YA Feature: Introducing YA author Melissa Buell & Giveaway

This week on Reading Away The Days I would like to introduce, author Melissa Buell. Melissa is the author of recent release The Seventh Blessing. Please welcome to Melissa by leaving her a nice comment and checking out her debut novel, The Seventh Blessing! Also check out the giveaway at the end of the interview!

A little about Melissa and her writing career so far:

I'm a wife, a mother, a substitute teacher, and otherwise very busy person. :)  I got started writing when I was in college. Writing became a form of "stress relief" for me. One of my friends is also a writer and we read each others stories. She encouraged me to keep writing and I did. I wrote my query letter and sent it out. The Little Things Publishing Company picked me up and published The Seventh Blessing. People that inspire me are good writers! I love to read pretty much every genre out there. Reading so many different things gives me fresh ideas or a new way to spin a story. 

Could you tell me a little about your debut novel The Seventh Blessing (Tales of Gymandrol #1).

The Seventh Blessing is about a princess named Samantha who lives on the continent of Gymandrol. She has never really fit in with the other princesses and doesn't know why. When she is eighteen, she finds out that the fairy blessings she received at birth are a lie. Two well meaning but feuding fairies actually blessed her with gifts that are more suitable for a boy. She has to find a way to control her real blessings despite all the complications life throws at her. There's a love story, danger, adventure, all sorts of good stuff. :)

Where did you get the idea for The Seventh Blessing (Tales of Gymandrol #1)  ?  
I got the idea for writing a fantasy book with a strong female main character after reading several books with weak girls. "What if a princess went on an adventure that was more suited to a prince?" That was my jumping off point.

How does it feel to have your book out there for everyone to read?

It's scary and exciting for my book, my baby, to be out in the big world. I'm always hoping that people understand what I'm trying to say and they find a bit of themselves in Samantha's journey. The response from readers has been great so far. I've had some reviews that made me cry (in a good way!) because they got what I was attempting to convey. That's always the struggle for an author, I think.

I love the cover for The Seventh Blessing! Who designed it and did you have much say in the designing process?

Yes, that's my absolutely beautiful cover! Designed by the fantastic Matt Maniscalco, on staff at The Little Things Publishing Co. My publisher is amazing and let me give ideas for the cover art. I rambled on and on about the library scene and Samantha discovering her true gifts. I sent a few photos that I found of an old library, the dress style I liked, that sort of thing. Matt was able to make sense of all my craziness and make this magnificent cover. I love it, if you couldn't tell.

The Seventh Blessing: The Tales of Gymandrol are the first in a series. How many books will there be?

There are currently three books planned for the series. 

Are you currently working on any other projects at the minute?

My brain is always making stuff up. I have a YA contemp. that I'm outlining, a young readers book I've started, a picture book mostly written, a general fiction book about fifteen pages in...I'm constantly switching from project to project. I don't know if that's good or not. Wherever my imagination strikes, that's what I work on.

Do you have any advise for aspiring authors?

Keep writing! And don't throw away (or delete) anything. You can always come back to it and rework it. But once it's gone, it's gone for forever. And then you're regretting "the one that got away." Find a critique partner that you trust to be honest with you about your writing. Attend writing workshops and conferences. Network. Follow writing blogs, follow favorite authors on Twitter. DON'T sit by yourself and wallow in writer's block. Make yourself outline something, write some dialogue, describe the setting. Keep moving forward or work on something different.

Melissa's Book History

Favourite book as a child?
I loved Nancy Drew mysteries and The Babysitters Club books. (Totally different, I know!) I loved trying to solve the crimes with Nancy. I loved babysitting so I felt like I was in the Babysitters Club.

Favourite book as a teenager?
I loved "Beauty" by Robin McKinley. It was one of the first YA fantasy books that I read and it made me fall in love with the genre.

Favourite book you have read this year and why?

The Hunger Games trilogy is amazing! (If I can pick 3 books...) The whole dystopian world was so foreign to my regular reading but...wow. Katniss' story is engrossing, I just tore through those books. "What happens next?!"

A book that has taught you a lesson and why?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of my all-time favorite books because it teaches the lesson of not 1.) being prideful and 2.) not prejudging someone. Austen weaves that lesson so masterfully through the book so she's not hitting you over the head with it.

A book you woul reccommend to my readers?

For a cute younger YA read, "The Cupcake Queen" by Heather Hepler is one of my top books I read this year. For series books (I love to read a series!), Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson are fantastic.

book cover of 
The Cupcake Queen 
Heather Hepler

Thanks to Melissa for the awesome interview! The Seventh Blessing is now available to buy from Barnes & Noble , Amazon & on TLT Publishing's Website !

Contact Melissa via her:

Twitter: @Melissa_Buell
Website: http://www.melissabuell.webs.com/


Melissa has kindly offered some awesome signed bookmarks to giveaway! I have THREE signed The Seventh Blessing bookmarks to giveaway. One bookmark to three lucky winners!

To Enter:

*You must be a GFC Follower (Leave the name you follow by)
*Leave a nice comment for Melissa
*Leave an email so I can contact you if you win

And thats it simple, no extra entries this time!

Giveaway Ends: 11th September

*Check ouy my other awesome giveaways by clicking the current giveaways tab at the top of the blog*


  1. This book seriously looks awesome - definitely the type I would like.
    GFC - rickimc

  2. GFC: яαη∂α
    email: iranda7@gmail.com
    I've added it to my To Read shelf and I'm definitely going to check it out. I've heard great things about it :)

  3. I read The Cupcake Queen earlier this year too. It was a cute book. It's only flaw was that it made me crave desserts! ;)

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :) http://rachelbrookswrites.blogspot.com/

  4. The book sounds awesome. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous.
    GFC- Leigh Ann
    insanityisnormal (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. Looks like a great book, thank you very much for the chance to win! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom GFC Krystal Larson

  6. I really love princess in stories so I´m curious about this book. I have problem with writting althought I have so many ideas (which is maybe the problem) so thank you for the encouragement and i don´t plan to give up.
    I also read and loved Hunger Games♥ "What happens next?!" were my words exactly xD

    Thank you so much for the chance to win♥

  7. What little girl didn't like Nancy Drew. I had the full hard copy originals.

    I follow via GFC as Jessy

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  8. I also love Nancy drew, Percy Jackson, Artemis fowl and THE HUNGER GAMES!!! Going to check out the Cupcake Queen and The Seventh Blessing :)