Welcome, welcome Melissa Collins! Collins has always been an avid reader. She said, “Majoring in English Literature was a no brainer. Becoming a teacher and instilling my love for reading into my students was also a no brainer. I’ve spent the last ten years teaching and I’ve loved (mostly) every minute of it. When I was home on maternity leave for my third son, I discovered a new genre that sparked my creativity. My passion for writing sprang from my love of reading and once I knew I had a story to tell, I couldn’t wait to get it out there. I only hope that my readers enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.”
Let Love Stay: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17902155-let-love-stay
Let Love Heal: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18148888-let-love-heal
Twitter – @mcollinsauthor
Purchase links: Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, iBooks
Book Trailer for Let Love In – http://vimeo.com/68016203
Link to Prologue for Let Love Heal:
Synopsis for Let Love In:
What would happen if you lost everything? If the people who were supposed to love you unconditionally were no longer there for you, how would your world change?
That’s exactly what happened to Madeleine Becker when her parents died when she was ten years old. Ripped from her home and everything that she has ever loved, she is forced to start all over again. The only way for her to move on is to build walls around her heart and keep everyone at a safe distance. Her logic: she can’t get hurt if she doesn’t fall in love.
That theory is blown to pieces when she meets Reid Connely during her freshman year at college. He is gorgeous and darkly mysterious. He understands Maddy’s pain all too well, but sharing his pain would mean breaking down the walls he put up around his own heart. Conflicted between loving Maddy and hiding his dark past, Reid starts to reevaluate his world. Maddy’s inner strength, snarky personality and breath taking beauty help Reid to make peace with his past.
Together they find out what happens when they let love in.
Snippet of Maddy and Reid’s first encounter from Let Love In:
There was a group playing quarters on the island and another group lining up shots on the breakfast bar – so not my scene. I just shrugged my shoulders, opened the door, pulled out a bottle of water and, when I turned around to walk back outside, I face-planted into a wall of solid muscle.
“Hand me one?” His voice was smooth and… gruff at the same time. Red-faced, I turned back around and got him his water, glad for the cool respite that the opened refrigerator door offered.
“Here you go.” I could not peel my eyes away from his mouth as he moved the bottle to his lips. They were perfect – beautiful and full in a completely masculine way. I watched, completely fascinated, as his throat moved, downing the water in three or four large gulps. He wiped his mouth with his forearm and I couldn’t help but let my eyes travel up the rest of his arm to his biceps and shoulders – those were the same as his lips – perfect. Amazingly, gorgeously, utterly, divinely perfect. Muscled and tanned, his arms were mouthwatering.
My knees wobbled. My heart thudded. Thousands of butterflies spread their wings in my belly.
“Thanks…” he stared blankly at my face for a minute and I couldn’t help but wondering if he liked what he saw. He cleared his throat and roused me from my little daydream where the gorgeous boy is mesmerized by the maybe-a-little-above-average looking girl. That’s when I realized he was asking for my name.
“Maddy. Sorry, my name’s Maddy.” I nearly choked on my tongue to get my freaking name out.
If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love – truly, madly and deeply in love. But what happens when that honest and pure love isn’t enough to erase your fears? What happens when your past rears its ugly head and threatens your future?
Maddy and Reid had that kind of love – the all-encompassing, Earth shattering, once in a lifetime kind of love. Then life happened. Old wounds that were thought to be long healed and scabbed over are ripped opened and they are forced to face the possibility that, maybe, they are not strong enough to fight their demons and embrace the light.
Together, they found out what love is, but now they will each need to heal on their own before they can ever be together again. They must face their fears and beat down their pasts in order to find their way through this crazy uphill battle called love.
They’ve let love in, but now, they need to find out how to Let Love Stay.
Excerpt from Let Love Stay:
I get out of the truck and walk over towards the two of them. Maddy’s back is to me as I approach her and her date, so she doesn’t see me right away. But once the guy sees me, she spins around to look at what has caught his eye.
Her face is shocked and when our eyes lock, my heart skips a beat. There’s a pull between us. As much as I hate to admit it, she owns me. Her eyes are magical. They dance with light and passion and when she looks at me, they are filled with love.
The love and passion that are sparkling in her emerald green eyes evaporate when she realizes the scene that I’ve just stumbled upon. I can only imagine what’s going through her mind, but I’m sure the images of me kicking Logan’s ass are flashing vividly through her mind.
I’m no more than a few feet from them when the guy pushes Maddy behind him to protect her from what he perceives as a threat. He’s not very far from the truth, but she’s not the one who needs protecting.
Menacingly close now, he pipes up. “Who the fuck are you? What do you want?” Okay, I’ll give the prick a little bit of credit for trying to stand up to me, but he has no clue what he’s competing against here.
The caveman in me wants to deck this guy and drag Maddy into a bed – any bed – and claim her, repeatedly, until she understands that she’s mine and no one else’s. I’m going to do that anyway, but hopefully I can refrain from knocking this guy on his ass. I’d like to have the use of my hands tonight.
My eyes never leave Maddy’s, but my words are directed at him. “Me? I’m the boyfriend, asshole.” Maddy’s eyes widen slightly as I say “boyfriend.” Did she really think we ever broke up?
I avert my gaze from Maddy for a minute to stare this douchebag down. “And who the fuck do you think you are?” He falters, not enough that most people would notice, but I’m in predator mode. I see his throat work hard to swallow past the newly formed fear. His pupils dilate slightly and the pulse beating in his neck picks up as adrenaline surges through him. If he thinks he’s going to win this battle, he is wrong – so fucking wrong.
He puffs out his chest as he says, “I’m Maddy’s date for tonight.” He snickers lightly as he says, “You know? She never mentioned a boyfriend when I asked her out. Must not be much of a boyfriend if she doesn’t even mention you.” He swells with pride at his snarky little quip. In the split second he looks away from me to gauge Maddy’s approval, I lay him flat on the ground as I drop my shoulder into his gut and take his legs out from underneath him with one of my own. I freaking love my takedown skills. I didn’t even have to bust up my hands. I’m definitely going to need them in a little bit.
I straddle over him and pull him up by the collar. “Whether she mentioned me or not, she’s mine, so lay the fuck off. Got it?”
Maddy still hasn’t said a word and I haven’t actually spoken directly to her. I’m pretty sure she understands my actions though. Wordlessly, I reach my hand out to her. This is her chance. If she still wants me, then she’ll come with me. This is who I am, who I’ve always been. If she can’t understand that I love her, that I want her more than anything, then it’s not because I haven’t tried as hard as I possibly could to prove it to her.
Hand still outstretched, I look her directly in the eyes, as I try to convey everything that I’m thinking, that I’m feeling. In what feels like an act of God, she understands me and laces her hand in mine.
Synopsis for Let Love Heal:
Perfection. We all strive for it, but what happens when the desire to be perfect consumes you? What happens when the need to bury your mistakes blinds you?
Melanie Crane has always been the perfect daughter, friend, student – she’s been perfect at everything, in fact. But when she lets her insecurities, the ones that she keeps hidden from everyone, get the best of her, she falters in her pursuit of perfection. Melanie crumples under the pressure and buries her pain. Numbed by sadness and guilt, she is determined never to let anyone find out how broken she really is.
Bryan Mahoney may appear to have everything in order. He’s charming, witty and completely swoon-worthy. In short, Bryan has life all figured out, but appearances can be deceiving. When the landscape of Bryan’s family changes in an instant, he’s left to pick up the pieces.
Not all bruises leave a mark. Now, weary and afraid, Melanie and Bryan must find a way to let love heal their broken and jaded hearts.
I talked to Melissa about how she gets from start to finish with her book. She said, “Honestly, I don’t do much pre-planning or outlining. I let the story take me where it’s going to go. So I literally start on the first word and end on ‘The End’.” Currently, she is working on book four in The Love Series which is titled Let Love Be. It’s a contemporary romance which will be released in early 2014. When I delved into why she chose the genre, she said, “The escapism is what draws me in as reader and a writer. Knowing that I can provide my readers with a break from their everyday lives is a huge pay off.”
Regarding research, she said that she didn’t conduct too much. She said, “My main characters are college students so a lot of what I included in their lives came from my own. I had to research a few locations to plot out where everyone would live / travel to, but other than that there wasn’t much research.”
We talked about one of Melissa’s characters also: “Reid – oh where to start? He is the epitome of the tortured soul / alpha male who has a soft and romantic side as well. I’ve gotten some criticism that he’s too perfect, but that’s how I made him. After all, there are enough jerks in real life. Let’s at least make the fictional ones perfect.”
Balancing her time? This what she had to say: “I’m still figuring it out. I work full time as a high school English teacher; I have three small children; I’m married and I run my household. A lot of my writing occurs at the end of the school day when all of my papers are graded or at night after I put the kids to bed.”
Like most authors, Melissa finds inspiration in the work of others, particularly The Sullivan Family Series from Bella Andre and with anything that Jasinda Wilder wrote.
When I asked about her publishing experience, she said, “It has been a whirlwind experience and while there are some ‘bad things’ that come with the territory, the good things far outweigh them.”
Marketing: “I use mainly Facebook and Twitter to connect with my readers. I have a fantastic street team that has been hugely helpful in spreading the word about my works. I have also found a great tour host who helps me tremendously with organized release days and blog tours.”
She said that she actually only started writing fiction in February of 2013. Let Love In was released in May and then Let Love Stay in July. By the time Let love Heal comes out, she will have self-published 3 books in just about 6 months’ time. This is a milestone for any writer.
Her wish: “That it reaches as many readers as possible.” The hardest thing about being an author: “Finding the time to write. It never works out that I have both the time and the ideas in the same moment.” The best thing about being an author: “This amazing network of authors, bloggers and readers has been the best part. Again the good outweigh the bad for me here. I have made some great friends through this whole process and even if we only “know” each other virtually, I feel truly privileged for being in their company.” The thing she wants people to know about her: ” I think there are two things that are really important. 1 – It’s fiction. I love how enthusiastic readers can be, but try to remember that it’s just about escaping reality for a while. 2 – I’m human, too. I make mistakes; typos happen (yes I have an editor, but she’s human too.); I have feelings that are largely ingrained in my words. So be kind – you don’t have to love my work like I do, but just remember that it’s fiction and I’m human.”
I want to thank Melissa for doing this feature and wish her the best of luck!