Melody Johnson is being placed in the Duval County Florida Writer category as she is a member of the First Coast Romance Writers group. She current resides in Southeast Georgia and that is close enough for our tour. Ms. Johnson is an award winning Paranormal Romance writer with e a number of books traditionally published and is currently venturing into the indie publishing realm. (Good on ye! Every writer should give it a go). She also has several stories published in the Romancing the Holidays Anthology series which is published by the First Coast Romance Writers each year. We are very excited to welcome her to our North Florida Writers Tour.
Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. Throughout college, she wrote contemporary love stories, but having read and adored the action and dark mystery of vampires her whole life, decided to add her fingerprint to paranormal romance.
Earning the 2021 Maggie Award of Excellence, Beyond the Next Star is an exciting branch from Melody’s paranormal romance roots, keeping the dark grit from her Night Blood Series and taking it to new worlds. Told from the dual perspectives of both human pet and alien owner, Melody’s story weaves a slow-burn romance that explores the bonds of love in all its forms, navigating the main characters’ relationship in delicate stages from oblivious ownership to woke, romantic love.
After moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, Melody works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, reading at the pool, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I published my first book—The City Beneath (Night Blood, book 1)—in 2015 with Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press. The City Beneath was the third full-length novel I’d ever finished and the second I’d pitched to agents and editors in the attempt to acquire a traditional publishing contract. Although I was accustomed to working on deadline for high school and college writing projects, I’d never balanced my writing with a full-time job before. The juggling act became quite the challenge. I was blessed to have signed a four-book deal with Lyrical Press, which meant editing book 1 while writing book 2… and working a 9-5 and moving out of my parents’ house and planning a wedding and and and… and to say the least, it was a crazy year. A fantastic year, but crazy, and it required that I make a huge adjustment in my writing life from writing when I felt inspired to writing whenever the heck I could squeeze in the time to get the job done. At first, the transition was difficult. I felt like I was making compromises and my writing was suffering, but I needed to find a way for the new phases in my life to work. I started waking up earlier, focusing harder, editing fiercer, and by far, I’m a better writer for it.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My spirit animal is without a doubt a hamster, and I like to think that my precious fur-baby, Oliver, would heartily agree! Same as Oliver, I’m perfectly content to spend an entire day in quiet solitude, enjoying my own company. I prefer to graze on snacks in bed—cheese-its and snickers ice cream bars rather than pellets, of course—and write in the quiet stillness of early morning darkness. But once I’m up and active, I’m a flurry of efficient activity, running on my writing wheel at lightning speed for hours. (Fun fact: can you guess what TV show I was watching when I adopted Oliver? I’ll give you three hints: his namesake is gorgeous, a sharpshot with a bow and arrow, and his favorite color is green.)
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing that first draft energizes me. Meeting new characters, discovering their passions and weaknesses and wounds, watching them meet and kiss and tangle themselves into an impossible situation while falling in love, figuring out the twists and turns and trap doors of their adventure, and forcing them to earn that happily ever after is the absolute best. It’s what keeps me going even when I’m struggling to survive the story as desperately as they are. However, once the first draft is complete, the editing process is another beast entirely. Editing absolutely EXHAUSTS me. I suffered through eleven rounds of edits with my upcoming novel, Sight Beyond the Sun, AFTER having self-edited it. As much as I hate editing however, I love having a published book I can be proud of. Like my characters, I must rise above the challenge to earn my happily ever after.
What did you edit out of this book?
In my upcoming book, Sight Beyond the Sun—which releases January 24, 2023!—I deleted a lot. More than I ever edited out before, which I know for a fact because I’m a word hoarder: I keep a delete document. In real life, I’m practical about throwing away my junk, but in my writing life, I have a very difficult time letting go. I keep an entire word document dedicated to deleted scenes that will never see the light of day, but without that document, I wouldn’t have the courage to delete anything. And some of the junk I wrote in Sight Beyond the Sun needed desperately to be deleted: 43,496 words of junk to be exact. My junk could be its own novella! Their first kiss, a scene talking about breasts (his alien species develops them during pregnancy, not puberty), bickering that didn’t drive the plot forward, banter that I thought was funnier than it really was, a different beginning, poorly written descriptions of healing tubes and human-eating plants, droning internal monologues that were sabotaging my action scenes… and the list goes on.
Books by the Author
Beyond the Next Start (Love Beyond, Book 1)
Sight Beyond the Sun (Love Beyond, Book 2) – Available January 24, 2023
Grave Promises – Witchy Business 1 (Romancing the Holidays Anthology – Volume 1)
Mirror Justice – Witchy Business 2 (Funk-N-Fiction Book Blog Event -Halloween Flash Fiction 2020)
Fated by Fire – Witchy Business 3 (Romancing the Holidays Anthology – Volume 2)
‘Til Death Don’t Us Part – Witchy Business 4 (Romancing the Holidays Anthology – Volume 3) – Available 09/22/2022
The Hackover (Funk-N-Fiction Blog Event – Halloween Flash Fiction 2021)
Contact the Author
Newsletter Sign Up: http://authormelodyjohnson.com/newsletter
Video Interview Promo
Thank you Melody Johnson for participating in our North Florida Writers Tour and we wish you much luck with your upcoming book story and book releases.
If you are a published North Florida author and would like to join in on the fun,