Yesterday, we brought you a review of Melissa Walker’s forthcoming book, Small Town Sinners, and today, we’re excited to have Melissa here to talk a bit about her book, her career, and more. Read the Twitterview, then enter to win a copy of Small Town Sinners for yourself.
Without further ado!
Pitch SMALL TOWN SINNERS in 140 characters.
Lacey is excited to star in Hell House, her church’s annual haunted house of sin, until unexpected events make her question her faith.
What inspired SMALL TOWN SINNERS?
I wrote a story about a Hell House for ELLEgirl, and was captivated by the teenagers I met who were committed to this religious outreach.
SMALL TOWN SINNERS presents a story about faith without being preachy or one-sided. Why go objective?
It’s easy to insert your own beliefs into a story, but giving the narrative over to the characters and their voices is more real, I think.
What was the most surprising part of writing SMALL TOWN SINNERS for you?
It was oddly easy to get back into church-girl mode, though, honestly, I haven’t been to church in years.
What should readers walk away with from SMALL TOWN SINNERS?
I hope readers walk away with a little more understanding of a certain belief system, and a whole boatload of questions to explore.
Prior to STS, you wrote a series about a model and a romantic comedy. Why the change to hard contemporary?
I always write the story that interests me the most in a certain moment, and those evangelical teens I’d met would not leave my mind.
What was the biggest obstacle to overcome in writing something so different from your prior novels?
The characters in this one are very unlike me, which is different from my other books, where I identified a lot more with the protagonists.
What’s been challenging to you in writing something that contains controversial and edgy topics?
Writing religion is scary. It turns people off, and I’m nervous that my personal beliefs will matter too much to the reader. We’ll see.
What should we expect from your future writing?
A return to lighter stuff for sure, but still peppered with serious stories. I hope I can always keep it new. Next up: An emotional affair!
Who or what do you write for?
Is it self-involved to say that I write for my 16-year-old self? Probably. But it’s also the truest answer I have.
Why do you choose write for a teen audience? Is it intentional or led by the story itself?
Teenagers care more than adults, in general. They’re more involved and excited and angry and invested. I’m into passion.
Who are your top three writing influences?
Judy Blume, Anne M. Martin, VC Andrews. They all got to me young — even VC.
Who do you believe is breaking ground in YA right now?
Everyone who sticks to writing the stories they long to tell rather than the trends they see flashing by. A favorite: Blake Nelson.
You keep yourself extremely busy. What other projects do you have a hand in now?
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
An editor once handed a going-nowhere story I’d written back to me with one note: “Someone has to change.” Best edit ever.