WalkerGet to know Melissa…

Melissa is a writer who has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. She co-founded I Heart Daily with fellow ex-ELLE girl Anne Ichikawa in 2009. It’s a daily newsletter about likable stuff. Melissa grew up in Chapel Hill, NC and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and baby girl. She’s the author of the Violet on the Runway trilogy, Lovestruck Summer, Small Town Sinners  and Unbreak My Heart. To learn more, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin!

Do you begin with character or plot?

I always hear my characters first. They talk in my head for weeks before I pay enough attention to figure out what their story is. This does make me seem crazy sometimes, especially when they get loud.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. I eavesdrop a lot and I watch a ton of TV. There are plotlines and dramas and characters all around you if you tune in.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I recently heard Allen Zadoff say that you should never screw the next guy who’s going to keep writing tomorrow. Meaning, don’t mess yourself up by stopping in a place in your draft where you don’t know what happens next. Always set yourself up to be able to start writing again quickly. Sometimes that might mean stop mid-sentence and then pick it up the next day. Great, great advice!

What one word describes you? Why?

Nostalgic. I think about the past a lot, and even when I’m having a great time in the present I’m often thinking, “Oh, what a lovely memory this will be!” It’s weird, I know.

The work is done. How do you recharge?

Yoga. Walks in the park. Making my baby laugh. Baby laughs are the BEST THING EVER.

What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue? 

A window with a water view.

Daily word count?

1000, ideally.