Today I wish to extend a very warm welcome to emerging author, Melissa Wray, and congratulate her on the publication of Destiny Road, her debut YA novel.
Please feel free to tag along and, at the end of the Q & A, three lucky entrants will stand a chance to win either a signed hard copy or two e-Book versions of Destiny Road, with the winners being drawn via random.org. This competition is open Worldwide, but unfortunately, due to high postage costs, only entries from Australian residents will be considered for the signed hard copy.
First things first though, I wish to thank Melissa, without whom this giveaway would not have been possible and offer you, the reader, a bit of insight into Destiny Road with this official trailer:
To read my review which was published on the 8th May 2013, feel free to read it here.
So, without further ado, let us indulge in getting to know Melissa (and Destiny Road) a little better:
Melissa, as a brief introduction, would you mind sharing a bit about yourself and how you came to write (and publish) Destiny Road?
I live in Leopold, Victoria, Australia. It is halfway between town and the beach which is perfect for me. I am the proud mum of twobeautiful children who make me smile every day.
Destiny Road came about as almost as a therapy session late one night. I couldn’t sleep, thinking about the choices in our life that have a huge impact on us, so I got up and wrote all the jumbled thoughts floating around inside my head. A few days later I re-read it and thought it could be a good starting point for a story. The rest evolved from there.
I actually won my publishing contract through a writing competition with Morris Publishing Australia. My maiden name is Morris and I though the coincidence too strong to ignore. So I sent the first 4 chapters off and was thrilled when it was short-listed. It was such an unbelievable moment when I found out I had won a contract.
You can read the 1st chapter for free on the publisher’s website:
Bill is based loosely on my dad. He was very relaxed and liked to think he was “cool”, which my friends thought he was, much to his delight. I suppose I tried to let that jovial essence come through when writing Bill. Luke was the biggest surprise character. I had not envisioned him in the story, but once I started writing, he seemed to demand more attention during the story and became a big part of it.
What do you think was your best experience while writing Destiny Road?
Having a completed product to hold in my hot little hands! I loved when scenes came together and I especially loved when I broke through the writer’s block moments.
And the worst?
There have been no worst moments, more like naive moments. They say writing the book is the easy part … It’s the launching, marketing, networking, promoting, reviewing, selling, etc., etc., etc. that I wasn’t prepared for. But it’s all been a fantastic learning experience.
How much of Destiny Road is based on your life experiences?
When I was 16, I went to live with my dad for the first time. Unlike Jessica (Destiny Road), I had known him all my life, but my parents divorced when I was very young. I think this decision to live with him shaped my future in countless ways. I was never able to say thank you to my dad for saying yes when I asked if I could live with him. He passed away several years ago and it has always bothered me that I could not get those words out before he died. Now, with Destiny Road, I feel like I have said them, so hopefully he knows.
Is there a message in your novel that you would like readers to grasp?
Destiny Road is about life, choices, heartbreak, consequences, acceptance. It is about making a decision, no matter how tough, and sticking with it because you know it is right.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I am a fly by the seat of my “pantser”. I tend to write a scene I know I want in the story. Then I worry about how it will fit in later. Then, when I am really confused how it will all work, I do some planning.
Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Bryce Courtenay is my favourite all-time author. I was so sad when he passed away last year. He is such a storyteller. His books are like door stops but you fly right through them and they are finished before you know it. The thing I love the most is I always feel like I have had a great Australian history lesson.
Are you currently working on your next novel and, if so, would you mind giving us a sneak peek into it?
Summer Change is the next novel I am working on. I had a hiccup about a month ago where I lost the ENTIRE manuscript with NO backup – aarrgghh! I am back on track though and here is a sneak peek …
Extract from Summer Change
“The sound of the lawnmower next door interrupts our bonding session. Lexi’s eyes open wide and she grins.‘I wonder if it’s the hottie?’She jumps up and creeps across to the fence. She pushes her face against the planks of wood. Over time, they have warped and twisted enough to peek through.`It’s him!’ she hisses, climbing the fence.`Lexi! What are you doing?’ I run across and try to pull her down before he sees.‘Let go,’ she mouths and continues climbing.She perches herself on the corner of the fences like the other day. This time I don’t think there is much chance of her falling backwards.‘Lexi! Get down,’ I whisper.She shakes her head at me and adjusts her electric blue bikini top. It shows off her tan perfectly. The lawnmower rumbles to a silence. I crouch trying to peek through the wood. Tanned legs move towards Lexi.‘Well hi there neighbour!’ Lexi sings out.‘Shouldn’t you be wearing that suit in the water?’Lexi throws her head back and laughs. ‘It works just as well from up here.’I shake my head at her flirting. She is so obvious sometimes!‘So when you finish mowing all that grass I bet you will be pretty … hot.’I cringe at her boldness. There’s a chuckle from the neighbour which only encourages her.‘Well my cousin …’ she looks pointedly at me. ‘And I thought we should be neighbourly and invite you over for a swim.’‘Does your cousin ride like a maniac on a beat up bike?’‘I’m not a maniac. You’re the one who can’t drive,’ I yell over the fence.‘Ahh, is that you princess?’I look upwards and find two dark eyes staring over the fence. I stand up, stepping back from the divide.‘Hang on. Do you two know each other?’ Lexi looks back and forth.‘No!’‘Yes,’ he contradicts me.‘Well which is it?’ Lexi asks, crossing her arms.‘You know I think I just might take you up on your offer for a swim,’ he says to Lexi.Her face lights up in delight. She pushes her chest out further and grins. He sends a wink my way then disappears from my line of sight. The lawnmower starts up and I know this swim is going to mean trouble.”
Thanks so much for sharing that with us Melissa.
And now, it’s time for some fun questions:
Pizza or Pasta?
Your favourite singer?
Pink (bring on the July concert in Melbourne!)
Your favourite movie, and why?
The Notebook, Ryan Gosling and THAT kiss!
If you had a book club, what would it be reading, and why?
They will have already read Destiny Road, sooo, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. It is my favourite story. Everyone should read it and fall in love with Tatiana and Alexander.
Melissa, it has been an absolute pleasure having you visit, and I wish to thank you for coming along.
Thanks for having me Marcia and keep up your fabulous work!