100 Creatives 2014: Melissa Maygrove, Romance and Happy Endings
What She Does: Melissa Maygrove's mother likes to tell a story about constantly finding her daughter in the closet with a pen, flashlight, and spiral notebook writing away. She's made up stories all her life, but never really found the time to do it as an adult. Once she did, she passed off a throwaway novel she admits was terrible and after three manuscripts found her place in romance. She likes romance because the endings are happy.
Her first novel is Come Back. It follows Rebecca Garvey, a young girl who is left behind on a wagon train and heads off on an adventure with a handsome stranger. Readers will feel a kinship with Jean M. Auel's Plains of Passage as the two come to rely and love each other in the harsh, 19th century West. Even for a non-romance fan like me the first few pages will grab you.
And yeah... it's kind of nice to have a happy ending.
Why She Likes It: "I enjoy the brainstorming stage, when research sparks my imagination and scenes play out in my head so intensely, I can't help but write them down. But my favorite part is doing the final read-through and experiencing the story in its finished, polished form."
What Inspires Her: Maygrove draws from everywhere for her ideas. Great movies and other books, certainly, but even a short YouTube clip can be enough to spark a story idea. Her writing hero is Carolyn Davidson. Maygrove likes the way she blends old-fashioned values with mainstream romance. The moral framework of her stories fits the historical setting, but she isn't afraid to write a love scene.
If Not Here, Then Where: "I hope to move to a rural location at some point after the kids leave home. I like Houston--it's the only home I've ever known--but I'm a country mouse stuck in the city."
If Not This, Then What: Maygrove's night job is as a nurse, and if writing doesn't continue taking off for her she would want to pursue more scientific employment opportunities.
What's Next: "Come Back did better than anticipated, and it branded me as western historical writer. I have readers asking me for another western, which means my dystopian will have to wait. Two of Come Back's supporting characters have been bugging me to tell their story, so that's what's next. I can't tell you whom, though; it's a spoiler."
More Creatives for 2014
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer
Larry McKee, cinematographer
Tiffany Heath, filmmaker
Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker
Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer
Janine Hughes, visual artist
Nyssa Juneau, artist
John Merritt, artist
Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator
Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright
Jason Poland, cartoonist
Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer
Lloyd Gite, gallery owner
Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru
Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor
Jennifer Mathieu, author
Scott Chitwood, writer
Anat Ronen, urban artist
Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter
Michael Weems, playwright
Lane Montoya, artist
Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet
Joey & Jaime, designers
Suzi Taylor, photographer
Ashton Miyako, dressmaker
T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer
Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist
Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker
Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer
Shawn Swanner, video game painter
Andy Gonzales, painter
Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher
Theresa DiMenno, photographer
Jessica E. Jones, opera singer
Atseko Factor, actor
John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker
Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist
Rabēa Ballin, artist
David Wald, actor
Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist
Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston
Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist
Heather Gordy, artist
Mark Nasso, comic artist
Marian Szczepanski, novelist
Jonathan Blake, fashion designer
Doni Langlois, interior designer
Kat Denson, dancer
Blame the Comic, comedian
Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist
Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer
Rene Fernandez, painter
Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer