Friday 17 July 2015

Interview with Melissa E. Hurst

My darling dears, I have the honour to present the wonderful Melissa Hurst to talk about her book Edge of Forever and her journey into the published world. Check it out!

Melissa lives in the southern US with her husband and three kids. She writes YA science fiction and fantasy, which means she considers watching Star Trek and Firefly as research. She dreams of traveling around the world and maybe finding Atlantis one day. You can usually find her with a book in one hand and a Dr. Pepper in the other. Or consuming lots of chocolate.

I always start with the basics: tell me about your writer self. 
I've been writing on and off since I was young, but it was during middle school when I first realized I could possibly become an author one day. It took me until 2009 before I started writing seriously with the goal of publication.What is your process from concept to first draft? When I get the initial spark of an idea, I play the "what if" game until I come up with a story I'm excited to write. Then I use a notebook and write down everything I know about my main characters, secondary characters, and where/when the story takes place. I also create a beat sheet (from Save the Cat) to come up with my major plot points. By that time, I'm ready to start the first draft.

What's your favourite genre to read or write? 
I love anything that is science-fiction or fantasy.

Do you snack or listen to music? 
I like to have chocolate nearby when I'm writing. I listen to music for inspiration, but not when I'm writing. 

Tell me all about The Edge of Forever. 
The Edge of Forever is the second book I wrote. It's a young adult time travel novel that takes place in the future and in a contemporary setting, and it features several mysteries. The main characters are a seemingly normal teenage girl and a teenage boy who can travel to the past. The chapters alternate from their points of view.

How did you get started in writing? 
After I left teaching to stay at home with my youngest child, I decided to work on the book I'd always said I'd write one day. It took me two years to finish that book, then I put it away when I realized the market had shifted away from dystopian novels. Shortly after that, I came up with the idea for The Edge of Forever.

Tell me about your journey to being published - and internationally, to boot.  
I put my query letter up at an online writing conference to get feedback from other writers and ended up getting a request from my agent. After signing with her and going through a few founds of edits, she sent the book out on sub. My publishing story is a little different because the book actually sold in Brazil before it sold in the United States. And several months ago, it sold again in Turkey. 

Querying is not an easy thing. How did you put yours together (I hear it was stellar)? 
Something different I did with this book is that I wrote my query letter while I was plotting it. Doing this really helped me stick to the main points of the book without trying to cram in information that wasn't necessary. I also read the blurbs for several young adult novels that also featured dual points of view.

I just read your bio: you seem like my kind of girl. How's the hunt for Atlantis? 
Still haven't found it, but I'll keep trying! :D

So, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first? 
Oh this is hard. There are so many places I want to travel. I guess the first would be to the UK since I've wanted to visit there ever since I was little.

What's the next thing readers can expect from you? 
I'm currently working on The Edge of Forever's sequel.

And of course: any advice for unpublished writers? 
Try not to chase trends. You will have to read your book over and over again, so you really need to love what you write. 

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