I believe that stories can change the world. I also believe that teens and young adults have eyes that are open and ears that are awake to the thrumming life hidden deep within great books. I write YA fiction because I’m in love with stories and because I want generations of young people to hold tight to the vastness of their potential–the potential that lies waiting in all of us. The world is ours for the making.
No matter who you are, you have the power to do great things.
— M. Kircher
What inspires you to write?
I actually started out writing non-fiction. Deep down inside, I desperately wanted to write stories but I was too scared. My husband and I had the worst start to our marriage and so we began blogging about marriage to help other couples not feel so alone. The blog lead to web articles, which lead to magazine articles, which lead to a book deal. It was only once I had written a book that I thought, “Okay, maybe I could write a story.”
A friend of mine and I were having coffee one day and passionately discussing our love of all things Sci-Fi and YA, when she looked at me and said, “Melis, you have to write a book. You just have to.” For some reason her words gave me the courage I needed. So that day I got home, sat my butt down, and started writing stories. I haven’t stopped since.
For my first book, The War Inside, I decided to write the story I always wanted to. I love kick-ass females and I love books about not only saving the world, but having the power to transform it. And I’ve also had these quietly gnawing thoughts for a couple of years about technology and the Earth, and the ways that people connect with these two things.
I thought about what the world would look like if society lost their connection to the planet and to each other. And then I tried to challenge myself into imagining how we could put everything back together. I wanted to write a dystopian plot line that had more hope than despair to it and I also wanted to write characters that had zero connectibility (I looked it up and this is actually a word!) until things start to change. And then their humanity and likability would begin to show.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely a plotter, not a pantser. I have to have everything organized before I can let my mind drift over into the creative chaos it takes to actually write a story. For me, having a basic structure in place actually sets me free to be creative. I know that many other writers work much more effectively when they wing it, but I figure it’s whatever gets the job done for each person.
And the room I’m working in must be clean!
Also, it’s very helpful to set a daily word count. Mine is 1,500 words a day, five days a week. I give myself two days off to breathe and let the story mull about in the old noggin. Having a word count allows you meet attainable goals and not become overwhelmed by, “I must write an entire book.”
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Oh my gosh, yes! I talk to them all the time. And I listen in to their conversations. They do have conversations in my head, whether I like it or not. I find the key to moving a tricky bit of the story forward is to do something boring like washing the dishes or going for a long drive, and allowing my characters to spin around up there. Works for writer’s block every time!
What advice would you give other writers?
Keep writing and keep learning. Know your market by reading a lot. Don’t hold any one novel too dear. I just went to a writing group where most people there had been editing the same novel for like 3-4 years. They hung on to those things for dear life thinking, “If I just keep at this one book enough, someone will recognize how brilliant it is and I’ll make it big.” You can’t build a career off one book. Write a book and try to sell it. If you can’t, then maybe self-publishing is for you. Publish it and then move on to your next book. Try to sell that one to agents. Rinse and repeat. I’ve heard over and over again from authors and agents that the key to getting published is to write lots of books.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book was a traditionally published non-fiction work about marriage and relationships, so I got my feet wet in that world. Then, when I decided to write fiction, I wanted to self-publish first. I learned so much going that route. My second novel I sold to an Independent publisher, Astraea Press, and have been very happy with them! In the future, I think I will continue to look for an agent, but now that I’ve experienced all three types of publishing, I’m kind-of open to whatever comes my way!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for talented voices to be heard. I would love to see Indie authors, self-published authors, and bigger publishers working together more in the future. How cool would publisher or agent-run mentoring programs be? There’s such a need for fresh voices and great storytelling. How fun would it be to query an agent and get back a “pass on this book, but I think you’re a good writer so I’m going to hook you up with a mentor for your next book” ?? There are so many ways that both self-published books and traditionally published books can shine, let’s all work together and concentrate on writing amazing stories!
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
YA, Paranormal Romance, Sweet Romance, YA Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print