Today, I’ve invited Melina Gillies to my blog. Melina is one of the 21 authors who have stories featured in the Unwrapping Love Holiday Anthology, the first compilation put together by the Writing Wenches writing group. Throughout the month of November, I’ll feature many of my fellow Wenches on my blog, giving you all a sampling of this super-awesome new book, which, by the way, comes out on December first, and can be pre-ordered (at a significant discount) here.
Melina gets to go first. So, Melina, let’s start with the basics. Tell us about yourself.
Melina Gillies: Well I would like to say that I’m a life-long writer, but if that was the case I’m sure I’d be rich and famous for being a baby prodigy—but I’m neither, so—I guess I would have to say that my long and illustrious writing career began at the age of 10 or 11.
I wrote a horror novel, entirely by hand that gave me nightmares (I was really into reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and found I had something to offer the brand…lol).
From that point on I survived a pretty unremarkable childhood on the West Coast of Canada, though I always kept with me a smoldering coal of hope that I would one day be a writer. This dream somehow refused to be snuffed by my dreams of being on Broadway (I SUCK at singing but saw Phantom of the Opera and fell in love), A famous actor (marginally better, since I’m melodramatic by nature), and a pop star (see the comment re: Broadway).
So I graduated, moved across the country, met a tall, dark, and handsome stranger (who can rock a kilt like no-one else), got married, popped out a few kids…well you get the story, and for ten or so years, writing took a backseat to my career, mommy-hood and generally staying alive.
As my kids got older, I realized that letting the years fly by with an old, searing hot coal in my belly and doing nothing about it made absolutely no sense and made me miserable. That all changed when my husband went on a business trip and had a shiny new laptop delivered to the door with a note that read “Get writing—I’ve got your back.”
So I cried (of course) opened that baby up and haven’t looked back.
Tami’s Thoughts: What a wonderful story, although I didn’t read much past “he rocks a kilt.” But I digress. Let’s talk about something else, to help me get back on track. How about pets? Do you have them? Want them?
MG: Unfortunately no—at the current time all of our pets are of the stuffed variety. (and not in a creepy we like to stuff dead animals kind of way.) Our “pets” have names like “Bully-Doggy” and “Ellie the Elephant” and are more about multi-colored rainbow fur than the road kill variety.
Hopefully soon though…
TT: Gotcha. How about this one – winter or summer?
MG: Am I allowed to say Fall? Living in Canada we definitely get four seasons, but Summer is wicked humid and winter lasts FOR-EV-ER, so I enjoy the brief moment of time where I can inhale the crisp Autumn breeze without freezing my nostrils or feeling like I’m in a steam room.
That, and the crunch of burnished leaves underfoot…and hot chocolate…and sweaters…mmmm, sweaters.
TT: I live in Michigan, so I Get It. Okay, one more: red or white?
MG: Red. When I get wasted I like to feel like I’m being classy about it—and what’s more classy than red wine? A nice California Cabernet Sauvignon if we’re being specific—all bite and no bark.
TT: That’s specific, and we approve of your selection. Now, let’s get to the books. In which genre do you write?
MG: Romance. *Swoons* It took me a long time to admit to it publicly, but yes world, I write romance, about flawed people who do their best, get in trouble and somehow find love along the way—and I love it!
TT: Hey, I like to read those sorts of books! I suspect our readers do, too. Is there anything specific that inspires you? How did you come up with the idea behind your last book?
MG: Wow, I feel like that’s a loaded question. It’s a thousand daily events that may come from obscure things I’ve seen or heard or felt. Sometimes the ideas will come to me immediately (seeing a news story about an old man who takes his wife’s ashes for a walk every day, for example. If that doesn’t scream romance material I don’t know what does). Other times it could be a look, or a smell or an atmosphere that kicks me days, or even months later.
I have a lot of story nuggets that don’t go anywhere, but I feel I owe it to myself to at least write them all down and give them a fair shot at being born.
The story idea for A Little Snow Music actually came about in a really mundane way. Two of my closest girlfriends have incredible careers, one as a music teacher and the other as a police officer respectively and I love the passion for which they execute their jobs. They have fantastic stories to tell and it struck me one day how similar those two jobs are.
Problem-solving in rapid succession, keeping the peace, a bit of negotiation and the absolute will to make a positive impact in people’s lives are daily calls of the job, though they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in other ways. I thought, why not stick the two together and see what happens? The result was an epic battle of wills between Emily and Jeff – the two main characters in the story.
TT: That’s definitely inspirational. I cannot wait to read your story in Unwrapping Love. Besides that one, how many books have you written? And how many books have you published?
MG: I’ll start with the writing I’ve done as an adult, but I’m currently working on my third book, and my first full-length novel. That said, I’m seriously thrilled that A Little Snow Music will be my first published work (of fiction, anyway) and couldn’t have asked for a better, or more supportive environment than that of Pagecurl Publishing for my debut. They are epic.
TT: Congratulations on your first published work of fiction! And just because, remind us again, when is it coming out?
MG: Of course A Little Snow Music will be out December 1st as part of the Unwrapping Love anthology.
After that however, my next release will be Then yours I shall be which is another short romance about a mixed up grad student who falls in love with a seafaring ghost who haunts the shores of Lake Huron. (I’m super in love with spectral romance).
My full-length novel Blue Lion Rising will be ready for publication in the spring of 2015—so stay tuned!
TT: How steamy are your books?
MG: A Little Snow Music is a solid 1, whereas Then yours I shall be would be a 2.5 I would say. My romances while chalk-full of fulfilling sexual tension tend to stay away from graphic descriptions of sex—though it’s clearly implied don’t worry!
Here’s a teaser from A Little Snow Music:
TT: I love it! December first suddenly seems a long way away, because I definitely have to read this book! Is this one your favorite of all the books you’ve written?
MG: I would say that A Little Snow Music is my current favorite. I love the characters and that they come through so clearly in a story that is less than 10,000 words. It feels like an accomplishment and I’m so glad these characters found their way to eachother!
TT: Do you have a favorite excerpt you want to share here?
MG: Yes, here it is:
“I do not have to explain my parenting to you—or anyone else.”
“Maybe not—but the other kids are depending on him.” Emily raised her chin.
“Well, they’ll get a better education out of a little disappointment than they ever will in a sixth-grade, amateur music class. Good night.” Jeff strode through the classroom door without a look back.
“Damn.” Emily collapsed against the desk, giving her unstable knees a break. The man certainly has the looks category nailed down, Emily thought. She listened to the hollow thump of boots on old wood as Officer McAllister retreated down the hall. If only his attitude matched his smile.
TT: Very nice. Okay, do you have a website? How about social media? How can your newest fans stalk you?
MG: YES! And in fact I have a little contest going specifically for readers of this blog! Simply subscribe to my mailing list here and in enter “Tami” in the field that says How did you find out about me? and you will be entered for a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
Also, visit my website at www.melinagillies.com for the latest news about what’s happening with me.
TT: Now, to wrap up this interview, why don’t you ask my blog readers a question, which they can answer in the comments below.
MG: What part of a book’s cover makes you want to pick it up and read it? The picture, author bio or the blurb on the back or something different entirely? I know what influences me as a reader but am always interested to know what tips the decision-making skills of my readers
TT: Thank you, Melina, for joining us today! Now, for the important question: How can we read your books?
MG: For now, you can visit Amazon to purchase Unwrapping Love which contains twenty-one of the greatest holiday romances (including A Little Snow Music!)
To get the inside scoop (and early releases) of the next two books in the spring, don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter or check the books section of my website for the latest release dates and great excerpts!
Thanks so much Tami for taking the time to learn a little more about me and I can’t wait to hear from all the great people who read your blog!
That’s a wrap on today’s post (yeah, that was on purpose). Keep checking back. Every few days, another Writing Wench and their story in Unwrapping Love will be featured. And if you want to join the release party on December first, click here.
Until then, keep reading!