1. Hello Anne and welcome to Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf! Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Melissa; I grew up in Arkansas, live all over, and have now settled in Portland with my husband; since our kids are grown. I was a social worker before I started writing. There’s more about me on annemendel.com.
2. When did you know that you wanted to write professionally and how did you take the leap to get into the business?
For a long time I thought I was writing for pleasure and to balance my child rearing with something just for me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually got inspired by my writing group to try and publish. They kept me believing I was good enough through a lot of rejections.
3. Can you tell me a little bit about Etiquette for an Apocalypse and what inspired it?
I do believe that we are going to have to do with a lot less of everything to get the world back in order. I began wondering what things might get better because of that. The book took it’s own course but the themes of community, relationships and justice are hopefully right there.
4. What do you hope that readers take way with them after reading your book?
That hard times are coming but that things can get better, if we begin to prepare. Take chocolate chip cookies to your neighbors NOW.
5. I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
I started writing when my kids were young and just took my laptop from the playroom to after school games, etc. I found a way to write no matter what the circumstances. If I wait till everything is just right it never is.
6. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The worst moment was when I took a class from this well-known writer and at the end of the class he went around the table giving people feedback about what they had written and he said to me, “You are very insightful about other people’s work.” My favorite is when the Super in our apartment building told me he found a galley of my book in the trash, read it, and loved it.
7. What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors?
When I’m writing it’s hard to get involved in anyone else’s story so I don’t get much reading done. I love a good mystery, Lippman, Cobens, Lehane and Lisa Lutz’s first book, The Spellman Files. For literature, like everyone I love the classics, Austen, Fitzgerald, etc. But these days I just don’t read much literature.
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
At the moment my passion is Ballroom Dancing. Never thought I would be saying something like that.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Find a way to write just for pleasure and If it turns into something publishable great, but if you’ve written it because you have to write and because it’s just what you do, you’ve lost nothing when it’s rejected. You will get a lot of rejections.What can we expect from you next? I’m working on the sequel to Etiquette for an Apocalypse. It’s set three years after the end of Etiquette and things have gone awry.
Melissa: I appreciate getting to guest blog. Thanks for asking.
And now for a little bit of fun:) This or That?
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Sweet or Salty? Unfair/depends of if it’s hot out–salty I’m tired–sweet
Beach or Lake? Lake
Winter or Summer? Summer
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Zombies or Vampires? Zombies
Country or City? City
Shower or Bath? Shower
Morning or Evening? Evening
M&Ms or Skittles? Skittles
Trains or Planes? Trains
Comedy or Drama? Unfair–depends on my mood, who I’m with, time of year, day.