Melissa Walker’s Unbreak My Heart is a fizzy, dock-side delight filled with summer optimism and a lot of very fine thoughts about friendship. I also love, love, love her blog because she features “cover stories” with different authors discussion their book covers (seriously, it’s cool). Melissa took some time today to answer a few of my questions.
Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?
Melissa C. Walker (MCW): I worked on my high school yearbook and my college newspaper–I always wanted to be a journalist. After school, I worked in magazines for years and got to peek behind the scenes of the fashion world. That gave me inspiration for my first novel, VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY, and I started writing it after work and on weekends. Once I wrote it, I knew YA was my first love.
MP: I really loved all of the difference facets of Unbreak My Heart (friendships, crushes, sailing—especially the friendship emphasis). What was the inspiration for this story? Did you always plan to include the friendship angle and Clementine’s letters to Amanda?
MCW: Honestly, this story was inspired in part by a friendship breakup I experienced. Romantic breakups are always in the spotlight–and they’re horribly painful. But friendship breakups are too, and they’re more sidelined in popular culture, so I wanted that experience to be a focus in this book.
MP: Unbreak My Heart includes a lot of picturesque sailing moments. What’s your background with sailing? Were any moments inspired directly by your own experiences?
MCW: My parents always owned a small sailboat and I have lots of hours logged on board as a kid and a teenager. I used my dad’s captain’s log from a sailing trip to map Clem’s family’s route, in fact! One scene in particular that was very true to life was when Clem and her dad look up at the stars and talk. My dad and I did that regularly, once upon a time.
MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?
MCW: This year, both Small Town Sinners and Unbreak My Heart come out in paperback! Next winter, I’ll have a new book out, and it’s a real departure for me. The title is still slightly TBD so I can’t say much, but I will open up as soon as I can!
MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?
MCW: Read as much as you can, and finish your stories. I think one of the hardest things about a book is getting through and finishing the full arc of the story (the beginning is always exciting). So push through, get a whole draft done and don’t worry if it’s messy! Just write.
Thanks again to Ms. Walker for taking the time to answer my questions (especially with a deadline in her near future!). Remember if you want to know more about Unbreak My Heart you can check out my review.