Interview: Melanie Marks

Jen: Please help us welcome Melanie Marks to Romancing the Book.  Melanie, will you please share a short bio with us?

Melanie: Sure!

Melanie Marks was born and raised in California. She is married to a naval nuclear submarine officer and blessed with three amazingly terrific kids.

Melanie has had over sixty short stories published in magazines such as Highlights, Woman’s World, and Teen Magazine as well as in various anthologies, many being Simon & Schuster’s Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She’s had four children’s books published and four teen novels, THE DATING DEAL; WHEN KYLE CAME BACK; HIS KISS; and A DEMON’S KISS. More teen novels are forthcoming in the fall of 2011, such as THE STRANGER INSIDE and TRANSCENDENT.

Melanie enjoys reading in the bathtub, writing in bed, and living in a house longer than two years. Visit her website at http://www.byMelanieMarks.com or email her: Melanie@byMelanieMarks.com.

Jen: Tell us about WHEN KYLE CAME BACK.

Melanie: Seventeen-year-old Rain Tolley’s childhood friend, Kyle Ryan, was abducted 10 years ago. Now, mysteriously, he is back—only where has he been?

Though Kyle is still kind and sweet—and yeah, smokin’ hot—Rain is drawn to him, but afraid of him as well. Kyle seems haunted by the demons from his past—literal demons. Kyle keeps warning Rain to stay away from him–to not get too close. But Rain can’t keep her distance from Kyle. She feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. But soon Rain discovers she has gotten too involved with Kyle. The dark forces haunting Kyle are now after Rain as well.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When were you first published? Tell us your story.

Melanie: I’d always loved writing—always. But I didn’t really think about writing for the public and getting paid for it until I had children and I would read them stories from children’s magazines, and I’d think, “I can write stuff like this.” So I did. I sold my very first story to ‘Teen Magazine for $500. I used the money to buy my kids bunk beds and I got a lot of fan mail from teens. It was awesome. I was hooked!

I went on to have over sixty short stories published in magazines such as Highlights and Woman’s World and many, many more in ‘Teen. I also had lot of stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. But I had to put off writing full-length novels until all my kids started school because I could fit writing short stories into their naptimes, but novels were too time consuming and complicated for me to work on in such tiny spurts of time. But I’m so thankful I had the short story experience as it boosted my confidence in my writing and I got to work with a lot of amazing editors and hear from fans. It rocked!

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Melanie: Young adult, totally

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Melanie: Usually what happens is I get a scene in my head and it plays over and over and over until I finally give in and write it down. Then I figure out the rest of the story. But it always starts with one nagging scene.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Melanie: I used to write for a publisher where I had fierce deadlines to meet constantly. It was writing for a book packager. I loved that, yet at the same time dreaded it. It was hard, but exciting. My stomach was always in knots, but I was always, always energized. Now most of my publishers just put me in a queue. Edits get looked at in a first come first serve type thing. No one is telling me, “I need that story pronto!” Although, I don’t know. Maybe when we get closer to the publishing dates….

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?

Melanie: The most challenging is finding the time. The easiest is just writing—I love to write! The most rewarding is connecting with readers. It’s so nice to hear they enjoy my stories and want more. I love that!

Jen: How do you pick character’s names?

Melanie: That’s very hard for me! Especially boy names. I get favorites and use them over and over and don’t even realize it until I hear from readers and they say, “Is this the same Riley from …”

Jen: Who has inspired you most as an author?

Melanie: I think I would have to say S. E. Hinton. In junior high her books made me fall in love with stories. When I was done with one of her books I’d keep writing about her characters. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I had to write about them or I would explode.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Melanie: I have a book coming out that I’m very excited about! It is still YA, but it is a little darker than what I usually write. It could almost be considered a YA horror, but it is still heavy on the love. It is called THE STRANGER INSIDE. It should be coming out next month.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Melanie: at http://www.byMelanieMarks.com

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Melanie: If you have some favorite guy names, please give me a shout!

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