Monday, October 22, 2012

A Visit with Melia Alexander

Please welcome 
writer and all-around fun gal.  

I met her at a Rose City Romance Writers workshop and I'm telling you, she's a force!  So I was happy she agreed to be on my blog today. :)

JR: First of all, introduce yourself.  What specific subgenres do you love to read the most?  Who do you want to be when you grow up?  

MA: Hello Jacquie!  Thanks for having me on your blog.  I write contemporary romance novels - sassy, sexy, FUN contemporary romance novels.  Life's too intense as it is, so I love to be entertained by a fun read.  Given my day-job schedule (where I get to work with intelligent, hunky, construction guys -- complete with matching egos), short contemps are what I prefer.  

Oh, and I'm not growing up.  I'll be the eighty-year-old at a dance club wearing a leopard print skirt and sparkly top.  Orthopedic shoes?  Pfft.  Not me.  (Be warned family!)

JR: Melia, you have an interesting background.  Guam!  I love Guam.  Tell us how you ended up living in the Pacific Northwest, and how you survived your mother.

MA: Ah, Guam.  I got voted off the island.  :-)  Seriously, I come from a family that values education so strongly, I got shipped off to the Mainland to finish high school and then college.  What Mom hadn't counted on: I wasn't going back.  I think she might have forgiven me by now.

All in all, my mom is amazing!  Not that I'd thought so when I was growing up, of course.  She was a cigar-smoking, mahjong-playing, mother of five who never baked a cake but led us on hikes through the jungle -- wielding a machete, no less.  (Yeah, the combo exists.)  Thankfully, she's toned down a bit -- no more tromps through the jungle.

"Surviving" Mom meant reading.  A lot.  With books I lived a lot of adventures - far more than the land mass of a South Pacific island afforded me.  Come to think of it, Daddy loved to read, too  Hmmm. . ..

JR:  We’d love to know about your current manuscript in progress.  Tell us all about it, please!

MA:  My current manuscript is the second book in a series.  When a guy thinks he's in love with his female BFF, but she marries someone else, how does he bounce back?  A successful businessman, the hero thinks he can move on by dating as many women as possible.  After all, they're practically lined up outside his door.  Until he meets the heroine.

She's not playing his game.  A confirmed bachelorette, she recognizes trouble when she sees him - she's not going on one date with him, let alone breaking her own no-more-than-two-dates rule.  At least, that's her plan.  (Ha!)

This manuscript has been an eye opener for me.  As a plotter, I want the story to flow a certain way.  Turns out this heroine isn't paying any attention, and she flat out doesn't care about the hours I'd spent carefully crafting her future.  (Inconsiderate of her, I know!)  I'm learning to trust my muse.  Sort of.

JR: You’re going to the Emerald City Writers’ Conference (so am I!) .  Are you a planner?  If so, which workshops intrigue you the most, and what sort of topics do you avoid (for right now)?  And when will you be at the bar?

MA: Am I ever a planner!  I spend at least four weeks plotting out the story.  That's about as much time as I take writing the first draft.  Edits take much longer.

I'm so excited about the Emerald City Writers' Conference!  The speakers are always excellent.  I don't avoid topics, but I do tend to gravitate toward craft workshops. . .. as well as the informal ones at the bar.  :-)  There's so much to be learned, and this conference is one that I've attended almost every year since I've started writing (I've only missed one).  The energy of agents, editors and other writers is AMAZING.  I always leave the conference feeling refreshed and ready to tackle a manuscript. 

JR: The landscape of publishing has changed drastically in the last two years.  In light of that, how do you plan to negotiate the waters to publication?

MA: The best road to publication, I think, is to write a good story, AND to submit, submit, submit!  Traditional print, e-pub, small press, self-pub -- do it all.  I think this is the best advice I've heard (at a workshop you and Ann Charles gave).  These days, a writer shouldn't limit herself to any one method of publishing.  Makes sense to me.  

JR: Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Anything you’d like to add? 

MA:  This has been a lot of fun, Jacquie.  Thanks for the invitation!  

$10 Amazon Gift Card

To celebrate fall ('cause, why not?), I'd like to offer a contest drawing.  Between now and October 31st, stop by my blog and leave a comment.  Each one will be entered in a random drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.  See you there!  

Thanks so much to Melia for stopping by today.  Be sure to leave a comment on her blog so you'll be eligible to win her prize!


Paty Jager said...

Hi Melia and Jacquie! I think the best guest spots are when I learn a little more about a person. Now I understand you're take no prisoners attack on life, Melia! It comes form a machete wielding mother. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Good morning ladies! Melia, I love what you said about your heroine plotting her own future and what a fascinating background you have!

Cathryn Cade said...


After 'hearing' you talk about your feisty heroine leading you on such a dance, I cannot wait to read her! Where do I sign up for advance notice the book is coming out?

Hope the rom con brings you all you can wish for, including a home for this intriguing story.


Ashlyn said...

Great interview and your book sounds awesome. Hope it finds a home soon :)

Meredith said...

Good morning Melia and Jacquie!

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Melia over the last year and can confirm she walks the talk. She is like her books (some of which I've had the pleasure of reading) - smart and fun!

Jessa Slade said...

Melia, your mom needs her own book! Book 3!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Melia and Jacquie! Great interview! Like others, I love the story of your machete-wielding mom. This work in progress sounds like a fun story!

mercedes christesen said...

really cool I love getting to know why authors write the way they write.

Melia Alexander said...

Hello, Ladies! Thanks for stopping by!
Paty, my mom's incredibly unique, and from her I continue to learn so much about life. I think I'll keep her!
Collette, what a head banger edits have been for me thanks to this heroine! You want her? LOL.
Oh, Cathryn, from your fingertips to my future editor's eyeballs! Thanks for the best wishes.
Ashlyn, you and I have a date at ECWC! Get ready for some brain-picking.
Mer, thanks! (Are you just saying this so I'll go easy on your next critique? *insert stern face here* No chance, hon!)
Jessa, I'm afraid if I gave my mom her own book it'd be WAAAY different than anything I'd write!
Genie, thank you! I'm going to be so happy when I finally get it done and off to someone who might actually buy it.

Happy writing!

EilisFlynn said...

I didn't know you were from Guam, Melia! I think you should write your mother as a character in one of your books -- the visual is really dramatic!

Vonnie Alto said...

Hi Melia,

What a fun way to grow up! Good luck at the Emerald City Writers Conference. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Melia Alexander said...

Hi Mercedes!

Life is sometimes stranger than anything writers come up with! Makes for great story ideas, anyway.

Thanks for stopping by!


Melia Alexander said...

Hey there, Eilis!

Yep, born on Guam some *cough cough* years ago. LOL.

I'm kinda warming up to the idea of mom as a character, but I'm totally not sure anyone would believe it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Melia Alexander said...

Thank you, Vonnie!

ECWC is always such a great conference. I learn so much and get to interact with "my kind" -- other writers who love creating stories that entertain and inspire and sometimes make readers think. I am crazy excited about heading there in a couple of days!

Thanks for stopping by.