Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Author Interview with Melissa Buell


Friends, today we have author Melissa Buell here to discuss the writing life, and to chat with us about her YA book, "The Seventh Blessing."

First, a quick blurb about her book:

Unlike most royal eighteen-year-old girls, Samantha finds it difficult to be a prim and proper princess. When she discovers her seven fairy blessings that were bestowed at her birth are a lie, her entire world is turned upside down. Although she can forgive the feuding fairies who made this large error on her behalf, she must find a way to control her real blessings--which may be more trouble than it is worth. 
Things start to become complicated when her best friend's brother becomes seriously injured just weeks before the annual knight competition. Samantha realizes the only way to help him and his family is to enter the competition by disguising her true identity. Balancing her mandatory princess lessons while hiding her secret blessings on top of this becomes difficult, but things begin to get challenging when Prince Nolan, a childhood friend, reenters her life. Samantha, bitter about their constant bickering relationship, suddenly begins to see Nolan in a new, and often confusing, light. 
But when she finds out her seventh blessing has yet to be decoded from the ancient tongue, Samantha's most dangerous quest of all is discovering the true power her real blessings hold. Now, the fate of herself, her future, and her kingdom lie in her hands.
1. From idea to final product, how did The Seventh Blessing come to be?

When I was finishing up with THE SEVENTH BLESSING, book 1 in the series, my CP asked me what the sequel was going to be about. I hadn’t thought about writing a sequel at that point. I sat down and asked myself, “What other adventures could happen in this land? What characters do I want to highlight?” I decided to write about Samantha’s daughter, Emma, for book 2. She was a fresh, new character that I could do so much with. I outlined my idea for Emma’s story and then started writing it. After several edits, it came to be the story it is now.

2. Can you give us a brief summary of your writing process? Plotter? Pantser? Somewhere in between?

I am definitely a plotter. I need to know where the story is headed from the beginning. I outline the entire story, then start writing descriptions and dialogue into the outline and then start writing. Sometimes (okay, every time) the characters take over and the final product does not look exactly like my outline. I’m good with that.

3. The Seventh Blessing is published by The Little Things Publishing Co. Can you tell us a bit about your experience with a small publisher?

It’s been great working with TLT. I have been able to have input about the cover art and have a close relationship with my editor. Not many authors have that.

4. Can you offer us any advice about book promotion? What's working for you and what isn't?

Book promotion is very important. I do most of the marketing myself. I organized a blog tour, book signings, school visits, maintain a website and a blog. I love to do these things and it doesn’t cost me very much money. What works is contacting book bloggers in a friendly, non-aggressive manner. Bloggers love to read books and I love to share my books. What hasn’t worked is getting into big bookstores. Being a newer author, it’s hard to get into big bookstores. I am so appreciative of the indie bookstores out there.

5. Is there any writing or publishing advice you'd like to share with us?

If you like to write, keep writing. Don’t be afraid to show someone else your work. Find a critique partner that you trust and respect. It’s hard to gauge your own writing at times. That’s why you need to share your work with others. Get honest feedback but don’t let it break your writing spirit.

Thanks so much for stopping by Melissa, and for sharing your publishing experience with us.

Writer buddies, what do you think about small publishers, book promotion, and trusted critique partners? Please share!

Melissa Buell's Young Adult fantasy series The Tales of Gymandrol, includes Book One, THE SEVENTH BLESSING, and Book Two, THE HIDDEN BLESSING. Published by The Little Things Publishing Co., the books are available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores in paperback. It is also available for your Kindle/Kindle reading app. 
Her children’s picture book, SOMETIMES MY BROTHER BUGS ME, was published September 2012 by MeeGenius Publishing Co. as an e-book.

20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Melissa, thank YOU for the interview, and for sharing your book with us!

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  2. I think small presses are ideal for debut authors. The marketing can be a little exhausting but it's nice to have so much control. And you know how important I think good CPs are. They are the life blood behind every author.

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    1. Nancy, it seems authors from all types of publishers, as well as indies, are all in the marketing business these days!

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  3. I'm happy with my small press!
    I never planned a sequel either, so I know the feeling. And an outline is a must for me.

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    1. Alex, it's so cool how your sequel wasn't planned and then bam! your publisher wanted one. A good situation for an author!

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  4. Wee! Love a fairytale. I think all size presses have their place and people seem to like the small ones for the attention they get. As in all things, pros and cons I suppose.

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    1. Michele, that's so true. It's nice to have choices.

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  5. Sounds like a great story! I think crit partners are indispensible!

    I'm hoping to decide about publishing next year - and am looking into all options, from agents to publishers to self pub. LOTS to think about and decide :)

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    1. Jemi, the beautiful thing is that we have choices! I'm sure you'll make the right choice for YOU.

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  6. Great interview!

    A lot of authors seem to be happy with small publishers. They do sound like a good way of pushing a book forward a bit more than it would otherwise be through self-publishing.

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    1. I agree. They get to work with editors, and have a lot of help along the way. Not a bad thing! Thanks for the visit :)

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  7. Sounds like a great book~ congrats on The Seventh Blessing and thanks for the interview!

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    1. Jess, thank YOU so much for stopping by and supporting Melissa!

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  8. Wonderful interview, ladies, and great advice from Lisa. Congrats to Lisa on her book!!

    Happy Halloween, Julie!

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  9. Great interview!! Congratulations!!

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  10. Nice interview! Thanks, Julie, for spotlighting Melissa and her book here. I love the title and the cover =)

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  11. Thanks for the interview, Julie. I love the idea of being with a publisher who asks for our opinions on cover design and presentation - a sort of bridge between larger publishers and self publishing. Really helpful.

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  12. So glad you're goin' a-marketing, Melissa, so your charming story can get out there in the world.

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