The Seventh Blessing, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Seventh Blessing?
MELISSA BUELL: The Seventh Blessing is a fantasy novel that is aimed for the YA audience but I feel that adults will enjoy it as well. It follows the journey of Samantha, Princess of Mittra, as she discovers how to use the fairy blessings given to her.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
MELISSA BUELL: I start by imagining how I would like my main character to act, look, think. I write down what she would do in different situations and then develop that into a personality. (Samantha is intelligent, sensitive at times, brave, sarcastic, determined, etc.) When I made her love interest, I thought about what would attract someone and what would keep a couple together. (Opposites may attract but that attraction does not always last...) Different secondary characters have to have their own uniqueness to keep them interesting and make them dynamic characters. The antagonists in the story had to have a darker side to them. I had to tread carefully because they also have to have a bit of good in them so that they are making a choice with their behavior.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
MELISSA BUELL: My ideal reader is someone who used to read fairy tales as a kid and believes in "happily ever after." Someone with an active imagination that can visualize the characters and the land that they inhabit.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
MELISSA BUELL: I began writing when I was in high school but never really showed anyone my work. Through university as I was pursuing my degree in English, I began to write to relieve the stress of studying and writing required assignments. I thought about creating a story about a strong female character who lived during medieval times. My earliest notes are quite different from the way my story ended up! I did research about the world of knights and jousting. I let my imagination have free rein and ended up with a magical kingdom and Princess Samantha.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
MELISSA BUELL: I do research first about every topic that I think I might write about in the story. Then I write down the beginning and the end of the story in just a few sentences. I have to think about what happens to get them from the beginning to the end and start filling in an outline. I turn that outline into chapter summaries. Chapter summaries then get some dialogue. Then I go back to the beginning and start writing, referring back to my outline. Sometimes the story changes from the outline and that's okay! (I can always use those differences in another story!)
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
MELISSA BUELL: The fantasy authors that inspire me are Gail Carson Levine and Robin McKinley. The way they weave classic fairy tales into a new story is very inspiring to me. I also enjoy the way Jane Austen made characters pop off the page and gave them their own idiosyncrasies. There are so many authors and styles that I enjoy and they have all made me the author that I am today.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
MELISSA BUELL: Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. That is a beautifully written, intricately plotted book. Fantastic.
DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?
MELISSA BUELL: I used a photo that I took on an outing to a local arboretum as my background. I superimposed the text over the image.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
MELISSA BUELL: I have been on multiple blog sites and writer and reader websites to promote my work. Facebook is a great resource to get the word out that I wrote a book.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
MELISSA BUELL: The Kindle is becoming very accessible to many readers and I wanted my book to be available in multiple formats (hard copy, ereader version).
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
MELISSA BUELL: Be sure to have a friend edit your work before you post it. Check the requirements for publishing on Kindle to be sure your book will look right. Don't give up on your writing!
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
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