Melissa Holden is here with us today to discuss her experiences as an author and the books she has written. Can you tell us about yourself Melissa?
Melissa: Hi, thanks so much for interviewing me! I’m Melissa Holden, a 20-year-old, self-published (and proud) author from Kent, England. I am only six months away from my graduation in Creative and Professional Writing BA Hons.
I like strawberry laces, tea and I hoard books.
To date I have released seven books, the latest of which was a collaborative project. My first book, THE SNOW KILLER, was released November 2013.
Me: Wow! Seven books in only a year! You've been busy! And congratulations on your academic achievements too! :-) What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Melissa: My latest singular book was SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE (released 31 October 2014). I must confess that I’m not someone who is ‘inspired’ to write novels – the idea just showed up in my head one morning.
Me: Ha! I was "inspired" to write Taken By The Huntsman in much the same way. ;-) What are you working on now?
Melissa: I have a Sci-Fi/Apocalypse novel in its early days at the moment (working title: THE GODS PROJECT) and it is all about what would happen to the human race if they were abandoned by their leaders. It’s different to my other books as 1) I’m clearly not a Sci-Fi writer and 2) the format is all in letters, emails, telegrams and phone calls. I’m excited to spend 2015 working on this novel and hope for an early 2016 release.
Me: That sounds really interesting!! Sci-fi and fantasy are definitely my genres, you'll have to let me know when it's released. :-) Are there any authors, or books, who have influenced you?
Melissa: Oh I hate this question, aha. There is only one book that truly inspired me to pick up a pen – and I only read it AFTER I had decided to become a professional writer: Stephen King’s ON WRITING. A lot of writers I know swear by that book, and I do the same. I distinctly remember having to stop reading it every now and then just to let the words sink in. I was amazed by his blunt insight into writing – he was the first author that made me panic about the industry. Most writers glamorise the journey from unknown to famous, but he never does. He’s quite happy to tell you that it’s hard work – and that’s what I love about him.
Me: I can see how a book like that would move any author. :-) What are you reading now?
Melissa: The World According To Bob by James Bowen – I highly recommend it for anyone who is in need of a reality check and a few laughs along the way.
Me: Ha! I think most of us could use a few laughs. ;-) For those who might consider reading your book, what would you tell them to expect?
Melissa: I’ll say this for any of my books: expect weird. I’m a strange woman and I take pride in not being a crowd-pleaser. I am fully aware that my reserved look on life isn’t for everyone. If you read my poetry books, you can expect to see a lighter side to me. But if you pick up THE SNOW KILLER, or even SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE – you might want to go into it with an open mind. I have no problem showing humans for what they really are: monsters.
Me: Unfortunately, all one has to do is turn on the news to know the truth of that statement. What is your favourite part of being an author?
Melissa: Telling people that I’ve self-published 7 books off of my own steam with NO help from anyone else. And being able to suddenly create an entire world from one stray thought.
Me: Yes, the creative process really can be a rush, can't it? :-) Do you have a day job as well?
Melissa: I have a part time job at the moment as I am also finishing up my undergraduate degree at Canterbury Christ Church University. It’s not easy balancing a career, a job and a degree (plus all of my other commitments – but I manage.)
Me: Dang lady! Are you trying for the world's busiest person award? ;-) What is the hardest and easiest part about being a writer?
Melissa: The Hardest part is having to self-edit. I’m not a complete grammar nerd and I don’t have an amazing eye for typos, so it’s difficult having to perform all the roles that a traditional publisher would do for you. I am my own editor, proof-reader and designer. It’s tough work.
Also, the money is a real issue. It’s no secret that unless you’re with a big name publisher it’s hard to get noticed in an ever-growing sea of writers but I believe that if I just keep writing and being realistic about it, maybe someday in the not-so-distant future, I’ll have a few pennies to rub together.
The easiest part is coming up with book ideas. I have journals full of them, they just show up one day and I keep them around, hoping that one day they’ll spin themselves into gold.
Me: I know that feeling! I have to keep writing down all the ideas so I don't forget them. :-) What genre do you place your book in?
Melissa: My novellas (SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE and THE SNOW KILLER) come under Physiological/Thriller/Romance/Mystery.
My collections (FROM ME WITH LOVE, DROWSY IN DREAMS and THE LITTLE THINGS) come under Poetry/Romance/Humour/Loss
Me: Cool! And just so all of the wonderful and generous folks who are visiting with us today can find your awesome books, are there any links you'd like me to post?