For Melissa Grey, writing and publishing her first book was a years-long process fraught with half-baked fantasy worlds, World War II-era vampires, and NaNoWriMo fails.
But in April 2015, the misfires paid off: The Girl At Midnight (Amazon, $13.13), Grey's debut novel and the first installment in a highly-anticipated young adult trilogy, hit shelves to critical acclaim. More importantly, the book hit it big with the discerning readers who comprise YA's zealous, ever-growing fanbase.
The Girl At Midnight follows the adventures of Echo, an orphaned New Yorker with a mysterious, unexplained past and a sassy brand of humor, who — through a series of strange occurances involving the New York Public Library — gets adopted by a species of fantasy creatures called the Avicen. Then, she meets Caius, the prince of the Drakharin and the mortal enemy of the Avicen, and they embark on journey to find the Firebird, a mythical creature believed to be the key to ending the conflict between the races.
We chatted with Melissa Grey about the sequel, Shadow Hour, the challenges of being a full-time writer (ahem, Netflix) and which books inspired her own career path:
How long ago did you begin writing The Girl At Midnight?
I started writing the draft that became The Girl At Midnight in 2010 or 2011. It was a long process, but I started it and put it aside. I then started working on a different book; then I went to grad school. So, I wasn't continuously working on it for five years.
When did you finally sit down, and say 'I'm going to finish this'?
I didn't used to write things in sequence. I would just write the scrap of something here, then move on to a completely unrelated scrap elsewhere. Then, I would forget about it for six months. So, I sat down sometime in late 2012 and early 2013 when I finished graduate school. I was just like, 'Alright I'm just going to sit down and forget about all the work I've done before and just write a finished draft.' From chapter one until the end, it took about a month. I was working as a freelancer part time, so I had the time.