Melissa Snark has stopped by to answer a few of our questions. Thanks, Melissa, for being brave enough to join us. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
I have a writing compulsion but what's special about fantasy is the author's ability to indulge flights of fancy. I've written in a fair number of genres, including paranormal and romance. Fantasy is something that has always fascinated me, which I'm always drawn back to. I read a lot of fantasy fiction as a child. As an adult, I love fantasy movies and televisions shows, so it's only natural that I write what I know.
What research (or world-building – for fantasy/paranormal/Sci-fi) is required?
Research that has proven relevant to my series includes reading I've done on wolves, werewolves and Norse mythology. I've devoured information from the Internet as well as any number of published paperback books. My werewolves are all descended from the great wolf from Norse mythology, Fenrir, who will slay Odin in the final days of the world.
Setting is another important factor that came from real life experience versus research. The snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains provided the inspiration behind my Norse werewolf series, Loki's Wolves. My family visits Lake Tahoe every winter on an annual ski vacation. The mountains are starkly beautiful in the dead of winter. Some of the last historical accounts of wolves in California date to the 1920s. The rugged country struck me as the perfect setting for a story about werewolves.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
Don't give up. No matter how many times life knocks you down, get right back up and keep trying. My heroine, Victoria Storm, approaches every obstacle with stubborn determination to overcome. It's a trait I've always admired in literary characters and one I've aspired to in life.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
I drink at least two cups of coffee before hitting the truly productive part of my writing day. Pre-caffeine, I'm pretty useless. Right after I wake up, I'm operating on muscle memory and a couple brain cells. LOL.
I'm flexible about my environment. Even though the bulk of my writing is done on my desktop computer, I can write in a coffee shop or on a laptop on vacation. Sometimes when I'm feeling writer's block, I use a notebook and write in longhand because it gets the scene flowing.
My most interesting quirk is that some of my most pivotal scenes are the product of dreams. There are times when an important development in my story will enter my head as a result of a dream. If the idea really sticks, then I'll add it into the story. There have been a couple inconvenient moments when dream sequences altered the course of the story but more often than not, those scenes prove to be helpful. Dreams have helped me get past writer's block when I'm stuck and even given me the ending of stories.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
Personally, I began writing as a panster and gradually evolved into a plotter. In 2000, I made my first attempt at an original contemporary romance. The first incarnation of Learning to Fly (published by The Wild Rose Press in 2012) came into the world as a rollercoaster ride for both me and my heroine, Cassandra. From chapter to chapter, I had no idea what would happen next. It was mysterious and exciting but also frustrating. I got off onto wild tangents and eventually entire parts of the story were removed or rewritten. In contrast, when I started Hunger Moon, my paranormal novel, in 2009, I applied a far more structured process to the story creation. I employed outlines throughout and I wrote the last chapter long before I finished the novel.
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
To my immediate right is a Microsoft mouse atop a mouse pad that my sister gave me as Christmas present. It has a really beautiful photograph taken at my wedding of me, the hubby and my two boys. We were married on a bluff overlooking the ocean so all you see in the background is surf and sky.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
In June, I signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for a 79K paranormal romance called The Mating Game. The story is undergoing the editing process and I'm hoping for a release date in early 2014. The Mating Game is the first in a new erotic series about the Iron Rock werewolf pack. As you may have guessed from the title, it's a sizzling hot read!
I also have the next two books in the series planned out. Battle Cry, the sequel to Hunger Moon, is another Victoria Storm novel. She returns to Arizona to confront the hunters responsible for killing most of her pack. The book following Battle Cry is going to be from Logan Koenig's perspective. Right now I don't have a final title but its nickname is "Run Logan Run." Lol. All total, I envision six books in the series. I'd love to have Battle Cry released by spring 2014.
Do you have a question for our readers?
Can you name three Norse Gods aside from the well-known ones (Thor, Odin, and Loki)?
As an individual, I'm sarcastic, stubborn and blunt to a fault. I have a strange sense of humor and I like to laugh (usually at my husband or children), but also at myself. I'm not particularly extroverted, although I do enjoy time with my family and close friends a great deal.
At the moment, I'm a stay at home mom who writes in my spare time. I've got a B.S. from Arizona State University in Business, and I've worked a variety of different jobs, including as a medical device documentation specialist, a technical writer, and an auto liability adjuster.
I live in the San Francisco East Bay of Northern California with my husband, three kids, and three cats. My hobbies include roleplaying, cooking and reading.
I maintain a blog, which I update regularly at http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/. You can also find me at my website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or her Amazon author page.
I enjoy hearing from my readers, so please drop me a line at MelissaSnark at gmail dot com.
Buy the books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, or All Romance eBooks.
War with the Barrett family resulted in the deaths of her parents and most of her pack. Now, hunters are hot on the trail of the remaining pack members. Sawyer Barrett, a human hunter hell bent on revenge, is convinced that Victoria murdered his brother. He will stop at nothing to see her dead.
Victoria must defend the survivors and somehow lead them to safety. Months on the run has weakened the pack, and there are newborn pups to protect, making swift travel impossible. Ahead, the promise of refuge beckons.
Their best chance for survival lies in Sierra Pines, California: Arik Koenig, a powerful, dominant male wolf. He promises to protect and provide for the pack, something Victoria knows the pack needs for survival. His mysterious past is riddled with violence and death, including the slaughter of his entire family twenty years before. His wife died under mysterious circumstances and his son, Logan, is rumored to be her killer.
What is truth? Who can she trust? The desperate spirit of Arik’s murdered wife calls out for help, and Logan begs for assistance in clearing his name. Victoria must solve a murder that has pitted father against son, rooted in a mystery reaching back two decades. Her quest starts her on a journey from the human world to Odin’s Valhalla and back again.
Victoria will find salvation or face destruction beneath the Hunger Moon…