[Review] Rhodi’s Light – Megan Linski

rhodi's light - megan linskiI read this book in October of 2016 for a book tour through Xpresso Book Tours. The blog it toured on no longer exists but this amazing book is still worth sharing!

Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance. 

These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope. 

Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic . . . as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists. Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness? 

This book was something completely new for me. When I first started it, I thought I was reading a straight-up fantasy novel, with the intense world-building and the characters. It all seemed very fantasy-ish to me (like something out of Game of Thrones or a similar world). But then you add in cars and cell phones and it turns into this dystopian world, but still keeping many of the fantasy aspects. It’s a combination I haven’t seen before and, though I wasn’t sure it would work in the beginning, I very quickly got sucked down Linski’s rabbit hole and found myself lost in the world of Crescentia, not wanting it to end. At the same time, though, I was flying through the pages, eager to see how it eventually would end, and how it leads into the next book. The ending, I will admit, wasn’t what I was hoping would happen with the main characters but it should make for a very exciting book 2.

A lot of what I loved about this book was the characters. At first, I wasn’t fond of Dylan. She was whiny. Very whiny. Not my kind of character. But she grew out of that (thankfully!) and I loved watching the bonds form between students and masters.

I originally gave this book 4 out of 5 stars when I reviewed it on Goodreads but have since changed that. It was mostly because I was still upset with the ending (and why I now wait a day or two to review). What can I say . . . I’m an emotional reader!

– Buy the Book – 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

megan linski author pic

Ginger Mom (because it will get confusing because we’re both Megans): This first question is going to be a silly one but, why twins?
Megan: I used to be obsessed with twins. When I started writing Rhodi’s Light, I really wanted to have twins as my own children, through birth or adoption. I’m a big fan of adoption, which is a huge theme of the series.

Ginger Mom: Do you have a particular place you like to write? Somewhere that makes the inspiration “flow”? Also, computer or pen and paper?
Megan: I love writing outside and in nature. Anywhere outdoors is my favorite writing place, particularly if it’s in a forest. However, I do my best writing when I’m trapped in unusual places. My best work has come from places like dingy, bleak offices, the back of classrooms or dingy bedrooms, even Burger King! I find being in these particularly normal surroundings pushes me to find the magic, even in the most mundane. I also find I write well when I’m in some sort of emotional chaos. That pushes me to find an escape and create good from wretched situations.

Computer. Pen and paper makes my hand hurt way too much. Though typing isn’t much better . . . I have to wrap my wrists and hands now with athletic tape when I write and ice my fingers at night. My old high school teacher once told me I write too much. She was right.

– Connect with Megan –
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

That was just a teaser interview. Megan has graciously agreed to do a new interview in September when we talk about her new book Torrent (releases September 12th so don’t forget to stop back for lots of book birthday fun!).

Happy Thursday!
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[Author Interview] Donna K. Weaver

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Guess what? We have another author interview today! I know I say this all the time but these really are so much fun to do! And all the authors we’ve had on the blog so far lately have been wonderful! So willing to talk about what inspires them 🙂

So let’s welcome our newest guest, Donna K. Weaver!

donna k weaver 8-11-17

Donna is an award-winning author, wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, karate black belt, and online gamer girl. She is the author of the Safe Harbors series.

Megan: Donna, welcome to the blog! We are so happy you could join us today! Let’s get started with the interview 🙂 What made you decide to be a writer? Or was it something you always wanted to do?
Donna: I’ve always had stories going around in my head since I was very young. In high school we did fan fiction, though most of that was oral rather than written. I messed around with trying to write a short story when I was in college and didn’t get very far. Then I got busy with life and didn’t try again until 2010. I’d heard from a friend who’d done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I was intrigued. I’d been thinking of working on my personal history again and thought perhaps I should learn a little about writing for it. So I did my own NaNo in January 2010, just to see if I could write a full-length novel. I cranked out 80,000 words in 31 days. That book was A Change of Plans. It was much later and fourteen major rewrites before I started submitting it and found a publisher interested in purchasing the right to it.

Megan: That’s amazing! So, after that journey, do you have any authorly role models?
Donna: Outside of religious figures, I’m inspired by people who are happy and nice. I like when people work to make the world a better place.

Megan: I love asking about characters – of the ones you’ve written so far, who has been your favorite? (I know it’s like picking a favorite child lol) And any reason why?
Donna: I could easily say it’s the ones I’m writing at the moment. But the main one is probably Jori Virtanen. I knew he was broken when I wrote A Change of Plans. When I decided he needed his own story, I had a chance to really delve into what broke him. Going with him on his journey of healing in Torn Canvas brought him really near to my heart.

Megan: Okay, let’s take this a step farther and talk about your favorite book. Do you have one that was more fun to write than the others?
Donna: I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve written – or why put in the time? I eat, drink, and dream my characters. I need to care deeply about them. Research is always fun and being able to visit a location in one of my stories is exciting. And it can change the story. I was able to visit Lewistown, Montana and fell in love with the place. In Swing Vote, book three in the Safe Harbors series, I’ll be in a small town in rural Utah (since I know election laws there), and I’ll be making a trip to the Moab area for research. I know. Rough life.

Megan: Okay, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline all of your books beforehand or just start writing and see where it takes you?
Donna: I used to think I was just a pantser, but I’ve come to realize that my 50,000+ word first draft is really just a detailed outline. But I have to write it like the story to get a feel for it. I guess, for me, a simple outline lacks the emotions that drive my stories.

Megan: Thanks so much, Donna! Is there anything else you would like to share with us before we go?
Donna: I’m excited that all my titles are available in audiobook. I’m a huge audiobook fan myself, so it’s a thrill.

– Connect with Donna –
Blog Amazon Author PageFacebook Twitter Pinterest YouTube Google+

What a great way to end the week 🙂 Happy Friday!
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[Author Interview] Katy Haye

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Today we have Katy Haye, author of Rising Tides, with us! So who is she? Let’s see what Amazon has to say about the lady behind the book . . .

Katy Haye spends as much time as possible in either her own or someone else’s imaginary worlds. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

When not lost in a good book, Katy may be found on her allotment growing veg and keeping hens in order to maximize her chances of survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse or similar catastrophe (you never know!).

katy haye 8-7-17

Megan: Welcome, Katy! We are so excited to have you here with us! Let’s get on with the interview, shall we? So, what is your favorite part of being an author?
Katy: I genuinely like everything about writing stories. I love that my brain is constantly filled with characters shouting to get their stories out in the world; I love drafting a new book and seeing the story unfold; I delight in the revising and editing stages where I aim to tell the story in the best way I can (now I know what the story actually is!). and while I don’t like the marketing side of things that goes with being an independent author, I love being in charge of it all, and I like learning how it all fits together to make a successful book.

Megan: Was this what you always wanted to do or was there something else you wanted to be when you grew up?
Katy: When I was about 4 years old (before I could read for myself), my mum was reading a story to me. When she finished I asked her if you had to pay a printer to turn your story, that you’d made up in your head, into a book. She explained that no, publishers paid YOU to turn your story into a book. Mind. Blown. That’s when I decided a writer was what I was going to be when I grew up. I’ve never wanted to do anything else, although I have the usual artists eclectic mix of jobs undertaken to pay the bills.

Megan: Now to the one that has been recently dubbed “my favorite question” – You’re stranded on a deserted island. You can take any 3 books with you. What do you choose?
Katy: On a desert island, I’d take Jumper by Steven Gould because it’s the book I go back and re-read most often so I’m confident I wouldn’t get bored by it. I guess I’d like a survival handbook or something by Bear Grylls to ensure I didn’t starve/dehydrate to death on the island (my ruling trait is pragmatism), and if I can bend the definition a bit, I’d have a really big notebook for my third book to ensure i could keep writing (I could use bits of charcoal from the campfire for a pencil, that’s fine), because if I couldn’t write I wouldn’t be on a desert island, I’d be in hell!

Megan: Spoken like a true author 🙂 Okay, let’s talk about your characters for a bit! Which of them was the most fun to write? Why?
Katy: I reckon I always think that the character I like best, or who’s the most fun, is the one I’m writing NOW. I’m loving writing Clara Lissing’s stories in my nearly-out steampunk series, A Clockwork War. She is so much fun, and I’m now writing the third and she has quite an arc during the series as more and more secrets and shenanigans get uncovered.

Megan: Anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
Katy: You can read Clara’s first adventure, The Clockwork War, exclusively in Shattered Worlds (23 speculative YA/NA stories), which releases August 8th. Grab a copy on your preferred device for just .99 on Amazon. Don’t want to commit yourself without knowing you like my style? Try The Replacement Princess for free, it’s a prequel short story to The Clockwork War, and is also available in all formats. Links can be found at http://katyhaye.com/books/clockworkwar/ .

I have my copy pre-ordered already! Shattered Worlds comes out tomorrow! Yay!

Want to connect with Katy?
Facebook Twitter Website Goodreads Instagram 

Thank you again, Katy! It was so much fun having you on the blog! Happy Monday, everyone 🙂
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[Author Interview] Patrice Wilton & a Giveaway!

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Happy sunny Friday! Today we have are so excited to have Patrice Wilton joining us on the blog! Patrice is the author of the Paradise Cove series (you can find my audio review of the first book here).

patrice wilton - paradise cove author

Megan: Welcome, Patrice! Thank you so much for joining us today! So, first of all, have you always known you wanted to be an author?
Patrice: Yes, from the time I was 12, I knew I wanted to write. Or at least I knew that if I had any special gift or talent at all it would be to write books and give back the joy that I get when I read. So it was my love of reading that prompted me at the age of 40 to see if writing was in my destiny! It took 15 years before I sold anything – so it wasn’t talent, just determination, or stubbornness on my part! lol.

Megan: Wow! That’s amazing! I think so many people assume writing a book happens overnight when it really does take some time. So, here’s my favorite question to ask – if you were stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you want with you?
Patrice: Oh, that’s a tough one. Couldn’t I just have my computer instead so I could write? But failing that I would take a Sandra Brown book because I think her suspense is absolutely brilliant, and a real old favorite of mine is Five Smooth Stones, which totally broke my heart in two as a young woman growing up in Canada – and let me see – something to make me laugh, it would have to be written by Kristan Higgins.

Megan: Is there a character from the Paradise Cove series you would love to meet in person? (Mine is steamy Dr. Sean *fans herself dramatically*)
Patrice: Ditto that – he’s such a tortured soul, but so kind-hearted and loving, too. I would also like to meet Kayla – I love my women in this series very much.

Megan: Any advice to aspiring authors (like me)? Or what was the best piece of advice someone gave to you?
Patrice: Don’t do it!! It’s a heartbreaking, soul destroying business. I kid you not! You have to have a thick skin and tough it out – but if it’s really something that completes you, then go for it! Even with all the rejections and hard work, and lack of revenue – lol – I still would do it all over again. My dreams of being a writer – and making people laugh and cry – have come true. Lucky me!

Megan: If you could, is there a fictional world you would love to visit/live in?
Patrice: SERENDIPITY FALLS!! Cupid is full of mischief and when he sees two stubborn people who are right for each other, but fight their attraction, he gives them a little encouraging nudge. This romantic comedy series was so much fun to write, and the readers seem to really enjoy it!

Thanks so much, Patrice, for the wonderful interview 🙂

Connect with Patrice . . .
Facebook Twitter Website 

Check out the Paradise Cove series . . .
Paradise Cove
Hooked On You
Play Right by Me

Want a little something extra? Well, you’re in luck! We have one more surprise for you . . .

giveaway buttonPatrice has graciously offered an audiobook copy of any of the Paradise Cove series to one lucky winner! How to enter? Leave a comment below answering this one question . . .

What is your favorite vacation spot?

That’s all! I know, after reading this series, mine would definitely be somewhere like Paradise Cove (with a hunky doctor, of course)! The giveaway will stay open until next Friday (August 11th) and the winner will be announced on Twitter and our Facebook page!
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[Author Interview] Jesikah Sundin

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I have to say, my favorite part of reading and book blogging is definitely getting to know these amazing authors! A few days ago, I was given the opportunity to share my review of a great new dystopian by Jesikah Sundin. While I had my head buried in her book, I asked Jesikah if she’d do an interview for us and guess what? She said yes! I had so much fun with this one (yes, I know I say that for all of them because honestly, I really do) because I loved getting inside her head!

Jesikah is the author of the dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy (should we see how many genres I can stumble through before I’m done?) series, The Biodome Chronicles. She’s also a fellow Lindsay Stirling addict (if you haven’t heard her music, oh my are you ever missing out!). We are so excited to have her with us today!

jesikah sundin
Megan: Welcome, Jesikah! I always love asking what got authors started on their paths, so what about you? What made you want to be an author? Or was it just something you always wanted to do?
Jesikah: I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can recall memories. First to my little sister. Then to the wildflowers and trees and any animal that crossed my path. And probably to a few bewildered people I cornered while I was still young and developing social cues. But it wasn’t until I met my writing partner at age 15 that I even considered writing a novel. Whole worlds and endless possibilities became mine at that serendipitous moment Melissa and I started what would become a life-long womance. Within minutes of meeting each other, we began plotting out a historical fiction mystery featuring two stowaways from Amsterdam (we never finished that story). At that time, however, my focus was entirely on becoming a technical writer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, not creative endeavors despite my unfettered imagination. Oh how life makes for others plans, though. I never worked for NOAA. But my writing partner and I are still best friends (over two decades later) and have enjoyed many writerly adventures together. She is currently writing a historical fiction piece and I write ecopunk science fiction.

Megan: My absolute favorite question – if you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 books (or authors) would you want with you?
Jesikah: Only three books? THREE? I’m kinda panicking here *bites fingernails*.
1. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. Beautiful writing. And, gah! The characters and world. I want to go to Cabeswater. *sneaks in The Scorpio Races when Megan isn’t looking* Uh, yeah. Maggie books are awesome.
2. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. I want to write like him when I grow up!
3. A Holly Black book. Or two. All of her titles.
Um . . . I have a problem. I couldn’t pick three books if my life depended on it. I would die clutching them all. *whispers* I love you my pretty, pretty books . . .

Megan: Oh yes, I saw that 🙂 Okay, let’s talk about your book now. Is there any scene in Legacy you would love to jump into? What about it appeals to you?
Jesikah: Hmm . . . that’s an interesting question. I’ve been asked many questions since authordom, but not that one.
Well, I live near Seattle and grew up in Southern California. The Outside World, despite its futuristic tech, doesn’t grip my imagination quite like the anachronistic world of New Eden Township. In particular, I love the scene when Oaklee is sitting in her tree and appreciating her landscape and community, before Leaf interrupts her musings with a forbidden encounter. Even then, I giggled with her younger sister antics while writing them. Such a happy scene for this book.
Now, in Elements – book two – I would love to join The Harvest. I want to hear the women singing as they gather felled wheat and see the baby bassinets hanging in the fruit trees. And, in Transitions, I want to join the Mid-Winter Feasts so I can dance and be merry after several cupfuls of wassail.

Megan: Okay, this is a two-part question . . . computer or handwritten when you write? and Kindle/Nook or hardcover/paperback when you read?
Jesikah: I hand-write my outline but employ a keyboard when scene writing. I prefer hardcovers, but will read whatever is put in my hands, regardless of medium.

Megan: And let’s go with a little freebie question here – is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Jesikah: Sure. Prepare, blog reader, for a shameless plug!
Join my newsletter, Heard it on the Wind… to receive updates, research musings, and flash fiction from Yours Truly, and to peruse hand-selected collections of free, discounted, and new release titles from other SFF/YA authors.
Also, if you listen to music while reading (let’s say, Legacy, for example *wink, wink*), I recommend The Biodome Chronicles playlist on Spotify. Hours of continuous music, people. HOURS. Perfect for book series bingeing.

Thank you so much, Jesikah! I enjoyed Legacy and am on my way to dive into Elements as soon as I finish this!

Want to connect with Jesikah yourself?
Facebook Twitter Instagram Website Goodreads – Pinterest – YouTube

That’s all I have for now! Happy Sunday!
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[Author Interview] Karen Musser Nortman

author interview graphicThis interview was a lot of fun for us because, not only were these our first Book Club reads, but this is also the first interview we have collaborated on since Ginger Mom became a duo!

So who is our guest today?
karen musser nortmanKaren Musser Nortman is the author of the Time Travel Trailer series (we have read and reviewed both!) as well as the Frannie Shoemaker Campground Mysteries (which are still floating out there on our extensive TBRs.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Crystal: Welcome, Karen! We are so excited to have you on our blog today! After reading the Time Travel Trailer series, our first question was “was there something that happened that inspired you to write these books?”
Karen: No particular event, but as a grandmother I have realized that when my own grandparents were alive, I never thought about them having a childhood or youth and never asked them the questions I have now. I have thought how great it would be if you could go back in time and see your ancestors as flesh-and-blood kids, not just black and white photos. In the book, Lynne and Dinah are able to do that.

Crystal: What was your inspiration for this particular trailer?
Karen: I became fascinated with vintage trailers and thought what a great time portal one would make. As I outlined in the story, I decided the trailer could only go back as far as its manufacture date and I wanted one that could go back to the Thirties. After research, I found that the Covered Wagon trailers were manufactured in Michigan starting in the Thirties and also found a man online who owns one who gave me a lot of information.

Crystal: I’m curious . . . how long did it take to write this book?
Karen: About five to six months.

Megan: When it comes to your books, computer or handwritten? Which do you prefer?
Karen: I do all my writing on a laptop with Scrivener software. My laptop goes with me in our travel trailer at all times. We purchased a new trailer last year and now I have a comfortable recliner to write in. Or I write outside when the weather’s good.

Megan: That sounds like a great writing environment! I, personally, love Scrivener. But okay, this last question is a fun one I always enjoy asking. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what THREE books would you have with you?
Karen: This is really tough. I have been a voracious reader all of my life. My parents admonished me to “get my nose out of that book” just as today’s parents tell their kids to put down their video games. I grew up loving the Oz books (there are thirty or forty of them), the Betsy-Tacy books about the author’s childhood in Southern Minnesota where I lived, and Nancy Drew mysteries. But to narrow down to three, I think I would have to say The Forsyte Saga by James Galsworthy, Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag, and The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes. They all have wonderful characters and that’s important to me.

Thank you so much, Karen, for stopping by! We loved the Time Travel Trailer series and can’t wait to start on Frannie’s adventures!

Connect with Karen . . .
Website GoodreadsFacebook Twitter – Pinterest

And while you’re at it, check out our reviews of The Time Travel Trailer and Trailer on the Fly!

Happy Saturday!

[Author Interview] Monica Leonelle

author interview graphicAwhile ago, I was crazy enough to agree to read and review a book in a matter of just a few days (with two little ones, that is crazy talk to me). And it was one of the best things I’ve done because it led me to a new favorite author! That book (Instruments of the Angels) made its way onto my Top 17 of 2017 list and I have the second book in the series patiently waiting on my Kindle.

So let’s meet the talented author behind that series. Say hello to Monica Leonelle!
monica leonelle 7-21-17Monica, thanks so much for stopping by today! How about those questions?

Megan: My favorite question to ask is always, did you always know you wanted to be an author?
Monica: I wanted to be an author as early as third grade, but I also wanted to do other things – acting, singing, probably more! At some point during my childhood I got it into my head that I needed to pursue something safe, smart, and practical. I studied computer science in college and became a software engineer. I did this for most of my 20s until my personal life fell apart around 27. After that, I pursued the arts and haven’t quit since. So my advice to anyone reading this . . . if you refuse your calling or some aspect of who you are, the universe has a way of forcing you into it, sometimes quite painfully.

Megan: Great advice! Okay, here’s a fun one – if you were stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you bring with?
Monica: Probably three really practical books about how to survive on a deserted island.

Megan: How about one last question? Do you have tips for aspiring authors (like myself) or, what was the best piece of advice someone gave you when you were just starting out?
Monica: I don’t know that anyone gave me great advice. I very much fell into this, and I was kicking and screaming for much of my journey. A few things: 1- It will take a lot longer than you think, so just commit to the journey and stay persistent. People greatly undervalue sheer hard work and not quitting when others think you should. 2- The years go by quickly, so try to have one big publishing or business goal that you can hit each year. Rearrange your efforts to hit that goal. 3- Make friends with other authors. They will be your lifeline when you want to quit and they will teach you so much more than you could learn on your own. They will also help you feel sane and supported when everyone else in your life has a regular job.

What great answers! Thank you so much, Monica, for doing this interview! I loved Instruments of the Angels and can’t wait to keep going in the series!

You can find Monica’s books on Amazon, find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website! Stop by and say hello!

Until next time,
megan happy reading signature

[Author Interview] Melissa Chambers

author interview graphicI am practically bouncing out of my seat with excitement here! This is Ginger Mom’s first author interview (since the blog switch, that is)! And of course, I have gotten myself completely hooked on this amazing woman’s books!

Who am I talking about? Melissa Chambers, author of The Summer Before Forever (you can find my review here) and Falling For Forever (which I just finished reading and will be gushing about very shortly).
Melissa_croppedHow about that interview, huh?

Megan: The first question I always ask (and it’s really my favorite) is have you always wanted to write? And if not, what did you want to be “when you grow up”?
Melissa: I did NOT always know I wanted to write! I guess you can call me a late bloomer. To be honest, I was looking for a passion for a long time. One day I decided to write down a scene I had in my head, and I never stopped! It really is like an addiction.

Megan: Why contemporary YA?
Melissa: Because I never grew up, to be honest! I do read across all genres, and I’ve written several contemporary adult novels, but I always come back to Contemporary YA. There’s something about being a teenager and experiencing first love that is magical in a way that can’t be recreated in adult novels. I just like getting to be a teenager again, even if it’s only in my head.

Megan: Of course, authors read, too. So, do you have a favorite author? 
Melissa: Too many to choose! I always say Sophie Kinsella. Her stand-alone novels are my go-to when I need a laugh. I also love anything by Liane Moriarty and Jane Green in adult fiction, and in YA, I love Jenny Han, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Kasie West, and all the Sara(h)’s (Ockler, Dessen, Zarr…).

Megan: Okay, so here I am tweaking the question Jenna asks Miles in Falling For Forever . . . if you were stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you bring with?
Melissa: Oh, man! Okay . . . Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

Megan: If you could branch out into a new genre, which would you most like to try?
Melissa: Women’s fiction, because I love reading it so much. But I’m not sure I’m adult enough for it!

Megan: Okay, last question! Do you have any tips for aspiring authors (like me, someday)?
Melissa: Just start writing! People say to me all the time, “I always wanted to write a book.” I can’t understand why they don’t just do it. I think it seems overwhelming. People think they have to come up with a plot or an outline and it gets too daunting. I think the best thing is to just sit down and start writing . . . see where your story goes. Write the book exactly like you want to write it. Don’t worry about structure and all that the first go around. You can get to all that business later. But for your first draft of your first book . . . just enjoy writing, and I promise you’ll be hooked!

Melissa, thank you so much for doing this interview! I adore your books and can’t wait to read more from the Before Forever Universe (is that the right word? Oh well, we’re going with it!).

You can find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website! Stop by and say hello!

Until next time (and perpetually searching for the next great book),
Megan