Q--Who are you?
I'm the mother of three and married to a computer programmer with rock star aspirations. I eat a lot, and exercise because I eat a lot, and I cook, because I eat a lot. I love to read, shop, travel, and veg in front of the TV with my husband.
Q--Tell us about your book, The List.
Ashley Barrett has a list of 25 things she's determined to do before she gets married. She's avoided relationships like the plague and enjoys her single status. She's spending the summer in Huntington Beach to cross #9 off of her list: learn to surf. But when she enlists super hot Matt Gibson to help, suddenly all of her carefully laid plans are threatened--and she's finding it hard to be upset.
Q--What’s on Ashley's list in The List?
She wants to do everything from sky dive to learn to make sushi. She's already scaled a mountain and lived abroad. She's still working on things like being an extra in a movie and running a triathlon. When she made the list at 18, she tried to put down anything she thought she couldn't do after she was married, and her stubborn streak drives her to keep the list intact regardless of whether she's outgrown some of her adolescent daydreams.
Q--What things on Ashley’s list have you done or would you like to do?
I've traveled Europe, seen a Broadway show, read all the standard works, taken a cruise and tried Internet dating. I think I'd like to get my masters degree someday and possibly be a movie extra, but that's about all I have in common with the rest of her list.
Q--On your website have the “10 Things About Me” list. Let’s talk about a few of these.
1. #6 Explain your allergy to crafts. It's so sad. My mother was a trained artist and amazingly talented, but I'm totally fumble-fingered. I inherited her creativity but not an ounce of her skill. Just about every time I try to do a little craft, I end up with rage issues. "Why will this inanimate object not do my bidding?"
2. #8 How did you become fluent in sign language? My parents were both deaf, so I guess it's by default.
3. #9 Tell us about your camel ride around the great pyramids! I was still single at 30 and so was my best friend. We decided we should do a really cool trip to mark our 30th year and Egypt sounded like a cool place to go. It was!
Q--If you could be a piece of fruit, what fruit would you be and why?
I'd be an avocado because my husband says I'd probably bleed guacamole.
Q--You say you are addicted to Scrabble (#10 on her 10 things list), what is your favorite word to use and how many points is it worth?
I'd love to be able to play the word "quiz" on a double letter triple word score. Suh-weet!
Q--So, let’s go along with the theme of your book. What would your “List” be?
Serve a mission with my husband, travel to Africa, master the art of pastry baking, learn to swim, and go back to classroom teaching.
Q--Finish this sentence: “If my children really knew...”
How much fun writing is, it would probably become "the family business."
Q--I think all writers have some guilty pleasure that they crave when the writing gets tough. You know, when you hit a wall or your MC has decided not to follow your outline. What’s yours?
I keep a two pound box of See's candy in "my" cupboard filled with only my favorite confections. I earn one every time I reach my daily writing goal.
Q--If you could have an imaginary friend (maybe you already do) what would their name be and what kind of things would you do or talk about with them?
Her name would be Sasha and she would be my shopping buddy. She would give me totally honest opinions about everything I tried on and enable every shopping impulse I had. Oooh, dangerous!
Q--What advice would you like to share with aspiring writers?
Just do it. You CAN find the time. Give up a little TV or get up a bit early. If you chip away at it a bit at a time, eventually you'll find yourself with a completed manuscript and that is an AMAZING feeling.
Q--What piece of advice do you wish you had taken seriously when you were trying to get published?
Uh, I have to say, my path to publication was a little easier than most. I took and used every piece of advice that I got, and it worked out well for me. I know that makes me a brat, but I'm super, super lucky.
Q--If you were stranded on a deserted island what (not who) would you miss most?
My laptop. It's my tether to reality and other grownups.
Q--If you could be any character from any book you’ve ever read who would it be and why?
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. He is a man of such incredible integrity. I'm more like Scout who has a good heart, but is too impulsive and quick to anger. It makes me a good person to have in your corner.
Thanks, Melanie! Your book sounds amazing!