For my next installment of the Meet the Bombshells Series (where I show off my fantabulous mentees for this year’s Pitch Wars), I’d like to introduce Melissa Flandreau, author of the NA title, WHAT CARRIES THE DAY.
V: Thanks for joining me Melissa! Why don’t you tell the fine folks of the interwebs a little about you?
MF: I was born and raised in Texas, but went to school in North Carolina. I’m living in Alabama now, enjoying the food and friendly people. I talk really fast, drink way too much coffee, and love crossword puzzles.
V: I don’t know that there’s such a thing as “too much coffee,” but I guess we’ll agree to disagree there. (Shhh, just let me have my addictions.) Anyway, let’s talk about your Pitch Wars entry / manuscript!
MF: WHAT CARRIES THE DAY is a NA Contemporary about Leah Riordan, who’s starting college six months after her older sister, Abby, died in a car accident. That also means it’s six months after she started seeing Abby’s ghost. Throw in panic attacks and a cute co-worker at a hipster coffee shop, and Leah’s got a lot to handle her first semester away from home.
V: Dude. Let’s get real here for a second. Being a freshmen is hard enough without seeing dead people. And the anxiety thing is something lots of freshmen (even the “normal” ones) deal with on a daily basis. That’s why I thought it was cool to think of this book in a metaphorical sense, as well as taking the plot at face value. Everyone has baggage, and everyone has “ghosts” from their past. What makes them unique is how they deal with those ghosts.
V: So, Melissa. What inspired you to write this book?
MF: I love music, so I’m constantly listening to something new while I’m writing. A lot of my ideas come from specific lyrics that resonate with me or albums that I’ve been playing non-stop.
V: What is your favorite thing about Leah, your main character?
MF: I love that she cares deeply about everyone around her. She spends a lot of the novel trying to push everyone away, but it’s not because she doesn’t love them. Losing Abby wrecks her, and it makes it tough to let anyone else in.
V: What do you hope to accomplish with this book, or just as a writer in general?
MF: I hope to tell interesting stories, ones that mean something to other people. I want to explore different subjects and characters, and learn as much as I can about writing as I go.
V: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face so far, on the road to publication?
MF: I think a lot of it has been having the confidence to put my work out there out and start querying. It’s one thing to have a book sitting on my computer, but another thing entirely to have someone actually read it.
V: SO TRUE. I don’t know about you, but whenever I publish a book, my biggest anxiety comes from having my mom read it. Even though she’s always supportive, it’s still like I’m 5 years old, all over again.
V: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
MF: Just to write. I know this is what Kelley said in her post, but I really agree with it. You have to get the words down and, to some extent, ignore everything else. It’s scary to start something from nothing, but it’s also the only way you’ll end up with the book you’ve always wanted to write.
V: Simple, but also very true. Thanks so much, Melissa! I can’t wait to see what the Pitch Wars judges have to say about your new pitches! I hope they all enjoy the book as much as I did!
Want to know more? Here’s where you can find Melissa online: