We were oh so lucky to have a “sit down”
with Melissa Perea

1. Can you tell us about your writing style?

My writing style developed out of honest critiquing. I didn’t really think I had what it took to write a full-length fiction novel considering the only writing I had done prior was blogging about my personal life. Both are two very different things. But I can honestly say that Red Lory by Dave Newell and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl both had a lasting impact on how I viewed storytelling and the potential within that story to tell it differently than someone else. I would consider my style artistic and non-conventional. I don’t tell stories in a linear manner. I try to write how the character would speak or process things mentally. I don’t write to just tell you a story, but I want you to visually feel it in the words and emotionally absorb it with how it flows.

2. Seeds of Hate was a beautifully written story. Your writing style is original, well-crafted, and thoughtful. Where did this idea start? 

The idea for the book came from a childhood friend whose own story inspired the creation of Selah. I watched him grow up away from his parents because of their choice to be missionaries. From there everything else sort of progressed naturally. I don’t think my intentions in the beginning were to write such a heavy story, but my heart apparently had other plans. 

3. Seeds of Hate was a painful journey for all the main characters. Issues with family and friends made each of their stories real. This was far from a cookie cutter story. Was this your intent from the start? 

Haha, see above 😀 I’m definitely not a fairytale writer, although I love HEA’s when I read. I guess I felt there were plenty of authors out there writing about that so I decided to take a different path. I’m not someone who breaks rules, or really gets out there and tries new things to an extreme, but I’m most certainly not a crowd follower. 

4. Of the main characters who hold special meaning to you and why? 

(I know this maybe a hard one like picking a favorite kid). 

Gio. Without a doubt in my mind. He gave me this whole little side story to fall in love with and allowed me to really push and stretch Javier’s limits as a teenage boy. The fact that he doesn’t speak either was such a wonderful experience to write. I mean here we have this nine-year-old boy that doesn’t use words. I had to make you fall in love with a character that never spoke. This was a challenge I thoroughly enjoyed. And I do have a favorite kid. It just changes daily 😉

5. Do you find a little of yourself in any of the characters?

Yes. I’m a lot of Selah. I don’t think that was my intention, but since I was in her head the most it sort of made it easier to a degree. Although I loved high school I drew on the handful of bad experiences that I did have in order to figure out how she would really feel. Her quirkiness and fun-loving spirit is pretty much all me though. A lot of other aspects though are nothing like me. I tried to find a balance so I wasn’t actually writing myself as a whole into the book. 

6. To me, this story could be pulled directly from the pages to the screen. Even the cover has a movie feel (which is gorgeous by the way). Did you pull any inspiration from teen movies of the past? 

Not necessarily teen movies of the past, but Indie films for sure. The cover was inspired by that feel you get when you look at a Sundance Film Festival movie poster (their names being featured on the cover was specifically for that reason). Brick was a large part of my inspiration. It helped me flesh out the thematic/repetitious elements that are portrayed throughout the book i.e. telephones wires, shoelaces, the brick wall and the coffee and sticky buns. It also helped me to develop the idea of the childlike settings in a world that is totally lacking the joy and simplicity of childhood. The swing sets, the merry-go-round, a teenagers bedroom, etc. 

7. If Seeds of Hate were to grace the screen who would be your dream cast? 

Oh man. This is hard since I don’t think A-list actors would be able to pull it off. I’d want an indie cast so I’d probably want to go with young, up and coming actors who hadn’t been featured in anything big yet. But if you’re curious as to what “looks” I’d be going for then I’d choose Kate Mara for Selah. Jay Hernandez for Javier. Jesse Eisenberg for Izzy. A nine-year-old Adrian Grenier for Gio (he’s got the perfect eyes for someone who never speaks). I don’t really have an opinion on Nathan. I assume something in the realm of a Paul Walker-ish type would fit the bill. 

8. So you have started book two of the Cardboard Hearts Series can you give us a little info on where you see the story going? What we can expect?

Yes, I’ve been working on it slowly, but surely. It will start ten years after the end of book two so Selah and Javier will be nearing 30. The book will be told predominately from her pov in the beginning and every so often flash back to what happened to her during those ten years that have passed by. Around 70% into the book we will switch pov’s and be back in Javier’s mind. From his point on it will go into the future about another 20 years. All I can say is a lot happens and it’s realistic. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a happily ever after, because in my opinion it has an epic happily ever after, but it sure as hell isn’t predictable. 

9. How many books are you planning for? 

Just the two in the Cardboard Hearts Series. After this I have two other books that I’m trying to choose between (both stand alones). One is going back to the YA world and the other is more of an adult contemporary piece, but preferably more literary than romance. 

10. Ok one more for fun…Besides being a kick ass author and amazing mother what do you do for fun?

Haha thanks! Let’s see even though I can’t do a lot of it right now with the little ones running about or drooling in Roma’s case, I love to travel. My husband and I would love to move out of the US and live abroad for a few years. But while we are still stateside I’d say I enjoy eating for fun. I like trying out new restaurants and testing out new foods at home. I’d cook everything from scratch if I had an endless budget and the dishes would magically do themselves!


Melissa is completely and utterly ordinary. She was born, raised and currently resides in sunny California. If she told you her life story nothing would really stand out. So she’s gonna keep it simple…
“I get very cranky when I am tired. If getting fat wasn’t a side effect, I would eat freshly baked cookies and milk every day for breakfast. Currently–I have one kid, one husband and one dog. I’m in the process of adding more to the kids and possibly the dogs, but definitely keeping the husband to one. I am obsessed with literature. If for some random reason you stumbled upon my high school yearbook you would find a picture of me under “Class Clown”. I have a college degree, but instead of earning dollar bills with my educated mind, I spend my days playing with my offspring. My life is super fun.
“Oh and I’m currently writing my first of hopefully many books to come. I plan on self-publishing because that’s what all the cool kids are doing; that and I hate having a boss.”

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