Hi Melissa! Tell us a little about yourself and your work!
I write primarily nonfiction, short personal essays. In fact, I have only published nonfiction, even though I do write some short stories for fun. My most recent work is my debut book, I Love You More Than Coffee, which is an essay collection for parents.
What inspired you to write your debut?
I have been writing essays on motherhood since my first child was born (about ten years ago), but I wasn’t truly inspired to create a collection until my daughter asked me if I liked her more than coffee. I thought the title was so cute and catchy and that I had enough caffeine references throughout my essays to make it work.
What is your writing routine?
Once a year, I go away for a few days to write at a retreat. I try to produce a lot in a short span of time because I am also a full-time teacher. Other than that, my routine is to shift things around when I’m inspired so I don’t let a good idea get away from me.
What are your top 3 favorite books?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Great Gatsby, and Little Women
I LOVE Big Magic too! That’s a great book.
What writers inspire you?
I am inspired by writers who admit to having a rocky start and not giving up. I am much more impressed by hard work and perseverance than by so-called “talent”. I think a lot of writers fit into the category I have described, and that is why they have stories to tell today about their challenging beginnings.
I’m curious, what are you currently reading?
This is so random, but I just finished reading Love Story with my husband because we wanted to read a book together. And I’m starting California Dreamin’: The True Story of the Mamas and the Papas. I’m all over the place with my reading interests.
That sounds like an interesting read. You definitely read a variety of genres!
Do you use any life experiences to inspire your writing?
Almost always. Many of my essays have come from experiences with my children or something cute that they said.
So, tell me, how did you get into writing?
I have always written - as far back as I can remember. I was writing in my notebook in class when I should have been paying attention in Algebra and World History. I wrote poetry in high school and won a few local contests, and I began writing professionally right after college. I worked as a journalist for a while before moving into writing personal essays.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I’m not sure I’m ready to give others a lot of advice just yet besides continuing to write if it’s really what you want. I have learned a lot about the business side of writing in recent years, but I am always learning new things about craft. That’s a big part of what I love about writing: It always feels new and exciting.
As an author myself, I know how frustrating marketing can be for some writers.
What’s your experience marketing your book? Do you have any tips to share?
I also LOVE the marketing side of writing. I published right smack in the middle of the pandemic, so I had to be creative. Since my book has “coffee” in the title, I teamed up with a local coffee roaster and did some online sales that way. I have also done book signings in coffee shops. I love bookstores and libraries as well, but I think new authors should consider a variety of venues when looking to reach new readers.
What’s next for you? Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I am currently working on a second project. It is a guided journal, and I am so excited about it!
Thank you, Melissa, for taking the time to share with us!
Melissa Face is the author of I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids...a little more. Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, Tidewater Family Magazine, Scary Mommy, and twenty-four volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She lives in Prince George and teaches world literature at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology. Read more at http://www.melissaface.com.