I first heard of Melissa Marr on her agent’s LiveJournal. At the time, she was just another YA fantasy author. and these days, they are a dime a dozen.
Then I found my way to her community, Fangs, Fur & Fey, and then to her own LiveJournal. She is one of those rare bloggers who manage to endear themselves to you purely because of their blogging voice.
I haven’t yet read Wicked Lovely, but I hope to soon, and I do believe I will adore this lovely lady’s debut novel.
For now, here’s Melissa, in her own words.
1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.
I like to linger around 6–not quite on the stable side of sane, but not too near self-destructive. I’ve spent time on both sides of the scale, but 6 is a good spot to aim for–and according to family, a natural one for me. I was born under a full moon & grew up loving this wonderful myth that sleeping outside under a full moon can cause insanity (or lycanthropy). I’ve never developed shape shifting skills, but my level of sanity is never all the way towards the sane side. I like it this way.
2. Oooooh Fairies! Since you write about them, maybe you have an idea why we are so very fascinated by them?
If we’re talking about older lore–the sort I use for my source texts–I’d say we’re fascinated by the lure of shadows and variable morality. In faery lore, we have emotional vampires (leannan sidhe), seducers whose touch is deadly (gancanagh), tricksters whose form changes (pouka), and myriad others. They’re either wicked or lovely or maybe both (hence my title). They may reward us immeasurably or destroy us on a whim. With the faeries of old, we can have all the allure of a vampire or shapeshifter, but not the familiarity of being formerly mortal. They are Other in the fullest sense, and I suspect that we find that otherness attractive. I know I do.
3. There are some whose passion for literature was burnt out by being schooled in it. For you, it doesn’t appear to have been the case. Did you have someone in particular, perhaps a teacher or mentor, who shared with you her/his passion?
My reading is ridiculously eclectic, so there was never any fear that I’d lose my passion for text. I’ve had a few teachers along the way who fostered that. In 6th grade, my teacher handed me a creative writing book & told me I was a born writer so I’d better start writing. My high school art teacher sponsored my friends and me in founding a “literary magazine” at the school. In college my department let me take “independent studies” courses if there wasn’t an existing course in my interests. They let me have a lot of freedom. Then in grad school, I met the two professors who took all these freedoms and added some discipline. They encouraged my passions (and allowed me more directed studies), but they pushed me to challenge myself.
4. Do you miss teaching? Have you thought about going back, even if you don’t have to?
I never taught because I had to: I actually bartended so I could afford to teach. There’s this amazing energy that happens when a class “gets it.” It’s a great rush. I miss teaching, sometimes more than I should admit, I suspect. Seeing a student develop her/his writing or find a better grasp of the material–it’s an incredible thing. On good days, I could come out of classes or my office feeling like the world was perfectly aligned–and there were a lot of good days.
I’d love to do guest lectures here or there, but I don’t have the time to devote to a full semester course just now. I’d rather do a good job at either teaching or writing, than try to do a half-decent job at both.
5. Did Wicked Lovely just come to you as a young-adult novel? Or were you specifically setting out to write a young-adult novel?
I had no plan either way. When the main character presented herself, she was in her later teens, so I went with it. My characters often come as full personalities, so I am trying to roll with their wishes. If Ash had been 30, I would’ve been writing an adult novel.
I get that some folks “write to the market” or what have you. I’m not that organized. I just write what Ms Muse directs, about the worlds she shows me, with the characters she introduces me to . . . This time she directed a YA urban fantasy book. I don’t know that I’ll stay in this area or even continue writing long term. It’s all up to Ms Muse.
6. Since you asked for six questions rather than seven, what mystical power does the number six have?
I don’t know that I’d call it mystical, but six is my favourite number. I’ve been fond of the number for years. I love symbolism and myth and seeking patterns. Six fits with all of that. Six was the number of creation in Sumerian myth (among others). It’s symbolically the number of balance, luck, & harmony according to other sources. I like seeing patterns. 6 is a pattern for me: in college, my post office box was 666; I lived in room 606. My son was born on 10/14 (1+1+4=6). My first offer for my book was March 6th, 2006. My ISBNs are riddled with 6s. My release date is the 6th month, 12th day.
Encouraging sixes in an event makes me feel better. I have 2 sets of 6 lilies tattooed on me. Ms Muse is 6″ x 12″ on my back. I prefer a 6 in my flights or phone number or addresses or . . . Hmm, maybe this should be part two of that first question about sanity ;) It’s a touch odd, I hear, but it pleases me so unless it becomes debilitating I don’t see any reason to question it.