Now, it’s time for Bru Interviews YOU! Episode Three: A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody (and this one has the appropriate name and deserves a musical intro! Sing it, Mario!)
FG: Hi Melody, I'm thrilled to meet ya! I know you said you were nervous, there's no need to be, promise. Here, have a seat. Have some tea. Have a Twinkie!
Have whatever will make you feel comfy and cozy.
M: Yes, please. *wraps it around shoulders like cape* Nothing is more self-assuring than a blanket.
FG: I concur. Okay, now that you're bundled up tighter than Charlie Brown on a winter day and have snacks, let's talk!
First of all, thank you for answering my question of the week on Thursday June 24th which was:
"What would you want to be remembered for/by?"
You said: "I've always hoped those who survived me would say something to the effect of, "She was always smiling and ready to laugh, even at her own expense, even when her own life wasn't all that much to smile about."
I really appreciated that answer because I've always told my family that the day I lose my sense of humor is the day to take me out to the back 40 and be done with it.
Tell us, what difficult challenge or situation in particular has laughter helped you get through? (even if you could only laugh about it afterward?)
M: Well, I do tend to be very socially awkward, somehow ending up in situations that would mortify the best of us (and I am truly not the best of us).
FG: Hey now! Please be nice to yourself. After all you’re the only you there is and if there was no you, what would the world do? We’d be fresh out of Melody the moment we need her most. You are exactly the you that you are meant to be.
*holds out tray* Cookie? :) Sorry, I know, you’re much too polite to talk with your mouth full and here I am interrupting you. My bad. Please, continue.
M: I've learned that I must be ready to laugh at myself, or else refuse to ever go to a party again. It helps when you realize that no one is out to embarrass you - really. (Example: Card game. “Everyone close your eyes”. I, being the squeaky-clean card player that I am, close my eyes. And keep them closed. And keep them closed. While everyone else is *cough-cheating-cough*. After several minutes, someone says, "Melody, you can open your eyes now." And then comes the startling realization that I've been the only person with my eyes closed for the past minute. Embarrassing, especially when there are...certain people...certain male people...that you want to be halfway mature around.
But the choice is mine at that point to blush and run away and hide, or to blush and laugh and stay. I stayed.) I've also seen how laughter aids grief; I haven't lost anyone extremely close to me, but I know how treasured one humorous moment can be when everything feels like it's falling down.
FG: Hey, why would you need to be mature around male people? Not all but a many of them attempt to elevate immaturity to an art form (none of MY readers of course…you fine people, gentlemen and scholars all, are the bee’s knees. In fact, I’m sure that at least two of you are actually the last of the Jedi…Well, besides me but that’s another story. We’ll discuss it later in Counsel chambers. May the Force be with you).
An aside, Melody, I have a personal favor to ask of you. Please do me a favor and promise you’ll read the post I have planned coming up about Keirsey Temperament Theory. I think that you’d find it very enlightening and it will help you a lot in those party situations (which I, at what I am certain is nearly twice your age, am still working on…that and the blushing thing. I’m a blusher, too, and you are so adorable I just want to spend all day feeding you cookies.)
Next question! You're an LM Montgomery fan (and a Gilbert Blythe fan! *sigh* They just don't build 'em like old Gilbert anymore do they?) Do you have a favorite book in the series- and (this may be a two part question but what the heck) if you've seen the films what is your favorite scene of all?
M: Oh, yes I've got a favorite book! I usually get blank stares when I mention it, because it's the last in the series and very few get that far. But Rilla of Ingleside, which focuses on Anne's youngest daughter, is one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching books I've ever come across. It takes place during World War I, when brothers and lovers are traveling over the sea to join a war. Some don't make it back. *checks tears* So very sad. But as for books starring Anne, if I sound cliché saying Anne of Green Gables (which has a special place in my heart), I do love Anne of the Island. Because of Gilbert. *squee*
FG: I have got to order the whole set again today. I gave mine away to a friend years ago and I want to read them again- I loved that book. Thank you so much for reminding me about it.
Question 3: Reading around your blog I see that you mentioned having seen the only movie I happened to go see last- wait, this? It was this year right? I told you people, I don't go out much. Um, yeah, this year. The movie was called Leap Year.
This was one movie my daughter and I had to see owing to my (and now her) Ireland obsession. I adored it. You said that you enjoyed it, and you also said (may I quote you?) "Then, to top everything off, I went and saw Leap Year tonight. On the whole, I am not a big chick flick fan. I actually hold them in rather cold regard."
You enjoyed the movie even if you don't generally like the genre. Is there a book(s) you've read that gave you the same feeling, if any, that Leap Year did? Fun, romantic, and a really good time even if predictable?
M: Wow, you've traveled deep within the archives! I've got to say that Gordon Korman's Son of the Mob books are highly entertaining even if they feel a bit cliché. They make me laugh out loud. And Stephanie Tolan's Surviving the Applewhites is also hilarious (And the MC is home schooled, so I can relate...or I could before I graduated. Alas, my identity seems to be changing). Oh, and I'll admit that I'm quite addicted to James Patterson's Maximum Ride series. Can't figure out where the plot is going for the life of me, but it's the funniest, most romantic romp of all YA time.
FG: Hey- I was home schooled and my daughter has always been too (though technically now she's a freshman at an online high school so it's different now). Represent!
So let’s make this a two part question (cause I can!) and ask the same thing about films- romantic movies much? I'm partial to old ones, myself. Brigadoon and My Fair Lady and Desk Set and another really old one called The Penny Princess that I can’t find for the life of me anywhere anymore.) You?
M: Besides Pride & Prejudice? Penelope is a must, as is August Rush. And Ella Enchanted, even if they did make a poor adaptation of the book.
FG: I'm taking notes here, thank you! And Ella Enchanted- I enjoyed that movie- I didn’t realize (shame on me) that there was a book first! Now I can check that out too. You are teaching me a lot today, thank you!
Question 4: Again, quoting you from your blog- this is talking about something you were writing at the time, I'm assuming... (dangerous I know, but you'll correct me if I'm wrong, right?)
"But I simply can't write those romantic scenes now! I have to go in order, or else I'll get off the path, or miss something, or add something, which is even worse. And I'm quite a ways from when they meet up again. Ah, life with separated lovers is quite dismal. They're both moody now, moody and angsty and on edge. Ivolet is being all cold and unemotional and depressed towards Martin, and I'm a little scared to see what's happened to Daniel when I return to him. Poor Daniel. He's having to cope with a lot, I know. It's very cruel of me."
What is the very worst thing you've ever done to a character you've written? (you don't have to be terribly specific like give away plot points or names or characters, just tell me "I broke his heart, or I burned his farm to the ground and killed his pet iguana...you get the idea).
Alas, poor Iggy, we hardly knew ye…
M: A pet iguana...hmmmm. Well, I tend to be very good at killing parents (because orphaned characters are so much more interesting, it seems, though I'm not sure why!).
FG: Hmmm. As a parent I’ll try not to take that personally. (I’m kidding of course). It always bothers me how they kill the mothers though in Disney movies, always the mothers! What the heck! I’m sorry, please continue…how do you think your characters feel about you when you do these things?
M: I'm sure they hate me for that alone. I've given Ivolet the worst emotional turmoil ever in trying to decide which country she should be loyal to. I haven't done too much heart-breaking, but I think I broke Eric's (another book) heart by having the girl fall for someone else. (It's his own fault. I only figured out he liked her after I brought Jason into the story! *rolls eyes* Characters. Ugh.)
FG: Oh, honey, can I relate to that. I’m just a passenger. The characters stomp the pedal to the floor then take their hands off the wheel and mock me. It’s glorious.
Question 5: About writing things out of order- have you always known it was a bad idea for you to do it or did you find out the hard way? (like I did...with my second novel...still...in...revision...*sigh*...)
M: I found out the hard way, and I never let it happen after the first draft (which is just a hodge-podge of words that carry some semblance of a plot). The time it takes to go back and fix things pretty much equals the time I would spend just rewriting it.
FG: I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in that! You’re doing great by the way, I am having a wonderful time and I hope you are too!
Question 6: What can you tell me about your current work in progress (or one you're querying if you'd rather)?
M: I can tell you that it's YA, and it should appeal to fans of Shannon Hale, Gail Carson Levine, or Megan Whalen Turner. It's about Ivolet, a princess who has grown up in the country of Cosia without any knowledge of her true lineage in the enemy country of Ellan. When she's told that her blood is actually that of the people she's been taught to hate, her loyalty is torn in two different directions. She loves the land that raised her, but tradition dictates she fight on the side of her kin.
Complicating matters are her feelings for Cosia's crown-prince and the fact that betrayal can occur in any country, especially when you have a rightful claim to the throne. (I'll never be able to say that again! *copies and saves somewhere special for query-writing time*)
FG: Yes! Copy/paste! Copy/paste like the wind! Dang, girl, do save that! That is a brilliant pitch, I would love to read that book. It sounds romantic and adventurous and yet also feels like the characters are people with problems you can grasp- sometimes I get a little lost in people’s fantasy worlds, to be honest. I never can remember the differences between, say, the sacred order of this and the holy sisterhood of that…and sometimes the names are so long I’m wondering if I’m reading about a princess or that angry volcano in Iceland that's been spitting ash all over my beloved Ireland. So thank you for giving us names we can actually say. Good on ya.
Question 7: Another interesting fact that I learned about you from your blog: You've never read Twilight. I must confess: neither have I. Nor do I intend to.
After you spoke about that fact also said:
"I've never written paranormal romance.
"There was a quick moment where I wondered if something was wrong with me. After all, pretty much every other authoress is writing these things, and we all know it's because of the Twilight trend. Because falling in love with sparkly vampires is all the rage."
FG (continuing): I'm not writing paranormal either (though I did pause to wonder if my leading man in my first novel was determined halfway through to actually have fangs or gills or sprout horns/and/or/wings and a halo or even if he turned out to be the grandson of a centaur if I'd have a better shot at getting published.)
What DO you write and WHY do you write it?
M: Again, I'm flattered that you performed all this research! I write what I call princessy or nobility YA novels, neither of which is a genre. Basically, it's fantasy without the magic, with dash of romance. (If anyone knows what this called, I would be in your debt always!)
Also, I write dystopian YA (Which I used to call 'futuristic'. Dystopian is a much prettier word, though.). And then, of course, there's some smatterings of historical fiction (which I try to avoid because the need for accuracy scares me), true fantasy, and sci-fi in the 'My Stories' folder, as well.
FG: I have got to go back and check some of that out, and believe me the idea of accuracy in HR scares me too, so you’re not alone in that.
I love that- fantasy without the magic. Almost sounds like, say, Fairy Tales for the 21st Century? But no fairies, right? So…hmm. Suddenly I’m thinking that it’s more along the lines of The Black Arrow (set during the War of the Roses, I loved that book as a teen and in fact I have to remember to blog the story about it). Sounds to me like romantic adventure might be a good guess but I hope our readers will chime in and help you out finding that elusive label!
Aww, time for the last question already. Ooo, this may be my favorite. It may also be the most random. In your Favorite Authors list on your Blogger profile you listed Dumas.
I love little more than men who know how to buckle their swash.
Which Musketeer is your favorite, and why? (and no, the candy bar does not count...)
M: What? I can't pick the candy bar? Because it's seriously my favorite because of its lack of nuts.
FG: *opens mouth to speak- stops- closes it again and nods* (I'm only teasing, Melody. I actually really like those too. Mmm. Three Musketeers bar...)
M: But really, it's Athos. I'm such a sucker for angst. Mysterious, brooding, secretive... *swoon*
FG: Oh yeah, his name really should have been Pathos shouldn’t it? I have to admit now that every time I think of him, I think of Keifer Sutherland. It was a silly little film but I loved the Disney version.
I’ve had so much fun talking with you Melody, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to me. You’re absolutely as sweet as you can be and I hope lots of readers here will come by and check out your blog!
Before I let you go, I’ll ask the question I ask everyone- if you had to be trapped in an elevator for an hour with anyone who has ever lived, who would you pick and why?
M: This is hard. I've actually been thinking about it, and it's still hard. There's so many choices! Probably C. S. Lewis, because I would just love to pick his brain and hope some of his brilliance lingered on me when the elevator finally started working. Just half of one percent of his brilliance would be enough. The other possibility is Jenny Lind, a famous singer during the late 1800s. I would want her to sing me a song, for they say she had the voice of an angel and there are NO RECORDINGS of her voice.
FG: What completely cool answers. Thank you again so much for letting me get to know a bit about you. It was absolutely delightful.
M: Thank you very much for having me! I was very honored, and I shall never forget that you were the first person to ever think I was worth interviewing. It was so much fun!
Oh, and one more thing - I think your name is beautiful, February Grace. :)
FG: Aww, shucks. Thanks, kid, you’re an absolute joy and you are definitely worth interviewing. Here, have another cookie…
Thanks to everyone for reading! You can stop by and see what Melody is up to and writing about over on her blog! I will be checking in when I can to see what this fabulous young Authoress is up to.
Stay tuned for my interview with PiedmontWriter on Monday, and then (hopefully) Wednesday with Tim!
In the meantime…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
That’s a wrap! I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend.