten back three so far. I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails of interest. But I don’t have Unpubs. I need Unpubs. Your journey is just as important. Your story needs to be told. Your unpub status doesn’t lessen what you know. There is a saying, every published author was unpublished at some point. So…e-mail me dammit. I’m not saying any names. 🙂 Also since I’m technically still unpubbed I’m going to answer the questions myself to show you how unscary the process is.

Author Questions:

When did you start writing?

September 13, 2004

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

My first book, 18 pages long illustrations included, was in the 3rd grade. We had to read the story out loud. I can’t say for sure, but I think my teacher eyes glazed over by page 10. It was about a ghost town. I have fond memories of that story. But what made me sit down and write was watching a show on Oprah. It was the beginning season of her dream series. She was making dreams come true. I could make my dream come true if I just sat down at my typewriter. I think I cried writing that whole first page. Then I re-wrote it ten million times. I haven’t stopped writing since.

What made you take yourself seriously?

Going from the mindset I wanted to be published to wanting to write a damn good book. I embraced my voice realizing it was mine, no one could take it, and I was going to hone it. That was around the same time my first partial was requested. Go figure.

What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

That it is damn hard work. It’s much more than sitting down at a computer(typewritter) and getting words down. It’s about bleeding on the page, going back and killing your darlings. It’s about the story. It’s not about how good one line is.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I love romantic suspense. I love tradional romance. Women’s fiction. All of it must have humor, the rest is white noise. I’ve been hopping around since my first book and depending on the mood I’m likely to write in all three genres. Hey, I have a short attention span, must be why.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

I’M A GREAT WRITER!! I live by that. There is no point for me to keep sitting down at a computer if I don’t think in the back of my mind that I’m damn good. If I don’t believe what I’m writing is worth someone’s hard earned money then I need to step my ass away from the computer and not look back.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Find your voice. The craft and everything will fall into place, because to me you can learn craft, you can learn grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting. You can learn how to discpline yourself to write every day, you can learn all that if you have the passion to. But you can’t fake voice. It’s the thing that is going to make an editor love you, hate you, buy you, ask you nicely to never send a ms to them, make readers buy your next book, have them throw it against the wall. Voice makes or break you. Learn it, love it, use it to your advantage.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

My first book I sat down and wrote, and wrote, and wrote until my eyeballs were dry and I couldn’t type another word. Actually I didn’t for months. Then I figured I would plot. That didn’t work out so well. Then I chucked it and found a good balance. I wrote by the seat of my pants and only plotted the turning points of the story. It seems to work for me. I’m not going to mess with it until it stops working for me.

What keeps you writing?

I haven’t gotten bored with it yet. I find something new to learn that I didn’t know before. I want to try this writing thing out to see how it goes. I want to see if I can write a damn good story. And characters keep popping up in my head demanding to be written. When that stops then I’ll stop.

Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

THE CHERRIES are my support. So are all the women in Sub Care. I go to Wine Country Romance Writer’s every month (or try to) they are also a good group of women. Joan (shout out!!) did an incredible job of getting us together. It’s a writing group in the valley/wine country, hence the name, and it’s the first one to be founded in our area. We’re trying to get an RWA approval. Anyway, all these groups I get something different (cherries=craft, Sub Care=undeniable support with submissions, sales, rejections, Wine Country=a day out of the house to be a writer.) These women keep me sane and I’ve learned that I’m not insane for wanting to write.

Define success for yourself?

Writing a book a reader can love. Writing a book that makes the NYT bestseller list, being able to quit my day. If I can get one out of the three than I’ve succeeded.

What’s your comfort reads?

Nora Robert’s Carnal Innocence. And Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. And Lani Diane Rich’s Crazy in Love.

Who are you reading right now?

About five books all at the same time. I can’t begin to tell you their names.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

When I read Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me I wanted to give up writing all together. There was no way in hell I could write something that good. Up to that point I’d never sobbed when reading a book (Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney not withstanding) There is this one scene that hits me, the emotions rang true, and I said, “I’m not writing anymore.” Then I read a book by Erica Spindler then decided I was going to give writing another chance, because if she can be published then I can. Yes, I did just out someone as a bad writter.

Plug away…you can find me here of course and at http://www.melissablue.net. I’ve got a book coming out How Much YOu Want to Bet? Boy meets girl, Girl chanllenges boy to pool game, Girl loses and has to go on a date with boy. Boy preens, charms, gets on girl’s last nerve, hires Girl’s boss to make his house. Girl wishes for him to fall off the nearest clift. But of course Boy and Girl fall in love and Live HEA…if only Girl can forget her past….

Now that should have either intrigued you or annoyed you. Either way I’m still unpublished, but watch out for the release date. I’ve got the first chapter up at http://www.melissablue.net. You can find it under the excerpts page.

See that wasn’t so bad now was it?


Entry filed under: interviews.


7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Toni Lyons  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Warning, Long Post and bad grammer: This is my favorite blog these days. You’re so personable. I wanted to make a comment about something that came to mind when I read that your starting a new ms. I wanted to bring it up because this is something I do, and I’m trying to disipline myself. Here goes, and I’m not sure how to start the comment,so…So, your starting a new ms…that’s great…you are brimming with ideas…GREAT, but my comment/concern is…Are you starting a new ms as a form of procrastination…you know, avoiding the tough stuff like revisions? I’m bringing this up because I LOVE writing my first crude-rough drafts but revising is tough. I write my first drafts like a speed reader and then my revisions inch along like worms…(bad analogy). Now, whenever I come up with new ideas, I just create a new file on the computer and I hop back to it often to add ideas that pop to mind but I don’t acutally start writing…Now I said that, and yet, I have a half dozen babies in the rough draft stage that I love…but now I have to discipline myself to finish one ms and it’s killing me by how slow it’s going,…and I do love my book…but it’s driving me nuts the way I analyze each stinkin’ sentence like my life depends on it. I’m sorry my post is so long…I just don’t want you to fall into the same trap as me. I’m curious to know how other people deal in similar situations.

  • 2. Toni Lyons  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    GRAMMAR! I said grammAr with an A at the end not an E…okay, I’m sticking my tongue out at everyone who noticed.

  • 3. Mel  |  November 27, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Hilarious about the grammEr thing.

    And no it’s not avoidance. It’s being too close to the story to see why it sucks A@@ in some places and what’s lacking in the romance. In my head and when I read my book the characters are destined to be together. I can’t see that it’s a huge jump and leap for someone else to know and believe my two characters are meant to be together.

    And really with I Said Never its in first person I’m out of my element. I lived in her head for three months. She’s not the type to fall in love easy and I can say she fought tooth and nail not to. I just need that extra distance, especially with that story.

    DISTANCE…and most times I do need to distract myself in order to see the real story.

  • 4. Edie  |  November 28, 2007 at 3:20 am

    Mel, good for you! I admire your hard work and positive attitude.

    I believe in voice too, and I’m working on honing it and bringing it out in my ms. It’s especially important in women’s fiction, which I write.

  • 5. Mel  |  November 28, 2007 at 3:31 am

    With voice I think after a certain book you just hit your stride and it’s not something you have to think about. That may be why I love learning ways on how to bring it out.

    Have you taken the Barbara Samuels class? I really want to. It’s on my wish list for next year.

  • 6. Edie  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Mel, I know my voice, but in my first draft I don’t make every sentence shine. In my revision, I do a lot of shining, lol.

    I’ve heard that Barbara Samuel’s class is great. I haven’t taken that, but I have lessons from all three of Margie Lawson’s classes. She’s terrific. 🙂

  • 7. Mel  |  November 29, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Margie Lawson? I’ll check her out.

    And it’ll drive any writer nutty to get the first draft perfect.

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