Monday, September 10, 2012

Melissa Walker Author Interview

Book Nerd Interview

Melissa Walker is a writer who has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. All in the name of journalism, she has spent 24 hours with male models and attended an elite finishing school for girls in New Zealand, among other hardships.

She co-founded I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLEgirl Anne Ichikawa in 2009. It’s a daily newsletter about likable stuff.

Melissa lives in Brooklyn and has a BA in English from Vassar College. She would tell you her SAT scores too, but, you know, the math part was hard.

 She loves meeting teenagers, and is game to speak at your library or school about writing, books, fashion, magazines or pop culture (but, you know, in a smart way). Get in touch to discuss.

Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design and Violet in Private (Penguin), are the books in a trilogy about a small-town girl who is scouted to become a model and finds herself in the middle of the crazy fashion world. Lovestruck Summer (HarperTeen) is a beach read full of indie rock and cowboys.Small Town Sinners (Bloomsbury) is the story of a girl who wants to star in her Evangelical community’sHell House production.

Her latest novel, Unbreak My Heart (Bloomsbury) is the story of the year that broke Clementine’s heart, and the summer that healed it… on a boat!

Social Media

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

I'm kind of an open book, but I guess it might be surprising to learn that I had no idea instagram was social until like 2 months ago. I was just like "Pretty filters!" DUH.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

How to socialize, in elementary school; how to survive, in middle school; how to get good grades without working terribly hard, in high school; and how to have adult discussions, in college. After college I learned how to have discussions with people who have different beliefs from me (college was pretty homogenous).

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

"Just put your head down and keep writing." This is the second part of a sentence that may follow:
"Don't compare yourself to other authors..."
"Don't spend too much time on marketing..."
"Don't stress about why B&N didn't reorder..."
"Don't worry that no one nominated you for that library award..."
"Don't look at Goodreads..."

For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Unbreak My Heart, how would you introduce it?

It's a dual love story about the year that broke Clem's heart and the summer that healed it.

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

When he came on the scene, I thought his life was all rainbows and butterflies. It took me a while to figure out what was under his smile.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

Life exists in shades of gray, and the issues that Clem deals with are often presented in black and white, I find. I wanted to write the gray.

For those who are unfamiliar with Clementine, how would you introduce her?

She's a self-punishing girl whose guilt weighs her down, but luckily she has a great family and people around her to bring her back up.

Do you have a favorite quote that you keep visible in your work environment to help inspire you?

I like "A rising tide lifts all boats." I don't have it crocheted on a pillow, but I like it.

If you could introduce Clem to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Oh, probably someone like Anna Karenina, who suffers more global-scale tragedies, could put Clem's situation in perspective very quickly.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I have a book due out in Fall 2013, but it's still all rather secretive, partly b/c I'm not finished. For now, I can say that I have an essay in the DEAR TEEN ME anthology, out in late October.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Walk out in the world. Write down everything you think is funny, touching, sad--anything that gives you that little *ping* inside. Give those moments, those words, to your characters. And read what you've written aloud. You'll know if it sounds off.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?

Aside from "home" places, I absolutely adore Madrid, Spain. I studied there in college, went back in 2010 and I just know that it's forever in my heart.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, the first non-YA novel I've read in a long time. It was hugely addictive! I also read The Glass Collector by Anna Perera, which is an incredible novel about a boy named Aaron living in the slums of Cairo.

Who was your first boyfriend?

His name was Max. He's fantastic--still one of my best friends.

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

This question feels so ominous to me, so revealing. I can't think! My palms are getting sweaty. I'm not sure what that says about me. Sorry.

What's the worst summer job you've ever had?

I loved most of my summer jobs! But I did a stint at a restaurant in London where the waitstaff had to pool tips. I quit quickly--I wanted my own tips! I charmed customers for that cash!

When was the last time you cried?

Oh, man, probably this morning. I cry easily and often.

Where can readers stalk you?

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem’s heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti will flock to.

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker is an emotional and touching story narrated by the main character, Clementine “Clem” Williams. Summer has come as she, her parents, and younger sister, Olive, set out on a summer-long expedition on a sailboat. This may sound like the perfect getaway for a family but for Clem, it is not all that easy. Through her narration, readers quickly learn how she fell naively and effortlessly for Ethan and begin to understand her current state of uneasiness. Ethan is her best friend Amanda’s boyfriend. The book accounts all the emotional struggles she goes through and figuring out where things went wrong.

Often times, the subject of cheating can be straightforward and that it is completely wrong. However, Clem’s choices remind readers that the heart can be weak and indecisive, especially when it involves deep inner emotions. Melissa weaves a clever heart-wrenching story. Since Ethan partly diminished his wrong-doings in the calamity, Amanda forgave him and ultimately loathed Clem. Clem never got a chance to explain herself to her best friend.

Clem’s emotional roller coaster ride through heartbreak, confusion, and abandonment were all described in high details though Melissa’s powerful writing style. Unbreak My Heart is a heartfelt and realistic interpretation of the emotional struggles that teenage girls go through. Clem’s story of how she deals with this very real problem with herself, family, and friends is truly heart-touching but reminds us that there is hope afterwards for a restart.

You can purchase Unbreak My Heart at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Melissa for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Signed copy of Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like a really interesting read! It is a little out of my usual realm of things, but I think I am going to need to check this one out!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway, the book sounds like a great read!

  3. Thank you for the great giveaway.

  4. Thank you for this amazing giveaway!

  5. I really wanna read thus book. I love everything that Melissa writes. Thanks do much for donating and giving me the chance to win. So much fun!!


  7. Thank you for the giveaway! Cool! :D

  8. sounds great, thanks for the giveaway :)


  9. Thank you so much for the giveaway :)