Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to people involved in children’s publishing. Today we welcome back YA author, Melanie Hooyenga. Melanie visited Strands of Thought before with a great guest post. (I’ll put the link at the bottom so you can re-visit it.) She’s going to share a little about her series. But first, Melanie, can tell us a little about yourself?
I first started writing as a teenager and find I still relate best to that age group. I’ve lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but have finally settled down in my home state of Michigan with my husband Jeremy. When I’m not at my day job as a graphic designer, you can usually find me attempting to wrangle my Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.
I love the image I have in my head of you wrangling Owen. Those small dogs can be bossy! Now, can you tell us about your series, please? I LOVE the covers!
The Flicker Effect trilogy is contemporary YA with a sci-fi twist. The first book, FLICKER, tells the story of 17-year-old Biz, who uses sunlight to flicker—travel back to yesterday. Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to yesterday. No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way, until little girls in her town start disappearing. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.
In book two, FRACTURE, Biz wakes up from surgery after helping catch a kidnapper and soon discovers that her ability is stronger than ever. But her newly-shaved head brings out the bullies, her boyfriend Cameron is getting a little too chummy with a girl from the kidnap support group, and Cameron’s formerly kidnapped sister is having some serious adjustment issues. When her dad’s health takes a turn for the worse, she turns to the neurosurgeon who operated on her. If she tells him the truth, he could figure out why she and her dad flicker and save her before her entire world—and her own health—crumbles. But can Biz trust him with her secret?
In FADED, the third book (which comes out today!), Biz didn’t think life could get worse after the tragic events that surrounded her last flicker, but when she accidentally flickers on her eighteenth birthday after doing shots of vodka—she’s forced to face the consequences of her actions in a way she never imagined. When an anonymous email threatens to reveal her secret, Biz must decide if flickering is all it’s cracked up to be, or if she needs to stop. Forever.
I recommend my books to readers who like:
The Wake trilogy and the Visions trilogy, by Lisa McMann. Both series are contemporary with a sci-fi twist (sound familiar?) where the main character has something a little off in her head. In Wake, Janie gets pulled inside people’s dreams, while in Visions, Jules sees visions of future tragedies. Both series stuck with me long after I read them I recommend them to everyone. Bonus: I had the honor of meeting Lisa at a book signing on my birthday last year.
Let’s get to know you a little better. Share with us your top three responses to the following questions.
Things you learned about the business after becoming a writer.
1 – It’s not as solitary as you think. Yes, you sit alone while you write, but there’s a whole world of writers out there to help you through the process. My best friends live all over the country and have very different lives, but they are always there for me, ready to help when I need them (with personal and professional advice).
2 – If you’re going to be an indie author, you need to write a lot. When I published Flicker, I received positive reviews but sales were abysmal. With Fracture, having a book already published really helped boost my credibility, so I cannot wait to see how the launch for Faded goes. My sales have increased every year and I know I have my backlist to thank for that.
3 – Every situation is an opportunity to make a connection (i.e. a sale). Despite the fact that I work in a marketing department, I am terrible at marketing myself. This has hit home for me a few times while chatting with a coworker who I’ve known for years but who had no idea that I am a writer, let alone have published novels. I’m trying to be better about working my books into conversations and – very important – I carry postcards with my book and contact info with me at all times. You never know when you’ll meet your next fan!
Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.
1 – Artist. I’m a graphic designer by day so I’d say I did well here. I also love doing DIY projects. I recently built the desk for my office and am planning to refinish our coffee tables later this summer.
2 – Writer. Again, I seem to have followed my dreams.
3 – Number three is a little fuzzier. I can’t remember anything specific beyond artist or writer, so we’ll go with professional athlete. In the past few years I’ve played: softball, volleyball, golf, soccer, dodgeball, kickboxing, and bowling, plus I played co-ed football in my 20s and basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse in high school. My husband and I regularly bike and hike, plus I really want a kayak and snowshoes now that we’re living on Lake Michigan. And of course the Schnauzer wrestling. (We also play a lot of “bar” sports: pool, darts, and bags/cornhole.) So perhaps I AM a professional athlete.
Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.
1 – “You’ll never get it if you don’t ask.” Sometimes people surprise you and what you want may not be as far-fetched as you think it is. I’d much rather be told no than always wonder what if.
2 – “What would you do if you couldn’t fail?” I’ve seen this phrase in different coworkers’ offices over the years and it’s always made me stop and think. The first time I saw it, I hadn’t written since I was a teen and it made me wonder what I could do, even though I didn’t envision myself as a writer at the time. I’ve learned that ignoring the fear of failure is very necessary if you want to finish anything, especially something as long as a novel.
3 – “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.” This serves as a reminder to press pause and enjoy life. We all get caught up in the day to day, rushing from one thing to the next, then spend our downtime glued to a digital device. If you don’t consciously choose to set down your phone (sometimes I throw mine out of arm’s reach), the entire world will pass by without you noticing.
Melanie, now that the readers have fallen in crush with you and your books, where can they find you online?
Thank you so much for having me!
GUESTS WELCOME! I’m always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.