Yes, I know it is not really Friday, but I am playing a bit of catch up and really wanted to make sure that our guest Melissa Mayberry got a chance to shine in a post all her own. So here she is!!!!!
Melissa Mayberry 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.
Melissa, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author? How did you get started?
When I was in high school, I had a few poems published. Then I went through some hard times and didn’t develop my writing and didn’t publish anything for twenty years. The story of Mellifica is based on true events and has an ironic ending. When that came to life, I got to work and polished off my old skills. I had no choice, Mellifica had to be written. Thankfully, I got the bug and continue to write.
We know what your bio says. Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.
If you read my book, there isn’t much left to surprise anyone! Readers get to know “Mel” pretty well, and that character is my younger self. I learned a lot from trial by fire, so I’m not as reckless as I was then. Now, I’m a momma, nurse and crazy about urban gardening.
Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was finally “out there”?
Oh, sure! I think I actually took on an OCD personality. My computer, phone and Ipad all were set to go straight to Amazon to look up my book stats. Now, I’m a bit obsessive about the stats and more about the next book.
So let’s talk about your book, “Mellifica: Devastating First Love”. This is to be the first of a series. Talk a bit about the inspiration for this story.
As I said before, this book is based on true events. My first love had an eccentric personality and we went through quite a few ordeals for being so young. Our breakup was bizarre and unordinary and the events that followed in the next several years became even stranger. The story chronicles my growth into a strong woman, and hopefully inspires other girls in the same way.
I couldn’t help but notice that the name of your heroine is Melissa. How much of you is in this character?
Oh, all of me. “Mel” in the book is a strange mixture of who I was in the nineties, with a part of who I am today. If you read carefully, you will see the character evolve into someone with more confidence and that makes better decisions for herself. Then, she resorts back to her old ways and makes poor choices again. This flip-flop is something I think everyone goes through in life, until they make a strong commitment to change.
Was there anything especially challenging for you writing about a sixteen year old?
Yes. In this world sex is a very difficult topic in young adult novels. Even though teenagers often engage, society often wants to close their eyes and pretend it’s not happening. In order to show what a devastating relationship this was, it was necessary to give a certain amount of detail in the sexual situations. I often found myself closing my eyes while writing these scenes.
Obviously, you plan to continue the Mellifica series. Do you have anything else coming up in your “work in progress” folder, or even just bouncing around in your head?
I’ve got so many ideas and so little time! I started a series about a mysterious new woman in town. While she is there, many miracles occur. Most people, including her love interest, believe she is an angel.
Another work in progress is a more personal story addressing teenage pregnancy and the how it affects a relationship between mother and son.
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
I’d have to say that people are more down to earth than I expected. Once upon a time, I thought publishers and other authors would be very starchy or business-like. I’ve made friends that I didn’t expect and to my surprise, they’re all regular people!
Tell us about some of the cool things you are doing on your blog.
I’m working on building a group of reviewers called “Whatever Works Book Club.” We will review books that are not standard and decide if the new approach works. As an example, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, is an unorthodox approach to a novel. I think “It Works.”
What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?
This week? Work! Usually I have work, children, school and a little urban farm in the backyard. I’m also trying to master the art of meditation, because with so much going on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? Baby-or any variation. I love new life!
- What is your least favorite word? Just. It makes for a lot of deleting.
- What turns you on? Well written novels!
- What turns you off? Poorly written novels that make the best sellers list.
- What sound or noise do you love? The ocean
- What sound or noise do you hate? Whining!
- What is your favorite curse word? Really? I can put that here?? Fuckburgers.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Pilot
- What profession would you not like to do? Actress
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Yo, Baby! What’s up?
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? I can’t think of any, but I do love being asked who I based my characters on. It’s such a lovely secret!
Melissa, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
SOCIAL MEDIAL LINKS TO CONNECT WITH YOU:
Facebook: Melissa Mayberry / Mellifica
PRODUCT LINKS TO BUY BOOKS:
Excerpt from Chapter 1:
The party fell quiet while we waited. A blue Dodge Caravan stopped at the edge of the beach. Oh yeah, Chad said he’d come. Even though the van was a brand new 1992 model, my cousin looked like a dork driving a minivan. “It’s okay. It’s my cousin, but keep the liquor in your bag, Shanna.”
“Aww, is Chad some kind of nark?” she asked.
I nodded. “Most likely.”
Chad stepped out, but to my surprise the passenger door opened too. Why would he bring a date to my birthday party? Asshole. It’d be better without him here, and definitely better without one of those girls he hung out with.
A stranger stepped out of the van, and his eyes fell right to mine. From a distance, he didn’t appear to be the geeky type of friend Chad always made. He wore a loose black tank top with Khaki shorts. His clothes seemed pretty normal, especially compared to Chad’s; my cousin wore a Henley tucked into his cargo shorts. The strange guy stared, and I couldn’t turn away.
He came over with Chad, king of the geeks. Where did he get the confidence to stare at me? They walked closer, and even though the beach was dim, his onyx eyes struck me intensely. My chest tightened, and my heart raced. As if this guy gave him confidence, Chad walked a little straighter than usual.
“Hello, Melissa. Happy birthday,” Chad said.
I nodded, glanced at Chad for a second and then back to his guest.
“Oh, this is Arien, my best friend.” Chad gestured toward his tall, muscular friend. “And this is Melissa, my cousin.”
Arien nodded. “Hey.”
When did Chad get a best friend? I would have seen him before. Something wasn’t right about this guy or his sudden appearance.
Sandy wrapped both arms around me and leaned closer to my ear. “Want to go for a walk?”
Sandy’s voice startled me. This suspicious stranger had my brain working overtime. “Um, I do, but Chad just got here. I can’t be rude.” I turned to the new arrivals. “Food and drinks are on the table. Get a plate and come back to join us.”
Why haven’t I met this guy? They returned from the table. Both had soda, but neither was eating. Chad turned toward the river where some people still played. “Who’s here?”
I didn’t pay attention to Chad.
“Melissa, I asked you a question,” Chad said louder.
Everyone turned to me as I dropped my stare from Arien. A flame went through my body, and I wanted to run to the river’s edge. Arien smirked. He had been staring back, as if he had a chance with me. Huge ego—he must be Chad’s best friend.
I had to play the situation off as mere curiosity, so I squared my shoulders and cleared my throat. “So, Arien, if you and Chad are best friends, why haven’t we met?”
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “I guess we just missed each other.” The warm gaze in his eyes made me think his words carried a double meaning. His wavy blond hair caught the sea breeze, and the firelight danced across his face.
I leaned against Sandy to ensure we all understood this stranger didn’t have a chance with me.
Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies. You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories! Here's where you can find them: