Monday, January 16, 2012

Interview with Melissa Douthit

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself? 

 I grew up in San Diego, attended a university there and graduated with degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. Except for just recently, I have been a California resident my whole life. Now, I live in Salt Lake City with my coonhound and my niece and nephew.

I have always been a voracious reader of fantasy, fiction and science fiction since I was young. I just started writing four years ago, when a favorite author of mine died. My first full-length novel was The Raie’Chaelia, the first in a trilogy. Shortly after that, I wrote two novella prequels, The Vanishing and The Journey Begins. The next novel of the trilogy is coming out January 2012. It is called The Firelight of Maalda.

What inspired you to write? 
 My inspiration to start writing came from a favorite who passed away. I have the story summarized in the Preface to The Raie’Chaelia:

On the morning of 21st of September, 2007, I sat down at my computer with a cup of coffee and clicked a familiar bookmark on my internet browser. The link took me to a website that I knew well. In doing so, I learned that one of my favorite authors had passed away. His name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., also known as Robert Jordan. The website was

Ever since I was seventeen, I have been reading his epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. I remember buying the first book, The Eye of the World, from a local bookstore and rushing home to read it. I remember it like it was yesterday. To this day, after twenty-one years, I am still reading his series as it quickly draws to a conclusion in its final completion by Brandon Sanderson.

I never thought I could be a writer given that my talents lie in other areas, mostly in mathematics and science, but when I learned of Jordan’s passing, I decided to start writing a story that I had been tossing around in my head for a while. The ideas were there but the realization of those ideas into a book was a problem. I didn’t believe that I could do it. So, that morning, inspired by Jordan’s life story, I sat down and started typing. I soon found that by having read his books, as well as many others by other authors, the writing came naturally and the words flowed. The following novel is the result of that day.

What authors influenced you as a writer?
A lot! As a teenager and young adult, Robert Jordan. As a kid, John Steinbeck and Jack London. More recently, JK Rowling and Neil Gaiman.

What is your favorite Quote? Why is it your favorite?
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
It is my favorite because he is right. Light trumps darkness.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?
It used to be Harry Potter but ever since I wrote The Vanishing, set in Branbury, I have wanted to live in Branbury.

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?
Every writer needs voice and vision. As you write, you develop your voice. Voice is the opposite of style. Most beginning writers focus on stylistic flourish, putting in a key word here or there to make it sound elegant. But good storytelling is not about style. It’s not about sounding like Shakespeare. In fact, you can really bore your readers with too much style. A good story is about voice and vision that is unique to the author who writes it. Anyone who develops their own unique voice and vision can become a fantastic storyteller.

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors?
My first novel has some similarities to Jordan’s writing. The more I write, however, the more my writing becomes my own unique voice.

What lead you to writing in this genre?
What I love about fantasy is that you can create your own world, making up your own rules. It is a world that is entirely your own.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Creating. I love thinking of good scenes where there is a lot of tension - joy, anger, happiness or heartbreak - anything with a lot of feeling and emotion in it.

Least favorite part of the writing process?
Editing! Yuk!

What are you currently working on?
The Firelight of Maalda, second book in the trilogy. I’m editing it right now, my least favorite part. I will also be editing The Raie’Chaelia, so there will be a second edition coming out in February.

Where readers can find you?

Was their a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?
What makes the trilogy, The Legend of The Raie’Chaelia unique?

I think it is the world in which the story takes place. It is different. I think people will either love it or hate it. I also think the heroine and hero in the story are unique as well. I am growing to really love Chalice and Jeremiah the more I write them. It is a wonderful journey.

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