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Presenting ... Melissa Marr!

Melissa Marr burst onto the writing scene in 2007 with her YA urban fantasy, Wicked Lovely, and now she's back: Ink Exchange, set in the same world but with less familiar characters, comes out on April 29th. You can preorder it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a myriad of other places (listed on her website, which is full of cool information about her books and writing habits). Her first book, Wicked Lovely, has also inspired WickedLovely.com, a fansite dedicated to the work of Melissa Marr. It includes a discussion forum, icons (usable on LJ, among other places), and fanfic.

Melissa took the time to sit down for a virtual interview with me, and I hope you'll join us now. Sit back, relax ... and have fun!

Aislinn, the main character of WICKED LOVELY, sometimes seemed to be in a no-win situation. How did you, the writer, keep from getting entangled along with her? Did you have the resolution worked out ahead of time?

Emotionally, I don't keep from getting entangled. I'm a walking moodswing when I write some of these sections. It's the benefit of switching my pov though: I don't write just one character, so I can get respite from a particular character's conflicts. With Wicked Lovely, Ink Exchange, & Enthralled (the sequel to WL), I had a general resolution before I wrote it. Truth be told, I have a resolution for later texts too, but these aren't always precise resolutions. I don't have an outline, but a general list of destintions that might be good to visit. Writing is like a semi-random road trip. I have some sense of where we're headed, a few places are highlighted, but the paths we take to get there aren't pre-set. I tried writing by outline. I had a very orderly system with post-its and a whiteboard, but the novel I wrote that way is one I still haven't shown my editor, so I'm guessing that plan isn't a good fit for me right now.

The lore behind the character of Beira is explored on your website, where you say that you didn't write from her point-of-view in WICKED LOVELY because "seeing her through my characters' eyes was the only way she'd be villain enough". Are there any other instances where your connection to a character has had an impact on the way you portrayed them?

I fall a little bit in love with every character in the stories. . . so yeah, there are times I suspect it impacts my narrative choices. There's a character, Bananach, that I can't write POV for because she's too unstable for me to want to linger in her pov; there are times my editors have to remind me that I need to let one of characters be the CENSOR that he really is sometimes. I want him to be a better person, but he's not right now. I'm not sure he will evolve into a better person. No, I don't think they're real, but I do believe that there are probable character arcs and we should force a character to behave in ways that run counter logical evolution--even when we really would prefer a happier path.

What was most difficult about transitioning from WICKED LOVELY to INK EXCHANGE?

I finished WL & immediately rolled into Ink Exchange. I didn't have any trouble with the transition. The trouble came later--when I had to interrupt writing Ink to do revisions on WL, and it came later still when I had to ponder things in Ink that were darker than I wanted to think about just then. Ink was very hard emotionally/psychologically for me to write at times. I am pleased with WL, but Ink has my heart in it. It means something different to me.

Which of your characters would have been most likely to be your friend in high school? Why?

My friends were varied. There wasn't any group or sort of person I actively chose not to talk to, but I wasn't really looking for serious or intellectual bonding at that point in my life. I liked to enjoy myself.

As the person I was then, Leslie or Rianne would be people I'd socialize with. Donia's too gloomy. Ash would've been too uptight. By the time we meet him in WL, Seth's a bit too anti-party for the person I was then. He'd have been ok before Ash though. Keenan would've amused me. Niall's too rule-bound for my hobbies then. Irial would've been prime . . . He'd know where the fun was, so he'd be the logical top pick.

OTOH, I had friends who were pretty mainstream too. I had friends who were in debate and Latin Club. One of my close friends was a majorette. Considering someone a friend and saying they're the one you want to spend Friday nights with was very different at the time. I wanted to get my kicks, so I'd have been less likely to allocate my free hours to some people than others, but there's no one in my books (thus far) I wouldn't be happy to see at a party.

What do you think is most dangerous about faeries?

The type of faeries I'm interested in are the ones from old lore: complex characters with sometimes impenetrable motivations, moody faeries with volatile tempers, faeries who play with semantics when they speak. Some are representative of specific dangers. One of the faeries in Ink Exchange is a gancanagh or "love-talker." The lure there is that being seduced by such a faery results in whithering away afterwards (a la Keats "La Belle Dame sans Merci"), but the literal read is that the consequences of sex with this guy are ruining your life and possibly death. Of course--like most trouble with faeries--that doesn't happen unless you attract their attention, so I suppose the most dangerous thing is attracting their attention. That rarely goes well for mortals.

What's the one thing you must have with you (other than pen/keyboard and paper/computer) in order to write?

Music. No music=no words. I'm very Pavlovian in that I select songs for every text AND for my main characters. Then to write, I pull up that playlist.

Thanks for asking such fun questions.


Thank you, Melissa! I had a blast.

For more about Melissa Marr and her wicked books, take a peek at her website and/or her blog.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Wicked interview, Tori and Melissa!!
I love the idea of moody faeries playing with semantics.

Pretty, pretty cover ~
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)
Isn't the cover incredible? I just want to soft it and stare at it.

I bet you'd love O.R. Melling's books ...
Mar. 24th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Good questions, Tori! Especially the Beira one and the dangerous fairy one. :D
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
Melissa's website was a mine of questionable nuggets. :)
Mar. 24th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
I read Ink Exchange and the main moral or theme is choices.

How we make them and how sometimes, they are made for us unwittingly.

I like how she can weave an important theory into a YA novel. Similar to Joss Whedon.
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
Choices (especially when they seem impossible) are one of my favourite themes to read about. It's popped up in my own writing. Melissa executes it so well!
Mar. 24th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Very cool interview, ladies! I want to read more about faeries!
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:08 am (UTC)
Have you ever read O.R. Melling's book, The Chronicles of Faerie? It's incredibly rich and a fabulous story.
Mar. 24th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Great interview! Good job. :)
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Thanks, Karen! I think the hardest part was narrowing down which questions to ask. :)
Mar. 26th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Great interview! & thanks for the link :) (WickedLovely.com, that is)
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
But of course! Glad you enjoyed. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
Writing about a dark character or scene can indeed be shadowy business. I hear lavendar tea helps.

Thanks for stopping by! :)
Mar. 28th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Great interview, Miss Tori. I'm really impressed with the way you conduct your interviews. You always ask some great questions!!!
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kevin! One of my favourite parts of putting together these interviews is mining the author's website for potential questions. It's addicting.
Apr. 3rd, 2008 05:42 am (UTC)
That's so, so awesome. And you're so, so awesome too!!!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )