Melissa Wolff is a graduate from Long Island University. Diagnosed with VACTERL Association, Melissa discovered her love of writing when she was sick and holed up in a hospital bed after her sixth surgery. After twenty years and twenty more surgeries, her first book was published when she was just twenty-two. All of her novels have been written during National Novel Writing Month, an event in which she takes part every year. Melissa is a member of International Women’s Writing Guild and American Writer’s Association. Part of the proceeds of her novels go to VACTERL Network, a group designed to help families and people deal with their condition.
Melissa is the author of four young adult novels: Sharpie Messages: The Writing on the Wall, Fated, On the Shattered Path, and Three Little Lies.
Learn more about Melissa at http://www.melissamwolff.com/
PJ: How long have you been writing?
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
Melissa: I felt successful as a writer when I was 22 and I published my first book. It was amazing seeing my name in print.
PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?
Melissa: The writing life is not what I expected…mostly the marketing part. I always loved to write and had stories, but being my own marketer and putting on a ‘business hat’ was new to me. It caused me to talk to new people, make new connections. It really opened my eyes.
PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
Melissa: It’s focused on telling a story…not just to entertain people. I want to tell a story that will have people thinking. My focus hasn’t really changed because I always wanted to tell a story. I want people to sit back and be like ‘wow’.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
Melissa: The first time? About a year. I wrote the book and then used Createspace to publish it.
PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?
Melissa: Maybe become my own marketer earlier…learned the ins and outs of the business of publishing.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
Melissa: I make up a ‘need to do’ list, and a ‘want to do’ list every week. I focus in each area each week, to see what needs my attention most at that moment. Then I work around that.
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
Melissa: I had two articles written about me and my stories. I also wrote a blog post about Lisa Scottoline and she actually commented on it.
PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
Melissa: I got to tell my story…I got to explain how I got into writing and why it has changed me.
Melissa: Mine are real types of stories. I don’t like the happy endings all the time…I’d rather show people that life doesn’t always have a happy ending and people have issues that they have to deal with even after they get the guy, or the job, or whatever it is that they are going after.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
Melissa: Read your work…take a month break…then read it again. Do that about three or four times (in between the editing of course). You’ll always find something more you want to say. Also, create a cover and title for the novel…even if they aren’t the final ones, they will give you something to look at to keep your inspiration/motivation up to finish the novel.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
Melissa: Cold Calling. You’re never going to make the connections if you don’t put yourself out there.
PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
Melissa: Cold Calling. Haha. I’m kind of shy and talking to strangers sometimes is hard for me. But I push through and do it.
PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Melissa: Sharpie Messages: The Writing on the Wall, Fated, On The Shattered Path, and Three Little Lies
Melissa: When her best friend goes missing, Amber will stop at nothing to find her, even if that means walking into the sticky web of a serial killer.
PJ: Where can we buy it?
Melissa: You can buy the ebook and paperback copy on Amazon.com. You can also special order the book through Barnes and Noble stores.
PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?
Melissa: Writing has saved me. Going in and out of the hospital my whole life, I couldn’t do most things that other children could so I dove into writing. I haven’t looked back since.