Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Melanie Hooyenga Author Interview

Photo Content from Melanie Hooyenga

Multi-award winning young adult author Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan. When not at her day job as a Communications Director at a nonprofit, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.


File Size: 1762 KB
Print Length: 253 pages
Publisher: Left-Handed Mitten Publications (October 26, 2018)
Publication Date: October 26, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born on the east side of Michigan and moved to what we call the “west coast” when I was five. During my teens and twenties I lived all over (Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico) and moved back to west Michigan in 2010. I never thought I’d move back, and now I don’t plan to ever leave.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Marry rich? Haha, I kid. There are two kinds of people: those who write and those who do not. If you love to write, you will find a way to do it. I have a day job so I write in the morning and make that work for me. But I don’t have kids, and I seriously admire parents who write AND have day jobs. If you really want to write, you have to make the time for it and make it a habit, even if it’s not every day. The most important thing is to stick with it and believe you can do it.

What were your inspirations for the character development?
Once I decided that there would be more books after The Slope Rules, I knew I wanted to tell Brianna’s story. But I also knew that I couldn’t go straight into a book about her after the first one because she’s SO AWFUL. My main reasons for writing about her are 1) I wanted to show people that if you have a mean girl or bully in your life, there’s probably a reason they act that way. It doesn’t excuse it, but it helps you to understand. And 2) if you ARE that person, you don’t have to stay that way. Changing isn’t easy and the people you’ve treated poorly may not greet you with open arms, but it is possible.

In your newest book, THE EDGE RULES, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
Anyone who’s ever made a bad decision will love The Edge Rules. Former mean girl Brianna had everything, but when she’s busted shoplifting, she ditches her shallow ways and discovers being herself is easier than manipulating people. Filled with life-changing decisions, way too much highway trash, and new friendships where you least expect them, The Edge Rules is perfect for fans of outdoor adventure, swoony kisses, and figuring out who you really are.

Are there authors that you’re excited to engage/work with?
I’m in a YA contemporary romance anthology that came out this summer called The Art of Taking Chances, and I really enjoyed getting to know the other authors. I’ve since gotten to know a few of them even better and I’d love to collaborate on another project. (The ebook is free to download too!)

What part of Brianna did you enjoy writing the most?
My favorite part about Brianna is she doesn’t hold back and says whatever she’s thinking. When I was writing The Edge Rules, I had to keep reminding myself not to censor myself and to let her say the things she’s thinking. Some of what comes out of her mouth is HORRIBLE, but I think that’s what makes her so interesting as a character.

What book would you recommend for others to read?
I just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and it 100% lives up to the hype.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
Definitely Brianna. In The Slope Rules, she’s absolutely awful and I couldn’t believe the crap she pulled. The Trail Rules shows her becoming a little more vulnerable, but the reader isn’t quite sure what’s going on, so by the time we get to The Edge Rules, she’s ready to morph into a better person. I don’t want to give away too much about how she changes, but basically she realizes that if she doesn’t want to live her life alone, she needs to start opening up to other people and letting them see past her perfectly manicured exterior.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I can’t say a lot, but my next book is a psychological suspense. Still young adult, but definitely darker than my other books. I’m really excited to write it!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Drea from The Edge Rules and Biz from the Flicker series would get along, but Amelia (Biz’s best friend) and Sophia (from The Slope Rules) would be NONSTOP fun. I’ve never thought about this before, but now I’m intrigued…

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
My family Christmas in 2013. It was the second-to-last time my immediate family was together before my dad died (we were all together before he died, but he was already pretty sick). Christmas 2013 was the last normal time we all had together. Since then my brother and sister have both died as well.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
This actually came up today. I can’t go into specifics, but I wish I would have spoken up and pushed harder for someone in my past when a bad thing happened to her. I’ve always regretted not doing more, and it’s resurfaced recently. Life’s too short to not speak and live the truth.

What do you think is the single best decision you've made in your life so far?
Taking a chance on a guy six years younger than me, even though I’d recently been burned by someone else. We’ve been married over five years and as cheesy as it is, he completes me.

  • 1. Being in jail sucks. A lot. It’s cold and smells and you don’t want to know what’s smeared on the floor.
  • 2. Facing your enemies—especially when they used to be your friends—after you’ve hit rock bottom also really sucks. 
  • 3. You definitely want to wear plastic gloves when picking up trash on the side of the highway. And use the pokey stick whenever possible.
  • 4. When snowboarding for the first time, use the ‘falling leaf’ method: zig zag across the hill like you’re a leaf drifting in the wind. Just be careful not to crush your leaf.
  • 5. Judging others by their appearances will keep you from meeting some really cool people. Maybe even falling in love with one of them.
  • 6. Living on the edge—always controlling what people think about you and not letting them see the real you—is exhausting.
  • 7. Eating chicken molĂ© with fresh-made corn tortillas is as close to heaven as some people might ever get—but it might take a lot of tortillas to get through the meal.
  • 8. If you want to change who you are, don’t expect the people you tormented to welcome you with open arms. It IS possible to change, but you might need to make new friends.
  • 9. Putting someone else before yourself and helping them even if it means you won’t get what you want actually makes you feel pretty good.
  • 10. Sometimes you’ll find happiness where you least expected it.

Sixteen-year old Brianna had everything she wanted: money to ski all over the world, underlings to do her bidding, and parents who gave her every freedom—as long as she played by their rules. But when she’s busted shoplifting and assigned to the Chain Gang, she ditches her shallow ways and realizes being herself is easier than manipulating people.

Forced to partner with kids she’d never dream of befriending, including Xavier, a boy who makes her pulse go into hyperdrive, Brianna vows to be a better person. Breaking Old Brianna’s habits isn’t easy, but her infatuation with Xavier—someone her parents would never approve of—motivates her to keep trying.

Even when he convinces her to trade her swanky skis for a beat-up snowboard.

Brianna lets go of her need to control everything and finally starts to feel free—until her past threatens to jeopardize her first real chance at love. She discovers balancing on the edge is as challenging in life as it is in snowboarding, and when a new friend is in trouble, Brianna must decide between the superficial things that used to be her world and putting her friend’s safety before herself.

You can purchase The Edge Rules  at the following Retailers:


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