Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I interview Melissa Mayberry, the author of Mellifica: Devastating First Love, a Young Adult (YA) romance. Melissa is a very busy mother, nurse, and writer. I’m very impressed with her ability to juggle it all.
Hello Melissa. I’m honored you found time in your busy schedule to stop by my blog. I’m always interested in the moment when a writer first claims the title. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”
In high school, I wrote some poetry for the school newspaper. That was my first publishing and my last for about twenty years. Even though Mellifica has been published, I haven’t gotten into the habit of saying that I am a writer. Maybe when writing is all I do, then I will be comfortable calling myself a writer.
It might come before that, and you’ll be amazed at the feeling when it happens. What are your writing rituals?
I’m a day-sleeper, night-shift nurse. So, on my nights off, I write. I love the quiet house and the spooky ambiance from the stillness.
It sounds as if you’ve found the perfect time for you to create your stories. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.
This is so true, especially for me. If it wasn’t for my story line blatantly presenting itself, I may have never bothered to write again.
See – you are a writer. You had no choice. Do you have a favorite character that you created?
I’m a mother of four, so I liken this question to motherhood. Each one of my characters has a special place in my heart. Some I love to hate. Some I’d love to be and others, I love them and wish they were here. If I’m not feeling any attachment to the character, I wouldn’t expect my readers to either. So, I either have to ditch them, or make them special.
I always say my favorite characters are the ones I’d like to be. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?
When I sent a query, one guy explained to me that he was this beefy guy that rode motorcycles, but he was shocked that he couldn’t stop reading the chapter I sent him because it was a YA romance. I love that even men like my books.
What’s your one sentence pitch for Mellifica: Devastating First Love?
Heartbreak plagues Melissa when her high school boyfriend dumps her for a teacher’s wife.
Sounds intriguing. How did you choose the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?
Mellifica has been the title, but I added on Devastating First Love after reading a review. Mellifica is the nickname given to me by the antagonist in the book.
How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?
It took well over two years. I hadn’t written in so long that I had to learn the process all over again. When I started, I thought I would catch on right away, but it took me a few tries.
That’s not too bad considering you only get to write a couple of nights each week. Is the book traditionally or self-published? Why did you choose one over the other?
I went with the traditional publisher after publishing it myself. The plan was to send out a certain number of queries and if I had no response, then self publish. An answer came about a week after I self-published. Ultimately, I went with them because they were awesome and offered a better deal than most publishers.
What is the message conveyed in Mellifica: Devastating First Love?
My main character is so fickle it drives me crazy sometimes, but she has a reason for that. She has no self-esteem. If you learn anything from her, it’s not to let your ego guide you; let your heart.
What is the best thing someone could say about this book?
I love to hear that it’s inspiring. That was my intention—to inspire people to take their destinies into their own hands and reap the reward.
How Mellifica was conceived in your imagination?
Mellifica is based on a true-life situation. From there, characters were fictionalized to provide privacy to the innocent.
What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?
All my research was from my head. Some people flipped out about how things were back in 1992. “You can’t write about people smoking in a restaurant.” Really? Things were different then.
Who or what is the antagonist? Did you enjoy creating this character?
The antagonist, Arien, was so much fun to write. After all, in real life he was an ex boyfriend. I spent so much time solely devoted to detailing all his little quarks. Revenge is sweet.
Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene.
One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in my mind, is where Sandy is trying to get Mel to leave Arien. He brings her a cupcake to school and somehow manages to look incredible while doing it. His ploy almost worked, but ended with Mel saying some pretty cruel things to him. I think it’s my favorite because Sandy was incredible inside and out, even holding a pretty little cupcake.
What else do you want readers to know about your book?
Book one has been out for about six months. I am working hard and hoping to have book two published by early fall. Book two has exciting life changes for everyone, followed by an ironic and sad twist of fate for one of the main characters.
About Melissa Mayberry – Melissa believes in living a full life. As a wife, mother of four, full-time nurse, and grad student, a story presented itself to her in such a way that she had to become a writer as well.
Learning and growing through her work, Mellifica: Devastating First Love is the first of two books chronicling a sordid love affair with a tragic, yet ironic ending.
Website and blog: MelissaMayberry.com
Facebook: Melissa Mayberry / Mellifica
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