Please welcome Melissa Walker to the blog!! I have to admit, I geeked out at the chance to ask Melissa Walker some questions about her new book, Small Town Sinners. Melissa and I have exchanged tweets back and forth and we both have fun, vintagey creative weddings the same year, so I've also felt a cool authorly bond with Melissa. So of course I was thrilled when I got the chance to review her new book and pick her brain about writing. Hope you guys have as much fun reading our interview as I had participating in it!
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Since the book features a Hell House, I'm sure you did some research into the topic. How many Hell Houses did you visit? What did you find most interesting about them?
Melissa: I had heard about them through a friend's mom, and I only visited two before writing the book. One was actually a "Judgment House," which is a softer version that's less political. But the main one I went to was for an ELLEgirl article, and the most interesting part really was talking to the teenagers starring in the show. They definitely influenced my characters. Here's that article: http://tinyurl.com/3bsgvxx
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Religion is appearing more and more in YA-and not just in specifically religious books. What do you think the appeal is of religion in contemporary YA?
Melissa: Religion is a big part of a lot of teens' lives, and it's something that you're brought up believing (or not) rather blindly. At that coming of age moment, though, deciding what you believe about spirituality is a very big part of separating from your parents and finding your own way, so I think it very naturally fits into YA novels.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: I think religion and YA are a perfect mix and I think you found a great balance of that in Small Town Sinners. There's also a cute boy in the book, which I loved! You always write boys that are hard not to crush on! Who is your literary crush?
Melissa: I have different literary crushes all the time! It changes weekly. But I will say that I often fall for Elizabeth Scott's boys.
GreenBeanTeenQueen: Me too-she writes very swoon-worthy boys! It always seems like you have lots of projects-you blog regularly, you write for I Heart Daily, you write for magazines, you write books, and on top of all that, you're expecting a baby girl in August-congrats! How do you manage to do it all?
Melissa: Thanks! I definitely feel like I'm juggling a lot, but everything I do holds some enjoyment for me, so it doesn't (usually) feel like work. Imagine if you got to pursue a bunch of things you love and they all add up to being your job? It's a dream! I do wonder how having the baby in the mix will work, though. So we'll see...
Thanks so much Melissa!