I am going to seriously fangirl for just a few seconds here because oh my gosh, I absolutely love this woman’s books!! I was hooked from the very first one I read and they just keep getting better! I have also read some by her pen name, Addison Cole, and I have to say, this woman has some mad skills writing (sorry, still stuck in the geek world lol).
If you haven’t read any of Melissa’s books yet, I only have one question for you . . . what are you waiting for? The Love in Bloom series is one of my absolute favorites and it even comes with a handy Series Guide. I downloaded that as soon as I realized how many books are in this series and I don’t know what I would do without it 🙂
Fangirling aside, let’s get on with the interview, shall we?
Melissa, we are so honored and excited to have you joining us today! Thanks so much for taking time to sit down and chat with us 🙂
Q1 – I love how so many of your books feature characters from other books (for example, I saw Sky in Bayside Passions briefly at the end). I haven’t seen a series as long as the Love in Bloom series and wondered, why did you decide to focus on interwoven characters / stories instead of standalones and starting fresh each time?
I fall in love with every one of my characters and the worlds I create. To me, they (characters and worlds) become family. I care about them, and I want to see them progress through their lives as much as my readers do. For that reason, I selfishly can never let them go.
Q2 – You won’t hear any arguments from me 🙂 Okay, I read Nights at Seaside (written under your pen name) and enjoyed it. I have to say, though, I am looking forward to reading the steamy version a bit more. This is a super intriguing concept to me – why write essentially the same book twice, just to keep one clean?
My steamy readers prompted me to write the Love in Bloom stories they loved as “cleaner” romances without harsh language or explicit scenes. I received thousands of emails since the very beginning of the Love in Bloom series. Those readers wanted to share the stories they loved with friends and family, however, not all readers enjoy steamy romance. I’m so happy my readers can now share their favorite love stories with even more people.
Q3 – Is it challenging, with a series as large and interwoven as the Love in Bloom series, to keep track of everyone?
Oh yes, but mostly because there are so many characters living in my head! I offer free family trees, checklists, and more on my Reader Goodies page for readers, and I also offer a Love in Bloom Series Guide where readers can keep track of every story, engagement, birth, and wedding, as characters progress through future books.
Q4 – Random question time – if you could have any super power, what would it be?
To eat brownies and ice cream and not gain weight from it.
Q5 – What a great super power that would be! Okay, next question . . . what is your favorite part of being an author?
I’m NEVER bored. Every day is more exciting than the last.
Q6 – What was the most unexpected good or bad thing about being an author when you published your first book?
The number of readers who have fallen just as hard for my stories as I have has been overwhelming and exciting. My fans inspire me to write deeper stories every time my fingers touch the keyboard.
Q7 – For an aspiring author just starting out, what would you say is the most important thing to focus on, after the great storyline, of course? (professional editing, social networking / marketing, cover art, setting the right price, etc?)
Editing. Never rush to the finish line. Spend the money, hire professionals, and give readers what they deserve – high quality reads.
Q8 – Great advice! So, have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?
Q9 – Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what set you on this path?
I’ve wanted to write since 1991, when the writing bug hit me like a freight train. I waited 15 years to be able to focus on writing, and began when our youngest son went to kindergarten.
Q10 – Who are some of your favorite go-to authors when you get time to sit down and read?
Jill Shalvis, Jen Probst, Diane Chamberlain. There are SO many, it’s hard to list them all.
Q11 – What was the best / most memorable piece of advice someone gave you when you were just starting out?
MJ Rose (an amazing friend and author) told me to hire the best editors out there and to hire more than one proofreader for every book. I hired five proofreaders for every book, and I’m so happy I did.
Q12 – Do you have a set process when you write (place, music / no music, etc)?
Yes! Loud music, the door to my office must be closed, and I need hours upon hours to focus.
Q13 – Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or somewhere in between?
Pantser, pantser, pantser . . . Did I say pantser?
Q14 – Okay, last question . . . I have two little ones who adore reading so I have to ask – what was your favorite book as a kid?
I never had just one favorite book. I like reading too much to choose one over another.
That sounds about like what Mister Chu (my four-year-old) would say – all of them. He loves all of them.
Once again, thank you so much for joining us today, Melissa. I look forward to reading many more of your books and seeing where the characters end up 🙂 I already know Ty Braden is one of my absolute favs!
Until next time 🙂