Melissa is the first fellow YA/paranormal romance and fantasy indie kindred spirit I’ve interrogated on my site as part of the IWU Neverending Blog Tour. I’m happy to feature another writer in my subgenre, especially this writer! Her writing is fun and engaging, and Melissa herself is as sweet as her romances. (Get it? ‘Sweet romance’ … awesome pun! Woohoo!) She is – without a doubt – one of the nicest, most supportive indies I’ve met yet, and her quick-n-gentle wit surfaces in her writing. I’d buy Melissa’s books just because I really like her – so it’s a bonus that her novels are original and well-written!
Tell me what readers should know about Melissa Smith, the woman behind the books.
I’m funny and quick witted with a sharp side.
What inspires you to write?
At first inspiration came from a need to escape grief. Now? It’s the love of the developing story!
If you had a perfect writing outfit, what would it be?
Pajamas!! Oh wait, I already have that outfit! 🙂
How do you define success as a writer?
I define it by the ability to complete and put out a novel that readers want to read.
Does your family read your books?
My sister is the only one to read them. My husband looked at me like I had horns sprouting when he learned it was a romance. He reads the reviews though. 🙂 My boys are too ‘male’ to touch them. “Ugh! A girlie book?” Then envision them with their hands rapidly retracted as if they almost touched the color pink. *head shaking* I know. I need pity. Even the cat is a boy.
What’s the #1 piece of advice you’d like to give other indie authors?
I have to quote another author –Mary Pat Hyland– Just do it. I have to agree. If I didn’t just ‘do it’ I wouldn’t be chatting with you now!
What’s the most challenging part of writing a book, in your opinion?
Keeping the story moving in one direction. My stories tend to run off in different tangents and I’m forever redirecting my characters. They’re pretty headstrong.
Your novels are fun and creative, and I absolutely loved the premise of a Guardian Angel falling in love with a young woman in Cloud Nine. You and I are some of the very, very few romance writers who write in the ‘sweet’ (ie, no sex-scenes) subgenre. I’ve had a lot of people comment on my sweet romances, many of whom feel romance novels focused on characters and story but no sex are few and far between. Given that it’s not as mainstream as commercial romance, what made you choose to write the ‘sweet’ route?
Well while I have no qualms about reading a steamy romance, I feel that sometimes a reader wants to imagine the touches and heat that a couple can make without it being spelled out in detail. At least I do anyway. I like being able to imagine what they did or didn’t do when the story cuts away from what will become a love scene. Not to mention my character is only 17/18.
Cloud Nine is a paranormal romance, and The Heir Apparentis a fantasy. Where do you find inspiration for the paranormal and fantastical parts of your novels? Do you choose what to write or does your writer’s Muse tell you what to write?
Well initially Cloud Ninewas to be a children’s book. But after about two chapters my characters took over and it clearly became a romance. I liked where it was headed and changed the ages of the parties involved to reflect those changes. Had to throw out my outline and I never looked back!
The Heir Apparentwas based on a story that I fiddled around with in high school. A little darker and not set on earth. Where everyone has some form of magical ability and where the time period resembles medieval England there are a few steampunk elements thrown in. While this book has no romance (the MC is only a boy) the others that follow will show that development.
Are either of your books part of a larger series? If so, what do you have planned for your series?
Cloud Ninewas originally planned as a trilogy, but it didn’t feel right so I re-wrote the outline for a duology. But I might spin off on a few of the characters that are dropping hints for their own stories.
The Heir Apparentis planned as a trilogy with the last book leaving room for more should the desire strike me. 🙂
What’s your next project?
I’m currently finishing the edits and rewrites for Thunderhead, the sequel to Cloud Nine. I hope to have this one finished and ready for publication by early July. *fingers crossed!*
Along with that I’m working on a prequel novella in the Guardian Series.
And finally I’m working on an as yet untitled Paranormal Romance.
What’s the story’s main message?
That following your heart will lead not only to happiness but to a little heartache.
Who is/are the main characters?
First there is Claire. A typical teenaged girl. She’s a senior who has homework and friends and has to work for spending and gas money. She’s an only child with two working parents who tend to work long hours. She wants what all girls want at that age. A little romance and fun. When the romance didn’t work out she set out to just finish high school and have fun.
Then there’s Sterling. He’s what we all know to exist but never see. A Guardian. A little strange himself he tends to take his job very seriously. Followed all the rules to the letter until he came across Claire. For her he’s done things that he’s never done in all his years past and he isn’t regretting a single one of them.
Which character do you admire from this book?
Claire’s grandmother. She’s fun and snappy while being your loving grandmother.
Which character would creep you out if you met him/her in person?
The Overseers. If you want to know why, read my book! 🙂
What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?
That I can write a story that people will want to read. That I can sit down and make a whole new world that not only I want to live in but others do too!
What’s the story’s main message?
Family love. The trials and joy that come with it. Even if the family you’ve always grown up loving wasn’t the one you were born into.
Who is/are the main characters?
There are several main characters. There is the King with his wife and daughter. The Clan Leader and his daughter. Then there is Salmund. A little boy who wants nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps. To take over for him when the time is right and do that job just like his father showed him to. Unfortunatly there is someone out there who wants him dead for their own gain and they’ll stop at nothing to have what they want. Even if it means killing a two year old.
Which character surprised you when you wrote him/her?
I would have to say it was Muni. He’s so much more that people see and he likes it that way. And again, if you want to know what I’m talking about you’ll have to pick up The Heir Apparent.
If you could be stranded on a desert island with one of your characters from this novel, which one and why?
Ugh. I can only pick one? Not fair! Seriously I can’t decide. I’ll have to think on that one a bit longer.
Which one would you definitely NOT want to be stranded with and why?
Whoever it is that is out to kill a boy.
Where can we find your books?
Where can we find you?
Your website – Primary
Your website – Secondary