Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Interview with Melissa Blue by Jim Woods

Jim: Hi Melissa Blue, and welcome to the Champagne blog site and author interview forum. The rest of the Champagne authors and friends are about to get to know you. Let’s start with your name. I’ve known people with surnames of Green, White, Black and Brown, but never a Blue. Are you a True Blue?

Melissa: Hello, Jim, thanks to you and the Champagne blog for inviting me here today. And, yes, I am a true Blue, or at least my husband is. In any case, Melissa Blue is my real/legal name. Time and again people have told me that it sounds like the perfect pen or stage name so when I received a publication offer I chose not to create another name.

Jim: With you on the Champagne author list, I’m tempted to assume you write Romance, even though Champagne has spread its coverage to other genres. So what do you write? Tell us about your upcoming Champagne title.

Melissa: Yup, romance is the name of my writing game. I’ve been a hopeless romantic for as long as I can remember, and got hooked on romance novels when I was eighteen and in college. My debut novel Without Regret, My Love was released June 2009, and has received some truly stellar reviews. It is a Time Travel/Historical Romance set in the American Civil War south. The heroine is a present day ER nurse thrown back in time who finds herself in the unique situation of working in a Confederate hospital. The idea came about while I was putting together a project about Civil War medicine for my BSN program. The rest is history.

Jim: Everyone was something else before becoming a writer and author. What’s your day job and what drove you to become an author? Who influenced you?

Melissa: My family is primarily in the healthcare field. I was raised around it, love science as much as reading/writing so I went into nursing. (I hold an associate and bachelors of Science in the field.). One fun little tidbit is that I was a registered nurse at the age of twenty so I actually was licensed to administer narcotics before I could buy alcohol! To this day I will answer call lights or introduce myself as the nurse for the night and no one believes I'm old enough. It's funnier still when someone asks to see the charge nurse, and it's me. It is safe to say I've been a nurse my entire adult life, although I don't feel a day over seventeen. I have worked dayshifts and nightshifts in a variety of settings. My favorite areas of nursing are in my current job in which I am privileged to work with a variety of patients from pediatrics to orthopedics to general surgery, oncology, and the list could go on and on. I receive inspiration from all around me.

Jim: Most writers are avid readers. If that applies to you, what do you read when time and opportunity permit?

Melissa: My interest in writing books, primarily romance, stems from my love of reading. I hated reading until I turned seven and my grandma bought me the Meet Felicity American Girls book. I loved it. Even rewrote my own ending to the story. In high school and college I was told over and over again that I should study literature and pursue writing because of showing a knack for it, but I was always afraid of its not being a practical career choice. My favorite authors include Julia Quinn, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Phyllis Campbell, Bobbi Smith, Clive Cussler, and so many others. When I’m not writing I am reading. Used to go through a book a day, now it’s more like one or two a week.

Jim: Where in our beautiful world do you live; where would you like to, if not where you are now?

Melissa: I grew up in Michigan, but my husband is an avid outdoorsman so we found our way to beautiful Montana. We absolutely love it here. The scenery is incredible, the history fascinating, and the people truly more friendly than other places I’ve lived. I tell you what… American’s don’t know the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day until they’ve done St. Paddy’s in Butte, Montana. What a party!

Jim: I sure can understand why you like Montana; I have some good hunting memories from there myself. Is there any place else in the world you’d like to travel, or live?

Melissa: If I didn’t live in the West I would want to live in the South. Not only is it beautiful but a place so rich in our nation’s history. I am one of those very nerdy people who study history just for fun. My hubby and I are yet to take a honeymoon (after so many years I am beginning to doubt we ever will) and when/if we finally go I’d like to visit the castles in Scotland. Both of us have heavy Scots/Irish background.

Jim: As a writer, what sort of support do you have from family? Tell us about your family—husband, children, dogs and cats. Any unusual species?

Melissa: I married my high school sweetheart. My husband is extremely supportive, although after eight years together he knows I’m entirely too stubborn to talk out of anything I set my mind to. We have one child and one on the way. We have a rat terrier (funniest dog I've ever seen) a cat who thinks he is a dog, a cat who is just a sweetie, and a cat that is absolutely awful but I've had her for over half my life so we love her for her faults and bad habits.

Jim: Okay, confession time! Now tell us something about Melissa Blue that we really don’t need to know. Just how much a creative screwball writer are you? We all are, in our own ways, just a matter of degree.

Melissa: Yeah, I’m definitely a screwball. Okay, let’s see, confessions… Just how risqué can we get here, Jim?

Jim: Your confession, so it’s your call, but the more risqué, the better.

Melissa: Hmmm… let’s see. My first kiss was at age fourteen, always fun to know about a romance author. My first love was Harrison Ford at age seven after watching Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark –Yes, my husband knows that. My first “I love you” was to my husband at age sixteen. That other first – yes, you all know which first I’m talking about – we can skip…

Now let’s see… What else can I tell you…I am a total chicken when it comes to truth or dare, the dark, or scary movies. Just the same, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

Well, this one is not risqué, but my Grandpa George has called me by the nickname “Tin Lizzy” (I would assume after the band) for as long as I can remember.

Jim: Well, young lady, I have a revelation for you. “Tin Lizzy” was the affectionate name laid on early automobiles. Since it came from your grandfather, I’d bet that’s his source, rather than “Thin Lizzy,” the Irish rock band.

Melissa: No kidding! My blonde genes are shining through again, LOL. I would have sworn the band was called Tin Lizzy as opposed to Thin Lizzy. Obviously I’m not a huge fan of their music. Although I am a HUGE fan of Irish heroes in romance novels **Wink*Wink** and Irish actor Collin Farrell, his accent is to die for.

Jim: All right, what else can you tell us?

Melissa: I absolutely believe in ghosts. It stems from growing up in a very old house with a resident specter and some very bizarre experiences I've had in healthcare. Ghosts is a subject I could write a book about.

I love food (with the exception of Sloppy Joes and squash) and will try just about everything in the way of food, once. If you ever want to get on my good side, think CHOCOLATE!

I hate math. Love history.

Have a tendency to be extremely hard on myself.

More than once I’ve been told I am a “guy.” Apparently I’m not spiteful enough and far too sarcastic to be lumped in with other females.

I am one of those girls who looks extremely sweet and innocent until you get to know me just a little better…

Jim: Thank you so much, Melissa, for stopping by to share your stories, both from life and in print, with our readers. Before we close down, how can our readers get in touch with you?

Melissa: Feel free to leave messages there and look for excerpts, blurbs, and reviews for my upcoming and latest releases. I am also on Facebook; feel free to friend “Melissa Mayer-Blue.”

Thanks so much for having me! It has been a blast.

~ * ~

Interview contributed by Jim Woods, author of Champagne Books Assassination Safari, Parting Shot and Gunshot Echoes.

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  1. What a refreshing and wonderful interview, just like Melissa herself. Jim you did a great job. It was fun getting to know you, Melissa.

  2. Hey, Melissa & John, great interview, good to get more insight to CB authors for those of us who are new to the publisher.
    Nan Arnold

  3. Thanks for the comments everyone! Sorry it took a day to comment back but life has been a little hectic lately :)