Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you all – the lovely and very talented author of the Time Spirit Trilogy – Melissa Pearl.
I met Melissa last year through mutual friends, and after a while, discovered that she had written an urban fantasy young adult trilogy. Obviously this piqued my interest in her writing, as I was in the middle of writing a trilogy in the same genre. (Although – we all know that project is currently on hold…)
When Melissa first told me that she was going to self publish her trilogy, I was surprised. I had heard of people self publishing, but I didn’t actually personally know anyone who had done it successfully. However, since November, Melissa’s trilogy has definitely stamped it’s mark on the world of young adult fiction – already! The Time Spirit books are already sitting in the Top 100 of the Very Best Time-Travel Romance books to read as well as the Top 100 of Best YA Romance lists on Goodreads. People all over the place are reading and reviewing these books… and there seems to be quite a bit of chatter about Melissa and her books on the big wide interweb through word of mouth and various interviews. Now, I think that’s a pretty damn spectacular result for someone who has just released her debut trilogy.
When I picked up my copy of Golden Blood to read, I too was captured into the world of this story. Naturally, I just couldn’t help myself but to start chattering about these books to people. Melissa once blogged that she was inspired to write this trilogy after she had read the Twilight books. But to be honest – I personally think that these books are even better.
Needless to say – Melissa is influenced by many, but defined by none. A fabulous writer, and a fabulous woman. So, without further ado, here is what she had to say to me and my multitude of questions about her and the books of the Time Spirit Trilogy.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m a mom to a four year old and a nine month old. My gorgeous boys keep me very busy. I only write in the evenings and during nap times. I try to take at least three evenings off a week to hang out with my hubby and we usually watch movies or TV together. I’m a bit of a movie junkie :)
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing a book when I was ten, but never finished it. I tried again at 16, but my brother’s computer ate it. At 23 I tried one more time and I actually finished the manuscript. I was full-time teaching at the time, so it took me about eight months.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I have a massive writing desk. It used to be an old post office desk, which my parents bought years ago, sanded down and re-varnished. It is all kinds of beautiful. I am in a very sunny, large room. My desk faces a wall which I’ve covered with photos of friends and family. I also have my goals and a few favourite poems up there. The shelves next to me are jam-packed with writing books and drafts. It’s a little chaotic, but it works for me. I use my laptop for everything, but I always have a notebook and pen next to me as well. It’s amazing how often it comes in handy.
I need quiet when I write too. I can’t listen to music, it pulls me out of the zone :)
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I actually want to write in a few genres. My first book was a YA drama/romance. My next book was an adult drama/romance then I went back to another YA drama/romance. I love writing about teens. I decided to write the Time Spirit Trilogy after spending hours in the book stores and seeing what was popular. Paranormal was really taking off, so I decided to give it a go. It’s been fun.
I am looking forward to writing other genres over the years, but I’ll stick with YA for a while. My adult stories can wait.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I don’t get it very often to be honest. I think it’s because I spend so long mulling the story over in my head before actually starting to write it. I’m sure it will hit me at some point, but the few mini blocks I’ve had have been easily remedied with a shower or a long walk.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I used to just write, but I find I actually work much better with an outline. I can’t hold that much information in my head. I have to write it down. I now do very thorough outlines. I don’t always stick to them, but I think my stories have been stronger since outlining. It also cuts my number of drafts down substantially.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Francine Rivers and Dee Henderson were two authors I read in my late teens that I loved. I devoured their books and still re-read them every few years. I wanted to write stuff with the emotion of Francine Rivers and the tense action of Dee Henderson. I like a story that gives me both elements.
I have read a plethora of other amazing authors, but those were the first two that jumped to mind.
Is anything in your trilogy based on real life experiences or is it purely all imagination?
I have visited St Augustine, Florida. I loved that little town, which is one of the reasons I chose it for my setting. The storyline is all imagination, but some of the emotion is not. I really drew on personal experience when I was trying to capture some of Gemma’s heartache in Black Blood.
What was your favourite chapter or part to write and why?
There are so many scenes I loved writing. I really enjoyed all the kissing scenes – especially Gemma and Harrison’s first kiss. I could picture the scene so clearly and I felt everything Gemma went through. The way Gemma thinks and feels is similar to me, so it was really easy to fall in love with Harrison.
I also loved writing all the action scenes and for some reason, I adore writing arguments. Maybe it’s because I am useless with arguing in real life. I really enjoyed coming up with the argument between Gemma and her mother in Black Blood and there are a few little spats between Harrison and Gemma in Pure Blood that were quite fun to write too.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to in the future, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I have actually come up with three more stories for Gemma and Harrison. I can’t decide if I’ll write them or not. If people are really keen for more, then maybe. The stories take quite a different turn and I would really love to venture down that road and see where they end up, but we’ll see.
I really love writing time travel and I actually have a couple of time travel stories that I would like to do, so I might revisit that theme again… but not for a while. I have some other things I’d like to write first.
What project are you working on now?
I have two projects on the go at the moment.
The first one is a new YA series that I am co-writing with my friend, Brenda Howson. We are hoping to produce one book a year and these stories will each stand on their own. It’s called the Mica & Lexy series and is about two kiwi girls who have grown up together. These best friends have an uncanny ability to get themselves in the worst situations. The first book, Forbidden Territory, will be coming out later this year and follows them into the bush where they stumble across some unwanted treasure and then have to race blindly through the forest, eluding the treasure owners and rescuing the guys they are with. It is going to be a fun series with lots of humour, action and of course, kissing :)
My other project is a YA paranormal entitled Betwixt. It is about a young girl who is hit by a car. Lost and alone in the woods, she is stuck between life and death. In her ghostly form the only person who can hear her is a guy at school that happens to despise her. With the clock ticking she must convince him to help her then do whatever she can to find out where she is, so he can save her life.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write because you love it. Study the craft, learn from all the amazing literature out there and refine your skills so that the work you are producing is really good stuff. Find really honest critique partners and beta readers. Never be offended by their feedback, but use it to make your work awesome.
You need a thick skin in this industry. I always remind myself that writing is subjective. Everyone likes different stuff, so target your work to a specific audience and write what they love.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
A great big thank you. So far, I have only had awesome feedback about this trilogy and it has been such a joy to hear that you guys are loving the books. You pour so much of your heart and soul into your characters, so to have other people feel the same way about them is a treat.
Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you think, rate my books and leave reviews. Word of mouth is the best way to introduce someone to a book, so everyone who’s mentioned the Time Spirit Trilogy to their friends – THANK YOU :)
Golden Blood – Book One
Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.
Gemma’s parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be “used and abused”, as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew… Harrison Granger.
Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can’t stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.
Black Blood – Book Two
Gemma’s parents have put enough rules around her relationship with Harrison that she feels like she’s living on parole. But she wins one battle—a summer job working for Harrison’s step-father. It is the perfect chance to spend the steamy, hot Florida days with her boyfriend. It’s also a great distraction from the cellphone hiding in her underwear drawer—her only contact with Gabe, the mystery man who’s stalking her.
When she confronts Gabe, he tells her that her parents are not who she thinks they are, and Harrison has the gall to believe him. Surrounded by conflict, Gemma doesn’t know what to believe, and it takes a trip back in time for her to glimpse the sickening truth.
Thanks to her parents, she returns to the present to find the love of her life no longer exists. His family line was broken and now, so is she.
This betrayal forces her to seek out Gabe. Setting aside her fear of the truth, she must trust this man and learn what he can teach her… otherwise, she’ll never get her boyfriend back.
Pure Blood – Book Three
It is only a matter of time before Gemma’s parents find out she traveled through time to bring Harrison back into existence. The fear of being found out is a heavy weight on her shoulders, but she refuses to give up on everything she’s fought for. Harrison is worth the risk.
The couple draws closer together as they battle opposing forces from all sides. They stay strong until Gemma’s parents welcome an exchange student into their home. Simeon, a gorgeous Californian, is as smooth as coffee and, supposedly, a fellow time spirit. Gemma’s parents expect her to take him everywhere and, of course, fall in love with him. After all, he is the boy they have chosen for her.
No longer able to sneak off alone, Gemma must watch every step as she waits for the inevitable nightmare to catch up to her. Her parents ultimate goal is to get that last necklace and open the box hidden in their safe. If they do, Gemma knows her entire world will unravel.
As the danger mounts, Gemma must decide if she has the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the ones she loves and stop to her parents’ destructive plans.
These books are also available at http://www.amazon.com/author/melissapearl
You can connect with Melissa at the following places: