Happy Monday Morning!! Please join me in welcoming Melissa Little to Other Worlds today. I’m excited to have her as a guest this morning and hope you’ll love learning about her novel, The Book of Secrets, as much as I did!
Welcome Melissa! First, tell us a little bit about your book. What makes your novel unique for readers?
Hi! Thank you for having me! My book is about a boy who finds a mysterious book in a store and it ends up turning his family’s life upside down. I hope readers enjoy it and find it fun and humorous. I don’t often say things like this, but you’ve probably never read about shrugcats and wolfdragons before.
I love your cover for The Book of Secrets! Is it what you always imagined and how much work did you put into the design?
Thank you! I put zero work into it. That was all my publisher, Black Rose Writing—namely Dave who is the head of the design team. Early on, when I signed the contract, they asked if I had any ideas for the cover, and I gave them a vague concept of a book with “stuff” coming out of it. They took that and ran.
Has publishing your first book changed your process of writing?
I signed the contract in January and since then I’ve edited old works without writing anything new. I’m in a little bit of a drought period as far as new stories. The publishing process taught me that I use way too many adverbs and crutch words, so now I look out for those.
What was an early experience where you learned that the written word had power?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one. I always loved to read growing up. I remember some of the elementary instances where I realized what a book can do to you. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry made me so angry at the South (where I have lived all of my life). I had never before seen racial injustice in such a powerful way from the eyes of someone my age. I remember when I discovered how much imagery can be packed into simple words. There’s the climax of The Tale of Despereaux when Roscuro basically gives up and realizes he will never belong in the light, and it crashes through his soul. That is such beautiful and heart-wrenching imagery, crashed through his soul.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Actually sitting down and writing. There’s this famous quote—I can’t remember the source—that says I hate writing; I love having written. That is my life.
What’s your favorite novel?
I have so many. They always change as I get older. I like The Help, Room, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Cry the Beloved Country, Les Miserables. My newest favorite is called Rabbit Cake which is a total delight. I also adore The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene I ever wrote is actually in the third book of the series, which isn’t even close to being published. To avoid spoiling it for everyone on earth except the five people who have read it, I call it the river scene. It was a vital scene, or at least I viewed it as so, because it included the words one character desperately needed to hear and another character just as desperately needed to say. I wrote four different versions ahead of time. But when I actually got to that place in the story, I scrapped everything and wrote it organically. It drained me for the rest of the day. It was, I thought, beautiful. Then I proceeded to read it over and over and now I absolutely hate it.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
If I’m actually serious about it, a novel-length will take between three and six months. The Book of Secrets took three or four. This is only the first draft, mind you.
Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!
Ha—you would ask me about the one element almost impossible to describe. It is no particular time period whatsoever and the more you try to make sense of it, the less sense it will make. The reactions from different age demographics of readers have been really interesting. Almost invariably, adults say they were confused, teenagers remark on how they enjoyed the craziness, and kids don’t bat an eyelash. It’s been an accidental social experiment.
Thank you for joining us today Melissa!!!
After Gabriel Draven smuggles home the Stone of the Seven Realms, his fear of facing consequences launches him and his oddball family on a rollicking run for their lives across the world they only thought they knew. As his journey takes him out of his realm and into another, Gabriel discovers that the deepest mystery lies at the heart of his own family, and he must do whatever it takes to find his way back home.
Strong and unapologetic, full of vivid, well-timed simile and lilting rhythm, bright with humor, at times bursting into a depth of pure simplistic beauty, The Book Of Secrets looks beyond the typical medieval swords-and-sorcery and, instead, introduces mystical creatures, absurd new worlds, and, at its heart, a hymn of praise to the complicated bond of siblinghood.
About the Author:
M.L. Little writes reviews for Kid Lit Exchange while obtaining a theology degree. She likes the Appalachian Mountains, creepy things, and rain, and dislikes talking about herself. She is extremely southern.
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From the publisher: https://www.blackrosewriting.com/new-releases/thebookofsecrets-r4wtf
Check out this excerpt from The Book of Secrets:
He made it to the restricted section, found the twine where he’d dropped it on the floor yesterday, bound up the book with the tightest knots, swung around to hide the book on the shelf and get out of there—and found another face in his, the teeth bared.
It was bright pink, whatever it was, with purple stripes. It looked like a shaved, painted cat with a ridge of shimmery scales between its diamond-shaped eyes and up its head and across its back. It snarled ferociously at Gabriel and lunged at its own bushy tail—the only part of it with hair— catching it in its tiny, sharp teeth before it tipped off the bookshelf and onto the floor.
Gabriel burst out laughing. He mostly laughed because it was not the attacker or the savage creature he imagined. He sagged against the bookshelf, staring at this pathetic animal, a creature that existed not in Glennderdells or Annandells or any country he knew of, and then abruptly he stopped laughing.
He looked at the striped creature. Then he looked at the book in his hand. Something in his stomach dropped.