Melissa Burmester is presently living in East Moriches, NY with her twin brother George, her parents and their cat Cosmo. Melissa has been writing about vampires and the supernatural since the age of twelve. She has written a few short stories, but Ginger High is her first novel. She is presently attending Westhampton Beach High School, and is entering the 10th grade. She is planning a career as a writer and a teacher. You can visit her website at www.gingerhigh.com or her blog at www.melissa-gingerhigh.blogspot.com. You can connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/melissa.gingerhigh or Twitter at www.twitter.com/Ginger_High.
Welcome to The Writer's Life, Melissa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Thank you for having me. I have been writing Ginger High since I was twelve and I am 15years old now. I have written a few short stories but they linger in my computer, untouched for years now. Maybe I will use all of the ideas from the short stories and make it into one book.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
Ginger High is a school for students with special powers. The story opens in 1901 where a series of murders take place and all the victims have bite marks on their neck. Could it be a vampire? The story then advances to modern day where a young girl, Daisy, attends Ginger High after her old school burns down. Daisy befriends Amanta, Matthias, and Tearu who traveled through a portal from the Kingdom of Animist. Animist is a parallel universe where the people living there have supernatural powers. They were sent to the school to help solve the mystery. The plot includes the supernatural powers of vampires and magical powers of those who can teleport, heal others and create fire. Daisy realizes that she has a special power and has to learn how to live with it. The book combines murder, mystery, horror and fantasy.
I always have been fascinated with fantasy and vampires. All my teachers in middle school have told me that I wrote very well and I should write a book. So I took their advice and Ginger High was born.
What kind of research was involved in writing?
When I was younger, I watched the anime series Mew Mew Power. The main characters were able to change themselves into other creatures and had special powers. I also enjoyed the series Angel and that was when my idea about including vampires in my book came from. I thought of the idea for this book before I heard about and read the Twilight series.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
I was rejected by many publishers and when I decided to self publish it went pretty smooth.
For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
It took about 2 months for the book to be released.
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
I do not have an agent. I tried to obtain an agent and I was rejected. I feel that an agent would help if you want to get published with the big publishing companies.
Do you plan subsequent books?
Yes, I am finishing up the sequel to Ginger High but I have not decided on a title yet. I have finished another book that is not part of the Ginger High series. Casus Belli (working title) the story revolves around a man who died but didn’t crossover to heaven because he has some unfinished business to attend to. Another one, Do You Know Me? (working title), is about a vampire, his friends, and the secrets that they keep from each other.
Can you describe your most favorite place to write?
I love to write in my living room, in the big recliner, which is in the corner by the fireplace. My cat, Cosmo, occasionally jumps on my lap, purring, so I have to stop writing for about fifteen minutes until he jumps off.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
Everything! I would use every form of publicity that is available to promote my book.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?
Self promotion is crucial in promoting your book. I have received several reviews and have done two book signings in my local area. I also am planning to promote the book in trade shows and I am presently on a virtual book tour. Online promotion is one of the best ways to reach your readers throughout the world.
What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?
The frustration of being rejected is a major reason why you can give up. You have to keep on going to be successful in the wonderful world of books. I will never give up.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
Always write what you want and not what other people tell you to write. If they have an idea themselves, they should write it themselves and not give it to anyone else. You never know, it could be a bestseller. If you get rejected do not get upset. Use the criticism to improve your work, and never give up. Sometimes you need to rewrite a draft numerous times before you get it the way you want it.
Thank you for your interview, Melissa. I wish you much success!
Thank you for the wonderful interview. I had fun answering the questions.