Our Interview with Melissa Peterson!

Jimmy James Blood


I work outdoors in remote locations—often in rough weather. I come home and study hard. Every so often, I have a beer with friends. I write because my life is often quiet. I write because it seems it has always been so. Inside my head, there is a silence that overcomes each moment. Inside, there is a hush that invades every thought.
And I hear a voice—it doesn’t go away.
Bio provided by author

It was our privilegde to get the opportunity to interview Melissa. She is an artistic creative style who works alone a lot. Sit back and grab a warm mug of your favorite beverage and give a warm welcome to Melissa!

1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
I don’t know if I have any good hooks—I try to focus more on being true to my motivation (which is probably why I’m indie). I get a lot of ideas from dreams and by observing people. A thing I often forget when people ask me that question is how much other works of art inspire me. I am particularly encouraged by music. Driving alone in my truck gets me through some of the worst writers block. The chapter “Nazi” in Jimmy James Blood was written almost completely stimulated by a dream and an Over the Rhine song. The book wouldn’t have been written the same way if not for the music I was listening to throughout its inception.
2.Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I am not organized—especially not at the first draft stage. During certain times of the year I am so busy I end up writing things down in bits and pieces all over the place. Paragraphs will end up in my field notebooks (where I am supposed to be taking notes about plants, animals and the weather). Other pieces will get written on homework or journal articles that I have to read. I write on sticky notes, and in different notebooks. It’s a mess. I don’t have an office. I make do with putting all the random pieces onto a single shelf until I have time to put everything together (which is a long arduous process).
3.What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
During the off-season I get up with my family, and write a little after I have some coffee. I take a break at noon, and I might start again in the afternoon—possibly printing out and editing what I wrote that morning (if I am not busy doing other things). Usually I have a few things on my plate at any given time. During the spring and summer I write on the bus on my way in to work. It’s a forty minute bus trip that starts at 6:25am so those writing sessions are often dreamy, cryptic and dark. Otherwise I simply write whenever I get a minute—waiting in my truck or at the doctor’s office or when I’m on hold.
4.Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
When I was a kid I really liked Watership Down by Richard Adams. I read that book several times and wrote several stories about rabbits. When I was a teenager I got more into beat generation writers and read the likes of Jack Keroac and William S. Burroughs. My early twenties were all about the Harlem Renaissance—writers such as Langston Hughes andZora Neale Hurston. Some of my favorite present-day writers are Annie Proulx, Joyce Carol Oates and Marcus Zusak. They inspired me to write just by being there and having their stuff out.
5.It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
Writing can be very very lonely.
6.Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
Well, I’m in graduate school so most of what I read now is in the form of scientific journal articles—other than that I read mostly fiction.
7.How did you get started in writing in the mystery fantasy genre? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
I write mostly literary fiction. There are aspects of fantasy in my writing (Especially in Little Fish) but I would not say it falls under the fantasy category. There is a little bit of personal life experience but that doesn’t mean that everything I write is true. It’s sort of a jumbled knot of real and not real.
8.Your books have been published with Amazon.com and Kindle Direct Publishing, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
I have paper copies of Jimmy James Blood available on etsy. I had the paperbacks printed so I could have something to take with me to readings. About three months later I published it online and am happy with how both turned out. I definitely see the industry headed towards more online publishing, but I also think there will always be the people who appreciate having the paperback copy—especially if they come to a reading and want to have a signed copy to take home with them.
9.    Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
I have my etsy site where my paperback is available: http://www.etsy.com/listing/77488623/jimmy-james-blood-a-novel
My facebook page for my publishing company: www.facebook.com/pages/Cedar-Street-Publishing/206795982686987
 It has drawings of my characters, a poem and pictures from various readings.
And of course my amazon kindle link: www.amazon.com/Jimmy-James-Blood-ebook/dp/B006OQUEJG(where you can read the first few pages).
10.  Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
I’m working on a collection of short stories called Little Fish. It’s about science, people and salmon. It details some of my confused connections with nature.
11.  Who would be your first choice to play Vera in your book titled, “Jimmy James Blood”?
I don’t know young actresses very well but she would have to be capable of portraying a great sense of muted strength and loss—maybe AnnaSophia Robb or Evan Rachel Wood? I’m seriously hopeless when it comes to actors and actresses.
12.If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
I would probably like to meet some of my ancestors—I feel like they watch over me.