MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MELISSA SASINA
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Melissa Sasina and I write fantasy books for both teens and adults.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Well, I have several books, so I suppose I should talk about my newest series–the Darker Shade of Light series for this interview. As for where I come up with the stories and ideas, mostly from dreams or random thoughts that I jot down and expand upon later.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I first got interested in writing fantasy way back in high school when I borrowed some books by Lloyd Alexander from the local library and feel in love with the genre. It never really stopped from there.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Most of the research I did was to explore different cultures and customs from around the world. I wanted to take a much different approach with Darker Shade of Light than I did with my previous series. Instead of basing them off actual real-world mythologies, I wanted to create a world and people completely from scratch that are only slightly influenced by the real world.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Darker Shade of Light is a slightly dark, high magic fantasy series that centers around Noora Duskbourne, a healer who finds herself in the middle of something far more sinister than she realizes. It will focus on her journey to find a cure for the dark magic that slowly corrupting and spreading across the continent in which she calls home.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Currently, there is only one book available in this series, so I must say that Lies of Light is my favorite. However, I am quite excited for the next book, Sins of the Past, to come out as it’ll feature even more magic and danger.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I’d always wanted to write a book where the main character is your “chosen” or “destined” one–just someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is something that doesn’t seem to be far too common in the fantasy genre. Real life and games also tend to give me inspiration.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I looked into cultures and beliefs of different peoples around the world to be the inspiration behind the world and characters of the series. In truth, Darker Shade of Light takes place on just one continent in an entire world I created. Once my Chronicles of Midgard series ends, all future series and stand alones will take place in this world I’ve named Earnia.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. As I worked out my idea for the first book, I started plotting out the basics of what I wanted to happen in the books that followed. I plan for Darker Shade of Light to be a seven-book series.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Well, I hold a day job in retail, so after I get home from work, make dinner, and am sure my son has done all his homework, I generally relax on the couch with my laptop and start writing. I try and write between 500 – 1000 words a day, but sometimes that just doesn’t pan out the way I’d like.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I currently have two books in the works. Sins of the Past will be the second book in my Darker Shade of Light series. I’m also working on the fourth book of my Chronicles of Midgard series and it’s called Breach of Neutrality. I do have another short story in mind to be part of my Tales from Earnia collection, but it currently remains unnamed.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Most of my main characters names have meaning, at least to me. Supporting and side characters are named by whatever I think seem to fit them at the time of their creation.
Where do your ideas come from?
I believe I answered that earlier.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’ve always wanted to try experimenting with urban fantasy as well as post-apocalyptic. However, every time I try to write in these genres, it just doesn’t feel right, despite my love for reading them.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Aside from getting distracted, it would be writing certain characters. I have a few characters, in particular (looking at you Ril and Gracen) that are incredibly hard to write and the more my readers say they love them, the more difficult they become because then I worry that somewhere along the line they’ll say or do something out of character.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers are pretty neat. I do have one for my Priestess Trilogy, but I have found it difficult to make one for my others books. Finding appropriate images to fit the stories and worlds is what gets me. If someone is willing to give me a hand for a good price, let me know. 😉
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Currently I’d have to say it would be my dedicated readers–ones who actually leave reviews on my books and share their love of my books or characters. There aren’t too many of them, but I hope one day their number grows.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Hearing readers talk about their favorite characters. It lets me know that they truly enjoyed them and my writing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still writing and maybe not working retail anymore, lol
Have you always liked to write?
Yes. As a child, I’d write several stories that my mother has collected. I even won a young authors award when I was in elementary school. My desire to actually become a published author started when I was in high school.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
You know your stories best. Don’t let people tell you it should be “this way” or “that way”. You know your world and characters better than anyone.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I would probably love to do something that involved art. I quite enjoy drawing.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I know I shouldn’t, but I still do. I look for reviews that leave constructive criticism. It helps me learn and grow as an author. I try to not respond to them. As for dealing with the bad, if they’re bad because of someone trolling, I ignore them. Otherwise, I try and keep in mind what they noticed that needs fixed or worked on.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Not having the money to actually hire a professional editor or someone to market for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on Breach of Neutrality (Chronicles of Midgard #4) and Sins of the Past (Darker Shade of Light #2).
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Not at the moment, unless I give away spoilers.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I’d always had a love for the magical, so fantasy is the most comfortable for me to write in.
Where did your love of books come from?
childhood, I suppose. I’ve always loved writing and reading. My mother is a big reader as well.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I have many, actually, so I’ll tell you my three top favorites in both books and authors: Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Hmm, that’s currently a tie between Ril and Vaeros. Ril, in particular, I have a love/hate relationship with. He’s an arrogant and snarky pirate that gives me a headache. He’s also the character that I spent the most time developing and became a reader favorite in my Chronicles of Midgard series. As for Vaeros, I’m still getting a feel for him as I write the Darker Shade of Light series. I quite enjoy his kindness and the way he fiercely protects his friends. I hope he becomes a fan favorite as well.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It all depends on the weather. On sunny days, I oddly seem to get tired while writing. However, If it’s storming out, I get filled with energy while writing.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The internet, hands down. If i even go online for a brief moment to look something up, that’s it. Hours later I wonder how I ended up on tumblr or down the rabbit hole of youtube.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Honestly, I just try and write what I think would make an interesting story.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m friends with three other fantasy writers (Intisar Khanani, Elisabeth Wheatley, and T.L. Shreffler) as well as a contemporary romance author (Kate Squires). When I first met them, Intisar, Elisabeth, Shreffler and I would run ideas past each other and support each other in our writing. After a while, I ended up getting closer to Intisar and Kate. Since then, we keep in touch, throw out ideas once in a while, and offer advice. Intisar and I often meet up on facebook and have writing sessions, checking back in with each other after the time we picked is up to see if we met the goals we set for ourselves. Honestly, Intisar helped me get back on track with writing greatly when I fell into a terrible slump.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Easily Distracted: The Tale of an Author
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Facebook: @authormelissasasina https://www.facebook.com/authormelissasasina/
Instagram: @MelissaSasina https://www.instagram.com/melissasasina/
Twitter: @MelissaSasina https://twitter.com/MelissaSasina
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️