Saturday, May 21, 2022


I want to thank Melissa Smith for taking the time for this interview!


Melissa Smith is a stay at home mom and wife living in Missouri, where she's spent her entire life. She writes for the joy of it and is passionate about her sharing her stories with the world.

She likes to write steamy romances and strange sci-fi. Her writing interests are almost as diverse as her reading interests. She currently writes Contemporary Romance, Sci-fi Romance, and YA Sci-fi. Her YA Sci-fi series was written for her baby sister, but she's enjoying writing those stories just as much as her others.

When she's not writing or proofreading for others (or wrangling her daughter) she's reading some sort of fiction, whether it's romance, paranormal, suspense, or sci-fi. As long as it's interesting.


When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing after I had my daughter. I’ve always been an avid reader and have journaled all my life, but becoming an author seemed an impossibility until I was home full time and wanted something to do that could also make me a little money. Turns out, my imagination is still pretty strong and I enjoy writing, I find it cathartic, in a way.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I had some favorite authors and had friends recommend and let me borrow lots of books growing up, so it’s hard to say. I loved what Ellen Hopkins did by writing books of trauma ridden teens and what they went through. 

I was never a wild child so learning what my life could be like otherwise was eye opening. I can’t write like that so I started with writing from experience, but was then inspired by Ruby Dixon’s alien romances and went in that direction.

My favorite authors are PC and Kristen Cast, and their House of Night series is so well rounded, so when I plot my stories now I aim for that. I try to write a well rounded story with plenty of action, steam, drama, love, everything. It’s not easy, but it keeps things interesting.


Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

Yes, actually, several. 

In my first book When You Know, Josie is based on myself, Brody is based on my husband, and Alexa was a combination of my two best friends in high school. 

In my YA series, Charlie is based on my baby brother Chalmer, and Molly is based on my baby sister Temprance. She asked me to write the series and make it relatable for her, so I used them as inspiration.


Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Everywhere I can. Common everyday experiences, television, other books, music, even things people say can trigger an idea in my head. Inspiration can hit at any time so I have lots of notes in my phone to keep it all as organized as possible.


Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I write an outline that’s basically a rough draft. I let the story flow naturally but write it in simple terms so there’s lots of room to add and embellish when I actually type it all up. 

I usually write the outline on paper so I can make notes in the margins and have the book on the desk while typing on the computer. Something about pencil to paper is just so freeing for my mind, so it helps a lot.


When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

Brutal honesty, I suck at finding inspirational photos for my characters because I am just too picky. I tried so hard to utilize Pinterest for this, especially when I was writing Charlie, but trying to find inspiration for Charlie was impossible. 

Finding inspiration for my aliens is even harder. It’s just not my thing, so I don’t even waste my time because I get frustrated by my own inability to be less picky and find someone.


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

Usually, I would say reading a good book, but since I edit now, among other things, it’s hard to relax while reading because I have so many books and characters and plots in my head that it becomes chaos trying to keep everything straight. 

Now, when I want to relax, I turn on a favorite show or movie and just try not to think, which is hard for me.


Who are your favorite current authors to read?

Oh man, I still love all my favorite famous authors, but I’ve become so ingrained in the indie community now and I work with so many amazing authors, it’s hard to pick favorites. 

I ARC for some amazing writers, Mila Sin, B. Livingstone, Temperance Dawn, K.L. Stephens, Marsha Casper Cook, Erin Mc Luckie Moya, the GWUM team, Holly Hanzo, and more that I can’t think of at the moment. I’m loving everything they send me and I can’t get enough.


What are your favorite books by others?

I’m not a picky reader, so I usually enjoy most books that I come across. I’m very much looking forward to the new ARC by Mila Sin and Manuela Rouget I’ll be getting soon, it’s going to be so spicy! I’m mostly addicted to romance books right now of any and all subgenres.


Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

When it came to my first book, I set it in a city I hope to visit one day. Charlie’s home town was based on my own, but I never did name it. Otherwise, the locations are mostly picked at random or completely made up.


Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Most of my books are multi POV because I love the well rounded feel of it. You get all sides of the story, all thoughts and emotions, making it so much more interesting. 

Now, I don’t mean that to bash other POV’s, it’s just how I feel about writing my own books. I find it easier to give the readers more when I have multiple sides to play from. Sautiition’s Hope is the only single POV book I’ve written so far and it was a little difficult for me to do.


What do you find to be your best research tool?

Readers, honestly. More often than not, I reach out to my team when I have questions or concerns about something I’m writing. 

Google can be helpful if you can find the right sights and such, but it’s not always accurate, even with basic stuff, as I recently learned. 

My editing team and supportive readers have been my best and most reliable tool for ideas and help.


Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

I do not. I chose to use my real name for the convenience of it. I’ve heard a lot of arguments for and against it, in all honesty, but I barely use social media for daily life. I could live without it, I hate it, really. So creating a fake name, making new social media accounts and a website and all that chaos was so overwhelming to me. I have nothing to hide, I’m not that interesting to begin with, so I stuck with my real name, even though it’s annoyingly generic.


What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write in three different genres. Contemporary Romance, Sci-fi Romance, and YA Sci-fi. 

I started with contemporary because romance is one of the largest and most purchased genre. I figured if I wanted to make it big, that was a good way to go, plus I’m a hopeless romantic, so I couldn’t go wrong, right? 

I then came across SFR books on Kindle and fell in love and decided I wanted to try my hand at it! My sister was so proud of me for doing something I loved and was passionate about, but she was only thirteen, she couldn’t read my books, so she begged me to write something just for her. She gave me the idea for Charlie’s character and home life predicament and I turned it onto a 5 book YA Sci-fi series to inspire her to never give up.


Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

I’ve lived in the same place all my life. My family is broken in many ways, and that was hard for me to handle growing up, so I determined that no matter what happened, I would stand for what I believed in and not let others push me. 

My parents were completely different people and I didn’t want to be either of them, so I took the best parts of them and then chose who I wanted to be from there. 

I don’t drink and refuse to get drunk under any circumstances because of what I’ve seen, and I will work until I fall over. I’m strong like my dad, working hard even if I don’t feel like it, and I’m goofy like my mom but I’m not a drinker like her. I do things my own way because I hate followers who don’t think for themselves, and I’m often alone and unpopular because of it, but it’s who I am. 

I’m a firm believer that those who like your style will find you and join you, so that’s how I roll.


If you are a duo writing team, how do you share the writing process?

I have never written with anyone else, at least not yet. I have plans for something with a friend, but it has yet to come to fruition.


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Don’t give up. 

Find support from friends or other authors, use what advice you can that works for you, and keep pushing. It’s hard, but keep pushing, keep writing, and keep networking to find your people. You’ll get there.


How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of negative reviews, but even the kindest criticisms can be hard to swallow. No one likes to hear that they didn’t do well enough at something. Being insecure, I have to take a step back, soak it in and think on it for a while. I have to find multiple perspectives to look at it from before fixing the issue, if it can be fixed. 

I’ve learned from experience that it’s never good to act immediately or on emotions, it can get you in trouble. Take time, think about it and see the other side of it, determine what you are willing to change or compromise to better prevent this issue next time, and move forward from there.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Probably the plotting and editing. 

Writing is fun and easy if the words are flowing properly. Plotting can be a pain for me because if I forget something, change my mind, or don’t put enough into the plotting, the writing suffers and the editing takes forever. 

I had this issue with Molly. Editing is hard because it’s so easy to keep adding to the book and thinking I haven’t done enough so it can be hard to determine if the book is finished and good enough to be sold. But this is why I have loyal teams to help me when I need a kick in the pants to remind me I got this.


What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

Music has always been something that keeps me focused. Anything I know and love that won’t distract me. I often have a glass of sweet tea as well, it’s kind of my vice and helps soothe my nerves when I need a moment.


What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

Sweet tea and/or chocolate if I have any. Writing can be stressful. It can be hard to get into the mindset of the character, or overly emotional if you’re writing something difficult. Having my stress relievers (I know, totally unhealthy choices) there can be helpful, even if it makes my butt big.


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

Oh that’s tough. I would probably choose the Cast duo because I would love to know how they sorted everything out to write an entire history and people and even managed to write an informational school booklet for the series. It’s amazing!


What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

Typically I write during my daughter's nap time and work in the morning. When she starts preschool, I will probably switch to writing while she’s in school and do my editing and graphics the rest of the day. 

I try to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but I definitely prefer to have my tea when writing.


Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

I switch between a few favorite playlists on my Spotify when I write. 

If I need something soothing and calming, I usually listen to my Snow Patrol list. I find their music to be calming and happy, which I know is ironic considering some of the lyrics. 

If I’m feeling like I need something upbeat, I’ll play 90’s, Now CD’s, or even my workout playlist with lots of dubstep. All depends on my mood.


Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

When the dog barks and I nearly pee myself, yes, that definitely gets in the way. It’s extremely irritating to be startled out of your zone.


What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Torture, horror, gore, evil in general. I’m not a dark person, I don’t watch horror movies and I’m not good at getting into the minds of people like that. 

I haven’t killed a character off yet or anything. I’m planning to in my SFR series soon, but I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about it. I can read it and deal with it, but it’s even hard to read, so writing it feels absolutely impossible.


Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

Not yet, and I don’t plan to kill of beloved characters if I don’t have to. My stories aren’t usually like that. I do have plans to kill off some characters in the future of my SFR series and my YA series, but we’ll see how it goes.


How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

Squeals, giggles, shouting, dancing, texting everyone who might possibly care, and taking some time off for self-care. I’m terrible at taking care of myself when I need a minute so sometimes I take a week off after finishing writing before I do edits so I can come back with fresh eyes and a clear head.

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