Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Melanie Hooyenga Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Melanie Hooyenga has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan with her soon-to-be husband Jeremy. When not at her day job as a graphic designer, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and kicking Jeremy’s butt at Kinect boxing.

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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I first started writing in middle school, and if I had to pick a defining moment, I’d have to say the first time I watched a friend read my short story. Knowing that I put that smile on her face with something I completely made up was exhilarating.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m very clumsy, but I tend to hurt myself doing things that you shouldn’t hurt yourself doing. My nickname is Hoo, and my friends have dubbed my antics as Pulling a Hooey. I’m athletic and salsa dance, yet I can’t walk across an open room without tripping over a piece of fuzz in the carpet.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

Not to be afraid to speak up. I went to a small boarding school in high school and the small class size made participation a necessity. When I went to college I never hesitated to raise my hand -- even in a 100 person classroom -- if I had a question. I don’t let the fear of looking foolish or having people know that I don’t know everything get in the way of finding the answers I need.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Keep writing. I think a lot of writers share that sentiment, and it’s true. The moment you let self-doubt, busy schedules, or whatever else is keeping you from writing get in the way, the days will slip by and suddenly you haven’t written anything new for two years.

When I wrote my first novel (FLICKER is my third) I was part of an online group that vowed to write 100 words per day. One hundred is such a small number that it seems almost laughable, but it’s also such a small number that it’s very difficult to find an excuse not to write them. And once you start writing, it’s easy to double or triple that amount.

In your debut novel; Flicker, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

FLICKER tells the story of seventeen-year old Biz, who uses sunlight to flicker back to yesterday. No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don't stick around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron's sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Biz?

The most surprising thing I learned is that I still think like a teenager. I turned 38 last week, yet I still relate to the 17-year old bouncing around inside my head. My first two novels were for an adult audience; Biz made me realize that young adult is the genre I’m most comfortable writing.

For those who are unfamiliar with Cameron, how would you introduce him?

Cameron is a self-assured guy who’s comfortable in his own skin and seems to know what he wants, but underneath that he’s struggling with a family trauma that still affects him every day. And he’s hot.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

Read broadly. Everyone has a genre they love (young adult!) but there are so many good books that you might be surprised by something you’ve never experienced. I’m friends with a lot of writers and try to read their books -- regardless of genre -- and because of that discovered I like fantasy!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I would love for Biz to meet Janie from Lisa McMann’s WAKE trilogy. Those books are the most similar to FLICKER (a friend told me about them when I first told her my book idea) and I think Biz would be comforted to know there are others with weird things going on inside their heads.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

This is difficult because I try very hard to never lie. I guess I’ll go with the white lie most people say every morning when asked the courteous “how are you?” Generally, I’m an optimistic, happy person, but when I’m not in a good mood I certainly don’t want other people knowing, so I give the standard, “I’m good, thanks.” 

What’s your most missed memory?

I’ve moved a lot over the years and some friendships haven’t lasted. There are a few women who will always be in my heart even though we’ve gone our separate ways.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

I’ve had a couple, all working at restaurants. The summer after my sophomore year of college I stayed in town even though I wasn’t taking classes. I worked at a steakhouse in town and every night all the servers and hosts would hang out after our shifts. There may have been an incident involving a locked fence and a pool at a country club, but it was so long ago I really couldn’t be sure...

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My friend (and fellow author) Stacey Graham. That woman deserves a medal for all the whiny texts I’ve sent her, especially as I’m getting closer to my wedding (April 20!)

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

This morning when my fiancé left for work.

Do you remember your favorite teacher?

I had a professor in college, Dr. Turner, who I absolutely adored. I had several classes with him over the years and he was a kind, genuine person who truly loved teaching us. For those who’ve read FLICKER, you may recognize the name.

When was the last time you cried?

Last night. A close friend is dealing with a personal trauma and my heart breaks for her.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?

This one is hard. I have very vivid dreams and often remember them in the morning. This is great when the dreams are fluffy, silly stories (the other night I dreamt I hung out with Jessica Alba), but more often than not I have horrible nightmares. Usually someone is chasing me, but a lot of times my family is being held hostage and I have to follow instructions to save them. Fortunately I wake up before anyone actually dies, but the panic and fear is a very constant emotion throughout the dreams. Friends have suggested that I write horror since the stories come so easily, but I don’t want to encourage that side of my brain!

Where can readers stalk you?

Where can’t they? I’m everywhere!
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MelanieHooyenga
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanieHoo
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=3745048
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melaniehoo/
Website: http://www.melaniehoo.com/
Blog: http://www.melaniehoo.com/hoosblog/



Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to yesterday. She takes advantage of flickering by retaking Trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.

No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don’t stick around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. Suddenly she’s noticing his biceps, his smile, and the cute way his eyes crinkle when he—gah! This is her friend!

But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron’s sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.

You can purchase Flicker at the following Retailers:
FLICKER is on SALE for $1.99 just for you Book Nerds!! Click HERE
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Melanie for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Flicker by Melanie Hooyenga.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 comments:

  1. Thank you! I'd be thrilled if i could jump back through time and fix some horrible situation I was in. But I know there's bound to be consequences :D

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  2. Yes, there are ALWAYS consequences. :)

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  3. Thank you for the donation and giveaway!>:D<

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