Here comes author interview number 7! Hooray! it is my pleasure to introduce Ms. Melissa Lee LeGette!
What is your author name? Or do you use a penname instead?M.L. LeGette, but my full name is Melissa Lee LeGette.
What is the title of the book you’re currently writing?Quest for Milo. The first draft is nearly completed. I keep shifting between being really proud of it to being really worried it’s missing great chunks of information. I’m fickle.
What is the genre of your book?
Fantasy. Middle grade. But more than anything it’s a fun (hopefully silly) adventure.
What inspires you to write?
That’s an interesting question. It’s rather hard for me to put my answer into words. Inspiration comes in so many forms and at such random times! Sometimes it’s a song. Sometimes a walk in the woods gets the spark ignited. Other times it’s a glass of red wine or a box of chocolates. What I have noticed though is that inspiration usually always hits when I am particularly happy.
The first time I remember writing creatively for fun was when I was stuck at my dad’s law office. I don’t remember how old I was, but still too young to be left alone at home, so pretty young. I was supposed to be entertaining myself and out of the blue, I started writing this silly autobiography. It was packed with misspelled words and utter randomness, but I had had a total blast writing it. I was so absorbed that I didn’t even realize I was writing. And that I was big for me because I had an awkward love/hate relationship when it came to books. Why did the urge to write hit then at that time? I have no idea. I believe that if writing is in your blood, you’ll find yourself doing it. Simple as that.
Self-publish or traditional publishing, and why?
I am self-published. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be if I was on the traditional path — I’m not even sure if I would still be writing with the constant hail storm of rejection emails and distant hopes. I’m already very hard on myself and to always be in the dark, hoping that someone somewhere would give me a chance at publishing would crush me. I’m not made of the right stuff to travel down that road.
Which is why I am SO grateful that the self-publishing option exploded when I decided to become a published writer. Both publishing sides have their pluses and minuses. I understand the allure of having a team of marketers and agents and publicists all working to help you succeed. There are times when I envy that, especially when I am struggling to self promote myself. But on the other hand, I love the fact that I call all the shots. I make all the choices: what I want to write, when I write it, what my cover will be, how I promote it, how often I promote, etc, etc. And even though these choices and responsibilities are overwhelming at times, they’re still my choices and that is powerful. It’s a fabulous thing to be the boss of your own career. Self-publishing has allowed me to do the thing that I love and be self-employed.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
I’ve always found it difficult to give fellow writers advice, as I’m still very much in the thicket of trying to learn, but I’ll try.
1. Try not to give your ego too much importance. Don’t get me wrong. We need our egos. They help us critique our work and help us improve, but egos can easily run amok and turn on us, making us feel worthless, often leaving us believing that we are the WORST writers in history. There’s a fabulous video of Elizabeth Gilbert talking about the danger of putting too much weight on our egos and the beauty of creativity. She’s spot on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA
2. Embrace revision. Realize that most of the time spent on your novel will be spent revising. Pass it around to friends and family. If you’re game for critiquing groups, take it there, too. Listen to what your readers say even if you don’t agree with them. This process will help you find your voice and help you learn to stand by it. And remember, there is no rush to publish — especially now that we can publish so easily. Give your manuscript the time and focus it deserves to blossom.
3. Find a confidant and share your brainstorming with them. I often find that many problems I have in my own manuscript get worked out this way. Plus I am left energized!
4. Always, ALWAYS keep it fun. If you’re sitting at your computer, grumbling at the screen, take a break. Walk away. Give it space. You and the manuscript will be better for it.
Thanks so much Melissa!