Congrats to Melanie! Here's an edited version of our interview. Enjoy! And go buy her book!
1. Tell me about your new release of HIDDEN MAGIC. What is this book about?
At its heart, Hidden Magic is a love story about Arram and Jenny. In spite of her family's overprotectiveness, Jenny has always been reckless and drawn to mischief. That's why her mom decided not to pay for Jenny's education. The moment Jenny finally makes it to the University, she meets Arram, a mage-in-training who captures her interest and then vanishes. While he is gone, Jenny turns to Arram's former best friend, Jack. But Arram and Jack's rivalry is much darker than Jenny suspects, and so are Jack's intentions.
When Jenny finds herself in need of magical help, both Arram and Jack want to help. Arram wants her to do the safe thing, and Jack wants her to show her the easy way out. Whichever option she chooses, her life will never be the same again.
2. When did you start writing?
Six years ago. I was homeschooling my daughter and we decided to try Nanowrimo together. Since then, I have never stopped.
3. What inspired you to write this book?
I think the first inkling of the idea came while I was standing in a little kiddy pool, soaking up the sunshine while my kids took lessons in the big pool. I had a whole scene planned out in my head. This book is everything leading up to that scene. The scene is still in my head, but I don't think it actually fits the storyline anymore. So sad.
But there were a million little things that led to my writing this book. Reading Twilight made me think "I could do that too!" and by 'that' I mean writing a clean romance that set people's hearts racing. I spent a lot of time analyzing the relationships of people in Pride and Prejudice, and though my book is nothing like that, more than one person has mentioned that it has that flavor. Those are some of my favorite compliments.
4. What was hard about writing this book?
I didn't know how to write AT ALL. I've read thousands of books in my life, but the only thing I seemed to pick up from them was a larger than average vocabulary. If it hadn't been for Nanowrimo and Orson Scott Card's How To Write Science Fiction andFantasy, I don't think I ever would have finished the first page.
When I look back at that first manuscript I am thrilled to say I don't think I could write anything that horrible now, even if I tried. Still, I loved the story enough to keep learning and polishing. I had so many amazing writers help me, and I'm so grateful none of them said, "That's good enough" until it was. This novel went through the crucible and came out shiny and pretty.
5. What is your favorite color?
Ever since Peeta told Katniss the orange of a sunset was his favorite color, orange has been my favorite too. Until I read those words, this question always flummoxed me. I would always say blue, but it wasn't blue, not really. It was the color of orange juxtaposed on a light blue sky. Thank you, Suzanne Collins, for explaining this to me.
6. Malcolm Reynolds or Christopher Pine as reboot Captain Kirk?
Who? :) [Editor's Note: You're dead to me. In case you were curious, the correct answer here is Mal, and/or both.]
7. You're down to the last wish from a genie. You can't wish for more wishes. What do you wish for? (Assume you've already taken care of your basic needs of money with your other wishes…)
The ability to freeze time so I can get as much writing done in a day as I think I ought to, and still have time to live.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love JK Rowling, Dianne, Wynne-Jones, Megan Whalen-Turner, Jane Austen, Orson Scott Card, Shannon Hale, and Janette Rallison. Of course I’m super-impressed with my writing partners from Alchemy, Sabrina West and Sheena Bookweg.
9. What did you think about writing when you were younger? How has that changed as you've gotten older?
In my heart, I think I've always been a writer. However, I didn't write. I don't know why--whether I was scared of it, or whether I was too lazy. I wish I could go back in time and see what was going on in my head. If only I'd started when I was younger, think how much further along in the process I could be by now!
10. Did you use anything or anyone you know from your real life in writing this book? Spill! Which ex-flame got skewered in chapter 12? ;)
Hmmm...In this book? I don't think so. However, in the sequel, there are a few scenes that were inspired by reality. However, I'm never telling anyone which ones. Ever.