Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been writing nonstop since I was 9 and I actually finished most of my projects so I have no idea how many “books” I have written. Up until The Book of Secrets, they were all completely unpublishable.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is called The Book of Secrets and was born from the ashes of a terrible story I wrote a few years prior. It was inspired by a few threads of the original story, large-scale games my brother and I invented as young kids, and my job in a library, where I discovered a self-help book called The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra. The story really took flight when I found the Chopra book and imagined finding a real secret book hidden in a library…or bookstore, as my main character does.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t know how unusual this is but I only write when I’m tired. I read something awhile ago that said if you’re a morning person write at night, and vice-versa. So I’ve been following that advice ever since.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Since the age of nine, I have been heavily influenced at various points in my life, especially while growing up, by Marcus Zusak, Patricia Reilly Giff, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Judith Kerr, and the authors of the hundreds upon hundreds of books I stuffed into my mind. As a child I read everything in the library without paying attention to author names. I will never know all the people who left their mark on my style.
What are you working on now?
I don’t have a novel in the works right now. I’m reviewing books (this keeps me very occupied) and editing the two novels that will hopefully follow The Book of Secrets.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I write for an online review organization called Kid Lit Exchange, so when my book was published, I already belonged to a network of authors and reviewers with whom I had constant contact. This has been, by an enormous percentage, the single most helpful thing in the entire process. To already have so many acquaintances who have generously helped me get my book out into the world is worth more than I could ever say. Authors are, in my experience, generally kind people who want to help.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you’re looking to publish your book, the biggest piece of advice I have for you relates to what I just said. Establish a network first. Make a blogspot or Instagram and advertise yourself as a book reviewer. Find a publication you can write for. Just do anything to put yourself out there. Even Wattpad can be an exceptionally helpful site to connect you with a readership base. Form online friendships with authors published by small presses, like I am, or with self-published authors. They’re all in it to help each other.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I ever heard…I think this came from an article by an author named Jennifer Trafton, and she said she approaches writing the same way she approached the toys in her bedroom as a child. The Book of Secrets never worked until I took her advice and set myself free like I did when I wrote stories as a 9-year-old. Just have fun and play. You can sort through it and shape it later.
What are you reading now?
I am currently enjoying an ARC of A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine, which releases in October.
What’s next for you as a writer?
The world of publishing is so unpredictable I don’t think anyone can answer this. The Book of Secrets is ideally part of a series and I would love to send the other two out into the world. But ultimately their fate is in the hands of my publisher. I hope to begin freelance writing when I’m not so busy finishing my bachelor’s degree.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would bring three things: my iPad so I could have every book in the overdrive system, my phone to use as a hotspot so I could download the books (assuming this deserted island doesn’t have free wifi), and a hand-crank emergency USB charger. Of course, there’s always the issue of the island not having cell service, in which case I would bring the following books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Cry the Beloved Country, Room, and The Help.
Author Websites and Profiles
Melissa Little Website