Interview with Melissa Rea

Melissa Rea

Author of Conjuring Casanova, Rabbithole, and more

After finishing my first manuscript, I quickly learned that the hard part was about to begin. I started hearing about the importance of professional editing—about ten times more than I thought it would cost—and how secretive the publishing world is for new authors. For example, how many successful, traditionally-published authors got away without using professional editors before linking up with an agent? I have no idea and probably never will because no one talks about it. However, Melissa Rea is much more forthcoming with admitting how hard it can be to navigate the mysterious path of being a bonafide author.

Melissa, a Missouri dentist, has always been a writer at heart. I found it interesting to hear about her early days of writing term papers in school and the inspiration behind her first book! She also gets candid about how much she paid to publish her first manuscript.

Her books, Conjuring Casanova, Maestro, and the Nights of Alice Trilogy, feature strong women, exotic locations, and all the romance you need to escape life for a while. These books all rate 4.5 stars or more on Amazon and are worth checking out. 

I hope you’ll enjoy Melissa’s short, direct answers that shoot from the hip but also shed light on what makes this author tick. To learn more about Melissa, check out the links at the end of this post.

L.A. Can you introduce yourself to my subscribers, and tell them a little about yourself, where you’re from, how long you’ve been writing?

M.R. I’m Melissa Rea. I live in St. Louis Missouri. I chose a sensible career and didn’t begin writing until 10 years ago. I am a dentist by day.

L.A. When did you first realize you might be a writer?

M.R. I always wrote stories in school, I wrote term papers for money and was always the one to write up our reports in science classes. But I had always thought of stories I wanted to write. One day, I took a creative writing class. The teacher and my classmates were very supportive. So I tried writing a novel.

L.A. How old were you when you wrote the first book?

M.R. I began my first novel at 48.

L.A. Can you talk a little about your writing process?

M.R. I have a spot by my fireplace that I write. My usual time to write is in the evening after work and Sunday afternoon. I can finish a book, first draft, in 6 months to a year.

L.A. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

M.R. I love Antonio Vivaldi’s music. It always sounds so happy to me. I did a bit of research and found out he was a priest in a girl’s school…hmmm. So many stories in that but I chose to write about a young woman who went to the girl’s school. That became my first novel, just to see if I could do it.

L.A. Do you write with music, or do you need it quiet while you work?

M.R. I like quiet, but if my husband is watching TV, I pop in some ear buds and put on classical. Anything instrumental. Words distract me.

L.A. Do you outline your stories before you begin writing them?

M.R. I don’t usually, but when I have more characters, it is a good idea to keep track of them.

L.A. Can you talk about your experience with getting your first book published?

M.R. I sent out a few queries and actually got an agent. She was very kind and helpful, but failed to get a publisher interested. A friend of mine had used a hybrid publisher, they charged $5,400 dollars. I learned a lot, but sales were disappointing.

L.A. What is the one thing that surprised you about being a published author?

M.R. How little money you actually make.

L.A. Who are your favorite authors? (This can include who inspired you in the

early days, all the way up to what you’re currently reading).

M.R. I loved Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Mary Shelly too. Of course, I like Stephen King

and Dan Brown. My very favorite is Jennifer Weiner.

L.A. What are you currently working on?

M.R. I just finished book two of my Nights of Alice Trilogy.

To learn more about Melissa, check out her website, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram.