Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!
We will be joined today by Melissa Kline.
Melissa Kline found writing at an early age and wrote her first book at six years old. She completed her first full-length novel at thirteen and has written over ten young adult novels. Lucky Press published her debut science fiction novel, My Beginning, in 2011, which won the Halloween Book Festival Award. Additionally she has published a variety of short stories and personal essays. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the founder of Rocky Mountain Women Writers, a Denver based writing group created to inspire women to write from their hearts and follow their dreams.
CONNECT ONLINE WITH MELISSA:
Welcome to Darlene’s Book Nook, Melissa! Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a woman of many interests and talents! I'm a miniaturist, I love to dance, I'm a big nature lover, I like to travel, entertain and decorate. I'm really into astronomy - I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. I love science!
Do you have a specific writing style? Do you write an outline, or do you write more “by-the-seat-of-your-pants”?
I am definitely a "by-the-seat-of-your-pants" kind of writer! My writing process is very intuitive. I have to feel a spark of inspiration or be completely enthralled in a novel to write consistently. I'm a big note taker - then when I can steal away a chunk of time I have at it!
Do you discipline yourself to write a certain number of words daily? Or do you ever have dry periods where you do not write?
When I'm in the midst of writing a novel, I usually write a little bit each day - even if it's just jotting down notes and brainstorming for the next scene, but writing is never an organized or planned activity for me. I do have dry periods and have gone years without writing in the past! I believe there is a natural ebb and flow to the creative process. For me, it is important to honor that process and not force writing if I'm not feeling it. Usually when I am not writing, I am reading and gathering lots of ideas and information.
What is your ideal writing environment? Do you prefer music or solitude? Is there a time of day (or night) that you prefer?
I love to be cozied up on my bed with lots of pillows around me. I'm a night time writer. Most of the time I enjoy silence and solitude but every once in a while I use music to fuel my writing. I listen to trance, which has a nice flow and energy to keep me going.
Are there any authors that influence your writing?
I really enjoyed S.E. Hinton's voice and style as a teen. I think some of my contemporary novels may have been influenced by her. Roald Dahl was also a huge inspiration for me. Through his stories I learned how to think outside of the box and let my imagination soar.
My Beginning is your debut YA novel. Tell us a little about your journey to getting published!
My journey to publication was a long one. It wasn't until after the completion of my fifth novel that I realized I wanted to share my writing with the world. I endured years of rejection letters, trial and error and failure... though through it all I believed in myself and never gave up. I knew that if I just kept working at it, I would succeed. The turning point for me was in defining myself as a writer, building a professional platform and networking. I took my writing career very seriously and it paid off! My Beginning is my tenth novel and one that I wasn't expecting to get published so quickly. It was all very unexpected and exciting!
Are any of the characters based on someone you know?
Not intentionally, but I think the characters' personalities and traits are inspired by qualities of my loved ones and people I have met. I see a piece of myself in all of my characters.
Can you tell us about your current or upcoming writing projects?
I have many! I'm planning to add more to my science fiction line, possibly a continuation or sequel to My Beginning and other stand-alones. I also have many contemporary YA novels that I plan to debut soon. Aside from my novels, I enjoy writing picture books and short stories. I have more ideas than I know what to do with! :)
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Be creative! I find that I'm always doing something creative in some form or another. I enjoy using various methods to bring my characters to life, even when I'm not writing. For My Beginning I created character sketches and collages, built an institution scene using miniatures, wrote a screenplay, made a book trailer and collected "props" including uniforms, textbooks, Ivory's necklace and institution keys. I use these tools for visual inspiration and fun! You can view these and other character creations on my website.
What book(s) are you reading now?
I'm a sucker for historical romance novels. I have devoured 5 in the past few weeks! I'm currently reading Come Back to Me by Josie Litton. I also keep Roald Dahl's Omnibus near my nightstand for a quick read before bed.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
Follow your heart and never stop dreaming.
Favourite book? That's a tough one! One of my favorites… The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl.
Dog-lover or cat-lover? Cat-lover.
Vanilla ice cream or chocolate? Vanilla.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why? Steven Spielberg, so I could pitch my movie ideas to him.
I can't live without my... laptop (for writing, of course).
The craziest thing I ever did was... too many crazy things.
If I could take an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, I would go to... Ireland.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Melissa! It was a lot of fun getting to know you better!
Three lucky winners will win autographed paperback copies of Melissa's debut Young Adult fiction novel, My Beginning, which won the young adult title of the 2011 Hollywood Halloween Book Festival!
"My Beginning" is told through the eyes of Ivory, a 16-year-old girl who has lived her entire life within the walls of an institution. The institution is one of many supposedly set up to protect those within from a worldwide plague. She and all of the other surviving children live a strict, mundane life full of tasks and responsibilities--forbidden to go outside, congregate or even look at the opposite sex. Despite the uncompromising atmosphere, Ivory manages to pique the interest of the only boy who did not grow up in the institution, creating a love affair neither of them expected. Multiple secret meetings take a turn for the worse when they are caught and severely punished, but through unexpected circumstances they find themselves on the outside. There is a lot more to the world than they could have ever imagined when they learn of a war and lifelike machines that threaten humankind. Ivory faces many unexpected challenges, and, ultimately, it is up to her to save Aidan and the world she has grown to love. (YA Fiction: science fiction, for ages 15 and up.)
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This giveaway is open worldwide and will close at 12:01 AM EST on July 14, 2012.
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