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!