Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spotlight Author with Melissa Mayhue

I am so excited to introduce you to my Spotlight Author this week, MELISSA MAYHUE. Melissa has been a very important part of my writing career! The two of us met about four years ago through some mutual writing friends. We connected from the start. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to meet her in person, but we have chatted on the phone and have corresponded through emails, IM’s, chats, Myspace, and Facebook.

She is such a delightful person. And she has helped me through many of the up’s and down’s of the writer’s life over the last four years. Probably more than she’s wanted to! (wink) Sorry, Melissa. But she really does have the best advice. You’ll see for yourself soon enough. So grab your snuggie, a warm cup of tea and sit back and enjoy our interview.

Here’s a quick Bio, for those of you who are new to Melissa…

MELISSA MAYHUE began her writing career in 2005 after a vacation to Scotland and a hike on the Black Isle inspired her with the perfect setting for the characters running around in her head. Her resulting debut novel, THIRTY NIGHTS WITH A HIGHLAND HUSBAND, won the Holt Medallion and Book Buyers Best awards in 2008 and made the finals of the Colorado Book Awards.
Since then, her imaginary world of Faeries and Mortals has continued to grow. A HIGHLANDER’S DESTINY, fifth book in her award-winning Daughters of the Glen series from Pocket Books, hit shelves in January 2010 with the sixth – A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING - on sale February 2010.
Married and the mother of three sons, Melissa lives in beautiful Northern Colorado with her family and menagerie of pets.

You can visit her on the web at:
Now, let’s get down to business.

MB* What inspired you to write about time traveling faeries?

MM* In 2005 my family traveled to Scotland on vacation. While there, we hiked back into a wonderful place called The Fairy Glen, just north of Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. Sitting there, next to a little waterfall, surrounded by the forest, it felt like the perfect magical setting for the characters I’d been dreaming of writing for years. And because it was The Fairy Glen, I had to incorporate Faeries! As far as time travel? Well, I always loved those stories so it only made sense for me to write what I love.

MB* If you had to pick a favorite book of this series which would it be and why?

MM* While my first book will always have a special place in my heart – because it was my first! – my favorite book is always the one I just finished! 

MB* Do you ever read your own books after they have been published?

MM* Not straight through, cover to cover. Sometimes for appearances I’m asked to read bits and pieces out loud and I’ll skim through the book to find a good spot to read. But I don’t sit down and read the book again at that point. Why not? The original manuscript I submitted to my editor I’ve read through multiple times. After revisions, there’s another read through from start to finish. With the line edits, I do another read through and then the galleys come and that’s another read through. So, by the time the book hits shelves, I have read through it a minimum of five or six times.

MB* I ask this question to almost all of my guests. Do you suffer like I do from what I like to call the 1st love syndrome? This is where you’ve connected with a character so much that you’ve had a hard time letting them or their story go.

MM* I think that’s standard operating procedure for any author!  You invest months of your life into getting to know that character, so it’s hard to move on. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing the stories of characters who’ve already shown up in my books. It seems easier to pick up a new story with a character who isn’t a total stranger!! 

MB* How long was your road to publication?

MM* I count my blessings daily that I was so lucky in getting published quickly. I finished my first book – Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband – in August, 2005. It sold in February 2006. Sometimes I have to pinch myself at my good fortune.

MB* Can you give us an idea of how long a completed manuscript takes you from start to finish?

MM* In the beginning, it varied. My first book took three months. And while that sounds really fast, it’s important to understand that the characters had already been running around in my imagination for years before I actually set pen to paper. The second book took a year! Now the standard for me is six months.

MB* Do you have any advice for us aspiring authors?

MM* Write!!! Write the book that’s inside you. Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you want to have happen in your story. There are always well-meaning people who are quick to tell you all the things you can’t do and why you can’t do them. But the bottom line has to be if you’re telling the story that’s in your imagination and it’s one that YOU like… someone else will like it, too. And never, ever pass up an opportunity to tell someone about your story. You never know when it will be the right person at the right time to help you see your book in print.

MB* Often time’s writers describe writing a love scene like being an intruder in something so very personal. Do you feel this way and how do you get through the dreaded love scene?

MM* I don’t feel like an intruder. I feel more like a choreographer!  Love scenes were torture for me in the first couple of books. I kept having all those “What will my ______ say?” moments. You know the ones… fill in the blank with mother, neighbor, kids. [I found Godiva chocolate ice cream worked well to sooth my jangled nerves!] Now I just write

MB* Tell us about Melissa Mayhue. Who is she? What does she do when she’s not time traveling with her characters between centuries?

MM* After I finish each book, I give myself two to three weeks to play and have down-time. That’s also time for the next book to begin bubbling in the back of my mind. During that time, I do all the stuff I didn’t do while I was writing… clean the fish tank, experiment with recipes, sew, needlework, video games, read.

MB* Hobbies?

MM* Reading [obviously!], sewing, crocheting, working in my herb garden, genealogy, video games, collecting antique British tea cups and saucers and reading cookbooks!

MB* What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment then what do you like to read when you have time?

MM* I have a stack of ToBeRead books at least two feet tall!!  I read a variety of books, but mostly all romance [I like my Happy Ever After fix!]. Waiting for me right now are several historicals and some urban fantasy reads. Though I love Scottish historicals and time travels, I generally don’t read those because I don’t want to inadvertently color my stories with other people’s ideas.

MB* What does your family think of your job?

MM* They’re very supportive. My sons tell everyone their Mom writes romance and so does my husband.

This is just for fun…

Fast Five

MB* Cat or Dog?

MM* Dog

MB* Sunny or Rainy days?

MM* Sunny

MB* Milk or Dark Chocolate?

MM* Milk

MB* Love letters or Roses?

MM* Roses

MB* What is loaded in your i-Pod right now?

MM* Nicholas Gunn and the soundtrack from The Thirteenth Warrior [it’s what I listened to as I finished up my last book!]

Thank you, Melissa for stopping by Micole Writes Romance and chatting with me. And thank you guests for taking a few minutes ot of your day to check out my blog.


Micole Black


Melissa Mayhue said...

Thanks for inviting me to celebrate Release Day for A Highlander's Homecoming with you!!! I'll be stopping in throughout the day to answer any questions anyone might have!

~ Melissa

Sarah Simas said...

HI Melissa and Micole!

Fun interview! I think that's cool you're so crafty, Melissa. I can't even sew a button on. lol My hubby does that. :)

Congrats on your new release! Best wishes for tons of success!

Ainsley MacQueen said...

I had been dying to know how long you take with each book. 6 months is such a minute investment for such great stories. Thanks for paying those dues for us.

I've asked before, but the stories you don't have the leisure to tell? Which genre do they fall under? (Not that I'd like you to stop making that favorite recipe of Scotland and time travel, mind you.)

Melissa Mayhue said...

Great question, Ainsley. I have one story I started years ago [but stopped after a ton of research and about ten pages -- you know, that point in the writing where you suddenly realize it's WORK!!!] Anyway, I'd have to say it would definitely be fantasy / SciFi genre. And I'd love to tackle an Urban Fantasy. I've done my background research for one of those, too. Now it's just the hard part that's left...actually writing them!

One day, but for now I have to spend my time on the books I have under contract. Besides, I love my Faerie/Highlander characters too much to just drop them. :-)

~ Melissa

Lexi said...

Great interview, ladies! Melissa, it was wonderful getting to know more about you!

Beth Caudill said...

Great interview. So I was first on the website post...does the late hour make me last here?

Wow. I have to work harder. I still can't image finishing a story in 6 months.

I still have to start book 3. Sorry, got distracted by the kids being out of school and having to do my own writing. :)

congrats on the release.

Julie Robinson said...

Congrats on your new release, Melissa! You know I've been waiting for it. Normally, I'm not into 'fairy' guys, but yours are to die for!! :-)

I enjoyed reading the interview and your source of inspiration. I can just picture that spot. It sounds so breathtaking.

Micole Black said...

Sarah, Ainsley, Lexi & Beth... thank you all for stopping by. Ainsley. i love your name. In fact may have to use that one for a character!!! I hope you all enjoyed the interview and will plan on making my blog a regular place to hang out! Isn't Melissa amazing? Six month??? It takes me six months to figure out what to name my characters!! (good thing I now have one for later! Ainsley) Wink! Thanks again ladies.



Micole Black said...

Julie, thanks for stopping by my blog!



clare austin said...

Hi Melissa,
I love your new cover! Congrats on the release and I really enjoyed reading your blog today.

Clare Austin

Melissa Mayhue said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by, and a BIG thank you to Micole for inviting me!

~ Melissa

Micole Black said...

Thank you, Melissa for giving me the opportunity!!! So glad you could be here!!