Hi Melissa, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?
I’m from Florida where I live with my husband and my shitzu, Rocky. I work full time as a bookkeeper and write stories in my free time. I have two grown sons, my youngest in college. I’m somewhat shy around people I don’t know but once I get to know someone then it’s on.
I wasn’t much of a reader in my younger years. I didn’t really start reading until about 5 years ago and then I couldn’t stop. I have a big imagination and in high school, I wrote poems and short stories but I never considered writing a book was possible.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
Jaybird just kind of fell into the Y/A genre because of the main characters’ age and I’m not all that happy about it. I’m pushing for N/A because I believe Jaybird is a story anyone, any age would enjoy.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned
in creating your books?
Since Jaybird was my first book, I’d say I was surprised how well I could tell a story. I was also impressed by the powerful magic of an editor. I’ll probably need one for this interview. lol
What is the first book that made you cry?
Fifty Shades. LOL
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Knowing who to trust. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I didn’t ask enough questions nor did I listen to my gut and it cost me a lot of time and money.
What has your experience been like as a indie author? Bruises, highlights, lessons.
I’m new and I’ve only written one book. Breaking into the world of Indie is tough unless you have the right connections. I’m not the aggressive type so putting myself out there and making friends was hard. Especially, with those who have been doing this for a long time. I had no idea who to trust and in my desperation for help, I made some pretty bad decisions. I trusted the wrong people and I wasted a lot of money. However, I was lucky to make a few friends. Had it not been for them, I’m not sure Jaybird would’ve been published.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I think having a big ego can hurt a writer. As a reader, I like to interact with an author, be a part of their world, relate to them. And I’d be crushed if one of my favorite authors turned out to be an asshole. At the end of the day, it’s the readers who matter.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Self confidence. Social Media. Goodreads.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
If I’d used a Pseudonym, I’d end up changing it every time I thought of something better.There is another author named Melissa Foster so I decided to use my initials instead.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything,
what would it be?
Stop doubting yourself and just write.
If you could spend the day with a character from one of your books who would it be and what would you?
No doubt, I’d love to go to a rock concert with Jayla King.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My writing coach.
How do you balance making demands on the reader
with taking care of the reader?
I’m not there with my readers just yet. I’m still working on building my audience. I’d love to hear what readers want because then I’ll know they want more. I look forward to interacting with my readers and picking their brains.
How many unpublished and half-finished
books do you have?
Have you written any other books that
are not published?
None that are complete. I’m about 1/3 of the
way finished with Book 2.
What’s the best way to market your books?
Find a really good PR company. Interact with others authors, bloggers, and readers and get them to share. Word of mouth is always good marketing.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters
from the opposite sex?
Getting inside their head.
What period of your life do you find you
write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
How do you select the names of your characters?
I usually pick a first name to match the character’s personality. Then I used Google to help me with the last names until I find one that fits.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you
deal with bad or good ones?
Yes. I’ve been told not to, but I can’t help it. I think everyone is entitled to their opinion and I try to remember that we, as authors, put our work out the for readers. Some may not like what we write. And we may not always like or agree with their reviews. I do, however, think that anyone who rates a book lower than 3 stars is just being mean. Again, as a reader, if I don’t like a book, I move on to the next. I’m not out to hurt someone’s feelings.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that
only a few people will find?
What was your hardest scene to write?
Marcus King’s funeral. I had to walk away several times.
Now I keep a box of Kleenex on my desk.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I had a lot of Disney and Dr. Seuss books but
I don’t remember having a favorite.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes and not just my immediate family, but my entire family. (Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins)
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Paid attention in class. Got more involved in
creative writing activities.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Jaybird took me four years to finish, but in the beginning, I had a lot of distractions and I wasn’t entirely committed to it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and when it happens, I walk away and read a
book or find another way to relax.
What would be your dream for any of your works?
I’ve been told Jaybird would make a great series because of the number of characters. That would be fun.