Please welcome author Melissa Robitille!
- What genre are your books?
I write in several genres, including paranormal romance, urban fantasy, space opera, and horror.
- What draws you to this genre?
I write things I’m interested in, honestly. I write to tell myself a good story, and I enjoy speculative fiction – fantasy, science fiction, horror – because to me the best story ideas start with ‘what if?’
- What project are you working on at the moment?
Among other projects, I’m working on F.A.E.: Bitter Roots, first book in the F.A.E series.
- What’s it about?
F.A.E.: Bitter Roots is about an outcast elf, her journey from Seelie Court royalist to American revolutionary, and her interaction with the Continental Army and General Washington.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is special?
Mahrial DiSilvanus is stiff, sour, irritated all the time, and has a moral backbone of steel. She has rather poor social skills, despite her experience in the Seelie Court, and is often oblivious to the feelings of others. She is a Sidhe warrior and sorceress, but despite her skill in those areas she shines most when it comes to tactics and investigation.
- Have you written anything else?
Yes. I have 2 published paranormal romance novels – In One Year’s Time and Blackstone Gate – that I wrote when I was quite young. I’ve ghostwritten a dozen books which have been published, and I’ve published thirteen additional books under a pen name. My current works in progress include the F.A.E series, the Smuggler series (space opera), and a horror serial Only In Dreams I’m publishing a chapter at a time on Wattpad.
- What are your ambitions for your writing career?
It’s nice to dream about being the next J.K. Rowling, but to be honest my ambition is more along the lines of producing a steady one or two books per series per year and have those books generally make somewhere near bestseller list for their category. Modest success doing what I enjoy doing would be quite fine with me.
- Which writers inspire you?
Don’t we all say Tolkien? Yes, of course, Tolkien, but also Piers Anthony, Terry Pratchett, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Tad Williams (I had a complete geek freak moment when he accepted my friend request on Facebook), Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, Brian Sanderson, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, Lois McMaster Bujold, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, and any number of others.
- When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?
I really never intended to become a writer as a child – I was quite set upon becoming a fashion designer… or a rock star. However, soon after I married, my husband discovered me writing a story and insisted that I keep going and… well, the whole matter snowballed into two published books and the outline for a third to go with them. Seeing them in print definitely cemented my decision to make being a writer part of my life. Losing my husband two years ago made his ambitions for my writing all the more precious to me.
- Do you have a special time or place to write?
I have an office – a very, very cluttered office – with a roll top desk, where I do all my creative work. I work twelve or more hours a day, every day, but I spread the time between editing, book formatting, 3D modeling, creating art one way or another, cover design, and writing on different projects.
- Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere and nowhere, really. Some inspiration has come from dreams, some from misunderstanding snippets of other people’s conversations (this is occasionally hilarious), some from personal experience, some from just glancing at old cover art. My mind is forever trying to tell me the next story, so for me it’s a matter of filtering all the ideas down into what might actually make a good book.
- Do you work on an outline or do you prefer to see where the idea takes you?
I’ve done both, and I’ve settled on a combination of the two. I make a rough outline with plot points that have to happen to get the story to ‘hang’ right, then I go ahead and write – sometimes even the rough outline gets changed, but most of the time the bare bones hold up well enough.
- Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I’ve never had writer’s block for longer than a few days, but when it happens it’s usually because of some enormous upset or tragedy going on in my life. I tend to the issue at hand and get on with life and writing as promptly as I can. I don’t always stick with the same project – I’ll hop from story to story – but I’m always writing.
- What is the hardest thing for you about writing?
The Zone. It can be difficult to be left alone long enough to get into “The Zone”, but for me getting out of “The Zone” is nearly impossible – so I wind up unable to stop writing. I think of it like the Hans Christian Anderson story of the red dancing slippers, though thankfully I doubt I’ll type myself to death. I’ve had episodes of writing 36 hours straight. That’s exhausting, believe me, and tends to make the next two days less than productive.
- How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
Market? I’m honestly a complete flop at marketing. I couldn’t sell wooly mittens in Anchorage. I really need to develop a marketing plan that goes beyond word of mouth and begging for reviews. That’s not to say I don’t try. When I remember to do so I write in my blog, I tweet, I send out Facebook messages, and try to drum up support on Goodreads.
- How much research do you do?
Here I shine. Half of my Bachelor’s credits were taken with a mind towards getting a BA in History, so I research extensively – though I did not for my first two books, much to my embarrassment. For F.A.E.: Bitter Roots, for instance, I’ve been researching troop movements and battles of the American Revolutionary War, as well as figures of speech and slang, clothing, ships, and firearms. For my Smuggler’s series I’ve been researching AI, abnormally large crystal growth, blood types, organ transplantation, brain functions, and how politicians divide people and victimize the target (usually smaller) group legally and with the enthusiastic approval of the majority.
- Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I write at my computer, usually with Scrivener, though if an idea strikes me while I’m out and about I’ve been known to jot notes on everything from napkins to pizza boxes.
- What are some of your favorite books/authors?
I suppose we all say Tolkien for this as well, and while that’s true, I do adore word play and puns, so I enjoy Piers Anthony’s Xanth series and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series immensely.
- Are you currently reading any books?
Yes, I’m reading Endgame: The Calling by James Frey.
- How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-A.-Robitille