Friday, 6 April 2012

Author Q & A with Melissa Darnell

Welcome to day five of the Crave Blog Tour!

Today marks the UK release of the first book 'Crave' in the fantastic new series 'The Clann'. A fantastic blend of the supernatural - vampires, witches and steamy romance, what more could you want?
To celebrate the lovely Melissa has been wonderful enough to answer some questions about her writing, getting published and what we can look forward to in the future...
"What drew you to writing? Was it something you always wanted to do?"
I've been creating stories in my mind ever since I taught myself how to read at the age of 4 (I was too impatient for kindergarden and my family couldn't afford to send me to preschool).  Later I learned how to write, and I've been writing down stories ever since.  There is nothing more thrilling than flying through a rough draft.  Every story I write begins as a movie inside my head.  By the time I finish plotting it all out and am ready to write the rough draft, I can see that movie so clearly, whether my eyes are open or closed, that writing the rough draft is simply an exercise in trying to describe that movie on paper well enough for others to hopefully experience too.
"How did you make that jump from writing for yourself to published author?"
My husband Tim gets all the credit here.  I started off writing stories as a kid just as a hobby, something to do for fun just for myself.  Tim was the one who encouraged me to finally submit one for publication.  I didn't believe my first adult romance novel would even be accepted, but then I received multiple contract offers for it.  That gave me the confidence to write another novel, and then another and another, and eventually to switch over from adult romances to YA romances.
Crave was my first YA novel, and I only submitted it to one publisher (Harlequin Teen).  When the editor turned it down at first with a long explanation of the many revisions it needed, it was my hubby who gave me the courage to make those revisions and resubmit Crave.  The end result was a 3 book deal, and it's all because of him and his unwavering support.  Tristan might be a pretty hot hero, but he'll never be as awesome as the real husband Tim!
"Do you have any habits or rituals that come with writing? For example music or times of day that are most productive for you?" 
When I write, I like to have a few key things...
-- I prefer to be in a closed room somewhere (part of the inspiration for Savannah's "supersonic" hearing ability is because I've always had extra sensitive ears and even the pressure changes in the air from room to room can distract me!).  I also need to be alone; otherwise I'm tempted to ask anyone who's there to give me feedback on what I've just written!
-- As a former dancer, I've always been nuts about music and really rely on it to help me mentally stay in the right mood for each scene in the story.  So before I begin to write any story's rough draft, I always start by creating a soundtrack specifically for that story.  This is why you'll always find a playlist on my websites for every story of mine that's published.
-- Since I have two young boys and a hubby who all love to be noisy, I listen to that soundtrack (set to loop for hours if necessary) on headphones to further help me focus.
-- While revisions are always done on a laptop, I prefer to write rough drafts longhand using pens and composition notebooks.  I worked for years as an editor, so when I'm on a computer it's hard for me to turn off my internal editor.  Writing longhand subconsciously tells that internal editor to "zip it for awhile already!" so my creative side can come out to play instead.
-- When both writing and revising, I've also been known to call upon the powers of Nacho Cheese Doritos, Crunch N Munch, and my new love of Snapple Peach Tea when flying through a rough draft.  I swear they're superfuel for the brain!
"What have you found to be the most exciting and the most challenging parts of the process?"
The most challenging used to be the revision stage, but now I'm growing to love this process as well.  Now the most challenging part of the process is waiting for each book's publication.  And of course the most exciting is walking into a store and discovering print copies of my books there on the shelves!
"And finally, what are you working on at the moment?"
I'll be working on the Clann Series through at least 2013, but in addition I'm also currently revising a YA magical realism/sci-fi romance called The Source as well as plotting several contemporary YA romances (all of which can be read about at as they are completed and contracted).
Thank you for having me here on your blog!  Please feel free to visit my websites at and for updates on the release of each Clann Series book, as well as to listen to each Clann Series book's playlist online, learn more about the Clann and Savannah's race of vampires, as well as to contact me anytime!

A huge thank you to Melissa for sharing with us. And check back later for my review of 'Crave'!

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