The amazing and talented Melinda Skye is here with me today to answer some questions about herself and about her brand-spanking-new release, Misdirection. She and I are great friends, critique partners, and writing partners, so I’m a little biased, but I think she’s made of awesome. Here, decide for yourself!
Have you always been a writer? What was the first story you wrote?
I haven’t always been a writer. In fact, I distinctly remember being annoyed at the creative writing portion of my 9th grade English class where we had to write a story. Gasp! Come up with my own ideas? Never! I pretty much yoinked a story idea from a comic strip and called it good. The idea of writing wasn’t super appealing. I’ve always been a reader, though. I love books and eventually I came around to the idea of writing.
In my freshman year of college, I wrote a couple angsty things about darkness and loneliness which were absolute drivel, I’m pretty sure. Thankfully they’ve been lost to the annals of time and therefore can’t be dug up to prove just how obnoxious I was back then. Misdirection is really the first time I wrote anything of length, at least as far as I can remember. Oh, no, wait. For that same 9th grade English class, we had to write children’s stories, which an art class illustrated for us. Mine was “Sally Sue’s Silly Wish.” It was pretty much all kinds of awesome and not plagiarized from anything. 🙂 Since Misdirection, however, I’ve written a bunch of other things. I guess once I figured out how much fun writing was, then it was worth doing.
Your acknowledgements in the front of Misdirection are pretty interesting. I noticed you thanked your beautiful and charming critique partner, Sonja Foust (ahem), but also that you mentioned Gretchen Moon and Willamette University. What did a professor and a college have to do with this book?
I really couldn’t cope in life without my beautiful and charming and gracious and humble critique/writing partner, Sonja. (Is that enough sucking up to get me the blog post?) 🙂
I’d let you continue (after all, you’re on my favorite subject ever… me), but we have an interview to get on with here.
Yes, I thank my advisor, Gretchen Moon, who is the main reason that Misdirection exists. When I was a senior in college, I was expected to write a senior thesis in order to graduate. Usually, this involved taking a class. Unfortunately, when I was a senior, the only class available was about James Joyce. And I REALLY did not want to write a long-ass paper about James Joyce.
Yech. I’m with you there.
Fortunately, my grades were good enough to qualify me for independent study. I approached my advisor, the lovely Gretchen Moon, and told her what I really wanted to do was write a thesis on romance novels. She gave me this baffled look, but, fortunately, didn’t boot me out of the English department. My intellectual approach to writing about romance novels mostly turned into me writing a romance novel, later to become Misdirection. So, it is all thanks to Gretchen that Misdirection is being published today (and that I graduated from college!).
You’ve mentioned to me before that some people think Viv, your main character, resembles you in looks, personality, and even the way she talks. Would you say she’s based on you?
She is, a little bit. I mean, I’m not a super spy (or am I?), but when I was just starting out, I was told to “write what you know.” So yeah, she’s a little bit like me, because I understood being tall and blonde. I, however, do not know much about being from a wealthy distant family or living in Boston high society. She’s got the kind of spunky/snarky attitude that I admire, so maybe that’s like me. (I can hope). But I very rarely jet off to Paris at a moment’s notice and save the world.
Do you think kick-ass heroines are hard to write? What did you do to make Viv a sympathetic character?
I don’t think kick-ass heroines are hard to write, at least for me. I’m a strong, confident woman, and I think I’d have a hard time writing someone who was willing to sit by and do nothing while some crisis went on, because that’s not my style.
To make Viv sympathetic, I tried to give her qualities that resonate with real women, even if they aren’t naturally gorgeous, from Boston high society. Viv is trying to make her own way in the world, which I think a lot of people can understand and respect. She’s also not one to take life too seriously, which makes her more approachable, I think. And the fact that she likes sappy romance novels connects her to my readers (hopefully!).
Who would you want to play Viv and Alex if Misdirection were made into a movie? (No fair claiming the role of Viv for yourself, though!)
Ooh, tough call. Well, Alex is easy. I always pictured him as Dylan McDermott, if he muscled up a bit. That handsome, black hair and blue eyes combo is tough to come by otherwise. Viv is another matter. I never really picked facial features for her, other than being tall, slim, and blonde. Maybe Scarlett Johansen? A huge part of my image of Viv is that she’s classy and intelligent, and ScarJo pulls that off pretty well.
Mmmm, Dylan. Oh! Sorry. Ahem. What are your favorite books to read? Can you name your favorite book EVAR? (Hard question for a prolific reader, I know.)
I used to read mysteries all the time, which is why Misdirection has that mystery/suspense element to it. Then I switched over to romance and read those for a lot of years. I still do, but these days I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy novels. I almost never read “real” literature, because after majoring in English in college, I never wanted to read depressing books again.
My favorite books… tough call. I definitely can’t pick just one. I love anything by Sonja Foust – she’s brilliant. 🙂
I’m also a huge fan of Jim Butcher’s books. Recently I read and adored The Iron Duke by MelJean Brook.
Me too! Great book!
Other authors I always love: Ilona Andrews, Ann Aguirre, and Patricia Briggs. More on the literature side of things, I LOVED the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. And I can’t forget the absolute classics: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dune, Ender’s Game. So many books, so little time!
What other books are you working on, and when can we expect to be able to read them?
Because I love to read sci-fi/fantasy, I decided I wanted to try and write it, as well. So I’m working on another series about Norse mythology. More details on that can be found at SkyeForbes.com. And I’m writing a Veronica Mars screenplay with the ever-delightful Sonja Foust, which will be awesome, if we ever get around to finishing it. And last, but not least, I’m writing the sequel to Misdirection, which will have Griff, a minor character from Misdirection, as the hero.
Oh, I love Griff! Can’t wait! Anything else to add?