Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Nerd's Dozen: Melanie Shawn

HEY READERS!!! It has been quite some time since we have had a guest on our BOOK NERD'S DOZEN! But, today we are excited and eager to introduce Melanie & Shawna: The book writing duo better known as Melanie Shawn! *Insert Fangirl Squeal* I loved getting to know these two with these questions! I think that Melanie's super power is a lot like Sherlock Holmes in their books! On to the Book Nerd's Dozen!

1) Waiting in line at Starbucks, what do you order? What name do you give?

Melanie: I generally order a venti iced coffee. I’m pretty plain. But my niece Mariah came up with a vegan concoction (venti iced chai tea latte with soy milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup) that’s pretty dang tasty, so sometimes I will get that, as well. I give them my actual name, Melanie, which usually ends up being written as ‘Melony’ on the cup!

Shawna: As Melanie mentioned my daughter gets a venti iced chai latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup and soy milk, so that is usually what I’m ordering when I go there. I normally don’t get anything from there but if I do it is a venti cup of ice water w/3 scoops of Matcha. I like to add 1 pack of honey. I always give my name, because I am a rule follower to a ridiculous degree.

2) Who was your first book boyfriend?

Melanie: My dad gave me this book about Ulysses and the Trojan War, and all of the adventures and travails that he went through over the course of 20 years or so trying to get back to Penelope. I was only about 8 or 9, but it made a big impact. I have to admit, I swooned over that story throughout my teen years!

Shawna: Todd Wilkins from Sweet Valley High. I wanted to be Elizabeth Wakefield SO bad!

3) Last song you couldn't get enough of?

Melanie: I actually just posted about this on Facebook! There’s a song called “Blue Sky” by Francesca Battistelli that reminds me of Cat and Jace from our book Someday Girl. Specifically, I feel like Cat would love the song, but Jace would feel it was too bouncy and peppy for him, musically - while secretly loving the sentiment.

Shawna: To dance to: Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainer (I’m a Zumba instructor and I love doing that song in my classes). To swoon to: Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran. The lyrics “And your heart's against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck, I'm falling for your eyes, but they don't know me yet” get me every time!

4) At this very moment, do your socks match?

Melanie: I only ever wear socks with sneakers for working out, so I have a whole drawer full of identical black socks for that purpose. So, basically, short answer - yes, if I’m ever wearing them, they always match!

Shawna: I only own white socks, so yes. Yes, they do.

5) Dog-earring: okay or unforgivable?

Melanie: Are we talking about piercing dogs' ears? Or buying cute and dangly ear-jewelry shaped like schnauzers? Because neither one of those is OK.
As for folding down pages of books, neither my Kindle nor my Audible app lets that happen very easily, so it’s not something I have to devote much thought to!

Shawna: Hello, my name is Shawna and I am a dog-earer. I admit it. I am. I know it’s not a popular form of holding your place in a book, but when you have two kids and get interrupted often, it works. No one can argue with that.

6) What is your superpower?

Melanie: I’m not even kidding about this, and Shawna can confirm - I have an uncanny ability to pick up on secret relationships between people. If they’re having an affair, or they hate each other and are trying to hide it...anything like that. I pick up on it, and it always turns out to be true later. One time I even picked up that someone was having an affair with his secretary from hearing a story that someone else was telling about him, and the secretary was barely in the story!

Shawna: Yes, I can confirm Melanie does have a sixth sense when it comes to the vibes flowing between people that they think they are keeping on the down low. I think my superpower is being able to function on little to no sleep. I’ve got that on lock.

7) Dog person or cat person?

Melanie: My dog is sitting right next to me, so I have to type “dog person” or he’ll get offended. Good thing it’s true!

Shawna: Dog person. It’s kind of by default because I am severely allergic to cats. But when I was a kid, before my parents knew I was allergic, I had a cat named Snuggles that I loved more than life itself. I would dress her up in baby doll clothes and push her around in my cabbage patch stroller. She was my world.

8) Nickname?

Melanie: I’m boring. Mel (and variations based on that) is about as creative as it gets. Shawna calls me “Sissy.” That’s about it!

Shawna: Oh boy, there are so many. Growing up a redhead I got all the common ones. Ginger. Strawberry Shortcake. Pippi Longstocking. And of course, Red and Carrot Top.
In middle school I got the nickname Scrappy Doo, because I would always pick fights with people bigger usually of the opposite sex. It was never on my behalf, I was always sticking up for someone being picked on.
My mom and family call me Na Na or Nae Nae Roo Roo.

9) If you had to leave one piece of advice for the next generation, what would it be?

Melanie: Don’t choose your college based on rankings and trying to get into the most prestigious school you can. That shit won’t matter in the end, trust me! Choose your college based on visiting the places you’re considering. Go to the one that makes your skin tingle and your brain feel alive and your heart feel like it just came home!

Shawna: You only have one life, don’t waste it worrying about what other people think about your choices.

10) Tell me about your best author fangirl moment! (Either one you had or one someone had with you!)

Melanie: No contest, it’s when we were on the Amazon Author ranking right under Michael Connelly. Screenshots for days!

Shawna: Oh this is easy peasy. It was the first time Carly Freaking Phillips shared one of our books on her Facebook page then messaged me to ask if I wanted to be part of a promotion she was doing. I still remember getting the message. I read it and re-read it and then sat at my desk crying for a good thirty minutes. I am a HUGE Carly Phillips fan (just in case that wasn’t clear!). Not in a million years did I ever think she would be aware of my existence, much less read something Melanie and I had written! Over the last year and half we’ve gotten to know each other and I still can’t believe it any time I have any interaction with her. I have to pinch myself and then try not to gush about how amazing she is and attempt to be somewhat professional. It’s a challenge people, let me tell you. I heart her SO much!

11) Are the men in your stories your ideal? Do you write them based off of someone?

Melanie: No, we try to avoid tropes where we can, or at least give them a twist.
smile emoticon
As for being based on someone, we generally don’t base a character wholesale on someone else, but we do sometimes give a character one trait that is a tribute to someone we care about (like humor, or warm-heartedness).

Shawna: My dad saw my mom at church when they were ten and fell head over heels in love with her. They started dating when they were 16 (she wouldn’t date him until he grew taller than her, lol), got married at eighteen and will be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary in July. My dad cannot keep his hands off my mom and when he talks about her his face lights up. I truly believe he still sees the girl he fell in love with all these years later. I use his unwavering love and devotion as inspiration all the time when I’m writing my heroes.

12) Now, this one is important... Do you return your buggy to it's proper location after grocery shopping?

Melanie: I do...well, unless it’s really far away. LOL

Shawna: I always do, but I have to admit I am usually shopping with one of my kids and usually they are the ones to do the actual returning, but I delegate.

The extra question, like the extra in a baker's dozen)
Can you leave us fans with some juicy tidbit? A secret? (WE WON'T TELL!) A pet peeve?

Shawna: Oooh this is tough. Hmmm, well I don’t really have a lot of secrets. My life is boring. It consist of writing, taking care of my family, and teaching Zumba. Rinse and repeat. But a pet peeve of mine is when people cut in line. I know it sounds ridiculous, and it probably stems from my aforementioned rule following OCD, but it drives me crazy. Just wait your turn. How much do you really gain by being an inconsiderate jerk?!

Sorry…I didn’t mean to rant, it just really bugs me.

A big thanks to Melanie & Shawna for taking the time to chat with two book nerds like us! Also, thanks for rocking our literary worlds with what y'all do with a pen and paper! Can't wait to catch up with you when later books come out!

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