WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD A LOVE FOR BOOKS?
I can thank my grandmother for my love of books. She always had a ton of them waiting for me when I went to visit her. I always loved seeing the same books every year (they were like old friends) and she always added more to the pile. She was great at picking good ones out. Charlotte’s Web is my favorite. My mom also had a Disney Book subscription where I would get a book every month. That was amazing. We always had books and magazines in the house.
I was encouraged to read and not plant myself in front of the television for entertainment.
I quickly discovered my imagination was far better than anything on that screen.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO INTO PUBLISHING?
Sixth Grade. I remember it specifically. The school was having a writing contest. I wrote a story about robots that took over the Earth and destroyed it. I made the story a cover with construction paper, illustrated the front cover, put the book together with staples, and wrote MAC PUBLISHING on the back. It felt “right”. I created a logo for it (It looked a lot like the planet Saturn). After that, most things I wrote got stamped with my MAC PUBLISHING logo – I had to hand draw it every time – the way we had to back in the day. No fancy stuff except colored pencils back then.
WHAT MADE ME WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR?
The book “Glory Days” by Alan Dean Foster. I cannot describe the feeling I had when I finished that book. It was like falling in love. It became crystal clear to me what I needed to be…what I had to be.
WHAT TYPE OF STORIES INSPIRE YOU TO WANT TO PUBLISH THEM?
A story with unforgettable characters. Stories with plots that surprise you and take you to places you didn’t see coming. Right now, I’m looking for some happy, entertaining stories. I think a lot of readers are looking for the same thing. I would love to get in a manuscript that makes me laugh out loud; a book that has me smiling even after I finish it.
WHAT IS THE APPROACH YOU TAKE TO THE RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH THE
AUTHORS OF BROTHER MOCKINGBIRD? AND THIS SAME QUESTION FOR SMALL TOWN
I am also an author, so I treat them the way I want to be treated. I strive to teach the authors what I can about writing and the industry so they can continue to grow.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WOULD TELL A WRITER WHO IS LOOKING TO GET
PUBLISHED ABOUT WHAT THEY NEED TO HAVE?
First, you must have a good story and memorable characters. People think they can write chicken “crap” and a publisher and editor can magically turn it into chicken salad. It just doesn’t work that way. There must be good writing skills to back a story up. The writer needs to have beta readers and editors work on their manuscripts so they can be the absolute best it can be when they submit them for consideration (to a publisher or agent).
Writing isn’t a hobby. It should be treated as a job because it is. Research other writers, and educate yourself on writing and the industry. Know how to write a query letter and synopsis. Research the potential publishers and agents. See if they would be a good fit for you and your work. Writing is hard work and that’s just the beginning of the process.
My biggest words of advice: Use the BIC method (butt in chair) and write every day.
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS THAT YOU THINK A GOOD BOOK SHOULD HAVE?
WHAT NEW THINGS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM BROTHER MOCKINGBIRD AND
SMALL TOWN GIRL PUBLISHING?
We have a lot of books in the works for Brother Mockingbird. We are so excited about the titles coming out. We have published a new coloring book to go along with two of our children’s picture books and we now have an amazing journal available in the Brother Mockingbird store.
Now that things are starting to open back up, we are planning to be out and about more. You will see us at this year’s MS Book Festival in Jackson (August). We hope to be at other festivals in the area as well. For STG – this is our first year, so we are taking things slow to get our momentum going. Be on the lookout for two books this year. We are starting on books we plan to release in 2023. If you love the 80s then you will love these books!
Each Month Melissa will be sharing her thoughts on literature,creativity ,and more in The Echo. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter and stay connected.