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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Importance of the Learning Experience: Author Interview with Melissa Koslin

When I did a search for your books by your name, I only found a single title with that name and a co-author book, but that’s not all you’ve written.
Correct. Never Miss is my first book under the pen name Melissa Koslin. I helped Mike Nappa finish A Dream Within a Dream under the name Melissa Kosci (and I write mainstream fiction under another name). Confusing, I know. 😊

Mike Nappa wrote Annabel Lee and The Raven on his own, and when he was about 20k words into A Dream Within a Dream, a huge personal loss made finishing it impossible for him. He had been my agent for a while, and he likes my writing style, which isn’t dissimilar from his, so he reached out to me to help him finish the book.

I read the first two books and the 20k he had done so far, he told me the direction he’d planned to go (not an outline, but some ideas), I wrote a few chapters to make sure he was happy with the voice and characters, and he let me loose to finish the last 70k words.

Mike bringing me in to finish that book and basically vouching for my ability and attitude is what got me in the door with Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group), and they signed me to do Never Miss, as well as another Christian romantic suspense scheduled to come out Fall 2022. While he’s not my agent, Mike has been incredibly kind in helping answer questions and just being an encourager (and telling me the blunt truth when needed!). I owe him a lot.

When did you decide you wanted to write books?
I was actually not naturally talented in writing. I struggled with it in school. I could write research papers fine, but not creative writing. Then, in 2009, an idea for a story hit me. I had to write it down. I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I kept writing. I loved the story enough to do the work of learning how to tell it correctly—I read lots and lots of books on writing fiction and wrote a ton. And then I fell in love with the process of creating intense and beautiful stories, and the rest is history.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Making characters who are very different from me. Bits of my personality often seep into them.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?
She catches my repeated words.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
Someone of Mike Nappa’s caliber believing in me.

We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
I cannot count how many rejection letters I’ve gotten over the years. I look at them as one down, now I’m closer to a yes.

What has surprised or frustrated you the most in writing/publishing? 
I don’t know. Lots of stuff over the years. I’ve been really pleasantly surprised at how absolutely wonderful Revell is to work with. Not that I expected anything negative, of course, but they are truly the nicest people you could ever wish to work with.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
Nothing. I didn’t know what I was doing at first in a lot of ways, but the experience of learning was invaluable. If it’d been easy all along, I wouldn’t appreciate how far I’ve come.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Write what you love. Don’t write because you want to be able to say you wrote a book or to try to make money at it. Write beautiful, thrilling, wonderful tales for the simple love of the story. That will bring beauty into your life and into the world.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Keep writing. Listen to critique but don’t internalize it. Learn to dismiss critique if you truly don’t agree with it but do make sure you pay attention when you hear the same critique multiple times from various sources. Learn how to write well—read about writing, really study it. Don’t be lazy—do it right. Always keep learning. Fall in love with your stories. If you’re not in love with what you’re writing, you’re doing it wrong.

Could you give me a short synopsis of your newest novel, Never Miss?
Never Miss… She saved his life. Now they're in a race to stop a deadly attack.

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him and his incendiary research, which indicates that the Ebola virus is man-made and about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon scramble to stop an impending bio-attack at the State of the Union address. When their warnings fall on deaf ears, it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.

That does sound intriguing. If you like to learn more about Melissa’s book, here are some links to get you started.


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