Melissa Bowersock writes it all. You'll find that her books span a multitude of genres, creating a literary "buffet" for readers to consume. After completing this interview, Melissa retired from her day job and is now writing full time. She often feels the call to write and now she can answer it whenever she wants! Purchase her latest book, "Stone's Ghost: A Novel of Redemption", here.
What is your name?
Describe your books/genre to our readers.
I write across many genres, as I write whatever story currently has a stranglehold on me. I started off writing historical (western) romances, but quickly switched to fantasy, contemporary romance, action/adventure, satire, spiritual, biography and paranormal. I feel like I literally have something for everyone with the 11 books I currently have available (and # 12 to be released in January). If I had to try to describe my books as a whole, I would say they are all uplifting, although in very different ways.
How and why did you become an author? Do you write full-time?
I'm one of those who can't NOT write. It was never a choice; it's just who I am. I've been writing stories since I was 5 and have no intention of stopping. I don't write full time; I've always had a day job, so I fit the writing in whenever I can, or take days off when the muse commands! Luckily I'm on the cusp of retirement, so I'm hoping to be able to devote more time to it, but so much depends more on the inspiration than on my own schedule. You know how it is: I don't have my writing, it has me!
You've published fiction and non-fiction books in a variety of genres. What is your favorite genre to write and why?
That's a tough one. I can honestly say I do not have a favorite genre, although in my reading I gravitate toward the paranormal and time-travel. My last two books have been paranormal, and I’m playing with ideas for a time-travel book, so that may be on the horizon. Because each of my books is very different than the others, I really feel like they are all my favorites of their particular niche. I re-read all my books periodically, not because I have to ;-) but because I enjoy them.
One of the reviews of your latest fiction novel, "Stone's Ghost: A Novel of Redemption", mentions that it's an "interesting character study that just happens to include a ghost". How do you make your characters seem so real?
I think there are two parts to this. The first aspect is that, when I’m writing, I am actually watching a movie in my head of my characters doing their thing. I’m simply describing what I see, so this is less about me making the characters what I think they should be and more about the characters being true to who they are. There have been times when I’ve had a notion about what my character should be, do, or say, but then I might realize that that’s not authentic for them and I have to let go of my preconceived ideas and let the character determine the action. I believe this approach—letting the characters be who they are—keeps it real. But another aspect is the dialog. I believe dialog is intensely important to the feel of the story, and it must be realistic. And again, I’m just watching my characters and writing down what they say—and sometimes they surprise me!
You have such a unique perspective because you've published both traditionally and independently. What are the pros and cons of both?
Traditional publishing is nice because 98% of the work is done by someone else. Oh, sure, we’ve already done the hard work of writing the story, but there’s a comfort in handing that off to someone else to edit, polish, package and produce. However, the flip side to that is that they may not always do those things in alignment with the vision we have in our heads, and there’s very little author input or control. My first two traditionally-published books (both western romances) had their titles changed from The Rare Breed and Superstition Gold to Love’s Savage Destiny and Love’s Savage Embrace. (I always swore I’d write another one and call it Love’s Savage Armpit.) Conversely, independent publishing means that I do all the work—writing, editing, polishing, cover design, uploading, packaging and marketing—but it also means that the end result is exactly what I had envisioned. I know for many that specter of doing all the work is daunting, but having the final book turn out exactly as you had imagined is worth its weight in gold. By independently publishing, I will never have another book with a title that makes me cringe.
I read that you offer services to authors that may need assistance with self-publishing. Could you describe what these are?
I have a small side business helping authors to format their books, either for self-publishing through CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing subsidiary), or as e-books. Since I’ve been through both of these processes numerous times, I can do it pretty quickly, and if other writers are not so confident about their ability to do it, I can help out. I’m also going to be expanding my services to include editing. Still working out the structure of that, but I hope to get that aspect going within the next few months.
What are 3 things most people don't know about you?
Gah—you want me to tell secrets?? Well, I may have a few harmless things. I can’t swallow pills. Yes, I know, it’s all psychological, but it’s still true for me. I’ve become immune to the taste of chewed-up Tylenol. I’m a space junkie and love all things space. My husband and I actually went to Adult Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama a few years back. Had an absolute ball. And, although I have a terrible fear of heights, I enjoy many height-related things like walking along the edge of the Grand Canyon and zip-lining. Go figure.
Are you working on any new projects this year?
As of the date I’m writing this, I’m in the throes of retiring from my day job, and packing and moving to a small town (over Christmas yet!). Although I finished my 12th book just a month or so ago, I knew I would not have time to get it ready to publish until after the move, so that will be my first project. I hope to launch that book in January. Beyond that, it’s all about the next story that grabs me by the throat. That time-travel story is still lurking in my brain, and a friend just gave me an interesting idea for a sequel to my last book, Stone’s Ghost. Hmmmm….
Connect With Her
Thanks so much for having me! It’s been fun, and I’ve enjoyed your questions. I’d like to mention that I also write for the superblog Indies Unlimited, and encourage any aspiring writers (or readers) to check it out. Tons of good information there, as well as sneak peeks and recommendations for good books. I’m happy to connect with readers and appreciate all feedback. See you online!
by MRH, CMO