Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Melissa Walker!

Welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! Before we meet today's guest, I have a book to give away. The winner of Jon Skovron's MISFIT is Jasmine1485 from blogger! Congrats! I will email you for your address!

Today's Woman Who Rocks, Melissa Walker rocks extra hard because not only did she have a new book, SMALL TOWN SINNERS, come out last month, she gave birth to her first baby this week!!!! Can we all please say congratulations?

I love and adore Melissa. Along with Mari Mancusi, our daily Twitter check-ins and cheerleading helped me finally finish the Bartender Book. Plus she was a blast to hang out with in New York last year. But most importantly, she writes amazing books! I have SMALL TOWN SINNERS on my shelf, waiting to be read as soon as I get through the books I have to read for a class I'm teaching this fall. I think that after hearing about it, you will be dying to read it to, so let's get this interview going and meet Melissa, shall we?

Q: Please tell us what SMALL TOWN SINNERSis about and what inspired you to write it.

MELISSA: Small Town Sinners is the story of a girl who's grown up in an evangelical community. She dreams of starring in her church's Hell House production and has never really questioned what she's been taught at home or in the church. But then she starts to look around and see injustices among her friends, she meets a boy who asks questions, and she starts to realize that faith isn't always black and white. I was inspired by a story I wrote for ELLEgirl in 2005--meeting the people of this small town and watching them put together their Hell House production was truly an experience that stayed with me. I had to write more about it. Here's the original article.

Q: If there was a soundtrack for your book what are five songs that would be on it and how do they relate the story?

MELISSA: It's funny because this music isn't so much "my" music, really, but it feels very right for the characters, so here goes:

1. Love Story-Taylor Swift. Lacey Anne is definitely a girl who believes in true love and happy endings, so this song--and its fairy tale message--is one of her favorites, no doubt in my mind.

2. Wild Horses-The Rolling Stones. Ty is a big classic rock fan, and I always imagined him listening to this song in his car, thinking about his past and his hometown of West River.

3. Firework-Katy Perry. Lacey's best friend Starla Joy is all about bright pink lipstick and a spitfire attitude, much like Ms. Perry.

4. She's in Love With the Boy-Trisha Yearwood. A 90s country classic, this is the quintessential small-town love story that Lacey, at least at first, hopes will be hers.

5. Oh Very Young-Van Morrison. Another Ty favorite, this song poignantly gets to the loss of innocence in the book.

Q: Who were some of your inspirations to become a writer or the inspirations that keep you writing? Feel free to include other authors, teachers, parents, or people in other creative fields, whoever is an inspiration to you!

MELISSA: So many people, but just to name one I'll say fellow YA author Carolyn Mackler, who really helped me start out with pitching my first book (and having the confidence to even say "Maybe I want to write a YA novel"). She's the best.

Q: Even though music plays in so heavily into my storytelling, I rarely can actually listen to it while I'm writing. Can you? How does music fit into your writing process?

MELISSA: Sometimes if I want to create a certain emotion that I'm just not feeling naturally, I'll turn on some songs to try to evoke that mood. It definitely helps, but I only use it every once in a while. Usually I write without music.

Q: What is next for you? What are you working on now?

MELISSA: My next book, UNBREAK MY HEART, will be out in May 2012. It's about friendships and betrayal and summer love... stay tuned.

Q: I have two questions that I always ask my Women Who Rock, the first is a two-parter.
What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? Be honest, we don't judge, we like to see the roots of our women who rock!

MELISSA: First album: Thriller, Michael Jackson. It was a cassette tape. My first vinyl was Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual. I loved MTV and these guys were in heavy rotation. First show: 6th grade, Poison--Open Up and Say Ahhh... tour. Tesla opened. Oh man, I loved it. Fallen Angel, Every Rose Has its Thorn? Somebody get me a lighter!

Q: Tell us about your biggest rock star moment, perhaps it's a moment of real success in your career, a time when you met someone super cool and had that Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" moment, or just a time where you felt like you got the rock star treatment.

MELISSA: I've had a few of these since becoming an author, but one huge one was being able to pose with the amazing Sarah Dessen for the cover of our hometown magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine. I could not believe I was back to back with Sarah in our high school hallway--she is a huge inspiration to me and to be included in that article was a dream come true! You can see the full article here.

Umm yeah, that is definitely one of the coolest rock star moments I've heard for sure!

Today's Contest:

After hearing more about it, I'm guessing you want SMALL TOWN SINNERS and you are in luck! Melissa is offering up a copy!

This contest is open to international entries!

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment. However you can gain additional entries:

+1 for tweeting or posting on facebook about this interview
+1 for tweeting or posting about SMALL TOWN SINNERS
+5 for blogging about SMALL TOWN SINNERS

Note your additional entries in your comment as well as giving me an email address or some way to contact you if you win. I will be drawing the winner on August 17 when I bring you the next Women Who Rock Wednesday interview, which will be with Arlaina Tibensky!


PKJ said...

wow that sounds like a really interesting story. and I'm seriously impressed about the book and the baby happening at the same time!

jpetroroy said...

I'm so excited for Melissa, both professionally and personally. This looks to be such a great book!

Jay said...

congrats!! and great interview too. The book looks interesting, definitly going on my tbr list.
jazzy_jay673 at hotmail dot com

Ashley said...

Awesome interview! This is a book I've been watching for a while now. It sounds so interesting! It's a book I really just want to explore. I really want to see how the book... works. :)

Lea said...

I read the magazine story about Hell Houses and I'd really like to read this book too. Thanks for the interview & giveaway!

Alexandra K said...

I've been seeing reviews of this book making their rounds on the book blogs this week. It sounds really interesting! We never had Hell Houses at my Christian high school (which was a pretty tolerant school, even if kids weren't allowed to order Harry Potter in the book order), but I wonder how much of this will ring true to my experience in the Christian community. In any case, I'll have to check it out. :)

alexandra dot k13 at gmail dot com

marina said...

Sounds neat. Funnier though, about an hour away from where I live there is a town called Chapel Hill and wouldn't you know, it's the same one she's from! Haha.

Amber said...

I remember reading Melissa's story in ElleGirl many years ago and I'd absolutely love to win this!
Thank you for the giveaway :)

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please. Thanks.


Tiff said...

Melissa is totally a Women Who Rocks. So glad to read this feature on her! I'm also super-excited to hear about her next project!

Please enter me in the contest - I'm reading SMS right now from a library copy, but I can already tell that I'll want to own it!

I also tweeted about this interview and SMS:!/tiffing/status/101312483955970049

NatyGry said...

Sign me up! Thanks for the contest.


Anonymous said...

I want to participate! Thank you for this giveaway.

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