Thursday, February 28, 2013

An interview with Melissa Damon.

Its another wonderful day that we have another author with us in the house. She has already published two books and the third one is on the way and she's gonna tell us how she does it. Enjoy.

Let me start by asking you your name. 
Melissa Hayes.
And do you use your real name or a pseudonym? 
 Melissa Hayes  is my married name, but I use Melissa Damon as my writing name. 
I know its probably silly, but I chose Melissa Damon as my writing name because it is my maiden name and I can keep my personal life and writing/business life separate. Melissa Damon was
the girl I grew up as. She was the dreamer that came up with all of
the amazing ideas for the story. Even though I am a mother and a wife
and a business woman, I don't want to lose that part of me and forsake
the younger me. I feel that if I were to use Melissa Hayes as my
writing name instead of Damon, that I would - in a way - be copyright
Interesting. Anything you can tell us about your childhood, where were you born,
schooled and that kind of stuff?

I was born in New London, CT but I moved to McClusky, North Dakota for
five years. When I left for North Dakota, I was a pretty princess
wannabee.  I didn't realize that I was spoiled until I spent some
time there. I learned about living on a farm and working hard to make
ends meet. I learned about communicating with neighbors to get through
the harsh weather and to take care of the animals in order to have
them help you out. It was a small town with a population of around 400
people and a graduating class of 10. Because the winters there were so
harsh (they start before Halloween and end around spring), I spent a
lot of time in the house and came up with many ideas for stories. I
also came to appreciate Connecticut more while I was there and the
fact that I got to be near the ocean (I would visit CT twice a year to
see my father - my parents are divorced). There are so many people out
there, in the United States, that have never seen the ocean and I had
taken it for granted at that point.
And where do you live now?
I live in a little town called Uncasville, CT with my husband, my one
and a half year old son, and a spicy little cat named Yuna.
I don't mind cats too. So tell us did you always want to be a writer?
Tricky that one.
 Okay, what did you want to be? 
I wanted to be a psychologist at first - and I currently work in the
psychology field now to pay the bills - but writing has been part of
my life since I was very small.
I see, so when did you first consider yourself as a ”writer”?
I'm ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) so I was never good
at focusing on the lectures at class. One day, I got some advice while
watching a tv show (I can't remember which one it was). It talked
about using techniques to focus on the task at hand. So...I started to
doodle on my papers while I wrote notes for the class. It started to
work and I was concentrating better. Then, the doodles turned into sketches. 
The sketches turned
into poems and the poems turned into longer poems. Next thing I knew,
I was creating character bios and writing pieces to the story in my
free time. I was hooked. Although I always had the dream of being
famous and rich (don't we all), I wasn't writing the novel for
anyone else. I wrote it because it was something that was residing
within me that I had to get out. It wasn't until I was 22 that I
finally admitted (after seeing literally thousands of pages I had
written) that I was a writer.
 Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes.  Almost a decade. At first, it was fear that stopped me. Then
it was my need to be a perfectionist that stopped me. Finally, I ran
out of excuses and went for it. I'm so glad I did!
Please tell us more about your day job as a psychologist.
I work with children and teens at a mental health facility. I've been
there for almost 15 years now and I love working with them. They start
off with the defenses high and say things like: "you're not my
mother!" When they leave at discharge, they ask for a hug. It is an
amazing feeling to help them feel loved and appreciated, and see the
changes that occur when those two items come into play.
Lets got on to the serious stuff now. How many books have you written so far?
Three books are completed: "Stalkers: The Resurrection," "Stalkers:
The Illusion," and "Stalkers: The New Covenant."
 I understand one of them is completed but not yet out, if you had to summarize it in less than 20
words what would you say?
 Right, Two of them are published so far and the third which is "Stalkers: The New Covenant" is just going through final edits before it goes through publishing. Its tough to explain the third book
because it is part of a trilogy and I don't want to give away the
others. If I was to do an extremely brief summary of the trilogy (less
than 20), I would say: immortal teenage girl with the ability to
transform into a siberian white tiger. She must find herself before
others do.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the
original idea to finishing writing it?

"Stalkers: The Resurrection" took 11 years to complete (it took me a
long time to get up the confidence to finish it). "Stalkers: The
Illlusion" took me 5 weeks and "Stalkers: The New Covenant" took me 8
weeks to complete.
What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the
same genre or books of a different genre?

One of my silly goals is to hit as many paranormal genres for the
young adult section as possible. I have a lot more coming. I am
flustered at times because the scenes play in my head but I know that
I have to finish publishing the Stalkers trilogy before I dive
completely into the next novel.
Do you have plans for a new book? And if you do will it be part of a series?
I have two books in progress (other than the 'Stalkers' series) and
plan to dive into them once book three of the trilogy is complete. One
of them is called "UltraMarine" and is about a girl named Marine. Her
mother never allowed her near water growing up (other than the
shower). Secretly, she takes a trip with her best friend to Rhode
Island and tells her mom she is going to Arizona. The closer she gets
to the water, the more strange things start to occur. The second book
is in the very beginning stages and doesn't have a title yet, but it
is going to take a lot of research to write. I have to take ballet
classes for it (I know nothing about ballet) and read a LOT of
What genre would you place your books into?
Young adult - paranormal romance
And Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
Dreams. I dream at night and then I day dream throughout the day. The
combination of the two is where the books are created.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. As many as I can find. I am always looking for opinions. If they
are good, they make me feel great. If they are bad, they push me to
work harder. 
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your
book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?

I design them. Although I was given many options as to the covers,
there was a particular feel I wanted. I drew them countless times when
I was a teenager, but I knew in my head what I wanted later on. The
logo for Stalkers was created back when I was seventeen, and I was so
glad when I was able to put it on the cover. There used to be
scratches on the back of the cover, but I took them out (even though
they looked cool) so that the summary and images got more attention.
Have you ever suffered from a ”writer’s block”? What did you do to
get past the ”block”?

Yes. Many times. Music is my break from the block. Whenever I write a
book, I make a playlist on itunes (and now spotify). The songs on the
list play like a movie through the scenes. It isn't as much the songs
(although they are important as well), it is the feeling behind them.
For instance, a slow classical song for a lone moment with the
character reflecting on something and soundtrack score music for
dramatic fight scenes. Whenever I get stuck, I play the playlist at my
house or my car. Just like pressing play on a movie in the DVD player,
I can see it again and work through it. I also keep the playlist on my
'about the novels' page on so that others can hear
the songs that inspired the chapters of the books.
So what do you do to unwind and relax?
Lol...write. It is my coping skill when I am flustered.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events
on things that have happened to you?

Yes. About 75% of everything that happened in the "Stalkers" trilogy
happened to me in real life. I just added some paranormal fiction to
it to make it sound prettier. As for the characters, most of them are
based off a combination of several friends put together. Katerina (the
main character) is the utopian me. Anna is the real me.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
(Morals as in like Aesop's Fables type of ”The moral of this story

I'm so glad you asked that. Yes! Yes! And yes! Caroline B. Cooney
was my favorite author growing up. She had very distinct morals
through her novels and it is important to me (especially because I
work with teens) to also have morals in my novels. The first book is
about finding yourself. The second is about finding independence vs.
dependance (significant others and the possible loss of self). The
third book is about working with your enemies (or people you don't
like) for a greater good.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice." I have read it many times! 
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you
favourite/worst book to movie transfer?

I like that they are transferred to movies but I don't think I have a
favorite/worst. I always love the books more but still enjoy the
change over to movies. It's always cool to see what another person
visualizes when they read the same novel. How they envision the
characters, set, etc.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format
is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)

I am currently on book withdrawals until the third book is published.
They most current book I've read so far is the fundamentals of ballet
for an upcoming book I am working on. The last book I read for fun was
"Branded" by Keary Taylor. She is amazing and I love her characters.
It was an eBook.
Do you think eBooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Sadly, yes. I don't want them to, but I think they will.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough
to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I wish they did more. They seem to do a lot less then when I was back
in school, especially with the imaginative writing.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch
out for? and Why should we watch out for them?

There is an upcoming author named Melissa Merwin that is writing a
paranormal series. She won't be out for a while, but watch out, I've
read a little over half her novel "Second Sight" and she has blown me
Book trailers what do think about them?
Lol...they are tons of fun. A couple of my friends took an afternoon
and we did a play one of Stalkers. Its actually on youtube right now.
It wasn't official even though we put that title on there for laughs.
We just played around with the scenes (and no budget) and made our own
Lastly Melissa, what piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
No matter what, just keep writing. Don't write for others, write for yourself. And don't feel like you need to start at the beginning. Right whatever pieces come to mind, and the rest will follow. 
It was nice having you Melissa and we wish you all the best with your upcoming book.
You can contact Melissa using the following links:

Yours truly

Felix Timothy


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