20 Questions -- Getting to Know Melissa Mayhue
20 Questions is a new feature on The Knight Agency blog where you can get to know more about our clients -- from soup to nuts. Various authors will answer the same set of questions you see below for the rest of the year. Learn their go-to sources for information on writing and publishing, how they like their coffee, what they did when they got "The Call," and much more. Yeah, it's kind of like the email forwards you keep getting from your BFF, but better. ;-) Our inagural 20 Questions post spotlights Melissa Mayhue, author of the Daughters of the Glen series.
– Curled up on my living room sofa, hunched over my laptop!
2. Are you a “seat of your pants” writer or do map out the story like a meticulous cartographer?
– Definitely ‘seat of your pants.’ When I begin a book, I know who my hero and heroine are, what their major flaws or problems are, and that they’ll end up happily together. That’s it. All the middle is an adventure for me to discover!
3. What one item is a must have or what ritual do you absolutely have to perform in order to get your writing mojo going?
– My only true writing ritual is to read through what I wrote the day before to get myself back into the story. I put on some music [can’t have words or I get distracted!], grab a cup of coffee or tea and go to work.
4. If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one book to entertain you, what would you want it to be?
-- THE LONG DARK TEAM TIME OF THE SOUL by Douglas Adams. I absolutely love this story every single time I read it. Though the ending isn’t what I would have ended with, that’s the beauty of it. It sets my imagination free to finish the story in my own way. And if I were actually stranded on a deserted island, I’d want to spend as much time lost in my own imagination as I possibly could!
5. What is the first thing you did after receiving “The Call” from your agent?
– After I finished squeeing? I ran downstairs to share my news with my husband…who just happens to be my best friend!
6. Do you have an old manuscripts gathering dust that you think should still be published, or, in retrospect, did they turn out to just be a practice run?
– No old manuscripts since I was fortunate enough to sell my first book! But I do have a few old ideas that I still want to play with one day.
7. Are you a member of a critique group?
– Yes. I have two wonderful critique partners who have been there for me since before I sold. [Big wave to Kirsten Richard and Rena Marks!]
8. If you were a literary character, who would you be?
- I don’t think I can pick just one. To me, that’s the wonder of being a writer… I get to spend time in the head of LOTS of characters!!!
9. Do you prefer reading a physical book or downloading it on your Kindle/Nook/Sony Reader/insert name of any of the other myriad e-readers?
- I think I still prefer an actual, physical book. My husband bought a Kindle for me for Christmas and though I’ve downloaded several books, I’ve yet to read one all the way through – which might just be the electronic equivalent of my physical To Be Read stacks!
10. What is your favorite go-to blog or website for writing advice?
– To be honest, I don’t really have a go-to spot for writing advice. For better or for worse, I just write.
11. What is your favorite go-to blog or website for industry happenings?
- I like Publisher’s Marketplace best. If you don’t want to subscribe, their freebie version, Publisher’s Lunch, is a good snapshot - http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/free/. It’s also amazing how much you can learn by being on Twitter and following people within the industry.
12. What’s the strangest place or incident that’s inspired one of your characters or storylines?
– I don’t know that any inspiration I’ve had actually qualifies as ‘strange.’ The most memorable one was on a trip to Scotland and a hike back into a place called The Fairy Glen. That was the inspiration for my whole Daughters of the Glen series. Since then, almost every place I go and everything I do results in something that ultimately translates into one of my stories!
13. Rollercoaster rides: Let’s get in line or I’d rather keep my feet on the ground while eating a delicious corn dog? (I know, random right?)
– I’m SO not a rollercoaster girl! It’s that whole inner-ear, motion sickness thing. Even without the corn dog, I’m feet on the ground!
14. What was the hardest lesson that you had to learn about publishing as a newbie?
– That there’s SO much about this business to learn and that even the tiny details can impact you years down the road. Every time I think I have a handle on it, there’s another piece I’ve never heard of! Everything moves VERY slowly – except when the publisher needs you to hurry up -- and, unlike almost any job I ever had, it’s always difficult for you to know exactly how you’re doing. [Thank goodness for my fantastic agent, Elaine Spencer, who keeps me grounded and continues to fill in the blanks for me!]
15. Coffee: keep it simple (black); liven it up a little (at least cream and/or sugar); everything but the kitchen sink (caramel, raspberry, mocha java latte with extra whip and a few of those dark chocolate curls on top...); I’ll pass (yuck, coffee tastes like cigarettes). – I usually drink it black – to save the calories. But what I actually like best? Everything but the kitchen sink!! Nothing like a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha to put a smile on my face!
– Animal lover, definitely. We have three dogs, one cat, a turtle and an aquarium full of fish at my house.
17. Which one of your characters would you most like to meet in person?
– The Faerie Prince, Pol. Of all my characters, I’m convinced he knows much more than he’s willing to share right now – even with me!
– My latest release, A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING – is about a thirteenth century Scottish Highland warrior who was sent forward in time by Faerie Magic to save him from death. Now, after a decade in the modern world, he returns to his own century to fulfill a promise to protect a small child, only to find the child is a grown woman and the death he once escaped is waiting to reclaim him.
19. What projects do you have on the horizon?
- I’m currently working on the eighth book in my Daughters of the Glen Series.
20. Where is the best place for readers to find out more about you?
For information on all my books and characters, my website is www.MelissaMayhue.com. I’m on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MelissaMayhue and Facebook [where I’m horribly addicted to Farmville!] as Melissa.Mayhue. For up to the minute news, there’s my brand new blog: www.MelissaMayhue.blogspot.com. I’d love to hear from readers at any of those spots!!