Hello Writer Friends!
A couple of weeks ago Melody Delgado found my blog and wanted to be featured as an author spotlight. When she mentioned she had two book releases this year so far, I knew she was the perfect author to be featured on the blog.
Melody writes Christian fiction for women and young readers with a light-hearted and humorous touch. She currently has two novels out. Royally Entitled is an inspirational historical novel and the first book in The Brides of Brevalia series. It has received a Readers’ Favorite Book Award in the Christian Romance category. Oops-a-Daisy is Melody's latest release and chronicles the modern-day adventures of a young dreamer in the De La Cruz Diaries.
I asked Melody how old she was when she started writing and if she always wanted to be a writer. She explained that she grew up wanting to be a singer and did do that for awhile. As an adult, she worked as a music teacher and a vocalist. However, in order to stay certified as a teacher, she had to take college-level courses so she enrolled in a college writing course and got bitten by the writing bug immediately. She also explained that part of the desire to write came from wanting to chronicle family events like cooking with her mother. When asked what then inspired her to make writing her full-time career she replied, "Bullying is a big problem right now and my stories tend to include this. I’d like to show young people and anyone else who reads my stories, how to handle it gracefully."
I asked Melody to give us a brief synopsis about her latest novel Oops-a-Daisy, which is for kids 8-12 and was just released on September 5. She replied with, "Who wants to be stuck wearing a shaggy dog outfit or a chicken suit on television? Twelve-year-old aspiring singer-actress, Daisy De La Cruz, that’s who. She’ll do and wear just about anything to get ahead in the entertainment industry. But will all her embarrassing moments pay off and land her a spot in her arts magnet school’s coveted master class where she’ll be rubbing shoulders with top professionals in the entertainment industry? Or will she be doomed to play the role of an animal, vegetable or mineral forever?"
When asked how Melody came up with the idea for this story she said, "I followed the advice that says, “Write what you know.” I’d been a vocalist, a vocal coach, and a music teacher, so I had the basic background information. The rest came out of observing children of this age and then letting my imagination take over."
I also asked Melody to tell me some more about the main character, Daisy. She replied stating that Daisy is "super ambitious and hard working. She’s got some incredibly big dreams with wanting to be the next J-Lo." Melody admits that she had fun creating Daisy because she's "a bit naïve and not the sharpest knife in the drawer." However she admits that Daisy was a challenging character to write because she "wanted someone who was a nice kid to start with, so they would be likable to readers. But she also had to be flawed so that she could grow up a bit during the course of the novel." Similar to other authors, myself included, Melody, admitted that it's "always hard to strike the balance between being a flawed, yet likable character."
I asked Melody what her favorite part of the writing process was. She said the revising process because it goes quickly after she knows what the story is going to be about and the draft is completed. When asked what she considered the hardest part of the writing process she replied, "Writing and adapting that initial draft. For me, that’s where all the self-doubt comes into play. Will anyone be able to relate to this story? Did I choose the right plot lines to keep? Am I cutting the wrong scenes? This is where I must decide on things, and being indecisive is easier."
I asked Melody if she had any writing quirks or used a specific writing tool or program. She said, "I write by longhand before I type into the computer. I’ve read lots of books on writing and take a little from here and a bit from there, but overall, I stick to the 3 Act structure. I use an old-fashioned notebook and paper, and then write out my scenes on index cards. I usually have a cup of tea nearby. Sometimes I will listen to relaxing music.
When asked if any other authors had inspired her she said, " L.M. Montgomery when I was younger. Why? I couldn’t get enough of the Anne of Green Gables stories because they were so real and full of heart. As an adult, Jane Austen because she is the queen of the romance novel. I think anyone who writes with a bit of romance will be influenced by her and Royally Entitled is a historical romance." Melody also has advice for writers just starting out on their writing journey replying, "Becoming a writer is like becoming a musician or an athlete. It takes lots of practice. Do not be surprised at how long it will take you to learn your craft because these skills will not be learned quickly or easily. Join a critique group where other writers help you see your shortcomings as well as your strengths, and help you to grow as a writer."
Melody states that Oops-a-Daisy and Royally Entitled are each the first book in a three-book series. She is currently working on the sequel to Royally Entitled which will be called Royally Scheming and the sequel to Oops-a-Daisy which will be titled No Way, Jose. When asked how long it usually takes her to write a book, Melody replied, "The first two took several years. It’s getting easier as I go along. The third one should take 6 – 9 months, but it may take a year."
To wrap up our interview, I asked Melody what she was currently reading and as a fun random question, I asked her if she could time travel where would she go. For the first question, Melody replied, "I’m a sucker for sweet romance. Happily Ever Afters by Rachel Magee is really cute and I am enjoying this love story." To the latter question, she replied, "Probably to the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine. It would be cool to see my main hero in celebration mode and also performing his first public miracle."
If you're interested in reading Melody's books or would like to find out more information about her, you can visit her website at http://www.melodydelgado.com