Name Melissa Cuevas
Where are you from
I am a military brat, so I’m from a lot of different places. My father was career Air Force, so I’ve lived in several US states and also lived for three years in the UK. I currently live in Southwestern Wisconsin, in the Upper Midwest region of the US, where I’ve lived for the past twenty two years. I’m married to an amazing man and we share two great children together.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest news on the writing front is the completion and publication of my newest book, “The Book of My World” which is a portal fantasy/romance that I’m extremely proud of.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve written in some form ever since I was in junior high school. I was a bit of a solitary child, I moved a lot and books filled a lot of voids in my life. It only seemed natural to take the next step and write.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I really didn’t consider myself a writer until I finished my first book, The Emperor’s Finest, in 1999. Writing those two very special words… “The End” was such an experience, both good and bad, that it really was a changing moment in my life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had wanted to write a book for a long time, I’d made several false starts along the way. I’m not even really sure why that particular one was the one that stuck well enough to see it through to the end…and then, on to its sequel.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I think I’m still really looking for that. But then again, I might just be too close to my own work and don’t see my stylistic choices.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“The Book of My World” is actually a book mentioned in the book, and it’s very precious to the main character, Tiernan. Because it’s a portal fantasy, there is a sharp delineation between the worlds of the two main characters, and ‘My World’ is also a translation of the name of the multiplayer game that makes the story possible.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No, not really. It’s a pretty sweet story that is meant to be enjoyed. If it has any deeper messages, I’d say it has to do with looking at modern life with a bit of a skeptical eye…from an outsider’s view.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book is heavily based on my experiences playing story driven video games and knowing the players and how they view their lives, fitting in…and not fitting in, being an adult player and active in the community.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
When I was younger, I loved Anne McCaffery. As I grew older, I gravitated towards darker and more gritty stories, some Stephen King and SM Stirling.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’m really behind on looking at new authors, so I’d have to say no. I’d be looking for authors who manage combine dark grit with more ‘normal’ characters with ease and grace.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I get a lot of my support from my facebook friends and my fanfiction readers. They keep me going.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to and it’s where I’m trying to get to.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Small details, but for the most part, I’m very happy with it. I would try to make it shorter, but I doubt if I would succeed at that one. It seems like every time I touch it, it gets longer instead of shorter.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was the kid with imaginary friends…when I got older, I realized they made great characters for my very own stories. After trying to tell people these stories, I realized that I’m not a great verbal storyteller. I’m much better at sharing my stories and my head dwelling friends with others by writing them down instead.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“I must consider everything.” Dyre wasn’t here to tell him which way was up, he had to be the judge of that now. He finally had to grow up. It was a sobering realization that, in spite of everything he’d done, seen, been through, he’d never really ever made his own decisions. And here he was, making his first ones so that he could go back to following Dyre.
I don’t care. He wasn’t going to leave Dyre in the unknown just because he’d had his first taste of freedom. It wasn’t as if he was enjoying this.
“So that’s what I smell burning. War mage trying to think his way out of a burlap bag…”
“Hush, you. I have it on good authority that I am brilliant.”
“Your loan goddess’s views on this are irrelevant. That’s like claiming your mama thinks you’re the most special child ever born.”
“She might just. You have that most special baby of the family air about you. Dyre might have just been good for you.” Mebhe’s lips twisted to hold back a chuckle and he shrugged in reply. Of course Dyre had been good for him. That went without saying. Without her, he’d just be the thin, long, girlish youngest son of a struggling merchant family. Without her, his options had been few and none of them good. He would have grown up indentured to the Conclave or hawking cabbages.
“Mage-Lord Hartwell good for me. Better than what I had to look forward to before my Choosing.” But now he paid for that. He’d thought, originally, that serving Dyre in Llyr had been that payment but now he understood differently. That had simply been the beginning. He could opt out of his debt, turn his back on Dyre’s disappearance and live off of the wealth she had left him for the rest of his days. But he wasn’t that sort of man, she’d taught him to be better. She’d taught him to be more. She’d taught him how to be a champion, how to be a hero.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I always hit a middle of the work hump where I’m utterly certain that I’m not going to finish it, and if I did, it was going to be terrible. It’s just something I have to push through.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I write a lot of sci fi and fantasy so many of the places do not exist. I have been to the Illinois town that “The Book of My World” ends up being set at…it’s only about an hour away from my home.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My cover was designed by Rachel Bostwick. I chose the stock images and she created the cover from them.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I had a bit of difficulty in the beginning that I wasn’t really listening to Tiernan, who is the main character. I kept trying to shoehorn him into being what I felt he ought to be and it didn’t work.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
“The Book of My World” taught me that I can write a less explicit work than I usually tend to, and still enjoy the story and the process. I was always fairly proud of writing more ‘adult’ stories, and this one surprised me.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Tiernan’s face model (how I see him in my head) is a Polish model. I’ve seen him on Youtube, and while he looks right, I don’t think he could play him so I’ll say no for that. I can see Sienna Miller as Deirdre, however.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Especially when it’s hard.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love them all. Always.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m not reading one at the moment. I’m in the editing mindset coming off of getting the book ready to go so I can’t just read for pleasure right now. I’ll give it a little time and then I’ll go see what my local thrift store offers up.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, that was a long, long time ago. 🙂 I remember getting in trouble in first grade for reading The Black Stallion in class instead of listening to my teacher. Oops.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Crying is easy. I cry at the drop of the hat, I cried during “The Book of My World” and it’s generally a feel good, happy story. Any sort of loss in a story will generally turn the waterworks on for me. Laughing is much harder, it usually takes something I don’t see coming.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
No, not really. Every ‘person’ I want to meet is fictional, and a character from a game I love. (Which was a big part of where Tiernan came from.)
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t think I would really want a headstone. I think I’m more of a ‘Take my ashes to a special place.’ sort of person.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I do. I obviously play video games. I’m also a cosplayer, I’ve done some historical reenactments, and I like to think I’m crafty…but that’s up for debate.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am a huge fan of BBC documentaries, especially the living history works by Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Alex Langlands (Tales from the Green Valley, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, etc.)
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pasta, seafood, cheesecake… My favorite color is green. My taste in music is all over the board, I like a variety of things, but my favorite band is toad the wet sprocket.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Something in the life sciences, I think. Biology.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
No, I don’t have an active blog. I had one for a little while when I was working through some health issues and I vented on it for awhile. Now, that’s what I think of when I consider blogging again, and it’s not someplace I want to go back to. Maybe later…when that wears off.