In Conversation With… Melissa Petreshock

Today we have debut author, Melissa Petreshock, on the blog discussing her new book, FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS! Make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!


Joshua: Hey, Melissa! Congratulations on the release of FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS!

Melissa: Thanks, Josh!

Joshua: So, the Big Day has come along– how do you feel now it’s out and in the world? A big sigh of relief or…?

Melissa: A bit of relief and a bit of terror. I’m happy to know people can read it, and I don’t have to worry about my beta team slipping huge secrets (or me) but now people are putting review out there, and every time I know a blogger is about to post a review, I want to just throw up. I have no idea what they’ll think. Then I want to happy dance when it’s great.

Joshua: Happy dances are always great, and naturally I’m sure you’re hoping for– and I’m sure you’ll get– many happy dances! I think you’ll agree that there’s been much hype and buzz around FOSAD– how has this influenced writing book 2?

Melissa: The whole release thing is a lot like this:
With some of this:

Joshua: Haha, they certainly sum it up!

Melissa: I’m finding it harder to write book 2 with the pressure to keep it as great as everyone has thought FOSAD has been. I keep working on it then examining it and finding things I want to revise. It’s critical because it’s the bridge between the beginning of the story and the OMG ending book of the trilogy. Plus, I don’t want to lose fans when I have a lot of standalones and other things planned in this world beyond the Stars and Souls Trilogy.

Joshua: I understand the pressure, being a writer myself of an ongoing series! I like what you said about book 2 being “a bridge”, because, ultimately, that really is what a book 2 of a trilogy is! You mention you have a lot of other work planned beyond Stars and Souls Trilogy– are these related to the trilogy, as spin-offs, or completely different?

Melissa: These are all interrelated, books taking secondary characters from within the trilogy, ones readers will meet throughout the three books and giving them their own stories. I want to live in this world forever, not that I can, but I’ll stay as long as I can. 😉

Joshua: Sounds very interesting. It seems as though you have this world really quite mapped out! So, going back to this release– it’s your debut, so how have you found the publishing experience up until this point? Anything that has taken you by surprise?

Melissa: I’ve realized that a big part of the publishing experience is “hurry up and wait” with spurts of “this had to be done SO FIVE MINUTES AGO”. It’s crazy, and I love it. One day I’m all like this is so easy…

And the next day I’m like DEADLINES…

My sister, Jen, who is also my Beta Team Lead, sends me these crazy GIFs to help keep my sanity. And they do help. I laugh at how well they express my emotions at any given moment or situation.

Joshua: That’s so true! The publishing industry is certainly an interesting thing. I totally understand what you say about deadlines, too– you have to stay up all night hurriedly writing a book for a deadline that races towards you… and then wait a year for the book’s release day to arrive! On the subject of release days, FOSAD really ‘pushed out there’ online. What kind of stuff online have you done, and do you think it’s helped? Anything to new authors you would recommend doing?

Melissa: You have to have a good web presence, and honestly, that means more than just hopping on Facebook or Twitter and talking about your day and what you ate for breakfast. You need to let people see your personality shine through and ENGAGE other people. Put a variety of content out there. Retweet other people, share items on FB, comment, reply, like, favorite, whatever is appropriate for the social media. Post original content (your witty self & pics) plus links to articles and stuff interest and YT vids, etc. Also, maintain a great blog and website. Keep them updated, consistent, and be sure that they are visually appealing to your audience. Then be sure you are promoting in a variety of ways. I personally use HootSuite to maximize efficiency. I can have scheduled tweets at all hours without having to actually be online for promoting site/blog links. I live tweet the real “me” stuff.
And that was a crazy long answer. Lol.

Joshua: Haha– but that crazy long answer had lots of wonderful advice in it, and– I think that it will be safe to say– it will really, and is, really paying off with the release of FOSAD and how engaged the fans have been leading up to the release of the book. I know time is drawing to the end, and then we’ll let you go! So, firstly, if FOSAD was to be made into a film– what would you think about that?! Anything in specific that you dream about for it?

Melissa: I know it’s a lot for one person to keep up with, so like some other authors, I use a team approach. I have an assistant plus my Beta Team Lead to help with keeping up with social media and site administration. Then I also have a blogging team, the Fab Four on the Dragon Blog. We push out daily content that is split between the four of us for daily posts.

Joshua: I love that team approach, and it’s something that I think is proving to be successful. I can definitely seeing more authors starting these in the future!

Melissa: Well, you can go on my Pinterest boards or website to see the various “dream cast” for a film version. I would certainly love to see that happen, but I wouldn’t want Hollywood to change my books, so I would rather take less money in film rights and maintain control as a producer on the films. I always want my work to be true to my vision. Of course, if it goes to film, you’re invited to the premiere. 😀 As for the team approach, we’re currently averaging 5x the average unique visitors to the site than I was before employing the team blogging. It obviously pays off. 😉

Joshua: That’s understandable, and, as an author myself, it’s extremely understamdable that you wouldn’t want your books changed too much if they’re adapted for the screen! I would love to go to the premiere– I would be booking the flights ASAP! That’s so unteresting about the team blogging, too! Hard work pays off. 🙂 Penultimately, during this entire process from start to finish, have any others authors inspried you, perhaps, and if so, why?

Melissa: Hm. I think it gets into dangerous territory to name authors who inspired you sometimes because people think, “Oh, she’s trying to be the next fill in the blank with whoever you name”. I’d say there are authors I’ve admired for coming from no experience or “proper education” in writing who did it anyway, and authors I’ve seen do
awful things to series I dearly loved that taught me “what not to do”, which is a whole other kind of inspiration in and of itself. Then there are the “unknowns” out there in my Twitter world, indie and self-pubbed authors I adore who inspire me for doing what they love and knowing it’s a long shot to ever hitting NYT bestseller, but their passion drives them to do it anyway. Inspiration comes from many authors for many reasons.

Joshua: That is such a wonderful response! 🙂 And, finally, now that the book is out there, what are your hopes for FOSAD and the rest of the series?

Melissa: I would like to see FOSAD hit bestseller on Amazon at least, though it would be a dream come true to hit USA Today or NYT bestseller. I’d be satisfied to make it into a category bestseller on Amazon. However, just to have readers join the fandom my beta team already has become and write reviews to tell me what they think of it would be great. We have a fan forum on my website that people can join to chat all things FOSAD and the series and what they hope to see. For the rest of the series and future books, and I hope to gain a loyal following of readers who love the world and characters and just want to see where they go and what they do and stay in their lives like friends and family. (I hope that makes sense.)

Joshua: That does make sense, and it makes a lovely conclusion to our conversation! Thank you very much for your time, Melissa, and once again congratulations on the relase of FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS, and I wish you all the best for the future of the series! Thank you. 🙂

Melissa: Thanks for chatting with me and having me on your blog, Josh. You’ve been so supportive and such a wonderful friend to me!

Joshua: No problem!

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