Today I'm excited to introduce, Melody Valadez. When I read on Melody's blog that she "likes all things princessy," is a big-time Star Wars fan, and may secretly be a mermaid (see picture on her blog), I knew I wanted to inteview her.
Melody, thanks so much for agreeing to step into the spotlight.
I'm currently submitting STRATAGEM, a 76,000 word YA historical fantasy.
2. Give us the three to four sentence pitch.
Ivolet has grown up in Cosia without any knowledge of her royal lineage in the enemy country of Ellan. When she's told that her blood is actually that of the people she's been taught to hate, her loyalty is torn in two different directions. She loves the land that raised her, but tradition dictates that she fight on the side of her kin. Complicating matters are her feelings for Cosia's crown-prince and the constant risk of betrayal, even in the land of her birth, because of her rightful claim to the throne.
Ooh, a prince, royal blood, war, betrayal, sounds like a great read!!
3. Would you care to share the opening line or paragraph?
Ivolet had lived in the Cosian palace for only two days, but it already felt like home. Slipping her small, nine-year-old fingers into Ramir General's hand, she trotted beside him through the halls like he'd always been her father. She nodded to the salutes as if they were meant for her, smiling at everyone and making a good impression on courtiers and slaves alike. She found them more interesting than her father's discussion with the sultan, which was going on above her head with big words and solemn expressions that she didn't care to understand.
I like Ivolet's spunk and kind nature already. I can just see her "trotting" beside the general. Nice opening, Melody.
4. How would your main character describe you? If you entered into a scene in your manuscript, how would you be introduced, how would the MC perceive you? Give us a short scene but keep it under 250 words : )
Hmmm, this is tricky! I've imagined her in her world, but never me...
Ivolet stopped short in the doorway. She'd been about to throw herself on the sofa and hide her burning face among the pillows, but the sofa was already occupied. A girl, only a little older than
Ivolet, was curled up in its corner, a book in her hand. She peered over it as Ivolet stammered, “Who are you?” She wanted to ask what the girl was doing in her alcove, questions like that didn't belong in the palace.
The girl smiled. “I'm Melody.” Her welcoming expression wavered when Ivolet did not immediately reply. “Am I interrupting something?”
“I'm the one interrupting,” said Ivolet. She walked to the bookshelf as if it had been her intention all along, pulled out a book without looking, and sat down on the other end of the sofa. “You're more than welcome to stay.”
Melody looked back down at her book, her eyes ostensibly zipping along the words, but then she looked up. “This is really weird for me to ask, but are you okay?”
Ivolet covered her face with her hands. “I think, I mean, I might be. By the gods, I think I'm in love with Daniel.”
Holding her place in the book with one finger, Melody grinned. “I love romance. Who is this Daniel?”
“The emir. The crown-prince.” When Melody didn't remark on this, Ivolet added, “All his marriages are arranged.”
“Well,” said Melody, leaning back as if she'd heard this story many times before and knew the exact advice to give, “that's inconvenient.”
Haha, love the ending. Nice job, Melody.
5. What is your least and most favorite word? Use each in a sentence, writing in the voice of one of your characters from any of your manuscripts.
My least favorite word is crude because it sounds crude:
“It's very crude,” Ivolet told Martin finally. She ran her hand over the wood, memories of Cosia flooding her mind at the feel of the weapon. “But it just may work.”
My favorite word is 'plethora,' because of how it rolls off one's tongue, like a little sparkling brook. : )
Clayton slams the door of the bathroom, while I bite my tongue and refrain from giving him the plethora of reasons I had. Because I did have reasons, then. Maybe not now.
6. Would you like share what you are you working on while you wait?
I'm currently working on another YA novel, a contemporary one this time and much “edgier” than STRATAGEM. The working title is THE BITTER AFTERTASTE OF SWEET REVENGE, but that's definitely subject to change due to length. :) -- Wanted for a murder she now regrets, Jenn reluctantly joins forces with the brother of her victim in order to find her missing brother...and a chance at forgiveness.
7. What book have you read in the past six mo that’s inspired you and why?
Well, I devour books, so it's hard for me to remember them all. And more than one have inspired me. : ) I'll linger on the one that inspired me to work with my writing voice. Savvy, and its sequel, Scumble, by Ingrid Law, contain some of the best voices I've ever read. They're so vivid, so real and honest. Her settings and characters are so colorfully described so that I feel like I'm there. Brilliant writing, and plotting, and world-building. She inspired me to work on my 'vividness'. : ) Colorful, colorful writing!
Savvy is sitting in my TRP. I'll need to bring it up to the top. So much to read, I wish sleep wasn't a necessity.Thanks for the recommendation!
8. Do you have a literary-character crush? (BTW, I can't wait for a guy-writer to answer this question : )
No, of course not.
Okay, yes. Many.
Fang, from James Patterson's Maximum Ride series.
Fish, from Ingrid Law's Savvy.
Mr. Younger, from Jean Thesman's The Ornament Tree.
Gilbert Blythe, of course, but that's a given.
There are more, but I'll stop there. :)
HA, well you may need to fight Faith Hough (last week's writer spotlight) for Glibert Blythe : )
9. Any random fun-facts you’d like to share about yourself?
Let's see...I've been writing since I was eleven and have three finished novels that will hopefully never see the light of day. : ) I'm a Star Wars fanatic, a chocoholic, and an ardent admirer of books no one else ever seems to have read (as well as books that everyone's read). When I'm not writing, I'm usually singing...or, of course, reading. Also, I am very pleased to find that 'chocoholic' is a real word, according to OpenOffice spell check. : )
Thanks, Melody. It's been "big fun" (as my son used to say) to meet you, another writer, reader, and lover of all things chocolate. Best of luck with STRATEGEM. Keep us posted on your success.
To learn more about Melody Valadez visit her blog.