I'm so happy to fellow Love, Again Melissa Keir on my blog today!
Over the next few weeks I'll be interviewing each author (besides myself) here on the blog.their.
Melissa, tell us about yourself:
Imagine the Brady Bunch without Alice and you’ve got a pretty good picture of my life. As a part of a blended family with two children from each of our previous marriages, my husband and I have created a new home and family that encompasses our teenage and young adult children, two fur-babies, a high grocery bill, and a lot of laundry.
Growing up as the oldest of five daughters, I was taught to fish, hunt and to work hard by my father. He didn’t believe in forcing gender roles. My grandmother taught me to cook, sew and care for others. And my mom taught me the importance of being me… she let me color my hair, cut it in the latest styles and fight for what I believed in.
Today, I try to instill those ideals and a love of reading to my own children and future generations as an elementary school teacher. My family have made me a better person and provided me with support, great lines for my books, and a few gray hairs. But I firmly believe that each experience makes us stronger and better.
I love hearing from readers! You can find me at www.melissakeir.com or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/melissaakeir#!/profile.php?id=100003150554229 or twitter @melissa_keir
How did you select your pen-name? My pen name is my real name. With marriage and divorce, my last name has changed a few times. I’m proud of my husband’s last name and want to celebrate the rich history that comes with it.
Do you prefer?
Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Dark chocolate, preferably with raspberry mixed in. I make a mean spinach, fruit and chocolate salad. Who couldn’t love healthy food with a sweet indulgence?
Coffee or Tea?
I’m not really a coffee or tea drinker. Once in a while, I love a good white chocolate mocha or caramel mocha, but my drink of choice is water. For the longest time I was a morning cola drinker and have really cut back to only one cola per week.
Vodka or Tequila?
Both give me headaches, but a nice bottle of coconut rum is delicious! It goes great in lemonade!
Romance or a Thriller?
I love all genres. Of course I do enjoy a hot romance with a happily ever after ending but there is something about matching wits with the author of a thriller, trying to figure out what will happen before the end of the story.
Mystery or Horror?
All genres are fun. There is something about being scared out of your mind and knowing that you can walk away from it without being involved in the danger that thrills me. I also enjoy trying to solve the crime before the detective. In other words, you give me a book, magazine, sheet of paper with writing and I’ll read it.
Did you always want to be an author?
I don’t know that I’ve always wanted to be an author. It has definitely been a dream of mine but mostly I wrote to share my thoughts and feelings. Would you believe that when I was younger, I wanted to be a rock star? Then I started nursing school at 16 in order to work with hospice patients. But life has a way of changing your dreams. I’ve been everything from manager of a clothing store, to furniture sales person, and now a teacher. I don’t believe that we are ever done evolving. Being an author is a dream come true. I love that others can finally share my stories and look forward to the many wonderful discussions I’ll have with readers. But who knows…maybe someday I’ll still become that race car driver, I’ve been dreaming of!
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
My first favorite authors were Johanna Lindsey and Jude Deveraux. They wrote stories that appealed to my heart with strong male characters and women who enjoyed being taken care of. As I grew up, I read every genre from Piers Anthony--and his wonderful play on words-- to Cassie Edwards --and her sweeping historicals. My tastes expanded to futuristic, paranormal, and fantasy. But at the heart of every story was a strong woman and the man who loved her. Today, my keeper shelves are filled with Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Yasmine Galenorn, Karen E. Taylor, and many more!
Did anyone in your life influence you or encouraged you to be a writer? (teacher, family member, friend) My mom wrote a story when I was a teenager and worked hard to have it published. This was back in the time before e-publishing and while she never had her book published, she served as an inspiration for me. When in college, one of my English professors pushed me to explore my thoughts in poetry and served as a mentor, reading through all of my work and celebrated with me when one of my poems won an award. My family has been the strongest supporter and have given me the support to follow this dream. Auntie Squirrel (to protect the innocent) was an editor and writer and loved to read my musings, always encouraging me to get published. But it was my hubby who picked up the slack at home and serves as my sounding board that has been most helpful.
What is your writing atmosphere like?
Imagine a quiet peaceful glen filled with the songs of birds and the warm summer breeze blowing through your hair… well, my place isn’t anything like that. I work at the kitchen table, the living room sofa and my bedroom. Because I live in a house with teenagers and fur-babies, there is always noise going on and a lot of action. Someday, I hope to be able to have my own desk, writing office or secret closet where I can go write, but honestly I enjoy being home with my family, even if they do cause a few distractions.
What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
I love when the ideas come to me. I’ve currently been stashing away ideas for future stories. When I get into the story and it comes alive, the characters write themselves and the action flows are some of my favorite parts of writing. My least favorite is when I’m struggling to find time to actually write. Being a full time working parent, book reviewer, editor, and author doesn’t leave me a lot of time for writing. I’m great at prioritizing but wish there were more hours in the day.
What drew you to the Love, Again Anthology?
I was very excited to be a part of such a wonderful group of writers! We had all been working on a Valentine anthology with Midnight Magic Press when the publishing house closed. It was devastating for us and when Ruby Lioness Press opened its doors and decided to publish a Valentine anthology, I jumped at the chance to work with everyone again!
How did you decide on your story plot?
The plot of my story came to me from my own small town. Life in a small town is very different than in a larger city. Everyone knows who you are and your lives are intertwined forever. I still keep in touch with old boyfriends and classmates and love going back to visit my hometown. In Forever Love, I write about a woman who must give up her life in the big city to return to her hometown.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
As I mentioned, Amherst, Ohio is a wonderful place to raise a family. But many teenagers seek to escape the small towns in order to lose themselves in the anonymity of a big city. Like my character, I wanted to escape Amherst but have come to love and miss that part of my life.
The characters names are hard for me to think up. I like to use names that I’m familiar with so you’ll see me take names of students, family, and friends to create the names of the characters. After all, they are fictional people but I find that names show the true character of the person inside.
Thank you again for having me visit today. I look forward to hearing from your readers! Don’t forget to check out my short story “Forever Love” in the Love, Again Valentine anthology and get a taste of small town life!
Forever Love by Melissa Keir
When Syndie Wilder returns to Amherst, Ohio, she comes back to take care of her ailing father and doesn’t expect to run into the childhood friend who dumped her in high school. When fate causes the two to meet, sparks fly again. But will a childhood friendship turn into a forever love?
Love, Again is available
Print: Ruby Lioness Press