KW: I saw on your website that you completed a storyboard or collage for this book. Do you do that for every book you write? Was there anything that was on the collage that did not make it into the story?
Melissa Blue: My first few books I didn't collage and then I discovered it's another way for me to not only tell the story but to nail down the more wispy bits of character. I find what my characters look like. Some of the places or things that show up again and again. I also find any pictures that speak to me or feels like what the story is about. That's straying into symbolism and to me symbolism is all subconscious. All in all, I believe that's what a collage is, except the act of making one is taking what's lurking in the back of your mind and putting it in words or images.
KW: That leads to the next question...In this collage and just like all my others, nothing stays on it that doesn't fit in the story somehow. Someone else may read the story look at the collage and have no idea what it means. But for me it all makes sense. It's all connected whether in a literal sense or something deeper.
I think symbolism registers with readers subconsciously, too. Switching gears, have you ever cried while writing an emotional scene?
Melissa Blue: It's a little embarrassing to admit but yes I've cried during some emotional scenes. Embarrassing because these people aren't real and yet I've got snot bubbles going. :) I don't remember crying with this book. The one that's connected, See Megan Run, yes. I cried when she visited her father's grave. I cried at the end of the love scene. I didn't want to make either scenes these big tearjerkers but I had to feel what my characters were feeling. I had to dig deep and let it play out in my head and it made me cry.
KW: I don't think it's embarrassing. I've cried while writing, too. I think it means you wrote a good story. That, or we're emotionally unstable! LOL. What are you reading right now? What do you think of it?
Melissa Blue: I read more than one book at a time. So there's Bro-Magnet by Lauren Boratz. Smart Mouth by Erin McCarthy. Not Quite A Lady by Loretta Chase. And Maisey Yates' The Pertrov Proposal. I like them all so far. One will grab me and I'll finish it within hours. So whenever I have a free moment I pick one up and read it.
KW: Let’s say you’re teaching a course on romantic fiction. What books might you include on your required reading list?
Melissa Blue: Jayne Ann Krentz's Smoke in Mirrors. I say this without hesitation because I did, long ago, teach a class on structure. I pointed this particular book out because I thought that first paragraph should be bronzed. It showed you character, told you the type of book you should be expecting to read and it was just a good first paragraph.
Ain't She Sweet [by Susan Elizabeth Phillips] would be the second book, because I think it best shows what you can do within the romance genre. Also, it has one of the best anti-heroines I've read.
Lastly, Lani Diane Rich's Little Ray of Sunshine. I'd point that book out to show how to use bookends to have the most impact emotionally. If you can't tell from my answers, I'm a big lover of craft. Craft is all about rules and rules can tend to be dry. So you can say take something mentioned earlier in the book and do it again at the end of the book to cue the reader the story is coming to an end. Blah, blah, blah. But in this book when that bookend showed up I went Oh, that's SO SWEET! and started to cry like a baby. That's what an incredible writer can do with craft. /soapbox
KW: I'm beginning to see a crying trend. Just kidding!! What’s your favorite possession?
Melissa Blue: My DVD player. I'm a lover of movies. Depending on the day a good movie can beat out a good book. I know, as a writer that's sacrilegious to say. But it's the truth some days. Also, story is story. Don't care how you give it to me.
KW: Oh, I love movies, too. What skill don’t you have that you wish you did? Mine would be math. LOL
Melissa Blue: Drawing. I conquered stick figures and that was the end of it.
LOL. So, Melissa has been kind enough to share an excerpt from See Lynne Chased. Please enjoy.
The bluff had to be plain on her face. She bit her lip and watched his attention shift. That split second gave her the boost she needed. She placed her hands on the lapels of his suit.
“Don't.” He closed his eyes as if willing himself to reject the temptation.
She opened her mouth to ask why are we fighting this? but the words got caught in her throat when Nate opened his eyes. The idea of being devoured had never appealed to her until the heat of his stare made her wonder why her clothes didn't turn to ash and fall off.
She cleared her throat and chucked the why-she-shouldn't list rolling around in her head. “Will you let me kiss you?”
This time she didn't want it to be a spur-of-the-moment thing. She didn't want him to come back with the lame excuse he'd been drunk. She half hoped it wouldn't make her toes curl and could finally write off the first kiss as a fluke.
One moment his entire frame felt stretched tight, the next, he melded against her. “Yes,” Nate said as though he was conceding to a number of unspeakable sins.
She balanced on the tips of her toes and met his mouth. It should have been a crime for a man to have lips that soft and impossible for the brush of someone else's lips against hers to send her heartbeat into overdrive. His tongue flicked at the corner of her mouth, and her toes wanted to curl. Instead she settled back on her heels, leaning against the counter. She couldn't quite catch her breath and she needed a moment to get it back.
“If we are going to do this, we might as well do it the right way,” Nate said.
Ooh, sounds like a fun read. I want to thank Melissa for coming by. If you'd like to read the rest of the book, click here to buy from Amazon and here to buy from Barnes and Noble.