Today, we’ll be getting to know Melissa J. Crispin just a little bit better! Hi Melissa, and thanks for joining me today!
Hi, Thank you so much for having me on morebookspleaseblog today!
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I was a senior in high school, I applied for a scholarship the local runners club was awarding to one individual. One of the requirements involved writing an essay related to running. I ran cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track back then, and I wanted my personal experiences to shine through. My essay was about what distance running had taught me about myself. I described a major injury I sustained sophomore year and what a challenge it was to get back into shape. By senior year, I had managed to run faster than both my coach and I had expected for the two biggest races of the year—the County and State Championships. I achieved all-county status and an honorable mention at the state level, which I never imagined would happen. I closed out the essay with an explanation about how it taught me to never quit, not just when it came to running, but for anything else life threw at you. I also mentioned how those two races in the fall became even more special because I couldn’t fully participate late in the year. My father had fallen ill and I skipped many practices and races in the spring to be with him. He passed away before I graduated, so I knew my decision was the right one.
I was lucky enough to have been chosen for the scholarship. When I met the club to receive it, they talked about how my essay left an impression on them and they wished me well. I knew then that language had power. I could see it in their expressions and hear it in their words.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Is it okay if I do a series instead? The Tairen Soul series by C.L. Wilson has excellent worldbuilding and a beautiful romance between a king and a woman who grew up thinking she was plain. As the story unfolds, she discovers she is a far cry from plain. I loved the world, and even more so, loved the relationships between many of the characters within it. The magic and shapeshifting in the story just added to the appeal for me. I think this would make for an awesome TV series.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I’m not sure I should admit this in print, but I’m going to go for it, anyway. The masculine voice for my male MC’s occasionally drops off or disappears. I accidentally slip back into a female POV sometimes without realizing it. One time, my critique partner called me out on a scene where a motorcycle riding badass was admiring a pink sunset. Not to say a guy can’t appreciate a sunset, but the way I had written it had a very feminine feel to it. I read her note and cringed at how right she was, and that’s one of the reasons why I value her feedback so much.
What did you edit out of this book?
There is a scene where Bastian is physically hurt and someone needs to tend to the injury. One by one, almost everyone in the room needs to leave for various reasons, leaving Calliope no choice but to do it herself. Originally, Bastian’s daughter and his pet wolf are off in the opposite corner of the room warming themselves by a crackling fire. But, having the two of them present, even if they weren’t watching, made it harder to for me to create a romantic spark between Bastian and Calliope. When I went back to edit, I booted the child and pet out of the room to make way for a budding relationship between the two main characters.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
It’s been years since I’ve read Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor, but it definitely left an impression on me. It was a satisfying conclusion to a really good trilogy, but the complexity of the entire world is what made me think about fiction in a different way. There was a good vs. evil theme, but it was evident on more than one level. The angels wanted to eradicate or enslave the chimera because they felt they were superior to them, but even within each of the two camps, there were good guys and bad guys too. The lines between good and evil were blurred in many places, and the way it was executed intrigued me.
Thank you Melissa for taking the time out to let me peek inside you mind and I have to say, it was quite fascinating. I will be picking up The Crimson Curse and I encourage others to do the same!