I have been making up stories in my head since I was a little girl. Actually, since before I can remember, I’ve always had some sort of make believe dancing around up there. I used to “play pretend” and my stories always had some romantic element surrounded by daring adventure. There was always a prince charming to rescue me :), but I was never the damsel in distress. My female characters could, of course, kick butt – either physically or verbally.
As I grew older, the stories developed depth and at the age of ten I started writing my first one. I didn’t finish it. At 16, I tried again, but my brother’s computer ate my first 16 chapters whole. I bawled my eyes out.
Finally at the age of 23, after some prompting from my best friend, I tried again. This time, I won… and had so much fun doing it. I still really love that first manuscript I completed. I pull it out and read it every now and then.
Since then I have completed ten more novels and have improved my skills somewhat. I completed a two year writer’s course through correspondence and have studied up on the craft. I finally feel like my work is worthy of publishing, which is why I took the plunge with Golden Blood.
A few years ago, I was asked to write my grandfather’s life story. It wasn’t really my thing, but I said yes, because I knew it meant so much to him. As hard as it was, it was also REALLY inspiring. My grandfather has had an amazing life, working as a missionary all over the world. His story definitely needed sharing. The family paid for the book to be published and I suddenly had to come up with an author name. I chose Melissa Pearl, because one – it is my first and middle name, and two – Pearl is a very special name in our family. I wanted to honour that.
So – Melissa Pearl, the author, was born and I haven’t looked back since.
I haven’t come across time travelling teens before. Where did you get the idea for this series?
The idea was originally inspired by Twilight. I saw the movie, read the four books and loved the story between Bella and Edward. I loved the idea of a “soul mate” type love story. I wanted to write something like that, but vampires aren’t really my thing. I wanted a supernatural element, but nothing demonic or too dark. I think we need a mix of things out there for readers to enjoy and I wanted to supply something exciting and magical, yet not really dark. I chose time travel as my character’s “super power”, because I adore history and if I’m honest, have always secretly dreamed of being able to travel through time 🙂
I started with those two simple elements – love story + time travel and my brain just took off. I still don’t know how I pulled it all together, to be honest 🙂
I consciously wanted Gemma to have really cool siblings. I adore my older brother and come from a very close-knit family. I wanted to emulate that somehow. Not all teens come from dysfunctional families. I like reading a story where the family unit is solid. I really love Dom and Ruby so much. I’m so happy for Gemma that she has them for support.
In saying in all this, Gemma does have issues with her parents and I think no matter how hard she tries, she’ll always feel like the odd one out. I guess this becomes more clear throughout the trilogy.
I think that comes quite naturally to me. Every story I write, I see it as a movie in my head first. I’m a bit of a movie addict. I think because I’ve watched so many over the years, I’ve learned how to piece together a story that reveals what’s needed without giving everything away.
In saying that, it does still take thought and I have rewritten many parts of the story until it was just right. I wanted some things to come as a total shock to the reader, while other things can be expected. Along my studying journey, I’ve learned that the odd sentence can sow a seed in the reader’s mind to help prepare them for what’s coming.
I also read that you should never hint at something you’re not willing to follow through on. I don’t want to give away the story, but my original ending was very different to what I currently have in Golden Blood. My friend encouraged me to go the extra mile and really make the reader sweat it out. I’m so glad I listened to her.
I’m really excited to read the next book, Black Blood, to see what happens. How long will we have to wait after that to read the final installation?
My plan is to release Pure Blood in February 2012. I then plan to launch all three books in paper back in March, April, May with revamped covers. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait for readers to get through the entire trilogy. In my mind, the books get better and better, but I know the writing world is very subjective, so I’m looking forward to seeing what other people think.
I have co-written a YA adventure/thriller with a friend of mine. It is about two best friends – Lexy and Mica – couple of kiwi girls who can’t help but get themselves into sticky situations. We have a bunch of books planned for them. The first book in the series has a few more edits and adjustments to go, but we’re hoping to get that out sometime next year.
I am also in the planning stages of a one-off story, tentatively entitled “Betwixt”. I love reading series, but I am also so over reading a book and not having a finished story, so I decided I’d put a one-off story out there.
I have also planned three more books in the Time Spirit series, but I’ll only write those if I get a huge fan base that’s begging for more.
My database of story ideas contains over 80 stories and I’ve only written ten of them, so I have plenty of stuff I can draw from. New ideas come all the time as well, so it just keeps growing. I get such an excited buzz about it all. Man – I wish there were more hours in the day!!
Wow! Sounds like we can look forward to lots of books from your in the future. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, and best of luck with your writing career.