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Like Melissa Reyes, I too feel more like my true self when I’m writing. It takes a certain something to be able to write about and share personal experiences with readers. I’d also like to note this is the second-to-last author interview I will be posting now that I’ve gone to posting once per week. There’s something so bittersweet about that. Enjoy.

1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.

My book is called This is the Sound of My Soul. It is a self-reflection journal-style book that tells a story of transformation. When I was going through hard times in my life, I turned to writing, keeping a journal, and blogging about my life to help me through. During this process, I found my passion and determined a destination for my journey in life.

Cover image of This is the Sound of my Soul

2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.

Writing gives me great pleasure. From using a pen on paper or typing on a keyboard to crafting words, phrases, and sentences to reading and re-reading my work – I love every aspect of writing. I feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings through writing than speaking about them. I love to share my voice in this way.

I once read the book A Woman of Independent Means by Louisa May Alcott, and I thought I would like to write a book like that someday. I was about 11 years old. I always thought it would be neat for future generations to know me through reading my journals. They could know the real me. My true self comes out best in my writing.

When I began writing a blog and sharing my thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas with the world I learned that I enjoyed meeting all sorts of people from far off lands that I never would have met if it weren’t for blogging and social media. Writing and reading is a deeper level of communication than that of a conversation alone. I believe it requires more contemplation and thus a better understanding of one another. It is this level of understanding that I love and helps me to thrive. Writing in a way that others can “see into your soul” is artistry.

Author Photo of Melissa Reyes

3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?

If you have read my book and blog, you might find this hard to believe – but I love crime drama and detective novels! I loved reading Tony Hillerman’s books about Joe Leaphorn set in the Southwest where my mother’s family was from. My husband and I loved reading and discussing Dan Brown’s books and the mystery-adventures of Robert Langdon.

My favorite novel is The Godfather written by Mario Puzo. I was inspired by his screenplay adaptation, his infusion of the real-life stories of the five mob families, and the attention to detail and continuity throughout the novel with the various characters and their back stories. Much like the book I loved as a child by Louisa May Alcott, the influence of generations of families and how they shape our lives has always intrigued me. This transfers to my own writing as I am always thinking of the influence my parents and grandparents had on me, and how that will affect my own children and grandchildren someday.

4. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

The name of my blog is Miz Meliz ~ Discover Your Passion, Live Your Purpose  This blog is an opportunity for me to express myself creatively, it is a journal of my experiences, and a place to connect with people. My vision is to help others, through friendship, coaching, consulting, and teaching while applying my gifts and talents in an effort to make a difference in our world .

I am learning new lessons all the time and experiencing new challenges along my journey of life. I wish to share my insights and light the way for others. . . in a fun and real way! I do this by being open and accepting of all people and things that I encounter. I am always searching for new adventures. Everyone is a part of the journey!

Image of Melissa Reyes Author Collage

5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?

I self-published This is the Sound of My Soul because I wanted to learn the self-publishing process. Since it is my first book, I wanted to know firsthand what the entire process involved. I quickly learned the value of having help with editing and graphic design! I downloaded my body of work onto a program form on I also used their program to design my own cover using a template. My husband helped me with the editing.

6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?

For me, having a book signing and a hosted reading worked best for sales of copies of my book. That in-person experience made such a big difference. All the exposure via social media has not matched the satisfaction that I get from having a personal connection with readers, family and friends and other supporters. It has been surreal. I have given away more books to date than I have sold. I would love to sell more because I want more people to know my story. I love to get feedback from those who have read it. I am surprised when men tell me they like it and enjoy reading it. I don’t know why. I wrote it for myself and my husband and sons, so I suppose it appeals to all people.

The advice I received for selling self-published books is to write more books. So, I have yet to see if this works. If I do, I will be sure to let you know!

Picture of Melissa Reyes Book Signing

7. Describe your writing background.

I attended a college prep school for middle school and high school and all of my writing and grammar skills stem from that early foundation. I have worked for many years as an administrative and executive assistant where I gained experience writing in the style and voice of other people. This combined with reading various styles of poetry and writing over my lifetime is how I developed my own writing practice. When I wanted to write professionally, I practiced. I wrote as much as possible about anything, just to get a rhythm. I have never attended a writing conference or workshop; however I would love to do so. I also love to read books about writing and do writing exercises.

8. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail? 

I write in flow. I self-edit as I go along. I try to write exactly what I am thinking as I am thinking it. When I write poetry, I do it entirely in my mind and don’t write it down until I am pleased with it. If I am writing a sponsored post for the blog, I usually make an outline or list of points I want to make, then I fill in paragraphs. Most of what I post on my blog are first drafts.

Picture of Melissa Reyes with Book

9. What future projects can we look forward to?

I hope to write and self-publish another book by October with more excerpts from my blog and my feelings about how determining your core values can lead to a happy and stress free life. Other topics for the book include my insights on mindfulness, finding your passion and living a life of gratitude. I also plan to publish a book of original poetry and photographs by December of 2014.

10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know? 

I became a Certified Professional Life Coach during the process of writing my blog and book. I look forward to helping more and more people find happiness in the everyday and in reaching their life goals. I would love to meet you at a conference or event that I am speaking at or attending. If you see me please don’t hesitate to say, “Hi Miz Meliz!”

What else might you like to know about Melissa Reyes?

You can connect with Melissa and her social sites via her blog. Please follow the link below to explore the sample pages of her memoir on Amazon.

***THE TWO YOSEMITES is now available!***

The images in this post appear courtesy of the author.

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