Thursday, December 22, 2011

December Joyathon: Interview + Giveaway with Melissa Mayhue

Meet Melissa:
coming soon
First and foremost, I am a reader. Some of my best memories are of my mother taking me to the local library every week during the summer to check out armloads of books. I could hardly wait to get home, dive into the stories, and get lost in a whole new, wonderful world. My prized possession as a girl was an entire shelf of Nancy Drew Mysteries. I adored Nancy Drew.

My first experience with writing a book came at age 13. I developed a fascination with genealogy and, after spending time visiting older relatives to gather information, I found I had all sorts of wonderful family stories. What on earth could I do with all those [mostly false] tales? Why, I'd write a sweeping, 600+ page novel of course! A tale of life through several generations, spanning two centuries. It would be fantastic.

Armed with purpose and enthusiasm, I sat down at my big typewriter, [yes, I'm dating myself...typewriter, not keyboard], and began Page One. Hours later I had almost completed two whole pages. [double spaced, of course]. Hmmmmm... An entire day and I had barely two pages to show for it? [rather boring pages, at that].

Maybe I wasn't cut out to be an author after all.

click to read an excerpt
In spite of my writing setback, I retained my passion for books. I simply concentrated on reading other people's books. Lots of books. All kinds of books. Until I discovered Romance. Finally, a world I could escape to where I knew I'd always find a happy ending! I devoured them, literally reading hundreds.

Years passed before the writing bug seriously bit again. I was working in downtown Denver and, as so many writers advised, every lunch hour I took my pad and pen [actually, I preferred a pencil] and headed for my favorite coffee shop to spend my 50 minutes writing.

Unfortunately, my favorite coffee shop was in a book store. Invariably, I'd end up writing nothing. There were too many fascinating people to watch, too many interesting conversations to hear and then, of course, there were all the books to distract me.

Still, I had these two characters living in my head, wanting their story told...

click to read an excerpt
Then came the summer we took our second family vacation to Scotland. On the Black Isle [which isn't black or even an isle], near the pretty little town of Rosemarkie, we parked our rented car and hiked back into a magically beautiful placed called Fairy Glen. Resting on a large rock at the edge of a waterfall and pool, lulled by the lush nature of the setting, I suddenly realized THIS was the place for Cate and Connor. For the remainder of that trip, I'd catch glimpses of them, in a castle, standing at the foot of a crumbling staircase, or riding through a highland meadow.

Once I finally sat down at my keyboard and decided the time had come to give those two life, I found, amazingly enough, they weren't the only characters running around in my head. There were a bunch of them... all clamoring for their own turn!

My GOAL, as a writer, is to give each of those noisy characters a life in their own story.

My HOPE, as a writer, is that you'll enjoy reading their stories as much as I enjoy writing them! (source)

Where To Find Melissa: Author Site | Facebook | Twitter

Kati: Who is Melissa during the holidays? (author, gift giver, last minute shopper, baker)
click for an excerpt
Melissa: All of the above!!! Last year I’d managed to schedule myself for a book due at the beginning of the year and I felt like it was hanging over my head all through Christmas! This year, though I’ll be writing through Thanksgiving, I’ll have my December free for one of my most favorite holiday activities… shopping! I love to hunt bargains to find the perfect gifts for family and friends.

K: What is your favorite thing about the holidays?
M: The anticipation. I love having the house all decorated -- though the actual decorating itself is NOT one of my favorites. [But I will admit that I definitely prefer it over the after- holiday clean up!!]. I love finding perfect little treasures and wrapping them up and then I can hardly wait until it’s time to give the gifts!

K: Do you write more or less during the holidays?
M: Definitely less. And usually that less writing is accompanied by more guilt! 

K: If you’ve written a holiday themed/titled book, what is it about? If you have not, would you write a holiday themed/titled book in the future?
click for an excerpt
M: I have not yet written a holiday themed/titled book. I suspect I probably will at some point in the future but it simply hasn’t worked out that way yet.

K: Which of your heroes would you go on a sleigh ride with? (with permission from the heroine of course)
M: Hmmm… I spent so much time fixing up those heroes with their perfect heroines that I’d probably not choose to go on that sleigh ride with any of them. I think I’d prefer to spend time with one of the secondary characters who keep popping up in my books so that I could learn more about them. Some of them are so intriguing to me! Dair Maxwell [A HIGHLANDER OF HER OWN, HEALING THE HIGHLANDER] comes to mind and certainly a hour or two alone with Patrick MacDowylt [A HIGHLANDER’S HOMECOMING and WARRIOR’S REDEMPTION] would be time well-spent!

K: How do your Highlanders celebrate the holidays?
click for an excerpt
M: My modern day Highlanders enjoy their holidays with their families, more than likely going out and finding the perfect tree to cut and haul home to decorate. My medieval Highlanders live in a time when Christmas celebrations were still evolving from a combination of the religious and the pagan. They would be more likely to celebrate with a Yule log than a tree.

K: Real tree or fake tree?
M: For me it has to be a fake tree, unfortunately. Though I love the smell of a fresh-cut pine, my allergies do not!

K: Specific gifts or gift cards?
M: That one perfect gift is always preferable to a gift card… unless what they want IS a gift card!!

K: Fruit cake or gingerbread?
M: This is a trick question, right? You have to have BOTH!!! 

K: Just enough decorations or “every tree lighted, blow up snowglobe, snow man in the
yard” decorations?
M: When my boys were younger I was more of the every decoration possible mind-set. Now that they’re grown, I prefer ‘just enough.’ A tree, a few wall hangings and a decorated mantle make me happy these days. [It’s also much less to put away after the holidays!]

K: Home for the holidays or visiting relatives?
click for an excerpt
M: Home. For both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Part of the anticipation is looking forward to all my family arriving for big meals and present-opening!

K: What are you looking forward to in the new year?
M: I’m really excited about the new spin-off of my Daughters of the Glen series, The Warriors, the first of which [WARRIOR’S REDEMPTION] is set for release on December 27, 2011. Though I don’t have the release date yet for the second [WARRIOR’S REBIRTH], I do know it will be out in 2012.

K: Author’s choice.
M: I’m all about eating the foods I love most and the holidays are absolutely the best excuse to do exactly that!  There are a few particular foods that evoke the holiday spirit for me with just a single taste. One of those is eggnog and another is rich, creamy chocolate fudge.
What about you? What’s the one food that with a single bite can immediately transport you to the holidays?

K: Thanks Melissa for stopping by!
M:Thanks so much for letting me share the holidays with you and your readers, Kati. I’m looking forward to sharing my favorite Christmas-themed read [Christina Skye’s CHRISTMAS KNIGHT] with one of your readers!


Hope O'Hara desperately needs a Christmas miracle or she'll lose her beloved Glenbrae House forever. Just when she thinks all is lost, a mysterious stranger comes riding into her life. From the moment she first sees him, Hope instinctively trusts Ronan MacLeod, but she doesn't quite know what to do when her valiant--and virile--rescuer claims that he's...a medieval knight!

Where To Buy: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Harlequin
Book Extras: Read an Excerpt

Well, you heard the lady. Melissa is giving away a copy of CHRISTMAS KNIGHT by Christina Skye to one(1) lucky reader. Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment answering Melissa's question along with your email addy, ninja style: yourname at gmail dot com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must answer Melissa's question. All other entries are optional.
Easy peasy right? Don't forget to enter for the awesome super secret prize here.

A huge thank you to Melissa for participating in the Joyathon and for giving away a copy of CHRISTMAS KNIGHT.

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