Dreaming of Books Hop
Hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer
Co-Hosted by Read For Your Future
Book Nerd Interview
Melissa has had many imaginary friends (and enemies) since she was a child. Her vivid imagination had her writing stories and jotting down book ideas for years until she finally sat down and finished a novel. She is married to an awesome man and the proud mother of three children. Music is also an important part of her life and she shares time with her music students teaching them piano, cello or guitar. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Utah and currently resides in the Salt Lake area.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Mommy, mommy, mommy. Because I have three kids and that’s what I hear all day.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
Wherever my husband is.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I went through phases. For a long time I wanted to be an architect, but I married one so I figured that was good enough. When I was much younger I wanted to be a teacher. Teaching is something I enjoy immensely, but I’m 110% happy as a writer, so I guess it takes some trial and error.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think Chrales Dickens is my greatest influence, which is funny because while I love his stories, sometimes his attention to detail drives me nuts.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel, Cinder and Ella, how would you introduce it?
I would tell them it is the most twisted Cinderella story they’ve ever read.
If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Cassandra would say she was hungry. Again.
How did you come up with the title and cover design?
The title just came along with the main characters, so I didn’t have to think a lot about it. Fortunately, it had never been used by anyone else. When the time came to give cover ideas to the design team at my publishing company, I gave them several options; one was to do something with the trees. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Katrina to Voldemort. Maybe he could put her in her place.
What was your inspiration for the series?
I think just having a strong connection to the character Cinderella helped. I’ve always loved Cinderella stories. But as I got older and learned more about the challenges of life, I decided that Cinderella stories are devastatingly flawed. So I fixed that problem. Cinder and Ella has more of a real life feel to it.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Cinder and Ella?
I learned how characters really come to life as I’m writing, as if they’re demanding attention and a place in the world and I’m the only one who can give it. Kind of fun.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I have hopes for other fairy tales and would even love to finish Cinder and Ella with a sequel. We’ll see. Right now I’m working on a Snow White story.
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
This is something probably any true writer will tell you: once a story gets in your head, there is only one way to get it out. I thought about it for months before I began writing. And that’s how my ideas are—they keep coming up again and again until I give them the attention they’re demanding.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?
Surround yourself with good, positive people.
Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?
Yes! I love reading what other ideas and meanings people pull from my work. I even enjoy the criticisms (within moderation J) because I know it will help improve my writing.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Um, none. I have a condition called Overactive Conscience Syndrome (OCS).
If you could be any mythology creature, what would you be?
Anything that could fly. Except for a bug. Are there mythological bugs?
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
I love chunky peanut butter on whole wheat toast. I also love Cheerios with fruit and apple cinnamon oatmeal.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
At least one kid, comfortable shoes, a drink of water and a plan.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
No preference as long as I’m completely alone and it’s totally quiet. I’m not picky or anything.
What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
MONK—something about that show just makes me feel understood. J
Where can your readers stalk you?
I blog here, but only on Tuesdays. Actually, it’s a little more random than that, but stop by and say hello. http://lemoninkwell.blogspot.com/
After her father's disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn't long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself. What Ella finds there starts a quest that will change her life and the entire kingdom. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other, and one you'll never forget.
Melissa Lemon’s Cinder and Ella is a unique and different twist on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. Don’t be expecting to distinguish the classic in this book. Lemon has done a tremendous job in using Cinderella as the source and making a whole new story. Regardless of the numerous Cinderella connections there may be, we are offered a brand new adventure.
The story follows Cinder and Ella, two completely opposite siblings who leave their hometown. After Cinder comes home, she discovers that Ella has left and no one knows where she is. Cinder confides with the castle, the place where she once worked as a maid, and a knight offers to help her. This is the point where the story takes a turn and quickly develops into an unpredictable adventure. The story has good messages regarding the need for independence and facing responsibility. It did not lack the cute love story because without it, it just wouldn’t be a fairy tale.
So if you are looking for something totally different from the norm, or just looking for something familiar with a different perspective, Cinder and Ella will fill in nicely for that need. Lemon’s attempt to bring something new in the classic tale delivers and we are treated to a whole new perspective. It is cute, extremely interesting, and will also bring out some laughter.
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