Melissa Jarvis

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: June 09, 2011

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Past Her Time | BookStrand Romance | June 7, 2011

Agent Alex Raines takes no prisoners-in her job or in her personal life. But all of that changes when the time travel organization The Lineage sends her to 1793 Revolutionary France. Used to a "get in, get out," modus operandi, she finds her heart and will tested by local English nobleman Lord Gabriel Huntington, whose reasons for being there are as deceptive as her own.

In the midst of revolution and betrayal, can these two learn to take off the disguises and trust each other? Or will the fate of the world and time travel rest on Alex's ability to betray the one man she has come to love?

Please describe your writing environment.

I write mostly at night, after my soon to be five year old has gone to bed. Otherwise, he tends to chase after me and my laptop, and peppers me with questions like "What are you doing mommy?" "Can I see?" "Oops, I just spilled juice." Generally I'm in the middle of writing a romantic scene, and you can just imagine how apple juice and "I need to go potty" ruins the moment.

Please tell us your latest news!

My first full length book, Past Her Time, was just released by BookStrand Romance! This book is very dear to my heart and I hope readers get a sense of that--plus a little lesson on time travel, my twisted sense of humor, and of course, a happy ending.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was seventh grade, and a friend and I, who both loved fantasy and science fiction, decided to write what would now be called "fan fiction" based on Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. My sincere apologies to Ms. McCaffrey for what we did to her beloved characters. When we finally realized the author might not be as enamored of our attempts as we were, we started to develop our own world, filled with griffins instead of dragons, two sister heroines, and heroes that we tortured so much it's a wonder they didn't leave our heroines.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

DON'T GIVE UP! I remember attending a writing workshop early on and the very well-known speaker said "you might as well put your first book under the bed because it will never sell." I'm happy to say that I proved him wrong, and I urge other writers to do the same. However, my husband will tell you that I didn't always take my own advice; pot meet kettle.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing?

I do have favorite objects, and each is pertinent to a different story. For that first book way back in seventh grade, it was this beautiful old tin box with female representations of the seasons. "Spring" became the inspiration for one of the two sisters. For Past Her Time, it's an original 1793 copy of "The Gentleman's Magazine" which contains information on the English reaction to the French revolution and an article on time travel that I actually used in the book! (Spoiler: the article really refers to using time to navigate ships). For the sequel to Past Her Time, it's a Spanish book on Cathedrals published at the turn of the last century.

What main genre do you write in?


Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?

My family. My parents have encouraged my writing ever since I can remember, although my mom did say when I started college that I needed to major in something that would earn money while writing the Great American Novel. My husband has also been very supportive, listening to me rant and wail at every rejection letter and every bump on the road to publication. And he has been very patient working on my website, and hasn't yelled much at my nitpicking. For the record, I majored in Mass Communications and have been in public relations for over 14 years.

Do you like to mix genres?

I definitely like to mix genres. In fact, my publisher describes Past Her Time as a historical time travel/futuristic romantic suspense. Quite a mouthful. But I wanted to combine my love for science fiction with romance, and try and add a new spin to the time travel genre. I guess I will have to wait until someone figures out which time travel theory works so I can go to the future and find out if I was successful or not.

What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?

I'm actually stepping out of the romance world a bit and reading James Rollins and Steve Berry. They both write action-adventure/historical mystery combined with cutting-edge science. What's not to love? I have to say their ability to research far surpasses mine, which I didn't think possible, and I've learned a lot about new scientific breaktrhoughs, and how they relate to history and today. And for writers, it's a great lesson on pacing--these books don't stop.

Tell us all about "The Call" or "The Email"!

I got the email from BookStrand the day after another rejection on the same book. I was in so much shock, my husband thought someone had died. I think he was ready to rush me to the hospital. It didn't sink in until I actually saw my book cover, and I'm still pinching myself, although it's starting to hurt.

What inspires your writing?

I love research. Yes, I admit it. I'll hear something about a certain time period and think "that's cool, I NEED to know more about it." In seventh grade it was greek mythology. I can still tell you every greek myth in existence. Past Her Time takes place mostly during the French Revolution, and that came out a visit to the Conciergerie Prison in Paris where Marie Antoinette was held before her execution. I saw her actual cell. She was then called the "Widow Capet" and there were several attempts to rescue her and the Dauphin. There's still speculation that her son was actually saved.

I hope y'all have enjoyed getting to know a little bit about me (yes I'm from Texas originally) and will check out Past Her Time, and hopefully my other books to come. I would also love to hear from you, know what you think, and anything else you care to write.