Author Spotlight – Melissa Green / M.M. Colt

Vintage typewriter with lamp on wooden table at wooden wall background

This month I’m welcoming back Melissa Green, writing as M.M. Colt, to the Author Spotlight. You might remember her from September 2019 where we talked about how she got into writing, as well as how we met. She is one of the first people I met at a 2018 writer’s conference and we’ve stayed in touch ever since!

On to the interview!

Author photo of Melissa Green and M.M. Colt
Author photo of Melissa Green / M.M. Colt
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

Beyond the usual ‘I wrote as a child’ stories…I started seriously writing in 2010. Then I met someone in 2012 who explained self-publishing to me and I was so excited – I get to decide everything? I’m IN!

How did you get started writing?

Honestly I just started. And then (see my top strengths: Activator/Significance/Focus/Futuristic/Communication) I realized I needed all the info, and to make all the plans…which led to SO MANY podcasts. Which led me to writing conventions, and making connections.

What genre do you write in and why?

I’m currently writing Fantasy Romance, basically vampire romance with lots of plot. My first series is a more traditional example of the genre.

How do you get the ideas for the stories and books you write?

Ideas are the last problem I have, it’s more like how do I stop them long enough to finish one project. Everything inspires me – my neighbors, movies, books, the news.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, right now it feels like forever lol, this one has taken longer than it should. But usually, 4 to 6 months. But also consider that I re-wrote my first book, so technically it took 2 years!

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

Characters first, always. I’m not sure why, but it’s how that particular character will deal with whatever the plot is that makes the book interesting. There are only so many plots swirling around out there, but characters, there’s no end to how many different ways you can build a human (or other race 😁).

What is your favorite part about being an author?

Oh I love the words! Wording is fun! Making stuff up, causing trouble that I can’t get into trouble for – so fun!

What is the most challenging part of writing a book?

There are always dips, times when life gets in the way, or you just can’t make your brain do what you want. Showing up at the keyboard the next day is hard. 

Do you have a writing ritual or routine that you use?

Yes and no. I had one for my first book, but not for my second. For this one I’m all over the place. Maybe I need a new ritual. 

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

Ooohhh Nora Roberts! I am obsessed with her productivity!

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book? 

IMy husband (super supportive) always opens a good bottle of champagne and gets the fancy champagne glasses out. And I sleep in the next day – every ‘the end’ has come super late at night for me!

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

I have a writer friend that told me once that no matter what, at some point I would hate what I was writing – just be absolutely sure that it sucked beyond the telling of it…but that I should take that as a sign that I was doing something right, going someplace that freaked me out, and saying something important. 

What advice would you give new writers?

Write what you know. It’s boring and you hear it everywhere – but there’s a reason for that! I would supplement that with ‘and what you love’ – because if you think it’s boring, no one else is going to love it more than you do!

How do you come up with character names for your stories?

I actually have a Scrivener doc that is only for ideas, and a folder for names. Every time I think of one or come across one that I love, I put it there. I’ve found tons by reading the credits at the end of movies, by the way.

How do you handle bad reviews? 

A bad review is proof that someone read your book! Sure, they didn’t like it, but they read it! Just keep putting it out there, you’ll find your core readers, and they will love you!

What are your favorite books to read?

I have eclectic taste. I still re-read Dragonlance series that I fell in love with in the late 80’s. Adore the In Death series by J.D. Robb / Nora Roberts. I love fantasy romance, urban fantasy, romance, epic fantasy, and mysteries and thrillers. Mainly I just want good characters that I care about, and I want to see them learn and grow and change.

Do you have any book recommendations? 

Yes! See above, and also add Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score, A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I’m running out of space here, but poke me anytime on FB or Insta, I’m happy to give you more recs!

What do the words “literary success” mean to you? How do you picture it?

Being able to give up my day job!

If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?

Stubborn, loyal, loves margaritas (I know, I’m not good at instructions 😂).

What other pastimes or hobbies do you have?

I love to garden, cook and travel. And drink.

Tell us a bit about your WIP. 

A viral TikTok video has unveiled the existence of supernatural beings, now termed “metanaturals,” catapulting society into a whirlwind of fear and fascination. Enter Faith, a vampire with the rare ability to alter memories, living a life draped in secrecy and bound by a fierce loyalty to her ailing friend, Lilly. Lilly’s mysterious illness, worsening by the day, hides a sinister truth tied to the manipulative schemes of the Vampire Council. In the heart of Atlanta, where the supernatural brews under a veneer of normalcy, Faith’s path crosses with Jacob, a vampire enforcer sent to monitor her. Bound by duty yet drawn to each other, Faith and Jacob find themselves entangled in a passionate, tumultuous romance, poised on the knife’s edge of forbidden desire and looming threats.

How did you come up with the title for your book? 

The working title is Covenant. I like the idea of the multiple meanings it will have, between Faith and Jacob, the Vampire Council and the public, etc.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

This book is for lovers of romance, justice, loyalty, friendship and magic!

What is the story behind the cover of your book? 

I bought the cover years ago, and when I started brainstorming my current WIP I realized it was perfect.

What would you like the reader to take away from reading your book? 

That love and loyalty are all you have when everything else is falling apart, and you can’t push people away because you’re afraid, that’s the time to pull them closer. 

More about Melissa and where to find her work

Melissa Green, also writing as M. M. Colt,  is an author who loves to pull the reader into her stories.  “I want to entertain, the same way that I want to BE entertained.”

“I’ve always loved movies and books in the romance and action/adventure and fantasy categories, but up until recently it was almost always a man that saved the day, wasn’t it?   I’m all for a good shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, take your shirt off and show your muscles plot, don’t get me wrong – but where are all the strong women?  And romances, forget it.  I don’t want my heroine running UP the stairs…unless that’s where she keeps her guns.  Women don’t swoon anymore, do they?  I want my romances sexy and heady and so good you tell your kids to eat pop-tarts for dinner.  But I don’t want the ball to always be in the man’s court.  I mean, if that were all the fun to be had the world’s population would be a lot smaller, let me tell you!”  

Melissa is a voracious reader, and she finally took all of her notes and plot ideas and swiftly jotted down titles and did something with them.  Melissa is writing what she loves to read.  Strong, smart women who can be funny, mean, and snarky.  And loving, and kind, and generous.  Who can save the world.  

“I truly believe that woman is somewhere inside all of us.  I was actually pretty shy growing up.  Somewhere along the way I just decided that wasn’t who I wanted to be anymore.  I wanted to live the lives of the heroines in my favorite novels.  So now I am. (Or I’m trying!)”

Melissa reads whenever she gets the chance, and her favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Ilona Andrews and Lucy Score.  She loves to garden, cook and sit around drinking wine with her friends.  Raised in a military family, travel is also near the top of Melissa’s loves.

Until next time…