Melissa Wray, Children's & YA Author
Can you please give us a biography and tell us about your path to publication?
From the time I could talk I was always going to be a primary school teacher. So after many different part time jobs to get through university I finally got there. After 14 years of teaching I still love it! Then when I had my first child in 2006 I thought (naively) I would have time to pursue my writing interest. I did some courses and entered some competitions. I received an Honour Award for Junior Novel in the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature writing for children competition. That was all the motivation I needed to keep going.
What is the most surprising thing that you have learnt about writing and publishing?
I have learnt so many things about writing from the editing process. That is why it pays to read your draft then read it again and again and again! Elaine Ouston from Morris Publishing Australia has been really flexible with her approach. She has allowed me to be very involved with the steps in the publishing process. She has been very patient and accommodating with all my questions. It has been a great first experience.
What does your average day (or week) involve?
At the moment I work 2 and a half days job sharing a Grade 2 class. The rest of the time my daughter is at home with me whilst my son is at school. It’s a lot of juggling to try and get some uninterrupted writing time. I stay up late a lot!
Are you a planner/plotter or a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ type writer?
I fly by the seat of my pants. Then when I get stuck I do a bit of plotting to see where I am at and what is missing. I usually repeat this process a few more times during the story.
Do you have any tips for unpublished writers?
Enter writing competitions that offer you feedback. Become informed about the industry. I have been subscribed to Buzz Words for some years. In fact Buzz Words is where I saw the competition to win the publishing contract that I entered and eventually won for Destiny Road.
Are you a member of a critique group or writers centre?
No and it is something that I probably should be a part of. I trusted a friend to give me feedback about Destiny Road before I sent it off. She was great at pointing out the boring bits that needed work. I have also used a manuscript assessor for feedback.
What can we expect next?
I am about halfway through something in the YA genre. But I have become distracted by two other ideas I am playing around with. See, definitely a ‘pantser’ writer!
If you had a premonition you’d be stranded on a deserted island what five books would you throw into your bag?
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Twilight By Stephanie Meyer
The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
What websites or blogs do you visit regularly?
I am subscribed to a few at the moment. I really like some of the ideas and suggestions I’ve found at http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/
What are you reading at the moment?
The unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.
What is the last movie or book that really had an impact on you?
The Price of Life by Nigel Brennan. It tells the story from 3 viewpoints about Nigel Brennan who was held hostage in Somalia for 462 days. Then my local library hosted him to talk about his book. It was incredible meeting someone who had survived such a situation.
If you found a hundred dollars floating around in a car park what would you spend it on?
New shoes. The heel just broke on my favourite black boots!
If you could choose your own questions for an interview what would you like to be asked?
Anyone famous I would like to meet?
Anything else you want to tell us?
Destiny Road is my first published novel and I am very proud of it. I was never able to say thank you to my dad for saying yes when I asked could I live with him (like Jessica does in Destiny Road). He passed away several years ago and it has always bothered me that I could not get those words out before he died. Now with Destiny Road I feel like I have said them, so hopefully he knows.
Want to know more?
Check out these websites;
Destiny Road Book Trailer
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