Melody J. Bremen spent most of her childhood in her imagination. She began writing when she was young and just never stopped. Her first novel, written at age 11, was about a cowboy who was bad and then became good.
Now she writes novels for middle-grade and young adult readers. She loves to write fantasy, mostly because you don’t have to do any research - those are the stories she finds in her mind. She also writes contemporary novels with imperfect protagonists who do big things.
Melody lives on a distant planet where all they do is write and read books. (Sometimes they eat jelly beans.) Oh, you want the truth. Well, then. She lives with her family in New Jersey, where people do normal people things. She has a faithful computer named Oswald. Other than that, she does not have any pets. She used to have a neurotic hamster named Puff, but she died. (As in, the hamster died.)
Reading was definitely my main hobby. As a preteen, I used to go to the library just about every week and come home with a big pile of books which I would then devour.
My favorite book changed as time went on. Around the age of nine, my favorite book was The Black Stallion. Then it was The Chronicles of Narnia. Then it was Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Nowadays, it's hard for me to pick one, because I love so many books, but two of my favorites are The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.
2. Did you ever consider becoming an author as a child? If so, what was your first story about?
As soon as I heard that Gordon Korman was published at age 14, I decided I wanted to be published at age 13. It didn't happen. But I did a lot of writing, starting when I around nine years old. My first story was some sort of Peter Pan fan fiction. I don't remember much about it. I think I got about two pages in before it fizzled out. My first full-length story (written at age 11) was about a cowboy, who started out as a bad guy and eventually becomes a good guy. I had no lack of imagination, but my writing skills, well... I've worked on them since then.
3. What’s your favorite part of writing a story?
In my novel The Boy Who Painted the World, the character of Indigo talks about how his favorite part of drawing is the moment just before he starts, when the canvas is blank and the possibilities are endless. That's true for me as well. My favorite moment is when I'm just starting a new story and anything can happen.
4. Are there any obstacles you had to overcome as a writer, and if so, how did you overcome them?
I struggled with finding the right voice for the character of Indigo. I wrote the first draft of the book during Nanowrimo, which is National Novel Writing Month, and occurs every November. I rushed to finish the book in a month, which is a lot faster than I usually write, and Indigo's characterization suffered because of it. While editing, I had to go back and think about who Indigo was and what was driving him.
5. If you could go back in time and give yourself advice before you started writing, what would you say, and why?
I would tell myself to create a better outline before I started the first draft. A well-written outline always helps the writing and editing process go more smoothly (for me).
6. The Prince of Korin and the Boy Who Painted the World are both amazing, well-written stories. Do you ever reread your books after they’ve been published?
Usually not. If I would, I may start nitpicking and poking at my work, which is kind of annoying.
7. The Boy Who Painted the World - a heart-wrenching story about a homeless child - and the Prince of Korin - which circulates around an exciting fantasy battle - are about two completely unrelated topics. What was your inspiration for these two different stories?
My stories usually start with a single image that pops into my head. The Boy Who Painted the World started as the image of a boy sitting in a cardboard box, his knees drawn up to his chest, staring out at the world. I immediately knew he was going to go on a journey, I just had to figure out what it was.
The Prince of Korin started as the image of two brothers in a palace. One was tall and athletic and the center of attention. The other was quieter, but I knew he had plenty going on in his mind. At first I thought, what if they were both fighting for the throne? But then I wondered, what would happen if neither of them wanted it...
8. Do you have any new children’s books in the making? If so, could you please share a few hints?
Indeed, I do. My upcoming novel is about an autistic girl who loves music. It's a bit different from my other works since it is a novel-in-verse. The estimated release date for that is Spring 2018.
There will also be another book about Prince Endomer, but I don't know yet when that will be coming out.