By Mary Martinez
Welcome Melissa Mayhue to Canyonland. Let's begin with her bio.
MELISSA MAYHUE began her writing career in 2005 after a vacation to Scotland and a hike on the Black Isle inspired her with the perfect setting for the characters running around in her head. Her resulting debut novel, THIRTY NIGHTS WITH A HIGHLAND HUSBAND, won the Holt Medallion and Book Buyers Best awards in 2008 and made the finals of the Colorado Book Awards.
Since then, her imaginary world of Faeries and Mortals has continued to grow. A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING, sixth book in her award-winning Daughters of the Glen series from Pocket Books, was a 2011 RITA finalist in the Paranormal Category. WARRIOR’S REDEMPTION, the first book of The Warriors series, released in January 2012 with the second, WARRIOR REBORN due out in November 2012.
Married and the mother of three sons, Melissa lives in beautiful Northern Colorado with her family and two very spoiled Boston Terriers.
You can visit her on the web at: www.MelissaMayhue.com
Mary: As an author, I’m sure you are asked a lot of questions about where you get your ideas. I didn’t think readers would be interested in anything to do with the process, however my local librarian has assured me that readers find that very fascinating. So, where do your ideas come from?
Ms. Mayhue: I wish I could point to one spot and tell you that’s where they come from. If I could, I would hang out there ALL the time!!! The ideas come from everywhere. Generally, when I start a book, I know who my lead characters are and what internal and external challenges they face. Many of my ideas for story events are triggered as I do research to confirm the accuracy in my historical time period. Others have been triggered as I read through old mythology texts. Once the story is up and running, ideas spring from everything I do. A piece of music I hear might trigger an image of a character in a particular situation. A dry year where I live might spark wildfires and, because they’re on my mind, they show up in a story. Looking through a cookbook, searching for a word in the dictionary, those pesky, elusive ideas hide everywhere.
Mary: As a Paranormal/Time travel author, do you think your idea process is different? It’s not as if what you write happens in normal everyday life.
Ms. Mayhue: I don’t really think my creative process is different because I write Paranormal/Time Travel. My ideas get to be wilder, but certain things are universal, regardless of whether you’re writing Paranormal, Historical or Contemporary. For example, I mentioned above that each of my characters have internal struggles that I usually know at the beginning of each book. Those struggles – lack of confidence, fear of abandonment, self-doubt, etc – those are all things that people deal with every day. At the heart of the writing is the character and the characters are just people. And people, whether they’re living in Scotland in 1296 or Colorado in 2012, --or even if they have Faeries next door!! -- they’re all pretty much the same.
Mary: Writing paranormal/time travel I would imagine you had a very vivid imagination as a child. Tell us if you did, or how growing up has helped you in your writing?
Ms. Mayhue: I was an only child and spent a lot of time as my own playmate. That meant I was an avid reader from early on, which I think contributed to developing my imagination. I loved to pretend. Whether I was a teacher or a cowgirl or a mommy, many of my games were played out in my head. Barbies were one of my favorite toys and I think I was having my dolls live out their own romantic fantasies even before I had ever read my first Romance novel! I have always been a sucker for that Happy Ever After!!
Thank you, Melissa for joining Chanyonland Press today. Next month Melissa will be answering questions about Characterization.
by Marie Higgins
DEBRA BROWN is a wife and mother of adult children. She was born in Minnesota and spent some years there, and has also lived in San Diego and Idaho. She is now settled in Oregon. She studied nursing, homeopathy and art, all of which have been a great part of her life. She loves traveling and has spent years in creative fields, painting, making jewelry and working with an interior designer. This variety has also helped her in her writing career. It contributes to rounding out her stories which she so loves writing.
Her debut novel is The Companion of Lady Holmeshire, published by World Castle Publishing. Her second is not yet published, but she hopes it will be in the next months. It is currently titled For the Skylark, and meant to be the first in a series. Debra also started a historical blog for both readers and writers who love history. http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/
Marie: As an author of historical fiction, where does your ideas come from?
Debra: I used to watch period movies for years as I made jewelry. During the recession I put my jewelry business aside. It was too slow, and I was a little tired of it. I decided to write a novel as a hobby. I never thought it would be published. To get some ideas, I went to the library and brought home some large picture books about England. Certain pictures triggered ideas which developed into The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. My second novel, titled For the Skylark as I work on it, started with thoughts about one of Charles Dickens' great characters, Miss Havisham. She had intrigued me all my life, and I created my own reclusive woman, the mother of adult twins who must live in forced seclusion with her.
Marie: Do you think your plot ideas are any different than suspense or paranormal authors?
Debra: My stories are actually historical suspense. I love mysteries and suspense. I don't have any inclination to put murder and bodies into the stories, but the mysterious settings and suspense appeal to me.
Marie: Did your childhood / teenage years have anything to do with you wanting to be a historical author?
Debra: Yes, very much. I loved reading historical fiction or contemporary fiction written a few centuries ago. I never dreamed at the time I would become an author, but I loved being pulled into the past.
Debra, thank you for taking the time to answer questions for us. Readers, you can find Debra here.
by Anna Sugg
Kim, welcome to Canyonland Press. We’re excited to hear about your romantic adventure novels. Kim’s bio:
Working for the National Park Service has given Kim McMahill and her husband the opportunity to live in Grand Teton, Hawaii Volcanoes, Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns and Wind Cave national parks, and on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. Residing amid some of America’s most stunning landscapes and extensive travels to remote parts of the world have provided inspiration for many of her books and articles. Along with her passion for romantic adventure stories, Kim has also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and cookbook. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Wyoming and currently resides along the unpredictable banks of the Missouri River. For more information visit her website or blog at http://kimmcmahill.com or http://kimmcmahill.blogspot.com.
Anna: What inspired you to write romantic adventure novels?
Kim: I’ve always enjoyed reading about exciting places and people who accomplish extraordinary feats when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. A couple of my favorite authors are Clive Cussler and James Rollins, both of whom write outrageous stories that make my heart race at times and wonder, “what if.” I’m always disappointed when their tales come to an end. Growing up in the rural west and travelling the world has molded me into a modest adventurer, but writing allows me to take exploits to the extreme without risk to life or limb. But, deep down I’m a romantic. Romantic elements make stories more relatable and nothing is a better catalyst for forcing someone to take action outside his or her comfort zone than love. So, I believe combining romance and adventure is always a winning combination.
Anna: Are you planning on writing another Romantic Adventure novel? If so, share with us, please.
Kim:I always have at least one novel in the works and usually I have multiple stories going at the same time. I enjoyed writing about my home state so much in Big Horn Storm that I’ve begun another romantic adventure set in northwestern Wyoming. The book’s not too far along yet, so I’d better not divulge much since at this stage in the project everything is subject to change. I’ve also completed a story which involves simultaneous break-ins at three of the world’s most secure museums, destruction of one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world and the massacre of an unarmed South American village which ignites a desperate scramble to locate a deadly group of terrorists. And, amid the chaos our hero discovers the woman who can heal his emotional scars.
Anna: Are all your adventure books located in places that you’ve visited?
Kim: I haven’t visited all the places I’ve written about, but many have provided inspiration for my stories. Several of my novels have been set in Mexico because the country was once a fairly frequent destination of mine. I’ve been to numerous Mayan ruins, and Cobá and Chichén Itzá have figured prominently in Deadly Ruins and Marked in Mexico, respectively. Though, once the characters leave the mapped ruins the rest of the scenes come from my imagination and research. In Desperate Dreams the fictitious southwest New Mexico town is based on a place I once lived and the descriptions of Big Bend National Park come from my visits to the area. Many of our National Parks seem to be filled to the brim with visitors, but whenever I’m in Big Bend I feel a bit alone, insignificant in its vast expanse, and like anything could happen. My most recent novel, Big Horn Storm, is set in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. I have a treasure-trove of fond memories of camping, fishing and riding horses and four-wheelers in this amazing place. One of the greatest things about writing fiction is that you can take what you see and make it more exciting, dangerous or more idyllic, but sometimes the real world is so interesting or perfect nothing needs changed.
Kim MaMchill has a new romantic adventure novel released this month, Big Horn Storm. Check out her blog and website for details.
I want to thank Kim for visiting us at Canyonland Press today. We are looking forward to her return visit next month to talk about how she develops her characters, research and how she names her characters.