Thursday, July 11, 2013

Interview with Melissa Mayberry - Author of Mellifica

Today, I'm pleased to interview an author I have participated in different Facebook groups with and met over at Critique Circle, but have never really gotten a chance to know, Melissa Mayberry. I'm excited to talk about her life and her Mature YA Romance book, Mellifica: Devastating First Love. First, let's check out the book cover and description!

At sixteen years old, Melissa has already found her Prince Charming. Sandy, the school’s most popular boy, graces her with a dream-like romance. However, a bold and dominating stranger named Arien quickly enters the picture and steals the girl’s heart while at summer camp. 

What seems like a promising new relationship eventually becomes a downward spiral into heartbreak, leading Melissa down a path to depression, anorexia, and revenge. Trapped by her own impulsive affections and misplaced trust, Melissa struggles to find happiness in love without losing herself, her friends, or her sense of freedom. 

In this coming-of-age story, Mayberry’s well-meaning yet tragically flawed characters trace the thin line between young love and obsession.

Alright, thanks for being here, Melissa. Let's get right to it. How would you describe your book in 20 words or less without using the blurb?

As most authors, I get “What’s your book about?” a lot. In person, they usually get to know the ironic ending to book two, followed by a google search to prove it really happened. For the record, we’ll go with this:

My high school sweetheart dumped me for a teacher’s widow. It humiliated me, but I found a way to survive.

Poor girl. From this and the blurb, it sounds like it was rough. Let's find out a little bit about you. Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I travel as a nurse to various places across the United States. Every time I return to my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I’m awestruck. This is where I want to be.

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

The main male character in my book, Mellifica, drinks strawberry soda so much that his kiss tastes like it. I love Sandy, and have developed a strawberry soda habit of my own. My husband even buys it for me (but I haven’t told him why …)

Haha - well, if your kissing start tasting like strawberry, hopefully your husband just enjoys it too! Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I’ve done so many different things in my lifetime. When I started writing again, I got the eye-roll. As a matter of fact, my husband hasn’t even read Mellifica. If I have one regret about that, it’s that I haven’t told my parents that I’ve been published. If you’ve read Mellifica, you’d understand the relationship and why my success is a secret.

So this is part fiction, but part autobiography? That has to be hard. 

The main character, Mel, is me twenty years ago. The struggle there was relating to myself, not as I am now, but how I was then. I took everything personally then, now I look back and think I might have been crazy.

I think we are all super sensitive at that age. It is hard. What is it you love most about writing? What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Mellifica is written in first person and as a personal account of a humiliating break-up. The biggest hurdle was remembering the torment and putting it in writing. Subsequently, writing this book has become therapy for me.

Therapy through writing. I completely understand that. I do the same thing. Where do you get your inspiration?

I wrote an entire article to answer this question. I’ll try to make it brief here. 1. The story had to be written. 2. My character’s made me love them and keep going 3. My critiquing partners. Without them, I would have quit after chapter two.

Sounds like you have a good support system to keep you going. That's great. Which genres do you prefer to read?

I love romance, and I love YA. I have a teenage daughter and it’s so much more fun to read when I can talk to her about the story. I usually read it first (I’m the one with the money) and when she reads it she’s comes to me and says, “Mom, like OMG …”

I say, “I know with the …”

She says “Yes! And then they …”

Then I say: “I told you so!” And my husband stares at us and blinks. 

That's awesome that you can share with her that way! Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I’m a Facebook Junkie!

If I give you a time machine, what time period and in what place would you travel to? 

I would go to England during the early 1900’s. Oddly enough I love Steam punk, but I don’t think I know enough to write it. 

Are you writing something else at the moment?

I am working on two new books, while Mellifica 2 is in editing. We hope to have it out by early winter, but I haven’t come up with a subtitle yet! 

Wow! Sounds like you are busy! I appreciate you stopping by today and chatting with me!

About Melissa

Melissa Mayberry believes in living a full life. As a wife, mother of four, full time nurse, and grad student, a story presented itself to her in such a way that she had to become a writer as well. 

Facebook: Melissa Mayberry / Mellifica


Excerpt from Chapter 1:

The party fell quiet while we waited. A blue Dodge Caravan stopped at the edge of the beach. Oh yeah, Chad said he’d come. Even though the van was a brand new 1992 model, my cousin looked like a dork driving a minivan. “It’s okay. It’s my cousin, but keep the liquor in your bag, Shanna.”
“Aww, is Chad some kind of nark?” she asked.
I nodded. “Most likely.”
Chad stepped out, but to my surprise the passenger door opened too. Why would he bring a date to my birthday party? Asshole. It’d be better without him here, and definitely better without one of those girls he hung out with.
A stranger stepped out of the van, and his eyes fell right to mine. From a distance, he didn’t appear to be the geeky type of friend Chad always made. He wore a loose black tank top with Khaki shorts. His clothes seemed pretty normal, especially compared to Chad’s; my cousin wore a Henley tucked into his cargo shorts. The strange guy stared, and I couldn’t turn away.
 He came over with Chad, king of the geeks. Where did he get the confidence to stare at me? They walked closer, and even though the beach was dim, his onyx eyes struck me intensely. My chest tightened, and my heart raced. As if this guy gave him confidence, Chad walked a little straighter than usual.
“Hello, Melissa. Happy birthday,” Chad said.
I nodded, glanced at Chad for a second and then back to his guest.
“Oh, this is Arien, my best friend.” Chad gestured toward his tall, muscular friend. “And this is Melissa, my cousin.”
Arien nodded. “Hey.”
When did Chad get a best friend? I would have seen him before.  Something wasn’t right about this guy or his sudden appearance.
Sandy wrapped both arms around me and leaned closer to my ear. “Want to go for a walk?”
Sandy’s voice startled me. This suspicious stranger had my brain working overtime.  “Um, I do, but Chad just got here. I can’t be rude.” I turned to the new arrivals. “Food and drinks are on the table. Get a plate and come back to join us.”
            Why haven’t I met this guy? They returned from the table. Both had soda, but neither was eating. Chad turned toward the river where some people still played. “Who’s here?”
            I didn’t pay attention to Chad.
“Melissa, I asked you a question,” Chad said louder.
Everyone turned to me as I dropped my stare from Arien. A flame went through my body, and I wanted to run to the river’s edge. Arien smirked. He had been staring back, as if he had a chance with me. Huge ego—he must be Chad’s best friend.
I had to play the situation off as mere curiosity, so I squared my shoulders and cleared my throat. “So, Arien, if you and Chad are best friends, why haven’t we met?”
He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. “I guess we just missed each other.”  The warm gaze in his eyes made me think his words carried a double meaning. His wavy blond hair caught the sea breeze, and the firelight danced across his face.

I leaned against Sandy to ensure we all understood this stranger didn’t have a chance with me. 


  1. Great interview! It was great to get to know Melissa more. I read and critiqued part of Mellifica and LOVE the story!

  2. Thanks Melinda! Good to see you again!


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