I have another wonderful young adult author in the hot seat today. Her debut novel, Collide, came out recently with Evernight Teen. Welcome, Melissa!
Before I dive into the questions, I just want to take a moment to say thank you for having me on your blog today!
Have you ever done what the author t-shirts threaten and written somebody you dislike into a story? No need to name names, or anything. If so, what did you put them through?
Yes, I’m guilty of this. I once had a terrible boss who I swear enjoyed making people miserable. She inspired a story about a woman who discovers her boss is a demon who thrives on the misfortune of others. The demon would draw strength from the stress and chaos that she created around her. My protagonist catches on to what’s happening and creates order in the workplace that ultimately leads to the demon’s downfall.
Ha! I think I’ve had one or two of those bosses myself. What’s your favorite paragraph from Collide and why? No spoilers now, just a nice, slow tease if you please.
Wow. It’s tough to pick ‘the’ favorite paragraph for me, but this is one of them. Alright, so I cheated because I included two paragraphs, but they’re really short so I feel like they can count as one. In this scene, Alec is helping Kayla dismount from a horse. It is written from Kayla’s POV:
When my feet hit the ground, he didn’t let go, his arms circling my waist while mine wrapped around his neck. The familiarity of his closeness and the overwhelming comfort that followed nearly dropped me to my knees. Torment swirled in those sapphire eyes, and all I wanted in that moment was to calm the storm.
My gaze lowered to his lips, and I recalled the many kisses we shared, all of them emblazoned in my memory, clear as day. But it was too late for us, thanks to me.
Ooo, nice. *dashes off to grab myself a copy* Where did your hero come from? Someone you know? Dreams of the *ahem* daytime persuasion? What makes him tick? Inquiring minds would like to know.
The inciting incident for Collide entered my mind before I really knew who the characters were. Alec wasn’t based on anyone I know. I used the exercises in The 90 Day Novel by Alan Watt to discover who he was, though it took me much longer than ninety days to finish the first draft. I was able to formulate his likes, dislikes, motivations, and goals through the questions presented toward the beginning of the book.
As far as what makes him tick? I’d say Kayla definitely does. But, seriously, he is a hard-working guy dedicated to protecting the girl he loves. When he’s not worried about the fate of the universe, he spends his time making kick-ass meals. What’s not to love about a guy who could kick some butt should the need arise, and cook an impressive dinner when things are chill?
Mmm, love me a guy who can cook. Are there any other fantastic novels waiting to burst free from your imagination in the future? Can you tell us about them?
Collide is a stand-alone story, but it is the start of a series. Book two has been started, but it’s in early stages yet. It picks up only a few months after where the first book leaves off. I’d love to tell you more, but that would give away what happens at the end of Collide, so I’ll have to keep it to myself for the moment.
I’ve also been working on a new adult, futuristic sci-fi romance where the President’s daughter falls in love with a galactic garbage man. She finds out later that his father is the head of a very powerful mob that her own father does shady dealings with. The main character and her love interest find themselves in the middle of a dangerous disagreement between their dads.
Tell us about your road to publication. Was it short and sweet? Long and winding with many bumps?
My road to publication fell somewhere in the middle. Though short and sweet would have been awesome, I didn’t get published as quickly as I would’ve liked. I started writing six years ago. My first manuscript was a contemporary romance which needed so much work that, to this day, I still haven’t gathered the courage to go in and edit it.
Collide was written after that. It took me about a year to write the first draft. I remember thinking it was taking forever, but I work full-time so finding the time to write can pose interesting challenges. I went through multiple rounds with beta readers, and received several rejections when I started submitting to various literary agents. Each time I was lucky enough to get feedback with a rejection, I fine-tuned whatever I could. At some point, I switched gears and decided that I wanted to work with a small press. I had heard great things about Evernight, and decided to submit to them. I was over the moon when Evernight Teen accepted Collide for publication.
Going back to edit a story is so hard, isn’t it? We’re so glad you persevered with Collide! If you could be a superhero, what would your power be and why?
I don’t know if other people would find this boring, but I would love to be an omni-linguist like Wonder Woman. Though it may not seem exciting on the surface, it would be incredibly useful. I love the idea of being able to hop on a plane to anywhere in the world, and be able to communicate with anyone, no matter what language they spoke. How cool is that?
Awesome answer – you could be a master negotiator of peace with those bad-ass skills. If I opened up your purse/handbag right now, what would I find in there?
I carry around a wristlet, rather than a regular-sized handbag, so there isn’t much I can cram in there. The only thing it can hold is my wallet, a pack of gum, and a pen. If I get crafty, I can sometimes stick my phone in there, too.
Thanks for letting us into your creative mind today, Melissa. And now for the pretty. Isn’t it awesome?
When the balance between Earth, Afterlife, and Heaven are threatened, the fate of the universe falls on a selfish girl who must sacrifice everything to save it.
Kayla has a plan. She’s moving to the city after graduation and Luke’s coming with her. He’ll eventually become a doctor, she’ll be a ballerina—and they’ll live happily ever after. That’s what she thinks, until dark forces, led by a sister she never knew existed, start hunting her down for a power she never knew she had.
When Kayla starts working with a boy named Alec to learn how to defend herself and to stop the evil from eliminating the worlds, she finds herself falling for him. Hard. Torn between two loves and struggling to do what’s right for Earth and Afterlife, Kayla must decide if she’s fighting to keep her life together, or letting it go to save everyone else’s.
Buy Links for COLLIDE: