Friday Feature | YAlicious Time Travel with Melissa Pearl

...Showcasing White Hot talent in Indie Fiction
It is my pleasure to welcome my first FRIDAY FEATURE Indie Author:
Melissa Pearl…The new voice in Time Travel in YA Fiction.
The new voice in Time Travel - Melissa Pearl (The Author)
Thank you for agreeing to be my first Indie author of 2012 on Dragonfly Scrolls.
Congratulations on the release of the complete trilogy now with the release of Pure Blood, the last book in the         Time Spirit Trilogy.
1) Tell us a little bit about Melissa Pearl, the woman behind The Time Spirit Trilogy.
I’m super excited about Pure Blood’s release. Having the trilogy complete is such a fantastic feeling. I really wanted to get them out close together so readers didn’t have to wait to find out what was going to happen.
Thanks for letting me be first interview for 2012 too. How cool.
i)  Who are you?
I am the mother of two young boys, the wife of a gorgeous school teacher and a passionate writer. I have grown up with stories dancing around in my brain, but I didn’t write my first one until I was 23. Ten years of learning and studying has flown by and I finally feel as though my work is good enough to be published. I am also a fully trained elementary teacher and particularly like teaching middle grade students. They are such a cool age. I think that’s one of the reasons I like writing YA.
ii)  What/Who inspires you?
My best friend was the one who inspired me to write my first book, but the actual stories come from all over the place. Songs, movies, concepts, poetry, nature. It only takes the smallest spark to ignite the imagination.
iii)  What is your “guilty pleasure” when not writing?
Watching movies. I love getting lost in a great story.
iv)  What is one thing about you that your readers/fans would be surprised to find out?
Hmmm – that’s a tough one. I’m quite an open and honest person, so I don’t tend to surprise people much.
How about this? I used to take kick boxing classes. Loved them. I suck at sport, but I love beating up a punching bag 🙂
2) You decided to go the Indie route and self-published your debut YA trilogy.
     Can you tell us why you went this route?
Had you tried the Big 6 route before deciding to go Indie?
It was a difficult decision and I took my time making it. I had been trying the Big 6 for a while, with no luck, but I really felt like my stuff was good enough to put out there. I also knew that traditional companies were sometimes hesitant to go for a trilogy. My brother suggested I check out self-publishing as he’s an avid reader and had enjoyed numerous indie authors. I decided to look into and realized that it was a very plausible option for me. I knew it would be really hard work and I wouldn’t have the backing of a publishing company or agent, but I liked the idea of being my own boss and I felt like I was up to the challenge. I figured my trilogy could spend the next 5 years sitting in my hard drive while I tried to win over a publishing company, or I could jump into the Indie river and see how far I got swept down stream.
3) What has been the biggest teeth-cutting lesson for you in going the Indie route?
I have learned sooooo many things on this journey and I am still learning all the time. I’m not a great marketer (so I’ve discovered) so I have found that aspect really challenging. Knowing who to target and how to target on a $0 budget has been really hard. If I could afford to hirer a marketing guru to work with me, I’m sure my sales would jump through the roof, but I can’t and so I will continue to take one step at a time. I am still gaining momentum, day-by-day, but it is a slow-moving vehicle 🙂
There is so much support out there in the writing world though and that has been a salvation. I think if I was doing this all over again, I’d take more time to research marketing strategy and build up my social media presence before putting my book on-line.
4) Now having released your debut trilogy yourself what tips would you give other pre-published writers?
Take your time. Edit until your eyes bleed. Get feedback from your critique partners, your beta readers and then keep working on the story until it’s brilliant. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to get your work properly line edited. No mistakes is always your ultimate goal.
You also want to take time to get your cover right. A professional looking cover speaks volumes. I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a graphic designer who generously offered to do the work for me. I’ll pay her back when I make my millions ;o)
Also read up on as much as you can. Make connections in the writing world. Get your book reviewed before it’s even released. Make yourself known throughout social media. You’ll get a following who are dying to support you. The writing world is a very warm and encouraging place to hang out.
5) What aspect of the business end of releasing your books was the highlight for you?
Seeing your book on-line, watching it sell and then having people write to you and tell you they LOVED it, is the biggest buzz in the world.
ii) What aspect of the business end was the most difficult to learn?
I still have much to learn, but it’s been hard wrapping my head around the best way to target and reach my audience. Getting exposure can be really challenging.
6) Can you give us a short summary of the process of self-publishing that you undertook?
I started by letting people know my intentions and getting some advice. I was led to Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing. These are both awesome places to publish your books. I decided to start with just e-book copies of my books, but have since realized that putting paperbacks out is also a really good idea. Hence the reason this trilogy will be re-released in paperback with new covers in March, April & May.
I read every thing I possibly could on both sites until I felt comfortable that I knew what I was doing. Smashwords has fantastic information, outlining everything really clearly. It made formatting the book a breeze and I didn’t have any issues uploading my book as I had followed everything to the letter.
Once Golden Blood was up, I then started looking at marketing (as I said earlier, this is possibly the wrong way around, but it has still worked for me). I e-mailed numerous sites to review my book and heard back from about 50% of them. I also got linked into sites that would support me and promote my books. YA Lit Chat has been awesome, as well as all the great groups on Facebook. Goodreads is another excellent site. It’s all about getting exposure for your book.
I participated in a blog tour in December, which brought a ton of traffic through my blog and gained me a steady flow of new followers on Twitter. I also have a big blog tour coming up at the end of March. I have my fingers crossed for good things.
7) What has been your best marketing strategy or promotional strategy in both building your brand as a YA author and selling your books?
Getting in with people who have some influence and sway is a really good move. I am hoping for really good results from this blog tour in March. I guess I have to wait and see how that goes, but bringing traffic through your sites and getting exposure is a great way to go. I also think giveaways and sales are a really good move. I made Golden Blood available for free for two weeks leading up to the release of Black Blood. I had a whole bunch of people grab it, so that was worth doing.
8)  In terms of marketing and promotional strategies:
Do you think there is a different strategy in releasing a trilogy compared to a stand-alone title and what is the difference, if any?
I was advised, that if I could, I should release the trilogy close together. The more books you have out there, the more potential for sales. I took that advice on board and released them quickly… maybe too quickly? It’s been really hard to build up much momentum for Black Blood (Bk 2) as Golden Blood is still getting off the ground. At this stage, I’m still spending quite a bit of time promoting the first book. I really hope it has a good flow on effect. If people love Golden Blood then they will hopefully be after Black Blood and it will be immediately available for them. However, I am going to spend some time shifting my focus to Black Blood and Pure Blood leading up to the paperback releases.
I guess if you only have one title to promote, it would be a lot easier in that regard, because you’d only be pushing one book.
9) What was the best advice; if any, you received from other Indie authors or even traditionally published authors?
I read a blog post by Patti Larsen about the Dos and Don’ts of Indie writing. It was SUCH a good post and I found it so encouraging. The thing that really stuck out for me was – don’t worry about constantly checking your stats and fussing, just write another book 🙂 She had lots of great advice, but her main point was to write another book.
10) What is your best advice to up and coming authors whether choosing to be self-published, small press published or Big 6 published?
Write because you love it. Write a story that will capture people’s hearts and minds. As awesome as this industry is, being a writer is really hard work. If you find yourself slogging along and hating it, then you should probably stop. Whichever path you choose to take in the publishing world it’s going to be really challenging and there will be days you feel like a totally crap writer or that no one will ever accept your manuscript or buy your book.
I have been riding a roller coaster ever since taking the plunge. I can go from a low to a high to a low, all in one day, but not once have I wanted to quit. You have to take all the hard stuff on the chin and just keep writing.
11) Tell us why you decided to go YA fiction. Have you always be drawn to YA fiction and why?
I have always loved high school movies and books. There’s something about teenagers that I just adore. They are so passionate about life. They think they are invincible yet can be totally insecure as well. I love the way they fall in love with everything they have. They are complex, awesome, fascinating beings. That’s why I like to write about them 🙂
12) Do you have a favourite YA author and why?
I really like Simone Elkeles – she writes excellent stories with lots of emotion and tension. I find her books really hard to put down. I quite like Ally Carter as well. She has a fantastic sense of humour. I also have a long list of indie YA authors on my “to read” list so keep an eye out for my reviews. I’m bound to discover more brilliance as I work my way through these books.
13) If you could throw a dinner party with two of your favourite characters from your own books and four from other authors’ books:
Tell us who would be on the guest list and tell us what food would be served?
What a great question 🙂 I love it.
My two favourite characters from the Time Spirit Trilogy are Harrison and Gabe.
Along with them, I’d invite Kat and Gabrielle from the Heist Society Series (Ally Carter), because they are just fantastic, funny & very entertaining.
I’d also love to be joined by Mark & his best friend, Brian from Screwing Up Time (C. M. Keller)
So that would give us two gorgeous, sassy girls, three very likeable teenage guys and one relaxed father figure.
Food wise, we’d have to go for pizza 🙂
14) What do you want readers to get out of reading your books?
I want to provide them with an entertaining story that they struggle to put down. I want them to be thinking about the characters when they’re not reading. I want them to step out of reality for a little while and get lost in someone else’s emotional and physical adventures.
ii)  Do you have an overall premise/message/theme that guides your stories?
The overall message for the Time Spirit Trilogy is about breaking free. As Gemma walks this journey throughout the books she is learning to fight for what she wants and ultimately gain her freedom.
Each book has a main theme that drove me through the stories…
Golden Blood – hope
Black Blood – betrayal
Pure Blood – sacrifice
5) Your trilogy has elements of time travel in it.
i) Have you always been fascinated with time travel.
Yes – I love history. The idea of being able to travel back and see it with my own eyes is tantalizing.
ii) What other time travel stories, if any,  have inspired your own trilogy?
To be honest, I haven’t read many time travel stories. I quite like that I haven’t, because it means all my ideas were fresh to me. In saying that, I have seen a few time travel movies I enjoyed like, Timeline and of course the Back To the Future series (how old am I?)
16) Do you have a favourite out of the three books of your trilogy and why?
Black Blood is my favourite. I’m not even sure why. I just really love Gemma’s journey through that book. I feel like she really starts to come into her own and discover the strength she has buried deep down inside her.
ii) Do you have a favourite character from the trilogy? Who is it and why?
I love Gabe. I don’t want to say too much, because of spoilers, but Gabe is the coolest guy. He’s calm, relaxed… a brilliant contrast to all of Gemma’s turmoil.
7) A trilogy can be tricky to write and release. Some readers love them, others don’t.
For readers: Does your trilogy need to be read in the order it was written to be best appreciated?
Yes – very much so. I actually wrote all three books in one go. There is a big story arc that spans the three books and then three smaller arcs inside that (one for each book). To understand all the links and subplots, you really need to read them in order.
18) You have come to the end of this trilogy now. It must have a bittersweet feel to it.
Are you working on anything new? Can you give us a sneak peek/blurb?
I have a few things in the pipeline.
The next book to be released (hopefully July this year) is co-authored with a friend of mine, Brenda Howson. It is the first book in the Mica & Lexy series. These books will stand on their own and not need to be read in any particular order. We are hoping to release one a year. They follow the adventures of two kiwi girls who have been best friends forever. As they reach their senior years in high school, their friendship is put under different pressures as the girls acquire boyfriends and have to deal with the new dynamics. On top of this, they have the uncanny ability to get themselves in the worst situations, so each book will be filled with plenty of tension and nail biting. I’m really excited about this series. I love these two girls so much and we have so many cool adventures planned for them.
I am also in the early planning stages of a stand alone paranormal romance called Betwixt… about a girl who is hit by a car. She is lying in the forest, lost and dying, stuck between two worlds. In her ghost like form, the only person who can hear her is a boy who just happens to hate her guts. With the clock ticking, she must convince him to help her and then do whatever she can to find out where she is so that he can save her life.
19) Where can readers find your books?
ii) Where can readers find you online?
I have two blogs: (co-authored with Brenda Howson)
I love connecting with people, so please leave a comment anywhere and I will always do my best to respond.
20) Lastly what do you want to say to your fans and readers, if anything?
I have had some fantastic feedback on these books and it warms my heart everytime. My goal was to write stories that entertained and were really hard to put down. To read the reviews and realize I am doing just that, totally makes my day. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review or rate my books or leave a comment on any of my pages. It means so much to me.
For those of you who haven’t read my stuff yet, I really hope you enjoy it 🙂
To celebrate the release of the final book in The Time Spirit Trilogy, Melissa Pearl has decided to give away 2 complete ebook sets of this trilogy to commentors of this post. If you would like to be a lucky recipient of this awesome YA trilogy from a fresh voice in the YA fiction world…then just tweet the following tweet:
I am traveling in time with the YAlicious Time Spirit Trilogy by @MelissaPearlG Check out this exciting new YA author and her trilogy!
  • The first 2 tweets will be the lucky winners but make sure you comment on this post with the URL of your tweet.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Melissa. I look forward to your next release and wish you many sales with the Time Spirit Trilogy. 

The Time Spirit Trilogy

by Melissa Pearl

They were an enigma. Throughout the ages there had only ever been rumors of these mysterious people who appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly, whispers of swirling gold dust, unexplained piles of abandoned clothing left in dark alleys. Only a select few had glimpsed the reality and they chose not to speak of it. They knew the truth needed guarding. These people were special… chosen. Created for the sole purpose of changing history.


Purchase here on Amazon

Purchase here on Smashwords

St. Augustine, Florida – 2011 AD


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Daytona Beach, Florida – 2011AD


Purchase here on Amazon
Purchase here on Smashwords
Rome, Italy – 2006AD

Warrior Wednesday~Dee White

Close-up with Dee White

Hi Dee. Before we continue with the meaty part of this interview, allow me to give you a little drum roll to my readers. I guess the first thing I would have to mention is that we met through a wonderful Facebook group called Word Warriors. All the writers in this group were from around the globe in every corner, nook and cranny however we were united by one lofty goal: to write a 50 000 word in 1 month in November 2010. From the first I felt a kindred spirit in Dee. Yes, we are neighbours (across the ditch between New Zealand and Australia) but more than that this is a person who impressed me from the first with her gentle positivity and quirky sense of down-to-earth humor. Over the last 3 months I have grown to genuinely like, respect and admire Dee as an extraordinary person, a talented writer and a person who I am proud to call a friend. Dee and I have not met in person yet but it feels like I have known her for longer than a mere 3 months. I am looking forward to meeting up with Dee next month and I know that the chatter will be easy and flowing. I have since started following and subscribing to Dee’s wonderful blog devoted to all aspects of writing where she gives good advice to all who have the writing bug. Now, I know that my readers are eager to jump into the meaty part of this Close Up Interview, so without further ado…..

Welcome Dee…

girl with  a quill: Tell me a little about yourself and who you are?

Dee: I’m a children’s and YA author who loves being a mum to two amazing boys. I’m married to my soul mate (25 years this year) and I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. I’m a sucker for a homeless animal (we even have a stray rabbit) and I live in a town that has more kangaroos than people. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a writer and am so lucky to be living my dream.

girl with a quill: How long have you been writing?

Dee: Since I was seven years old and I wrote a poem about a tree and was asked to read it at school assembly.

girl with a quill: You write YA and children’s books. What made you decide to become a writer in this genre?

Dee: I think you write for the age that you are in your head – so I guess that means I never matured beyond my teen years:) Having kids in this age group also helps but I think one of the things I particularly like about writing YA is that teen readers want truth. They want to know what’s happening and why and they don’t want you to sugar-coat it. I feel like I can be honest and true to myself in YA writing.

girl with a quill: How many books have you published?

Dee: Four

girl with a quill: Which of these books is your favourite and why?

Dee: They’re all favourites in different ways. I loved writing a Duel of Words because it’s about an important time in Australia’s history. Hope for Hanna was also special to me because I know it has inspired kids in Australia to raise money for villages in Uganda where the story is set. Harry’s Goldfield Adventure is one of the first stories I ever wrote (even though it’s the most recent one to be published) and it features my cat, Charlie.

But I’d have to say my absolute favourite up to now is Letters to Leonardo. I loved the idea of the story as soon as it came into my head and it was great to be able to incorporate Leonardo da Vinci and his works in my novel because I have been fascinated with him for as long as I can remember. The other thing about Letters to Leonardo was that it took a good dose of determination and belief in my story to get it to publication – over 10 years, more than 30 drafts and over 1 million words on paper.

girl with a quill: Are you working on a new story now? Can you tell us anything about it?

Dee: I’m one of those people who is always working on something new. When I finish a draft I put it away for a month and work on something else so then I can go back to the original manuscript with fresh eyes and I seem to pick up lots of things that need editing. At the moment I am working on a YA thriller and an MG humorous adventure series about a junior scientist whose experiments always go badly wrong. My YA novels are always set in the real world and are usually fairly intense so it’s good to have something funny to be working on at the same time.

girl with a quill: Being based in Australia, do you base your stories there?

Dee: I suppose I write with an Australian voice because that’s where I’ve grown up, but most of my settings are generic except for Hope for Hanna which is set in Uganda.

girl with a quill: Would your stories be different if you were not in Australia and why?

Dee: I don’t think my stories would be different but I suppose my experiences would be. Most of my books are character and plot based so they could happen anywhere in the western world.

girl with a quill: Being a YA writer, do you have any famous influences that you look to in this genre? If you do, Who is your biggest influence and why?

Dee: John Marsden (author of Tomorrow When the War Began and many other great books) would have to have been my biggest influence initially. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to tackle serious issues that teens face – and he also taught me the importance of having an authentic teen voice.  I’m also inspired by the amazing works of Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson.

girl with a quill: Would you say that it is more difficult or easier to write for young people as opposed to writing for adults?

Dee: I think it really depends on who you are and who you are at heart – that’s where your writing voice comes from. I think at heart I might really be a 15-year-old boy. Not sure how that happened:) There are usually fewer words in books for young people but in some ways the readership is more discerning and you are competing with the electronic age so the writing has to be tighter.

girl with a quill: Did you know what genre you wanted to write in from the beginning of your writing career? Or did you experiment with a few genres?

Dee: When my kids were really small I wrote picture books and as they got older, the age of my readership has changed too. I think I’ve always had two kinds of books – the ones I write for me (usually YA) and the stories I write for my kids (these are appropriate to their age and stage in development). Some of my books for younger readers are set in the fantasy world but all of my YA are based on real events and are set in contemporary times.

girl with a quill: I know from our many online chats, that you are a mother as well as a writer. Do you tend to have your children be your beta readers?

Dee:  Both my boys are great beta readers. They pick up all sort of voice and language inconsistencies, ‘boring bits’, plot issues etc (as well as typos). They are both quite good writers themselves and my youngest (aged 12) is currently on the second draft of a novel that will probably be around 20,000 words when it’s finished.

girl with a quill: You have a website and a blog. Do you think it is important for authors to build a public platform on the web? And Why?

Dee:  A public platform on the web is a great way to connect with your readers from all over the world. It also showcases your work to prospective agents, publishers and readers and gives them a sense of who you are. I did a fourteen day blog tour with Letters to Leonardo and when I launched it at Byron Bay Writer’s festival people bought the book because they had followed my blog tour and it made them want to read the book. So I think that having an online presence helps with direct sales too.

girl with a quill: Being a steady blogger, do you find that your blogging helps you in your writing skills and how?

Dee: Blogging is good for getting an idea across within a limited number of words, and these skills are useful in writing query letters and pitches. These skills are also helpful to a writer in identifying the important things in their own story. I also review books at my blog and I learn a lot about writing from reading other people’s work. Reviewing makes me delve deeper and look at how and why an author has written the book that way and what I like or don’t like about their methods and the end result. It helps me to be more analytical about my own writing.

girl with a quill: What would be the 3 pieces of advice you could give to an aspiring author for young people?

Dee: Read as much as you can, write as much as you can, don’t give up.

girl with a quill: Tell us a little about your writing process…How do you start a story?

Dee: For me a story idea tends to pop into my head and then the main character comes next. For example this is the idea that came to me for Letters to Leonardo – what if a boy received a letter on his fifteenth birthday from the mother he thought was dead? Next I started thinking about this fifteen year-old boy and how he would feel and respond to this event. He became Matt Hudson. I ‘interviewed’ Matt to find out more about him and the story kind of evolved from there. His behaviour was the catalyst for events that followed.

girl with a quill: Are you a panster or a plotter?

Dee: Definitely a plotter – or maybe I’m both. Often the creation of the story line is a fluid, free thinking process then once I know who is in the story and what is going to happen to them, I put the plot points in place. I guess this article at my blog best describes how I work:)



girl with a quill:

You took part in NaNoWriMo2010. Was this your first NaNoWriMo? What if anything did you learn from your NaNoWriMo experience?

Dee:  it was my first NaNoWriMo. I learnt how motivating it is to work alongside other writers and how much fun it is to be part of an international writing community and chat group so there’s always someone online 24/7.

girl with a quill: Writers can be superstitious people. Are you superstitious when it comes to your writing? Can you give us some examples if you are?

Dee: I don’t think so. Although I don’t write under ladders. I used to get my kids to kiss the envelopes before I posted them but I gave up on that after a while.

girl with a quill: You often hear of “Muses” in the same context with creative people. Do you have a Muse? If you do, can you tell us about your Muse? Who or What is it?

Dee: Okay, now you’re probably going to think this strange, but my muse is a goat called Molly. My study looks out over her paddock and all is right with the world when she’s there grazing or sitting on a rock looking out towards the river. In the mornings, she likes to break out of her paddock and come to the front door to say hello. I guess she embodies the qualities you need to be a writer – kindness (she is particularly loving to the dog and likes to give her a massage), determination (If I haven’t said good morning to her she breaks out of the paddock and comes to see me), a sense of adventure, fearlessness (she comes for a walk with the dog up and down the road) and a love of life and everybody in it.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?

Dee:  This is just the way I write, but characters and how they respond to events are what drive my stories. I become very attached to my characters and they ‘live’ in my house, my head and my heart. Particularly with YA novels, I think it’s the character that readers engage with.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?

Dee: People who have read Letters to Leonardo might be surprised to hear me say this, but it would have to be Troy, Matt’s best friend. Troy is everything I wanted in a best friend when I was fifteen.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?

Dee: This is a completely impossible question to answer:) I think that Harry Potter is a great character because he engages the reader and makes them care about him so much. I loved Mrs Danvers in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca because even though she didn’t appear in the story much I felt like I knew exactly who she was. I also really loved Ed Kennedy in Markus Zusak’s, The Messenger. Ed is pretty hopeless at most things but he is a deceptively complex character.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?

Dee:  John Marsden, Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, Meg Rosoff and Jacqueline Wilson. So then we could talk about my favourite subject, great YA books.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?

Dee: I’m not a posh dinner party kind of girl so I’d probably go for a Roald Dahl Dinner Party with Fantastic Mr Fox (and Mrs Fox), The Big Friendly Giant, Matilda and Willie Wonker and the dinner party would have to be in a chocolate factory (and that means I’d have to invite my boys as well).

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?

Dee:  Don’t submit things until they’re ready.

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?

Dee:  Be patient (even more than you already are:)

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?

Dee:  That my writing has meant something to be people – been inspirational – maybe even changed lives.

Dee White

Out now:   Letters to Leonardo
Harry’s Goldfield Adventure
Thank you Dee for taking us through a fascinating close up of your life, your inspirations and your process of writing. I know I speak on behalf  of my readers to say that this has indeed been a fascinating interview. I look forward to your books reaching ever widening audiences throughout the globe.
Remember wield your quill with wit and wisdom for…
The Quill is swifter than the rapier,
Ink imbrues deeper than blood…

~ girl with a quill