Today I'd like to welcome Melissa A. Craven, author of “Emerge” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
I was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at seventeen. I still think of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there. Today, I’m back in Atlanta—for some reason I can't seem to stay away from the ungodly heat of this place! I’ve always been the type of person who learns things the hard way. I guess I’m just stubborn that way. I was a late bloomer and didn’t finish college until my early thirties (just a few years ago.) I majored in fine art and have worked as an interior designer since then. Writing has always been a passionate hobby, but the more I venture into the world of being a true indie author, the more I want to stay full time!
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
Without a doubt! My family and friends mean the world to me. I can’t imagine a scenario where I would sit back and do what I’m told if someone needed my help. But I tend to be an “act-now-think-later” (and figure out how to talk myself out of trouble) kind of person anyway.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
To be merely “alive” is like going through the motions of life. Inhale, exhale, repeat. Sometimes I think we get stuck doing those things we’re supposed to. Go to college, start a career, get married, buy a house with granite countertops (the new white picket fence) and have a couple of kids…like that is some kind of recipe for success. For some of us, that life checklist just doesn’t work. For some of us, truly living life means making choices that make sense for us as individuals—taking risks to follow our dreams. Whether we are successful or not doesn’t really matter, it’s that journey of exploring the endless possibilities of life that teaches us who we really are. We need only have the courage to dare to be different.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
My imagination is so vivid is scares me sometimes! I get an idea in my head and I just have to get it on paper. I love coming back to a chapter I haven’t touched in a long time and getting excited about it all over again. That’s when it gets really good and my motivation is high, after a break away from a rough draft. Then I get to discover new layers of the story and really bring my characters and the plot to a new level.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
I have absolutely no idea! Kids are great, but they are much more fun when you can send them back to their parents. I’m a woman, so I’m supposed to want to have kids, but somewhere along the way, I stopped and really thought about it. I finally realized I had zero desire to have a child. I started thinking about what my life might be like if I chose not to have children and I liked what I saw. However, I am 100% certain that if circumstances deviated from my plan and I had an oopsie child, I would be an awesome mom. I’m much better with young teens than I am with the little ones, so I have occasionally thought about adoption.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Emerge" ?
Editing the long version down to a reasonable length. When I started writing, it was something I did for fun and wasn’t sure I’d ever do anything with it. As the story evolved, it got longer and longer...and longer until I had the most ridiculous rough draft ever! I started cutting huge chunks of the story from the draft. The process of editing Emerge was very slow, but it taught me the best way of how NOT to write a book! I had a very specific vision for book one, and I refused to put it out there until it was the story I wanted to tell. It took a long time, but I wanted to do it right and I wanted to do it well. (If you’re going to be an indie author, be an indie author!)
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Be who I am and NEVER try to be like everyone else. I am a total weirdo. I think most writers have to be a little bit odd. When I was younger, I hated being different. I wanted to blend in with everyone else. It took me a very long time to learn to love myself and to realize that my weirdness is actually kind of awesome!
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Emerge: The Awakening" ?
Emerge was “project untitled” for a long time. I chose the subtitle, “The Awakening” first. My main character, Allie experiences the Awakening of her immortality on her sixteenth birthday. (It is not a fun experience for her.) But that tile has been used a whole friggin’ lot in the last several years, so I wanted the main title to be a little more unique. When Allie emerges from her Awakening, she is forever altered. She has no idea what it all means and she has so much to learn about what it means to be Immortal. I ultimately decided on “Emerge” because I felt that one word really summed up Allie’s journey in book one.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Criticism is a difficult thing to come to terms with. Professionally, I can handle it just fine. I went to art school where critiques were just part of the process. I worked as an interior designer for years and I had to be okay with a client not liking my design. (They had to live with it after all.) But when it’s personal, I have to ignore it or it will drive me crazy! Emerge is my baby and sometimes people can be cruel in their remarks. It’s hard not to take it personally, so I just have to remind myself that they’ve probably never written a book and don’t understand just how difficult a task it is or how much of myself I’ve poured into my book. Instead, I just move on and focus on all the wonderful things the other 95% of my readers have to say about Emerge.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
Emerge is an entertaining read. It’s exciting with dynamic characters and stellar dialogue ;) It has all of the elements of the Young Adult genre that we love. But behind all the awesome, supernatural stuff, there is an important message of equality that I hope my readers will see. So many heroines of the YA genre fall to one extreme or the other. They are either weak and clueless without their male counterparts, or they are hard and jaded leaving the lead male to follow along in her shadow (not adding much to the story.) Why can’t they both be awesome? Allie and Aidan are equals in every possible way. They are both strong with a vulnerable side. They respect each other (and also drive each other crazy!) But it is their power that sets them apart from others of their kind and because of that, they learn to lean on each other for support. Throughout the series, for every strong willed female character, you will see an equally strong male character standing beside her as her equal.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Nature abhors a vacuum. The very laws of nature require that something exists even if it is just empty space filled with noxious gasses and alien debris. So if something has to exist, then it might as well be something cool like an endless expanse of solar systems and complex galaxies teeming with endless possibilities. Besides, nothing would be boring!
Thank you Melissa :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out "Emerge" on
Allie has always believed life is simple.
You’re born. You live. You die.
She has no cause to believe those rules don’t apply to her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah. When an unexpected move brings Aidan crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.
Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal…until her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.
…only Allie hates to fight.