Melissa Perea

Author Spotlight: Melissa Perea of Seeds of Hate (Cardboard Hearts Series)

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.”


Melissa Perea and Bloggers
We enjoyed working with all of you.  Just in case you missed something here is a tour recap!
Be sure to pick up your copy today!

BLOG TOUR: Seeds of Hate by Melissa Perea (review and excerpt)

Seeds of Hate by Melissa Perea
They said high school would be fun.
They said we would make forever friends.
They said we would have the time of our lives.

They lied

Chapter 14 – The Bakery (Selah)

A young woman began pushing an empty stroller back and forth two tables down
from mine. Did she forget her baby wasn’t there? An older man sat alone reading
the morning paper. Did he lose his wife? And two children ran around grabbing
at their mother, while another threw Cheerios at her face. Where was her
I continued to watch the lives of those around me.
The entrance door chimed as a man with an infant headed toward the empty
stroller. He placed the baby down and dropped a bag overloaded with toys and
diapers. The young woman stopped pushing and froze. She looked down at the
older man reading the newspaper and then back at the stroller. Her eyes closed
and then opened. The young man rubbed the stubble on his chin and his
shoulders dropped. He had dark circles around his eyes and his shirt on inside
out. They exchanged no words.
The young woman reached out to touch him, but he turned and walked away.
A drop fell from her eyes, down her chin and onto the floor.
The older man stood and embraced the young woman. She breathed heavily
and hunched inward—a jacket of disappointment covering her back. The infant
began to cry and the young woman snapped. Leaving the embrace, she picked up
the child and held it close. Grabbing the bag off the floor, she wiped at her face
and headed toward the door. The older man followed behind, pushing the
She stopped at the door and turned around. She placed a small kiss on the
man’s left cheek. “Thank you for coming, Daddy,” she said.
He rubbed her chin and smiled. “Give him time,” he replied.
The three of them proceeded out and down the street. The heavy atmosphere
following them.
Was anyone spared? Or did all life come with pain?
Once the bakery slowed, Izzy took a break and joined me.
“Anything interesting?” he asked.
“Do you think people are ever happy?” I asked.
He pushed himself back against the window and propped his legs up on the
vinyl seat. “Of course,” he said. “Plenty of people are happy.”
“Are you?” I asked.
“At the moment, no. At the moment, I’m tired.” He yawned into his fist,
leaned over the table and grabbed my coffee. “I think I’m immune. It never helps
Izzy saw things with such simplicity. I envied him.
“I saw Javier. Yesterday after school,” I said.
He took another sip of my cold, leftover coffee. I wondered if he could taste
my lip gloss.
“He must be coming back,” Izzy said. “Did he talk to you?”
“No.” I sat ripping a napkin into tiny pieces. Then grabbed another one and
ripped some more.
Izzy placed a hand over mine. “He doesn’t talk to anyone. Don’t take it
I kept ripping the paper, ignoring his statement. “Do you know Britney?”
Izzy froze and then removed his hand from on top of mine. “Everyone knows
her. Why?”
“Is that the kind of girl you want? The kind of girl guys want?”

“What do you mean by kind?” he asked.

I placed my hands out in front of my chest and cupped them. Then I pouted

my lips and flipped my hair.
“You know. Like that,” I replied.
“Guys see with their eyes,” he said and shrugged.
“So yes. I mean, you’re saying you can’t see past that?”
“Guys see with their eyes and feel with their hands. They like Britney because
she’s easy. It’s not complicated.”
My forehead dropped to the table. Bang. Bang. Bang. The napkin dispenser
and vase jiggled against the vibrations. I lifted my head and looked at my watch.
“I should go,” I said.
Izzy scooted to the edge and stood. “See you Monday?” he asked.
A disgruntled noise escaped my nose and I rubbed my forehead.
“I hear it gets better, you know,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
He offered me his hand and I stood up from the table.
I thought about mine so far. My best years all led up to my tenth birthday. I
smiled at Izzy, but it didn’t touch my eyes. Instead it sat on my face like a soggy
piece of bread—mushy and unwanted.
“Monday,” he repeated. “Fresh coffee and warm sticky buns. I promise.” His
optimism was endearing. When he walked behind the counter, he entered a world
of warmth, sweetness and comfort. And it wasn’t because of the bakery.
When I exited, I stood just outside the door and looked back through the
window. He was surrounded by family—sisters, brothers, a mother and a father.
I’d wake up at 4 AM for the rest of my life if it meant those faces would greet me.
I tapped on the glass and tried to smile.
“Monday,” I whispered. “Monday.”
“Its not healthy to miss something that’s never coming back. All you end up doing is hating your reality.”
I am no expert but I do read a lot.  At the end of the day I am just a fangirl like all the rest but one thing I know for sure is that this story is not only touching but is also AMAZINGLY written.  The thoughts and feelings expressed in this book blew me away and to know that this is Melissa’s first book makes the read that more enjoyable.  Melissa’s talent pours off the pages.  Well-crafted sentences transport you back to high school taking you back to those emotional moments from days pasted.  No matter if you were to jock, nerd, cheerleader, or even the loner we all dealt with issues in high school.  Never trust the face people show on the outside because inside they hide their deepest fears and insecurity.  People are all driven by the need to feel wanted and loved and when there is a lack of that love the feeling of lost takes over.
“I…watched the drain swallow–swallow every problem, pain, worry and fear, but they won’t fit. I could still see them. All of them. Puddling at my feet.”
Here are the facts…I am at a loss for words to describe this book and you MUST add Seeds of Hate to your TBR list.  Javi, Selah, Izzy, and Nate are screaming to be found in a sea of high school angst.  These angsts filled moments create a story that anyone can relate to and before you know you will have finished this book in one sitting.  Go and one click now!  Yes right now.  I am waiting, not so patently, for book two in the Cardboard Heart series.  Melissa Perea has proven that you can knock it out of the park on your first try!
 “I let go.” I said. And as I held her, I let it all go again. Except this time, it was better”
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 plan to add more to the kids and possibly the dogs, but definitely am keeping the husband to one. 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.

I write because I want to share my heart with you and make you think more about the world around you.