Thursday, January 6, 2011

MELISSA-An Awesome Aspiring Author

My PhotoI'm super excited to have Melissa from Through the Looking Glass here on my blog today!  It's been a lot of fun getting to know her.  Here's the 'about Melissa' blurb from her blog.

Well, where to start? Let’s get the easy stuff out first. My first date warnings: I may be a pyromaniac (but everyone likes to burn things, right?); there’s always something in my hands (you should hide anything you don't want my fingers to systematically destroy); I’m insane (read: I hear voices in my head, no really, they never shut up); I can have several conversations simultaneously (it blows people’s minds....though this is probably due to my mental instability). You're still here? That's probably a sign you're mad too. Sorry. You should have stopped reading when you had the chance.

I'm glad I didn't stop reading.  You should head over and read more after the interview!

So, Melissa, how long have you been writing?

When I was an angst riddled teenager I wrote (absolutely awful) poetry about how awful my life was and song lyrics because I felt I could (I was epically wrong). But, if we're going to be completely accurate, I started to take writing seriously in November 2008. 

And, what made you want to write?

To be honest, I had no choice. I have a history of getting pneumonia and at the beginning of 2008, I had my worst case yet. I had to take a nebulizer (oxygen mask that delivered medication) every 3 and a half hours so I was basically confined to a chair in my room. I was desperately ill and due to that and other personal factors of my life, I became seriously depressed. For ten months I sat in a chair. 

Looking back, I feel like I lost a year of my life because I wasn't *there* during that time. A lot of times when people are really upset they call it depression - but that's not what depression is. Depression is a complete lack of all emotion. You are empty. There is nothing to feel or fight against, nothing you can do. 

For nine months, I hardly had any thoughts in my head. One day these voices just started talking. I ignored them for a month but they kept getting louder, invading my dreams and saturating everything. Finally, I gave in. For a whole day I listened to them, heard their story and was introduced to their world. The next morning when my mom came downstairs to let the dog out, I started talking to her. Animated and full of excitement and energy. (Honestly I think I shocked her into absolute silence because I'd been completely unresponsive and unemotional for so long.)

I started writing my character's story.

Writing lets me sort through my emotions and feelings and balances me in a way I didn't know was possible for me. Whether I get published or not, I will never stop writing because I need to for the sake of my own emotional well -being.

(Wow!  Thanks for sharing that story.  I'm sorry you had to go through something so traumatic, but I'm glad it lead you to something so priceless.  Writing's so much better when it's a positive happy thing.)

Do you have any pet peeves while writing?  Anything you just have to have to concentrate? 
I really don't like other people bothering me (unless they are bringing food - that, I will never begrudge them for!). When I write I really lose myself in my character's emotions and if I get interrupted I get *stuck* in that emotion state/mind frame and it's really hard to get out of it!

I don't really need anything to write. But I prefer to write with music. Before I start writing a book I make a book playlist and I listen to that while I write because it helps me sink into the emotional state in the beginning. When I'm actually in the zone though, I stop hearing the music so I guess I don't really need that either. 

What is your favorite thing to write? 
I love fantasy. With fantasy, the only limitations are my own imagination. It's so, unbelievably, freeing.

What other genre's do you enjoy writing, if any? 
I like mixing other genres with my fantasy: romance, mystery, suspense, horror. Probably others too, these are just the first things that popped into my head. I don't know if all of these genres are mixed into my book but I want to interweave them in other stories I write over time. (I love cross-genre stuff because I love layered story-telling.)

(Ooh, me too!)

So, what's your favorite genre to read? 
Again, I'm going to have to go with fantasy (what can I say, it's like a drug or any other addictive substance. I just can't help myself). I like any type of fantasy: epic or urban. That being said, I love other stuff too!

(I have a soft spot for fantasy too.)

Have you been to a conference?  If you've been to more than one, which was your favorite and why? 
I haven't been to a conference. I really want to go though! I think it'd be absolutely amazing to meet some writer friends in real life. If nothing else, this year I'm going to make sure I have time for write-on-con. 

(That's so great to hear!  You won't regret it, I promise.)

Which author's do you admire? 
J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books were such a huge part of my childhood, they were with me through the best and worst times of my past. When I think of my childhood, Harry Potter is one of the first things that come to mind. So yeah, I admire J.K. Rowling for how she changed so many lives and her incredible talent. There are so many other authors that I admire or have learned from. A few other honorable mentions are Lewis Carroll, Emily Bronte and Sophie Kinsella (I've yet to read the Shopaholic series but I love her stand alone books and the humor and wit therein. If you need a pick me up, read one of her books - my personal favorite is Remember Me.)

How often do you write?
I'd like to say every day. I'd also be lying. I'm not very disciplined - and when I say not very I mean not at all. So, I tend to write in spurts. I'll write a lot for weeks on end and then I won't write for a couple of weeks, start to get really anxious and stressed and start writing feverishly again. I'm an all or nothing kind of person. So I'm either desperately working or completely 

And last, but certainly not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate?
If you asked me a couple months ago I would've said chocolate. That was before my trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While there I went into Honeydukes (it still amazes me that I can say that!) and got a can of sherbet lemons. Those candies are The.Best.Things.Ever. They are now, officially, my favorite sweet (why did no one accept Dumbledore's offer? They are crazy!). Sorry chocolate, you have been replaced by sugary lemon goodness. 

(What?  You got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  So awesome!  I'm sure I'd find a new favorite candy there as well.)

Melissa was also kind enough to add a few random facts about herself.  Here are my favorites:  

I trained my cat to walk on a leash and take baths (though that's because I'm allergic and wouldn't be able to keep her if she wasn't bathed!). She enjoys both. No exaggeration. I also may treat my cat like she's a real person (and yes, it has altered her behavior and people frequently comment on how she is not a cat).

For the new year I put green streaks in my hair! (It looks fantastic, thanks for asking.)  (Ooh, I want to see!)

In my spare time (which there is never enough of) I love to draw and paint.

So awesome!  If you'd like to read the rest of her really cool random facts you can visit her 'about me' page.  She's such a fun person.

Thanks so much Melissa!  I hope everyone else had as much fun learning about a fellow writer as I did :)

By the way, my contest is over.  I'll be posting the winners on Monday.  Sorry I didn't clarify that before.

Have a GREAT weekend!


  1. Thanks so much for interviewing me Michelle! It really was fun answering the questions!

    When I look back on being so sick, I'm actually sort of glad. I realize now that it's something I had to go through in order to become the person I was always meant to be and it's made me so much stronger. Starting to write was the best choice I've ever made and I don't think I would've found it at all or until much later in life if I hadn't gone through what I did.

    I'll have to take a picture of my hair and post it on my blog (or send you one via email!). I really love the green and think I will keep it up for a while.

    Yes, I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the end of August. They have SERIOUSLY delicious candy and food there. It's kind of crazy. It was one of the best experiences of my life! If you get the chance you should definitely go!

    PS. Glad we both like fantasy and layered story telling. I'm sure you know why this would please me ;)

  2. It was nice getting to know another writer, Melissa :)


  3. This was great! Trained her cat to awlk on a leash...that's impressive.

    I too found writing while going thru depression. It's an amazing thing. Rock on, Melissa!

  4. Bummer you lost so much time in that chair, but then, you would be a writer now, would you?
    And I need music when writing as well.
    Oh, and you are not insane.

  5. Our cat kind of acts like a dog around my daughter, but we never tried to train her to walk on a leash. Maybe you're a 'cat whisperer.'

  6. Melissa is so awesome! Great interview!! Now I want to try those lemon thingies so badly!

  7. Great interview! I'm glad i'm not the only one who hears voices! I'm jealous and want to go to the Wizarding world too!

  8. That was a great interview - I never knew all that about you. That sucks about being sick so much. My daughter has asthma and she's had pneumonia, too, so I sympathize with you.

    Oh, and thanks for the tip about the sherbet lemons. I'm going to buy a huge box when I go this year!

  9. Love the interview and Melissa! She's a great person! So jealous of her trip to HP land.

  10. I'm glad everyone liked it! I have such a great time getting to know other writer's. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and thanks to Melissa for letting us all get a little peak into her life.

  11. I heart Melissa---and I was happy to get to know her even better (pneunomia!) !!!

  12. Great interview,Michelle! Melissa is awesome!!! I adore her even more after reading your interview. :-)

  13. Thanks so much for doing this interview! I'm sorry you had to go through so much, but like Alex said, you may not be a writer without the experience.

    I make cd's for books, too. And, I seriously lack discipline-all or nothing, yeah...I get that.

    I want to get leashes for my cats. My husband just laughs....


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