Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan.
When not at her day job as the Communications Director at a nonprofit, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy.
Last year, I read Flicker which is the first book in ‘The Flicker Effect’ trilogy by Melanie Hooyenga. And I absolutely loved the concept on which the whole series is based- time travel through light. You can read my full review here- Book Review: Flicker by Melanie Hooyenga.
I finally got the opportunity to interview the lovely author on my blog and I am so grateful.
1. As a writer, who or what inspires you the most?
Having other people read my writing is the best inspiration of all. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and seeing their reactions as my words affect them. It’s important to me that I tell stories that interest me, and it blows my mind that the ideas bouncing around in my head interest other people too!
2. Was writing a passion for you from the very beginning? At what age did you start writing?
I first started writing stories in elementary school, then in middle school wrote a lot of poetry, songs, and as I like to call it, PG-13 smut. I would write short stories for my friends and pass them around, and while that continued into high school, by college I no longer had time for writing. It wasn’t until I was living out of the country in my mid-30s that I first attempted to write a novel and I haven’t stopped since.
3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t start writing a novel unless I know how it ends. The middle can be open-ended and usually surprises me while I’m writing, but if I don’t know where the story is headed I find I’m unable to start. I’m envious of my writer friends who can sit down with nothing more than the spark of an idea and just start writing, but that’s not the way it works for me.
4. I absolutely loved your book ‘Flicker’. The idea of time travelling using flickering of light is very unique in itself. Would you like to possess this superpower in real life?
Thank you! I think everyone has things they wish they could redo — whether it’s saying the perfect thing at the perfect time or having the camera ready a split second sooner. I work hard to never do anything I regret or have to apologize for (this doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, but I’m very conscientious in my actions) but there are certainly some fun days that would have been wonderful to repeat.
5. Which character in your book was most fun to write? Which was the most difficult one?
Amelia was my favorite because I would love to have a friend like her. She’s full of energy and super encouraging of her friends, but can be serious too. As for the most difficult, I’d say maybe the adults. I try very hard not to come off as preachy or sounding like an adult when I write, and that’s a fine line to walk when you’re writing adult characters who DO know better than the main characters.
6. Who was your favorite character of all?
Biz, of course! There are always parts of yourself in your characters, but she has a lot of differences too and it was a fun challenge to write her. For example, I love sports and play A LOT of them, so writing from the perspective of someone who neither likes nor understands sports was a way for me to stretch as a writer. She’s a bit harder on herself than I am in terms of her emotions, but her sarcasm is all me. It was fun to have her learn how to use her ability to help more than just herself and I’m happy she’s my first published main character.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learnt while creating your books?
That they were going to be a series! When I got the idea for Flicker I never imagined that it would be anything other than a standalone novel. Even after I wrote it and PUBLISHED it I didn’t know. It wasn’t until a year later that I realized there were two more books to the story, and that presented a ton of challenges that wouldn’t have been there had I planned ahead a little better.
I wrote a blog post about it here: http://www.melaniehoo.com/2015/01/19/things-i-learned-while-writing-a-trilogy/.
8. Imagine you get to travel back in time and redo the book. Will you change anything? If yes, then what would it be?
I would make Katie older in the first book. As I said above, I didn’t plan to write a trilogy when I wrote Flicker so her age wasn’t important, but once I decided that she would be the focus of book two, I struggled to have her experience the things she did without it being gratuitous.
9. How have been the responses so far for your book (or series)?
Everyone seems to really like it! I know authors who refuse to read reviews because they don’t want to know what readers say about them, but I like reading the good and the bad. I’m fortunate that there hasn’t been too much bad — even the somewhat critical reviews are helpful to me because it shows me how I can improve. For the most part I know I have a specific audience and not everyone will like them, so I’m thrilled every time someone takes the time to write a review or send me an email to say how much they enjoyed my novels.
10. Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?
I love hearing from readers! I’m all over the internet and have a newsletter as well. Follow me and say hello!
About the Book
Biz is a perfectly normal teenager except for one minor detail: she uses sunlight to jump back to yesterday. She takes advantage of flickering by retaking Trig tests, fixing fights with her boyfriend (or reliving the making up), and repeating pretty much anything that could be done better. Trouble is, flickering makes her head explode from the inside. Or feel like it anyway.
No one knows about her freakish ability and she’s content to keep it that way. Guys don’t stick around because she refuses to let them in, but all that changes when Cameron, her best friend, starts looking oh-so-yummy. Suddenly she’s noticing his biceps, his smile, and the cute way his eyes crinkle when he—gah! This is her friend!
But the butterflies come to a screeching halt when little girls start disappearing, then take a nosedive when the police link the kidnappings to Cameron’s sister, who vanished years earlier. As the police grasp for clues, Biz photographs a strange man lurking in the shadows and realizes that her flickering can help more than just herself.