Name – Melissa A. Hanson
Where are you from – Southern California
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc –
I’m married, with two boys. I write in the late hours on the weekends when I can find time. I’ve also recently started selling LuLaRoe clothing, so needless to say I’ve got a lot going on. J I wasn’t born in Southern California but have lived here most of my life so I consider myself a native.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently won honorable mention from Writers Digest – E-book awards in the YA category for “A Healing Spirit”
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
At the end of summer in 2010 I had just finished a set of books which I flew through in less than a week, by the time I finished the last page I just had this burning urge to write again. I had done a lot of writing in high school, but nothing for almost twenty years. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, it was there taunting me when I was driving, at work, laying in bed. I tossed ideas around in my head for a few weeks and then one evening sitting on the couch watching TV I grabbed some paper and before I knew it the prologue was there on the paper. A couple days later I had a rough draft for an ending and from that moment on it was something I knew had to be written.
I spent almost every weekend for the next 6 months writing, not during the day, but usually in the middle of the night when the house was quiet, one chapter after the next unfolded. I would sometimes formulate a rough outline ideas for what might come next, but for the most part all I can say is that it was an experience. I would sit at my computer and the story just unfolded I don’t know where it came from for the most part. The images would come into my head, the words poured from inside through to my fingers as they flew across the keyboard. Sometimes though I’d sit and write, then delete, write and then delete, but most of the story just came easily. I remember sitting thinking, what is the character feeling right at this moment? What do they see, hear, smell…and the words just came. I remember thinking on several occasions, am I crazy?? Is the story any good?
The few people I let read as I wrote were all encouraging, but I always wondered deep inside were they just being nice because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings. But I kept at it, and when I was done I went into editing, and had someone do my copy writing for me. But I designed everything, the cover, the text, the fonts, the format, everything. I guess it is the designer in me that just wanted total control. Seeing it out there and having others enjoy it and be touched has been one of the most exciting things for me.
The decision to write the second one was easier, it just took a couple of years before I could find the time to write out Mia’s story.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After I published my first book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to write in first person with multiple point of views. I personally like to know what’s going on in other character’s heads while I’m reading. So I tend to write in the same fashion.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My first book I was probably mid to end before a title came to me. For the second book the title came by the time I was finished with the first chapter. I already have a title and rough synopsis for book 3.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That life is full of ups and downs. Even though a person experiences tragedy, life does move forward. That through some of the worst times of your life, in the end, you can come out on the other side stronger and have others brought into your life that you may never had.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
Many of my characters and situations are often based on different people I may know. Book 2 “A Healing Spirit” starts off with a ski accident that is inspired by a true event.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
There are so many, but the ones that hooked me on reading so many years ago are Mary Higgins Clark and Sidney Sheldon. I love reading Catherine Anderson, and Nora Roberts. I like how Catherine Anderson’s books are often stories of how a character pulls through a dark time or the main character might have a disability.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Before Someday – Alex tells all by Julie Prestsater. I met Julie at a book signing in Dec. and got a signed copy of her book. Her main character decides to go through Architectural School so of course I’m super excited to see how she handled that part of the story.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Colleen Hoover is a relatively new author for me and the five novels of hers that I’ve read I’ve really enjoyed. Specifically “Ugly Love”, “Hopeless” and “Confess” I loved how she set up the story and tied things together. I like being surprised when reading a story and there were moments when I was shocked and I’ll admit shed some pretty ugly tears.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently working on “A Healing Touch” – Riverview series book 3 and I also have an untitled New Adult romance book started.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’m honored to call many new bloggers that I’ve come across on instagram that have been so awesome about promoting my books.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it more as a secondary career. I love creating the stories and the excitement of readers that love my stories. The ones that really mean the most is when I get notes or letters from readers how my stories have impacted their lives.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There’s always improvements that can be made. The struggle is to finally get to a point and let go and send it out to the world.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always loved to read as a kid and that moved into writing short stories in junior high and high school.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“A Healing Touch” will follow the 3rd friend in the Riverview Series, Natasha. In the book Natasha is finishing up her first year of college away from home. This book will deal with some pretty dark/sad but common situations that many college students find themselves in.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to write.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t do any traveling
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I actually designed both covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Dialogue is always a struggle for me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up. Read a lot. Find what people are reading that’s similar to the genre you want to write about. Read those and know what’s out there.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love to hear from my readers.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably a Judy Blume book or Beverly Cleary
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
There are so many things that can cause those reactions from me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Scrapbooking which sadly I haven’t had time to do in years. I love reading and designing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I rarely have time to watch TV. I have enjoyed watching the 100 most recently. I tend to watch more movies than regular TV shows.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Mexican & Italian, Favorite color probably hot pink and emerald green. Music I tend to gravitate towards the 80’s, and new pop music. When I write I have to write with music that has no words. I have a play list of several songs from misc movie scores. They are even more inspiring if I really loved the movie that the song came from.
A few fun facts about me:
Some fun facts…My day job that pays the bills is not writing. Daily I’m an architect and I run my own company. I’ve been in the architecture field for almost 25 years. I love what I do. Architecture is like writing in some ways, you’re creating something and seeing it come to life. I’ve always enjoyed reading since I was in grade school. I read primarily on my iPhone and iPad with my kindle app. When I was in high school I was at a wedding where one of the guests had just won an Oscar and he had brought it and I got to hold it and have a picture of me holding it. I have two boys. I’ve recently accepted that I have a thing for pink, hot pink specifically. I had a fellow author that I met at a signing give me a free pair of Lularoe leggings, and umm I think I might be addicted. LOL. Seriously I’m seeing more and more authors and others start selling this clothing line and if you’ve never tried on a pair of their leggings they are the softest things
EVER!! Mountain Dew is my all time favorite soda. I’m a vegetarian and have a weakness for all types of sweets. 🙂
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
A Healing Heart Buy Links:
Signed Paperbacks: http://bit.ly/1PEmuyU
Also available as paperbacks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository
A Healing Spirit Buy Links:
Also available as paperbacks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository