Monday, January 16, 2017

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Melanie Hansen

Hi Melanie Hansen and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. Melanie has been writing since 2015, published her first MM tale in 2015 and to date, has published 4 novels, 3 of which are in her stunning Resilient Love series. Being a beta of hers (long story, but basically, I fangirled, emailed and kind soul that she is, Mel took pity on me, yay!!!), I can tell you that she has a few things cooking that we’ll be seeing in 2017. And boy, are readers in for more treats…I have permission to tell you that one’s a love lost-love found, 20-somethings tale, very contemp (and lol! very hot, a lot naughty and very sexy, and boy would I like to know what research she did for it!!!) and the other is a May-December tale that I am truly salivating over. I mean, she’s let me read about half of the latter, but the rest’s still a WIP. Does the woman not know that patience isn’t a Scorpio virtue?!
Mel’s a transcriber for a deaf high school student, mum to 2 boys who keep her on her toes, the daughter of a US Air Force guy and is married to a US Navy man. She lives in Arizona where she makes me sooooo envious about the weather compared to what we get here in London, UK. I mean, how can anyone moan about a hot summer, really, especially when there’s aircon everywhere as standard? Some people don’t know when they’ve got it good. Anyway, enough from me. This interview is about Mel, so it’s over to her.

Rita for BBJ: Hi Mel and welcome. Please tell BBJ readers all about yourself, though if I say so myself, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job. Did you know that good old-fashioned TMI is welcome here and that you’ve fans other than myself here?
Mel:  You did a fabulous job introducing me!  We’ve talked so much over the last year and a half, I really do feel like we’re friends J  You know me quite well!

Rita for BBJ: Tell us a little about your day job, please, Mel and what life as a Navy family is like.
Mel:  Basically, I’m a middle-aged woman reliving my high school days in excruciating detail, LOL.  I’m assigned to one student, a lovely young woman whom I adore, and I accompany her from class to class.  Once there, I transcribe the teacher’s lecture for her on a laptop computer, which she follows along with on her own laptop.  Then I put the transcript in a shared Dropbox, and she can access it from home to bolster her own notes, or use it to clarify things if she has a question later.  It’s a very rewarding job.
Life as a Navy family is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, and a lot of having to do things on my own.  For the past year, I’ve been both mom and dad to our boys, due to the fact my husband has been stationed in San Diego while we’ve stayed in Arizona.  Long separations are a fact of life, and I knew what I was getting into going in.  On the flip side, we’ve gotten to live in some amazing places, and meet lots of people from different walks of life. 

Rita for BBJ: And, how did it go down with your dad when you announced you were marrying not a USAF guy but a US Navy guy? Are either of your boys showing signs of following in dad’s or grandpa’s footsteps?
Mel:  My dad didn’t blink an eyelash!  I think he felt sorry for me knowing all the sacrifices I’d have to make, LOL.  And yeah, living in Hawaii for a couple of years was a HUGE sacrifice.  How did I survive?  My youngest son, who’s 11, wants to join the Navy but my oldest, who’s 13, wants no part of it.

Rita for BBJ: Could you tell us what made you start writing, and in particular, why MM?   
Mel:  I’ve been an avid romance reader for years, and after discovering M/M, I found myself wanting to expand on some of my favorite stories and explore things that happened off-page in them.  I took to writing fanfic, and surprisingly they were very well-received.  When NaNo 2013 rolled around, I decided to give it a try, and Everything Changes came out of that.  Dreamspinner took a chance on it, and here I am!  

Rita for BBJ: Everything Changes – aah, Jase and Carey, love them, love them, love them. Sorry, off track again – has a military background, as does the WIP I’m (impatiently!) waiting on. How much research goes into your tales and does hubs help? Has he read anything of yours? If so, was he a critic or a critique-er, and did he end up wearing his dinner?
Mel:  My husband does help!  He’s been in the Navy for 23 years and is, as he calls it, an “admin weenie” as well as in leadership.  Any question I’ve had he’s been able to answer.  I also do a lot of research in the form of reading non-fiction accounts of people who’ve lived the things I want to write about, mainly to get a feel for the lingo so I can help my characters sound as authentic as possible. 

Rita for BBJ: What’s your idea of a perfect day, Mel? Would this involve a certain Cory Zwierzynski?
Mel:  LOL, I’d love to spend the day with Cory, but honestly, a perfect day to me would be sending my kids off to school so I have the house to myself!  A long leisurely pedi and lunch with a friend would cap it off in the best way.

Rita for BBJ: If you had the chance to make one of your books into a film, which would it be and who would you choose to play the leads (in this scenario, money’s no object and yes, I absolutely will be free to fly over and be a dogsbody/gofer/hands-on Jill of all trades)  
Mel:  I’ve actually had a producer express interest in making Everything Changes into a movie!  I met with him over my winter break and things are moving forward slowly J It’ll be awhile before anything comes to fruition, if it does.  I’m not holding my breath, but just the fact a producer thinks it’ll make a good movie is amazing to me!  I don’t have any actors in mind at the moment, to be honest.  Anyone have any suggestions for me?  I’d love to hear them! 

Rita for BBJ: Name 3 things that drive you mad about the hubs, and what he’d answer to the same question (personally, I never do this, as I’d never stop once I start writing stuff down!).
Mel:  First of all, he drives too fast, ugh, and gets lots of tickets.  One time I was with him and he started arguing with the cop, and almost got arrested!  Despite that, he still won’t slow down.  It’s very upsetting, so I’m sure my nagging drives him equally as crazy.  Other than that, it’s typical marriage stuff that being together for 18 years will get you J

Rita for BBJ: Which would trust more when considering buying a book, Mel – a 5* review that’s quite bland/inoffensive/generic-ish or overly effusive or a 3* review that’s more detailed and critically constructive?
Mel:  Hands down, the 3* constructive reviews.  When I’m considering a book to buy, I go right to the 3* and read those first before the 5s.  Mainly, though, I have trusted friends who recommend books to me and that’s how I make my buying choices.

Rita for BBJ: I have to ask this – exactly how did you research the stuff that takes place in Scott and Rylan’s tale? I mean, that’s a seriously sexy, hot read. Was there much trawling of the internet/strip clubs/porn sites, not that I’d know anything about any of those, lol!
Mel:  LOL, nope!  For the club detail, I based it on the Abbey in West Hollywood, and also the underwear models I’ve followed for years on social media.  For the drag queen stuff, my uncle’s husband is a former drag queen and he’s shared quite a bit with me.  For the rest, well, let’s just say I have a very vivid imagination ;)

Rita for BBJ: What are the top five places you would most like to visit? Take us on your ultimate dream vacation. Oh, and when am I playing London tour guide to you and the boys? I’m in demand, you know!
Mel:  New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Switzerland and Italy.  My husband has been to them all at one time or another with the Navy, except Switzerland, and I’m so jealous!  And of course, we’d have to stop in London so you can show us around.  That’s a given!

Rita for BBJ: So Mel, you don’t do a lot of social media or promo, yet your books have some amazing reviews. What’s the secret your success?
Mel:  I’m so happy and grateful for any success I’ve garnered.  It quite literally blows me away!  Thank you so much to anyone who’s read and enjoyed my books, and taken the time to review them.  I love and appreciate you more than I can say <3

Rita for BBJ: So I know you’re a bit of a Superwoman, but who’s your rock, Mel? That one person who always has your back, who’s always there for you?
Mel:   There are two of them, my friends Monica and Kenya, hands down.  They’re my rocks, my sounding boards, my hand-holders, the truest of the true.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without them, and I pray that I never have to find out.  Love you both!

Rita for BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round:
USAF or US Navy? Navy all the way!
Who’s the more romantic, you or hubs, and why? Neither of us, LOL.  We’re both very pragmatic, down-to-earth people who just want to get stuff done.  But every now and then he’ll send me surprise flowers or an “I love you” text.  I think I’ll keep him!
Describe yourself in one word. Loyal.  Once you have my loyalty, I’ll move heaven and earth for you if I can.
What can you be bribed with? Chocolate!
When will I be getting more of the WIP? I have more ready for you right now!
Cory Zwierzynski or Scott Eastwood (and no, you can’t have both!)  Heee!  Cory, because I’ve met him in person and he’s as sweet as he is beautiful.  I want to be besties with him!  

Thanks for popping in, Mel. We hope you had fun and I owe you one (though you owe me the rest of the WIP, ASAP)! 

Mel: Thanks so much, Rita!  You’re the best J

Preorder it from Amazon
Releases on 16/01/2017.

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