Melissa has always loved reading. She grew up 700m from the local library and spent most of her time there browsing and borrowing books. Melissa is passionate about literacy and education and believes the ability to read and write gives power to change.
“Things work out the best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” This is the motto Melissa has lived by most of her life and has allowed her to live and travel overseas and see some amazing places including Egypt, Italy, Spain, and Africa. She has also travelled closer to home and got to experience every Australian state, including the magnificent Northern Territory. Her bucket list is still very long though!
What drew you to writing in the first place?
I have always had a creative mind, but didn’t really commit to writing stories until after I had my first child. I enjoyed writing, so decided to enrol in an online creative writing course for an outlet as a new mum. Plus, I thought I’d have plenty of time because babies sleep all the time, right? Hahahaha, how naïve I was! I completed the course and assignments over 18 months, in between the 40-minute naps my son took during the day. Since then, I’ve been writing every chance I have.
Are your characters and settings based on your own life experiences?
There is often an element of real life woven into my stories. My first YA novel, Destiny Road, was about Jessica who met her father for the first time when she was sixteen. I always knew my father, but only lived with him for the first time when I was sixteen. One of my favourite authors, Bryce Courtenay, once said, “I take a fact and put a top hat on it, and a silk bow tie, but I don’t ruin the fact.” I’ve never forgotten this.
What is your biggest motivation for writing?
It is my creative outlet, my freedom from real life responsibilities. I love that I can get swept away in the setting and characters, then continue to think about them while I’m cooking tea for the family. I also write to inspire my children. I tell them they can achieve anything if they try hard enough, so I try to lead by example.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written many books but only had one full-length YA novel published. I have had publications of short stories within several anthologies.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Having my first novel, Destiny Road, published was easily my biggest accomplishment. Then, in 2015, I was selected to participate in the Maurice Saxby Creative Development Program. For two weeks I was immersed in the world of literature. Publishers, editors, authors, illustrators. It was an incredible experience that I will always be grateful for.
What advice would you give a young writer trying to get published?
Stay true to your writing and write about what excites you, what you’re interested in and not what you think you should be writing about. Something or nothing might come of it, but at least you will be proud of the work you have produced.
What helps you when you hit writer’s block?
A beach walk to soothe my soul. Best. Thing. Ever.
Describe your writing style in three words.
Gritty. Honest. Contemporary.
The Ruby Locket
To be published in August 2020.
Kerina is the key to the future, she just doesn’t know it yet. Saxon seeks the truth about his past. Two different lives. Two different stories. One connected future.
Saxon finds Kerina near death on the outskirts of the Utopia community. She wakes with no memory and is haunted by images of her past. When Kerina is taken in by Saxon’s family, he discovers Kerina is Okodee, a genetically engineered trait found in few people to help survive the post-apocalyptic environment. It is also a trait feared by many, making her valuable as well as vulnerable.