Melissa Walker-Baeli is here to chat about her writing, life, and a massive giveaway she’s taking part in. Also, she’s been kind enough to play a game. Below, you’ll find the Spot the Lie section. You can play along by guessing which of the three statements is the lie. Let us know by leaving a comment. I’ll reveal it on Monday in the comments section.
And, now here’s Melissa.
Before we begin the rapid-fire questions about your debut novel, congrats by the way, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for stopping by I Heart Lesfic.
Thank you for welcoming me to I Heart Lesfic. What a wonderful place to spend some time! Thank you, as well, for inviting me to answer some questions about my debut novel, Go.Leave.Stay, co-authored with my wife, Kelli Jae Baeli. It’s a pleasure to be asked, and to answer.
What is the title and genre of your debut Novel?
My debut novel, Go.Leave.Stay., was co-authored with my wife, Kelli Jae Baeli. It is listed in the lesbian fiction and lesbian romance genres.
What gave you the idea to start writing it?
Originally, this novel was titled something else, and had been worked on, here and there, for a couple of years by Jae. She always discusses her works in progress with me, and I had read and contributed to the original writing, which was over 175K words. Neither of us was particularly thrilled with the result, and after some very good advice from a fellow author, decided the whole thing needed to be revamped. Ideas poured out of me – I’m not shy about giving my opinions or sharing my thoughts – and Jae asked if I’d like to write out my ideas and co-author the novel. My response was, “Yes. Yes, I think I would. Thank you, my love.” Between us, there were several, “Are you sure(s)?”, until we concluded that we were surely sure.
How long did it take you to finish?
Once Jae and I sat down with the knowledge it needed a new story-line (among other things), it took us 10 days. Independently, we went through those 175K words and moved most of them into cut files. Then, we compared notes on the remaining text, and went from there. Jae continued writing, using the remaining text she wanted included in the novel, and I did the same, with the text I thought should stay. We added around 30K words to the novel, and as we wrote new chapters and changed things around, we sent our files back and forth to each other. We did not work on the same section of the novel at the same time, so exchanging files as we went along worked very well, as we didn’t overlap. All of that took about a week. From there, we sat together, going chapter by chapter through our individual versions, making sure the timeline matched. I had made edits to her work and she to mine, and we found it easiest to have her version on the large screen while I used my laptop. Cut and paste, edit, check the timeline, cut and paste some more, edit a lot more, and so on. We spent three or four long days arguing over sentence structure, content, style, and all that jazz. Then, we sent it to the beta reader, a fellow author, and she did some edits, but was very pleased with the novel. Finally, we clicked publish. While there are elements of the original story in Go.Leave.Stay., it turned into something completely new and different. It was quite the experience and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being a part of it.
What was the biggest challenge you had when writing it?
The biggest challenge for me were the last few days before publishing. The actual writing was not a challenge and I had a great deal of fun putting finger tips to keyboard. However, taking two copies of the novel, each with edits and additions differing from the other, made for some robust conversations and arguments. But, Jae and I work well together in life, and found co-authoring a novel worked well for us, too. We are two very different people who have always been able to communicate to find both common ground and understanding. So, while we have our own ways of doing things, including writing, we quickly found common ground and made it work. Now that Jae and I know more about how we work together, professionally, we look forward to doing this again and again.
How did you get it published, Indie or Trad?
We published Go.Leave.Stay. under Lesbian Literati Press, as Indies.
What was the most important thing you learned from the process?
Good question. I think the most important thing I learned is that there is so much more to learn. I learned that no matter how many line edits you complete, you will always miss something and/or want to change something. I have learned more about formatting and cover design. Enough, in fact, that I would not, under any circumstances, tell you that I could, in any way, do either. I learned I want to do it all again.
What are you working on right now?
I am putting the finishing touches on Lesbian Zombies from Hell. It is a novella, the first of what will be a “Thrillogy”. To be honest, I’m not a huge reader of zombie books, although a good story is a good story, and I have read several. Screams in this Thrillogy will not be from fright (perhaps a few), they will mostly be born of strange (maybe) delights, as these are zombies you’ve never met before. The idea came from the AKA Investigation series by Kelli Jae Baeli – one of the main characters in that novel, Izzy, is an author, and wrote a book by that name. There is also a short of the same title that was published on Amazon last fall. It is an introduction only. I would recommend waiting for the novella to be published if you’d like to read it, as it will include the introductory short.
Thanks so much for sharing!
Thank you, T.B. Markinson, for taking the time and interest to ask these questions. Again, it has been a pleasure.
To writers and authors: Thank you for inspiring the imagination and hours upon hours of mental adventures.
To readers: Thank you for giving this new author a chance. I could not be more pleased at the reception of Go.Leave.Stay. It is a humbling experience. Thank you
SPOT THE LIE
For a bit of fun, Melissa has provided two truths and one lie. Which do you think is the lie? Let us know by leaving a comment.
1. I have found myself unwittingly swimming with a moose on a warm, sunny day.
2. I have been face to face (8 feet away) with a mother Grizzly bear in the wild.
3. I have been surrounded by a pack of wolves in the dark of night.
Not all happy endings are the ones we plan.
Author Dove Jacobi thought she had found the love of her life. The dream woman with money, power and smoldering good looks.
When British goddess-tycoon Freya Tibitt offers a life of globetrotting, Dove imagines exotic locales enriching her writing, and composing her novels on board a posh jet and in luxury hotel rooms, intertwined with romantic dinners and gondola rides in the Venice waterways. There was nowhere to go but up.
But that didn’t turn out to be the case. The best parts of Freya and of the relationship itself had indeed already happened, and it started at the top. That meant there was really nowhere else to go but down. Dove just hoped it wasn’t the kind of down that had her clinging to her seat cushion as a flotation device. Although, she might need that to keep her head above the waters of a doomed courtship.
Her fairy tale romance is served a dose of reality in a Venice hotel, when room service brings her a dish she wasn’t expecting. Dove has no life to go back to, only a one-way voucher to the destination of her choice—a consolation prize from Freya.
So when an old social acquaintance named Lissa Moon offers her sanctuary, Dove takes it.
Psychologist Lissa Moon likes her life. By day, she works as a school counselor, helping kids learn to cope with becoming adults. By night, she shares her bed as the mood pleases her, but never her heart. She’s got the whole casual sex thing down to a science.
As comfortable in her mind and body as she is in her lifestyle, will 42-year-old Lissa be able to roll with the punches when life takes an unexpected turn or two, forcing her to rethink her definition of happiness?
In a farmhouse in Southern Wisconsin, their lives are about to change again, and this time, it will be on their own terms.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Melissa Walker-Baeli is a rather reclusive housewife, married to a rather reclusive author, Kelli Jae Baeli. She spends her days cooking tasty meals, attempting to clean and organize their home, and happily, lovingly doting on her wife and their furbabies. This is the first time her name has appeared as co-author on a novel. Although she is working on her own series of novellas, titled Lesbian Zombies from Hell, her wife finally managed to tie her to a comfortable chair and delightfully force her fingers onto the keyboard, in a joint effort of creativity and hair-pulling frustration.
Now for the massive autographed book contest.
30 Indie Lesbian Fiction Authors have banded together for a massive giveaway of 39 titles and a total of 43 books in all!
There will be 3 winners, all chosen at random. The grand prize winner will receive 24 books! The 2nd place winner will receive 12 books, and the 3rd place winner will receive 7 signed books!
Also, there will be a special prize for the entrant that shares the most!
The competition is open worldwide. Click here to enter.
Don’t miss out! The competition ends at 11:55 p.m. (EST) on September 15, 2017.
Thanks so much Melissa for stopping by today. The questions for today’s interview were provided by Niamh Murphy. Authors would you like to get involved? Check out Niamh’s tag post: The Debut Novel.
Readers, don’t forget to share which statement you think is a lie. I’ll reveal the lie on Monday in the comments section.
Best of luck to everyone who enters the giveaway.
Love this interview. Welcome to the lesfic writing family, Melissa! I’ve been reading Kelli’s work for years. I have ‘Go. Leave. Stay’ on my TBR pile and I plan to get to it soon. After hearing what you’ve been through, I may just have to bump it up. I also look forward to your zombie series.
As for your 3 questions: Given what I know about the two of you, any of them could have happened in your ‘adventures’. I’m going to go with number 1 just because it’s hard to “unwittingly” swim with something as large as a moose. Even the babies are huge!
Thanks, Anne Hagan! We hope you enjoy Go.Leave.Stay. I’m a big fan of your Morelville Mysteries series. Thanks for all of your support. Writing with my wife was quite the experience, and we plan on doing it all again.
I won’t say your guess is right or wrong, but it might interest you (and any other outdoorsy folks)…
I was standing the middle of a road, outside Haines, Alaska, where the mountains drop from the sky and form a steep wall at the side of the road, when a mama grizzly poked its head from the spruces and walked out onto the pavement, less than ten feet in front of me and headed in my direction. I did not hear a thing. I saw her, then I smelled her, but I never heard her. I froze, looked down at her rather impressive claws, and slowly pressed record on my phone, which was already in hand (I had been taking pictures). The story is a little longer, of course. It’s rather amazing that I didn’t hear a 750? pound animal walking so close to me in the woods of Alaska.
A big thanks to T.B. Markinson for inviting me share a little about myself with I Heart Lesfic and all of the wonderful readers and authors out there!
Great interview, Melissa. Just picked up Go. Leave. Stay. Looking forward to reading it. My other half woke me with a belly laugh this morning. I asked wtf was so funny. She had started GLS ahead of me and came across The Rusty Beaver. 😜
I’m gonna guess surrounded by a wolf pack is the falsehood. Although, I can almost imagine any of those things happening in the wilderness…but that seems the least likely from which to escape with your life. But maybe not. I look forward to hearing the story of the other encounters. Congrats again!
Thank you, Cindy. I guess it’s safe to say now that I have, indeed been surrounded by a pack of wolves at night, in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I should not have run. On my left, right, and in front of me. The cabin was about 50 yards behind me. I took a short walk in the beautiful, crisp night air, down a 50 yard gravel drive to a one lane paved road, in the dense woods. Heard something on my right, turned on the flashlight and saw nothing. Then I heard something moving on my left, but saw nothing with the flashlight, there, either. Got to the paved road, still hearing shuffling on both sides, then right in front of me. The flashlight caught one pair of green eyes, rather far off the ground, if I may say. I switched the light off, then on again (because turning it off was stupid), and there were two pairs of eyes in front of me. 4 feet off the ground or so. What to do, when you hear large paws circling you? Turn on the strobe feature, scream at the top of your lungs, and run faster than any other human being on the planet. All together, there were 7 of them. My family was in the cabin and heard my scream, of course, and quickly opened the door (and shut it) for me. I’ve been lucky twice, faced with apex predators. With all hope, I will never find myself swimming with a moose. Moose are more dangerous than a grizzly or wolf to humans. Although, the Mama grizzly was an incredible sight to behold. I stared at her feet, dinner plate sized or bigger, and her claws…oh, no…no, no, no, no, no. I hope you enjoy Go.Leave.Stay. and thank you for all of your support!
Wow! I can’t imagine any of the scenarios. Something to see, but I imagine in the moment, sheer terror. And yes, moose are extremely dangerous. During my childhood, we had a summer cabin and a moose would come by most nights. I was really young, but it was explained to me never to approach. I’ll spare you the details, but it left a lasting impression.
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