Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Post and Contest: When I'm Not Writing by Melissa Douthit

Introducing Melissa Douthit...

Melissa Douthit grew up in North County of San Diego, California. After graduating with a Computer Science degree in Southern California, and working for a summer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, she moved to the Bay Area to work at NASA Ames Research Center for a year and then at Lawrence Livermore National Lab for another four years. From there, she moved to Monterey, California, to work at the Naval Postgraduate School on a government project for two years. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, working with the Army Corps of Engineers on another government project. Since high school, she has been a voracious reader of books of all genres, with an emphasis in fantasy and science fiction. Her literary work is strongly influenced by her professional experience and includes many elements of her scientific background. You can find out more about Melissa on her website: http://melissadouthit.com

When I'm Not Writing

When I’m not writing, I love to cook and listen to audiobooks, with my favorite coonhound, Copper, laying in the kitchen, hoping to get a bite of whatever I’m making. Just recently, I was in the kitchen cooking pasta and steaks (it was a dual meal - not everyone wanted pasta, especially Copper =o) and I was listening to the Hunger Games for the first time.

It is on a very rare occasion that I run into a book that grabs me so completely and doesn’t let go until I am done with the whole book or series. I was so drawn into this story, I stayed up practically the whole night listening to it, even after dinner was over. =o) The next day, I went in bleary-eyed to work, with my iPod attached to my ear all day and was listening to, you guessed it, the same audiobook. I stayed like that everyday and night until I had the whole trilogy done.

It was amazing. I laughed, I cried, and I whooped when the characters succeeded. The ending was so good - heartbreaking but happy. I loved the whole story. All through the story, though, I couldn’t help but think how similar the heroine, Katniss, is to the heroine of my story, Chalice. I love that Katniss is so strong, fierce and independent. Both she and Chalice share that. They both start off where they are experiencing hardship but they have fighting skills and know how to stay alive. They can survive on their own and they do, easily. I love that Katniss is her own self. What I mean by that is that she has value in and of herself without the need of a man in her life, even though there are plenty of them who want her. Chalice is exactly the same way.

The only differences I saw between Chalice and Katniss was that where Katniss is a bit rough around the edges because she comes from poverty and a hard life, Chalice is more refined, having been raised in a well-to-do community by her grandparents. Where Katniss uses weapons and kills for survival, Chalice does not use weapons, mostly because she is trained in The Way of the Empty Hand fighting art. Therefore, she is more reserved and not so blood thirsty, unless she is extremely provoked or has absolutely no love for the object of her aggression. Also, because the Raie’Chaelia is a fantasy, Chalice has powers that Katniss doesn’t have, which gives her an edge over her opponents.

Lastly, when it comes to love interests, Katniss is a bit tough on both of her men (and I love the fact that she has two! =o), where Chalice is more tender-hearted toward her guy. She is also very faithful. She is a one-man woman. The love story between she and Jeremiah lasts throughout the first book, culminates in the second, and comes to a dramatic finish in the last book (but I don’t want to say too much before the last two books are written). Lastly, I am hoping, when I am done with the second and third books, to take the reader on a roller coaster ride just like Suzanne Collins did, making the reader feel the happiness, the heartbreak, the laughter, and the triumph all the way to the very end.


Prizes--Free e-reader or $100 gift certificate
Enter a drawing and win a free e-reader of your choice or a $100 gift certificate to your favorite store by answering the following question:
What does Melissa like to do when she isn’t writing?
To answer the question go to this link and fill in the information (place answer in Message field):
Contest ends September 10, 2011. Winner will be announced September 12th on Melissa Douthit's Blog.

Thank you for your time, Melissa! And thank you, Teddy for making this Virtual Author Book Tour!