Hi Melissa! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and the books that you write?
Hi Sasha, it’s great to be here today. Thanks so much for having me! A little bit about myself is that I’m thirty (soon to be thirty-one, eek!), have one adopted son, one baby girl, and have been married for eight years to my wonderful husband. I’m currently living in
is one of the suburban/rural commuter towns that feed into NYC. Redding, Connecticut
I published my first novel titled, The War Inside, in July, and it’s been so exciting to have people reading it! A dream come true. The book is YA paranormal dystopian and has at different points hit Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers in Dystopian, Metaphysical, and Kindle Metaphysical, for which I am thrilled and very grateful.
I also have a couple new books in the works as well. The first is the sequel to The War Inside called The Gray Horizon. This book is told from the perspective of Caden, and I’m really excited to be writing from a male point of view this go around. I also just finished up a YA sci-fi/fantasy romance called Dreamcatchers, which was picked up by Astraea Press and is slated to be released sometime 2014! And I’m also working on a superhero novel, with a twist of course! So, I’ve definitely got my hands full at the moment.
Wow, Melissa! You have been busy! I cannot wait for your other releases!
Tell the readers a little bit about your writing process, for instance, how long does it take for you to finish a first draft? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A first draft can take a while, depending on how involved the story is, but it doesn’t usually go more than a couple of months. I outline everything before writing a single chapter. So I’m definitely a plotter! I have to have everything organized before I can let my mind drift over into the creative chaos it takes to actually write a story. For me, having a basic structure in place actually sets me free to be creative. I know that many other writers work more effectively when they wing it, but I figure it’s whatever gets the job done for each person.
One time I decided to start writing a novel without finishing my outline, and I totally regretted it. I got to the middle of the story, scratched my head, and went, “Uh, now what happens?” Having an outline is just part of my Type A/Free Spirit personality mishmash, but it’s what works for me.
Do you have any interesting quirks or habits to help you through the writing process?
I do, yes. I’m this crazy neat freak, so whatever room I’m going to be writing in must be clean. I will literally spend thirty minutes making sure everything is in place, before I’m able to sit down and write. Something about clutter makes my mind hazy, but a clean room is a nice, calm place to create. I’m so weird!
I also try to set small, daily goals for myself so the writing process doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s usually around 1,500 words per day, six days a week. Then, if I go over that, I can feel really good! Breaking it down makes a big thing like “writing a book” more achievable.
I can understand that. I totally agree with the “clean” issue. Most of the time I’m fighting for table space to write, but I cannot concentrate if there’s a bunch of dirty dishes. Things must be in order!
Where do you get the ideas and inspirations for your books?
A lot of my stories are sparked by actual dreams I have. I’ve been a vivid dreamer ever since I was a child, and can still remember many of my nightmares and fantasies from back then in great detail. I think each one of the books I’ve written, or am working on right now, have all been because of something I dreamed and then let simmer in my mind for a while until it became a story.
I also read like crazy. There is nothing more that I love than a wonderfully spun story. So every book I’ve read and every amazing author that I’ve encountered have all been key in helping me to flex and grow my creative mind. I’m very thankful to the awesome storytellers out there!
That’s awesome, Melissa!
This is a very competitive genre to write in, what do you think makes you stand out among all the other young adult/new adult authors out there?
Hmmm, good question. But first, I have to say how much I love that it’s a competitive genre! How great is it that teens are getting into reading again? I’m so pumped.
I think that what could set me apart, as my career continues to grow, is the fact that I’m open to seeing things in a new way. I think that some of my story concepts have the ability to spin old themes into something fresh. For instance, there isn’t a ton of fiction out there, YA or adult, in which most of the story is inside a person’s dreams, but that’s what happens in Dreamcatchers. I took the legend of Rip Van Winkle and went running from there. I hope that the story brings something different and exciting into the genre.
Well said. I cannot wait to grab The Gray Horizon and Dreamcatchers. After reading The War Inside, I certainly added you on my list of new YA Authors to watch for.
Do you ever find yourself experiencing writers block? How do you cope with it?
Honestly, not often. As I stated above, I outline every story from start to finish and this really helps to cut down on writer’s block. But when I do get stuck, I try to walk away for a bit and doing boring things. I drive. I wash dishes. I take a shower. And while I’m doing these boring tasks, my mind noodles over the problem area. It’s worked every time. Boredom breeds creativity, there are scientific studies to prove it!
Sadly, I usually watch something on HBO and drink coffee and hope the combination combats the writers block J
Is there a particular YA/NA author and/or book out there that inspired you? Why?
People/author/books who inspire me change all the time because I read/inhale literature so much. But right now I’m really inspired by the author Hugh Howey. He’s a fantastically successful self-published and traditionally published author, but he made a name for himself self-publishing the Wool Omnibus series. In interviews he’s quoted as saying that he only ever stuck Wool up online because he thought his wife and friends might like it. It was totally different at the time it was released; a much darker dystopian novel than people had been used to. Now, he’s the first author ever to sign a book deal where the publisher only has the rights to the paperback and hardcover editions of his books. He still owns all the rights to the eBook versions that he will self-publish. He’s one of the many authors changing the publishing industry right now…and he’s super nice! I e-mailed him for some advice a while ago, and not only did he respond, but he did so in about an hour, with some great help. It’s amazing to see that an uber-successful person can still be kind and care about other writers.
Thanks so much, Melissa! I have to say that my hat is off to you. Self-Publishing is certainly a gamble and I’m very pleased to have one of those few success stories here on my blog today! I’ve heard that cream will always rise to the top, and so…it looks like you’re the cream of the crop!
What advice would you give to other authors out there who want to write in the YA/NA genre?
My advice would be to cultivate skin like a rhino and also a teachable spirit. There will always be people who don’t like your work. That’s okay. Writing is art and it’s subject to the opinions of others. Don’t let criticism get you down. Keep writing, keep working, and keep putting yourself out there.
But, also look for ways to get better. Work with editors, instead of against them. Every editor I’ve had has made me a better writer. Always be open to opportunities that will help you learn and grow. And above all…enjoy your work!
I agree. Wonderful advice.
If you could pick one of your characters in your book(s) to hang out with for one day, who
would it be, and why?
I think Rain, from The War Inside. He’s such a lighthearted person and makes just about anything fun. I can be too serious sometimes, and Rain would find ways to make me laugh by being his goofy, wisecracking self.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I’d love for my readers to feel empowered when they read my stories, to put themselves in the shoes of my characters and see how each one of those characters makes important choices. We each have that power in real life. Our lives are valuable, and what we do with the time we’ve been given matters greatly on both a micro level and a global scale. We can do great things with our lives; we just have to be inspired!
And also a big, giant “Thank You”!!! Thank you for reading, supporting, sharing, Twittering, and the like. I appreciate it all so much J
M. KIRCHER graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gordon College. She devours YA, science fiction, fantasy, and romance on a regular basis and is immensely happy to pour her time and energy into creating stories for others to enjoy. Bob Ross and J.R.R. Tolkien tie for her two favorite people of all time.
M. Kircher lives in Connecticut with her husband, energetic son, and new baby girl.
The end of the world is only just the beginning. So eighteen-year-old Thea discovers when her solitary life on a dying Earth is shattered by a mysterious dream, a devastating choice, and a strange gift that propels her on a journey towards the restoration of all mankind.
Thea is bitter and alone; eking out her miserable life on the sunless, cloud-covered Earth she inhabits. A terrifying dream convinces her to save the life of an injured girl, and despite her misgivings, Thea decides to rescue sixteen-year-old Viviana. She soon learns that gentle Viv has a life-threatening infection, as well as a freakish patch of glowing skin over her heart. When this light spreads to Thea, causing her palms to glow, she is forced to trust Caden, an arrogant, lazy, and annoyingly handsome boy she despises. Caden has a map to the last city on Earth, and the only place that might have a cure for both Viv's infection and the strange light on Thea's hands. As the trio embark on a journey through the barren wilderness, Thea and Caden discover, and try to fight, their mounting attraction to each other. Along the way they are joined by Rain, Naomi, and Enoch who explain that the light is not a curse, but a powerful gift meant to heal the polluted Earth and reconnect the remnants of humanity. When the group learns that Viv is the key to this planet-wide redemption, and that there are deadly shadows who will do anything to keep humans in the darkness forever, they each must make the difficult decision to help Viv fulfill her destiny...and save the world.
“Suddenly, Thea heard Viv make a horrible, strangled sound. Like the noise an animal makes right before its throat is slit. The noise startled Thea so much that she banged her head hard on one of the wooden planks above her.
“Ow!” she muttered and rubbed at the tender spot. She darted out from under the boat, her heart pounding, to see what could have caused Viv to be so upset. The girl never yelled.
Viv had gone even more deathly white than normal, and her eyes were wide with terror. She screamed again and pointed one waxen-colored finger toward the ridge above the beach.
Thea, Caden, and Rain all looked up. High on the ridge above them stood the figure of a man. Caden’s brow furrowed, and Rain squinted up at the figure. Thea felt something wiggle in the back of her mind. Why did the man seem familiar?
Viv shrieked again, and Thea grabbed her hand.
“It’s OK, Viv. There’s only one of him and three of us. You don’t have to be afraid.” But by this time, there was no mistaking the fact that the man had spotted the four people staring up at him from the beach. They watched as his head swiveled slowly in their direction.
Viv acted like she didn’t hear Thea’s reassuring words; she just stared at the man in horror. Thea peered at the figure more closely. Even though he was so far away, Thea sensed that something was off. What was it? The man shifted slightly, and the dim light around him changed. With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, Thea realized why she was having feelings of déjà vu.
She had seen this thing before, and human it was most definitely not.
Her heart became a lump of lead inside her chest, and she stood frozen with fear. The man-creature was tall and thin, its limbs strangely elongated and its head twice the size of a normal human. It wore no clothes and had skin as black as night.
This was the creature from her dream.
Buy links and where to find Melissa:
The War Inside
Book One in the Horizons Trilogy
by M. Kircher
Genre: YA Paranormal Dystopian
My Review: 5 GREAT BIG STARS!!!!!
The War Inside grabbed me instantly. From the beautiful eye-catching cover to the spellbinding words inside, M. Kircher's novel, The War Inside depicts an interesting concept of the future due to abuse of technology, greed, selfishness and pollution. The main character, Thea, goes through a number of emotional changes to get to the end of her journey. Viv, a 16-year-old hurt and dying girl is responsible for a lot of the changes in Thea. Personal secrets, demons, healers, love interests...The War Inside has it all. The future of the world ultimately lies in the wisdom and strength of a precious few. The author flawlessly and fluently depicts dark and light, good and evil...the struggles to overcome so many obstacles. The War Inside was fresh, original and included a cast of memorable characters. The story evoked thought in such a profound way, that only one could truly understand by reading it. For fans of dystopian YA, The War Inside, serves up an emotional punch not to be forgotten. I truly enjoyed it and eagerly await the second installment!