Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Author Interview: Kendal Ashby (Melody's Song)

Today I'm welcoming Kendal Ashby, author of the YA novel Melody's Song, for a small interview. You can read my review for her novel here.
Thank you so much for taking your time to answer my questions, Kendal.
Summary of Melody's Song:
All her life, Melody Cupid has accepted the fact she’ll be forced into the family business as a Love Muse. Then she’s given her first assignment. Instead of making her Charge’s heart flutter for someone, she finds she’s being sent to help Nathan Peterson discover his true career path as a writer.

Even though she believes the Senate is making a mistake by sending her, she gives it her all and soon finds herself in danger of breaking the golden rule of being a Muse by falling in love with her Charge. With only two weeks to complete her assignment, Melody must choose between giving up the life she’s just beginning to build in the mortal world with Nathan or sacrificing her heart to live up to the family name.

Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your life as a writer?

It took me a long time to admit I was a writer. I had all these stories in my head and this desire to put them on paper but I had zero desire to show anyone or heaven forbid tell anyone I was a writer! Like most things in life, I think my journey to get where I am has to do with timing, the people I choose to surround myself with and taking that one tiny first step. The right people for me was other inspiring writers who could offer me support and guidance and that ‘tiny first step’ was admitting that I wanted to be a writer and that if I worked hard enough and learned the trade, I would be a writer. Sometimes the hardest part of following your dreams is daring to have dreams.

Melody’ Song is based on a very unique idea. What inspired you to write a story like this?

I like to write themes and I really wanted to write a young adult novel about the stress of getting your first real job. The pressure not to screw up, how to handle things when you do screw up (which, let’s face it, does happen!) and having to make hard choices between what your heart and gut is telling you verse what outside obligation and commitments you have to do. For Melody’s struggles I really tapped into my own work history and how I pretty much freaked out when faced with change. 

I haven’t always been an author and during my career I have had 3 major career changes. To some people that might seem like a lot but the truth is that each time I was faced with a change I choose the one that my heart wanted too and I think I have always made the right choice, even if at the time it didn’t seem that way. Though my path has been nothing like Melody’s, the root insecurities are the same.

What did you like most about writing Melody’s Song? What was the hardest part?

Melody’s Song was the first novel I ever wrote in first person point of view and I absolutely LOVED it! But that is always the hardest part too! Writing from only being in Mel’s head was great for me to really be able to show the struggles she was having internally but at the same time it is a completely different style that doesn’t allow me as an author to show much from Nate’s side of things. So like most boys, he is a mystery to Mel. Just another part of the challenge she needs to figure out.

Are you planning to write more Young Adult novels? If yes, can you tell us something about them?

I split my writing time between adult contemporary and young adult depending which voice is speaking to me. My personality naturally fits young adult situations and experiences and I just love it. I have 2 young adults on the go:
1) A murder mystery that takes place at a preparatory school.
2) A fun scavenger hunt for high school seniors of a small town where they have one night to complete their lists and claim the prize money waiting for them. Of course, things never go as planned as Cassis and Karson soon find out!

What books do you like to read yourself? Are there any favorites you would recommend to everyone?

Besides mentioning the ones that are currently hot on the market or have been in the past like Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle and the entire Harry Potter series, I highly recommend The Iron King but Julie Kagawa and the Firelight series by Sophie Jordan. Both are ‘new’ authors on the market and I can’t wait for the future instalments in both series to come out. 

Find Kendal Ashby online:

Excerpt from Melody's Song:

Kendal: I wrestled with what excerpt to use and finally settled on Nate and Melody’s first kiss. I love first kisses! Enjoy :)

I wasn’t ready when he tilted his head down toward me, somehow closing the gap between us without moving his body. It was like I’d been waiting my entire life for this one moment. His lips paused a fraction of an inch from mine, frozen vapor expelling from both our mouths and mingling in the cool night air. I let my eyes flutter shut, silently granting him permission.
His lips brushed mine. Gently at first, as if he wasn’t sure what my reaction would be. All thoughts left my mind, and I only felt. I felt his soft lips. I felt his hand reach up and guide me closer to him. I felt my body glide toward him and my head tilt back. My lips parted and deepened our kiss. Like an invisible cord pulling us together, my arms wrapped around his neck and clung to him.
I’m not sure which one of us let a soft moan escape between breaths. Though my lungs begged for air, I hardly breathed as I stared up into his handsome face. A smile played on his oh-so kissable lips and I had to stop myself from reaching up and starting over again. Nate’s eyes were focused on my mouth and under his close surveillance I bit down on my lower lip. His taste still lingered. His smile widened and his gaze traveled up to lock with mine.
We spoke at the same time and shared a nervous laugh. I liked the way his husky voice said my full name.

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