Interview with Melissa Darnell

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Craving for CRAVE
Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….

Q's and A's with Melissa

Q: Hi Melissa, welcome to The Bookaholics! Can you tell us an interesting tidbit about CRAVE which is not in the synopsis?

A: Crave resulted in a 3 book deal with Harlequin Teen. That much is more widely known. What isn't so widely known is that Crave was actually turned down by Harlequin Teen at first. Harlequin Teen editor Natashya Wilson sent me a long, encouraging and detailed rejection email explaining why it didn't work for her with suggestions on how to make it better, and ending with the offer to resubmit it. I almost let the rejection part of that email prevent me from fixing Crave. But my husband encouraged me to focus on the fact that Natashya had obviously seen something good in Crave or else she wouldn't have taken the time to write out such a detailed list of suggested changes. His encouragement gave me the ability to make those changes to Crave and resubmit it. Six months later, I had a 3 book deal!

Q: Savannah is such a beautiful name. Did you intentionally select your characters' names, or did they just pop up in your mind without much thought?

A: For the descendants, I intentionally selected their names to reflect both their Irish ancestry and their more recently southern roots. The names of Savannah's friends are twists on my actual high school friends' names. I chose Dylan's name because it rhymes with "villain" and helped me set the mental image for him. For the vampires, I tried to choose names that would reflect the approximate era of history each one was born and turned within, because each vampire is like a snapshot of the time he was sort of "cast in stone" as an immortal (though later in the series we'll also see how some vampires learn to adapt and blend into the current times as a way of surviving).

Q: We love the cover of CRAVE! It's so swoon-worthy! Did you pick it by yourself?

A: For the U.S. version, I submitted some general ideas to my editor, then the awesome cover designers at Harlequin ran with them. I got to see several mock-ups of various different possible designs, upon which my agent, editor and I all tossed around some revision ideas. Then the cover designers took those suggestions and came up with the final beautiful design. My editor is also really great about asking for my feedback on the back cover copy.

For the foreign versions, however, authors are not usually consulted nor do we generally get to see the designs before they are revealed to the public. So for those versions, you'll generally see some pretty widely varying designs that may or may not reflect the original version's cover. So far, I've been beyond lucky to get some pretty awesome covers on the foreign versions!

Q: How much time did you take to finish the manuscript for CRAVE?

A: I go with the "mud on the wall" technique when it comes to writing...I tell my former professional editor side to shut up and give my creative side full permission to write the worst rough draft ever every time so that I can get the basic story down on paper to work with. Then the real work comes.

For Crave, it took me a month to plot it, a month to write it, a year to revise it for submission, 3 more months to revise it pre-contract offer, and another year to revise it for publication.

Q: Are any of the characters in CRAVE based on real-life people you know personally?

A: I believe every character that any author writes is either based on some part of themselves that currently exists, based on some type of person they wish they were, based on terrible people they once knew, or based on people they like. This definitely applies to every character in Crave and any other story I've written.

When it comes to each character's appearance, I usually choose an actor to represent them. This allows me to have a headshot to refer to when writing so I can keep the details about their appearance straight.

Please feel free to visit my sites at www.TheClannSeries.com and www.melissadarnell.com to learn even more about the history of Savannah's race of vampires and the Clann, listen to each Clann Series book's playlist online, contact me with any additional questions you may have, and much more!

And a HUGE thank you for featuring me on your blog today!

Thanks for joining us today, Melissa! We hope CRAVE will be a huge success!

Meet Melissa
Melissa DarnellMelissa Darnell is a book lover through and through. In addition to authoring a growing list of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction books on a wide assortment of topics and genres, she is also a freelance book editor, layout and cover designer, and ebook formatter with more than 75 books to her professional credit. She wrote her first story in the third grade, was first published in the sixth grade when her poem was selected for an anthology, and has since won several regional and national essay contests with prizes ranging from the complete Harry Potter collection in hardback to an actual horse with a year's worth of feed in the 1992 Ponies of America essay contest. Born in California, she grew up in East Texas and has also called the following states home at one time or another: Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, and Iowa. A former award-winning dancer with 12 years' formal training in jazz, tap, and ballet, she currently lives in South Dakota with her husband and two children, where she enjoys watching Whale Wars, UFC matches and True Blood, trying out new hair colors, designing fun stuff to sell in the virtual world of Second Life, and of course writing her latest book!

1 creative remarks:

Dana - Let's Book It said...

Great interview. You asked great questions and I was totally interested in the answers. Sounds like an author to watch for.