Interview: Melissa A. Petreshock, new adult author

Today I’m interviewing Melissa A. Petreshock, whose debut novel, Fire of Stars and Dragons (book one in the Stars and Souls trilogy), comes out with Swoon Romance in March 2014.

Your Stars and Souls trilogy has dragons, vampires, elves and at least one demigod. If you could transform into any of those types of critter, what would you choose and why?

Definitely, it would not be an elf. I’m not a violent person, and they are a warrior race. The deities hold themselves to such a high set of standards, though they do often fall short. I think I’d be setting myself up for failure there. Lol. The dietary restrictions of the vampires might be difficult for me — too many things I’d have to give up. I’d have to say a dragon, though I’m not sure how they’d feel about a female dragon among the brotherhood. However, I’d love to be able to travel and have a serious distrust of airplanes. I will fly on them, but they make me extremely nervous. Just to be able to shift from human form to dragon form and go wherever I wanted to would be cool.

Melissa A. Petreshock

Melissa A. Petreshock

Is the world of Stars and Souls, which you describe as 22nd century sovereign America, an Earth-like parallel, or a fantastical future Earth? How did you dream it up?

Technically, it’s a bit of both and slightly dystopian. Essentially, it is this world only the year is 2189 when it opens. All supernatural beings have come out of the shadows and made themselves known to the public during a revolutionary period in Earth’s history. America has seen significant changes. The supernatural beings have taken over, creating a monarchy, so we now live in United Sovereign America with the nearly 2500 year old vampire King Corrin ruling. Being less powerful, the humans have become rather repressed within society, particularly women; though the laws are intended to “protect” them, that’s not how certain women feel, despite this way of life being the only one known to them for generations.

The concept is a combination of pure fantasy and a fantastical statement of political and social views. It’s a magnified and extreme concept of corrupted power, dysfunctional leadership, and the desire to make a difference. As well, my female main character Cait is a defined statement to young women that it’s not necessary to allow yourself to be pegged into a hole determined by society. There is more within you than outside influences may tell you, and sometimes it takes just a little support, encouragement, and a lot of courage to face the world head on, no matter what obstacles you face.

If you could give one piece of advice to a writer starting their first novel, what would it be?

Don’t write to the market. Always write the story you believe in, the story you feel in your heart and in your gut. Fads in the market come and go, but if you believe in your writing wholeheartedly and put the work into it, eventually you will find someone else, be it an agent or a publisher, who has the same enthusiasm about it. I went out on a limb by writing what I did, totally unique romantic heroes and incorporating political/societal statements in the underlying story, but my publisher fell in love with it. I signed with Swoon because Georgia had the same excitement in her voice when we spoke on the phone that I feel when talking about my work.

You describe yourself as a music addict, and have the 32-song playlist for Fire of Stars and Dragons on your website. I’m in awe and a little jealous, because I usually write in silence! What song are you listening to in your writing right now, and what sort of scene is it for?

Oh my… With 13 chapters finished, Blood of Stars and Gods already has a 20-song playlist, but the second book will be longer than the first. I’m absolutely a music addict. I have over 50GB of songs on my laptop and download stuff regularly. If I didn’t have a specific method for choosing songs, I’d have to write in complete silence, and I do edit in silence. Words flow with music, but edits require deep concentration. At least that’s my process.

Choosing the right songs for the scenes I write makes the difference between being able to write with music playing or not. They have to fit the emotional tone or events within the scenes or chapters of the book. If you listened to the entire playlist for Fire of Stars and Dragons, you’d have a great sense of the feelings the characters experience before you ever read a word of the book.

Currently, my iTunes is set to “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight” by Switchfoot, which after the way chapter 13 ended, comes into where the specific character I’m writing for stands both in his emotional state and the reason behind actions you’ll see him take. He isn’t willing to give up, even though he’s facing what seems like insurmountable obstacles. If the greater part of your destiny is predefined, what is worth the risk of consequences to fight for what you want and believe you deserve? Where does the line between right and wrong fall when you’re sure your goal is justified?

What book release are you looking forward to in the next three months?

Well, I have several friends releasing books soon, and I’m looking forward to all of them. One of my beta readers, Zara Hoffman’s first book, The Belgrave Daughter comes out on 14 October. A terrific friend of mine, Joshua J. Johnson, has his first book releasing on 29 October, a middle grade book called Bones on the Surface that I’m looking forward to reading with my 9yo son. Erin Albert’s The Prophecy sounds incredibly exciting, and so does Kristen Strassel’s Because the Night, both November debut releases. Then Josh also has Soulless, a thrilling YA novel coming out on 30 November . These are all on my Goodreads TBR shelf.

I’ll confess though, I’ve now received eARCs of The Belgrave Daughter and Because the Night, so I really only have to wait for the others. 😉

About the author:

Debut New Adult paranormal/fantasy romance author, Melissa A. Petreshock lives on a small farm in rural Kentucky with her genius husband, three exceptional children, and their feline overlords.

When not inhaling or exhaling words, she subsists on unnatural doses of coffee, sarcasm, and music. Melissa can often be found singing and dancing around her house or randomly doing Zumba routines, if not playing Wii Just Dance with her kids. She also fangirls The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Falling Skies and True Blood like a total freak.

Spending most of her time weaving myths, reality and imagination into a fantasy of dragons, deities, vampires and elves in a world she created, Melissa often forgets she lives where there are no dragons or faeries in the woods surrounding her house. (But she never stops hoping…)

You can find her at her website, on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Instagram. (NEEDS MOAR SOCIAL MEDIA!)

About the writing:

Stars & Souls Trilogy is a New Adult fantasy/paranormal romance set in a world filled with shapeshifting dragons, a powerful demigod, an ancient vampire monarch, and a sassy human chick keeping them all on their alpha male toes.

Fire of Stars and Dragons… Undying love. Timeless bonds. Eternal consequences.

Coming March 2014 from Swoon Romance

In 22nd-century sovereign America, archaic laws declare 21-year-old Caitriona Hayden a neglected dependent following the death of her uncle, landing the sassy and self-reliant high society young woman in the midst of a trio of quintessential alpha male suitors in a world where human females should be seen and not heard.

Theo Pendragon claims her as his ward, ordained to guard her through to a long-awaited destiny unbeknownst to Cait, but finds more than he expected when passion ignites within the dragon for the first time.

Always drawn to the pursuit of knowledge rather than the heat of desire, powerful demigod Dante cannot deny everything his future holds in Caitriona.

America’s monarch, ancient vampire Corrin, has no interest in the frivolity of love, yet marrying Cait could be the answer to his continued survival.

Thrown from studying for college exams to facing matters of life and death, eternity and destiny, loyalty and love, revenge and deception, Cait must choose a husband knowing the consequences are eternal, the love undying, the bond timeless.

Blood of Stars and Gods… Blood saves. Blood lies. Blood runs between sacrifice and gain.

In progress. Release to be determined.

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