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Author Interview - Melissa C. Walker

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Today, Melissa C. Walker is here to talk about her newest release Unbreak My Heart and the writing behind the novel!

Book synopsis
Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.

Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.

Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?

Much of the novel's events take place on the water. What kind of sailing experience have you had?
I sailed with my parents growing up, much like Clem does. But we never spent a whole summer on the water! Just weekends here and there.

That's exciting! My only "sailing" experience was one night on a ship with my class in the fourth grade. I did learn how to tie a square knot while there though. What part of the writing process did you enjoy the most while writing Unbreak My Heart?
I loved recreating a trip my parents actually did take, the Great Loop! I used my dad's old charts to get the locations right.

Clem is surrounded by witty, down-right-amazing people on her summer trip. If you could have any of the characters for your best friend, who would you pick and why?
Olive! I really ended up loving that little sister.

Me too! I wish I had her for a sister (not that I would trade my brother for anyone else). Have you ever made a love list for someone like the one that Clem made for James?
Yes! I made one for my boyfriend (now husband) one Valentine's Day. He saved it and we get it out sometimes to remember the little good stuff.

Unbreak My Heart takes place in alternating narration between past and present. Why did you decide to tell the story this way instead of having Clem reveal the past in the present through some other means?
I liked the challenge of writing past-present, and I wanted the reader to see both Clem NOW and Clem THEN. I think when cheating is part of a book, that can turn off readers, but I hoped that readers would love Clem NOW and try to understand Clem THEN, if that makes sense.

It does. You did a wonderful job showcasing Clem both in the then and now. While I don't approve of cheating, I did understand Clem's feelings. I was super excited when her heart unbroke. Unbreak My Heart ends with an open ending. How do you feel this is suitable for the novel?
I wanted Clem to have a transformation from beginning to end, but I didn't need to do that for the other characters. So the ending came, for me, when I felt like she was in a better place with herself.

It's a sweet ending filled with hope for the future. I love it. Music pops up a lot in Unbreak My Heart. Do you have a playlist of songs for the novel?
I do! It's here.

Yes! You just made my day. Anything else you would like to add?
Just thanks for having me! x



About the author
Photo from author site
Melissa Walker is a magazine writer and the author of five young adult novels (so far!). She loves iced coffee, Brooklyn stoops, mix tapes and Tarheel basketball. She has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. All in the name of journalism, she has spent 24 hours with male models and attended an elite finishing school for girls in New Zealand, among other hardships.

Melissa's sites: Website | I Heart Daily | Facebook | Twitter | Novel playlist


18 comments on "Author Interview - Melissa C. Walker"
  1. Great interview this book has gotten a lot of good reviews I've had my eye on it for a while. I'M actually really curious about the changing past/present POV!

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    1. It's a wonderful book. I think you'll enjoy it!

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  2. Oh nice! I really want to read this book and am excited that music comes up a lot in this book. Off to check out the play list.

    Valerie
    StuckInBooks.com

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    1. You should definitely check out the book. The play list is lovely. I really want to reread UNBREAK MY HEART with the playlist at hand on my computer.

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  3. I love the shirt Melissa has on in that photo. So cute! I've never been on a sailboat, but it sounds inherently romantic. I've heard good things about Melissa's book. I need to check it out.

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    1. Sailboats do sound romantic. I've always wanted to go on one. You should definitely check out Unbreak My Heart. It's one of my favorite contemporary reads of the year :)

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  4. It doesn't matter that you didn't spend an entire summer on the water, Melissa -- I think it's so cool that you got to spend weekends at sea at all! I've always wanted to do that, but I live too midland for that kind of thing LOL :') And I adore how you made a love list for your husband! Maybe I'll do the same sort of thing with my future husband? x)

    I love this interview, Kris! And with all the amazing things I've heard about UMH, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! :) <3

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    1. I grew up in California and miss the ocean. Now I live too far inland to visit the beach on the weekends, much less sail on open water.

      Unbreak My Heart is a beautiful story. Let me know what you think Mimi!

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  5. I do love sailing (not that I'm any good at it or anything) and this book has been on my radar--I need to seek it out, now that it's out. It sounds great. Excellent interview!

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    1. It's wonderful. If you love sailing, you'll enjoy this novel! And the characters are wonderful and bring the gorgeous setting to life.

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  6. Definitely agree that a great job was done in showing Clem NOW and Clem THEN. I don't even really think of this as a cheating book because there was so much more.

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    1. I agree. I didn't see it as a cheating book but as one about relationships and healing.

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  7. Great interview! I really want to read this one!

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    1. UNBREAK MY HEART is a wonderful book. You should definitely read it!

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  8. Loved this interview! I can't wait to read this one!

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  9. Loved the review! I love Melissa Walker she is one of the greatest authors ever :D

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  10. Great interview! I loved this book. I think it's so cool that she writes about trips that her parents actually took at some point!

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