Inspiration with Words

Author Melissa Minassian shares her literary talent

Natural talent comes in many forms—artists, singers, musicians, athletes—and most of those who are blessed with it will attest that it started at an early age. Omaha author Melissa Minassian said her love for writing began at age five when she wrote stories, illustrated them, and even acted them out at home. Her childhood dream has finally come true with the publication of her first young adult book, FLY: A Portal Chronicles Novel from Tate Publishing.

While in high school in Auburn, NE, Minassian began writing for her local newspaper and then went to journalism school where she earned a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Following college she worked as the Interim Marketing Director for the Durham Museum but missed freelance writing and the creative outlet it enabled.

Then an unusual twist of fate occurred on June 7, 2008. “I had the most vivid dream I’ve ever had in my life,” Minassian said. “I realized it was the story for the novel I had always wanted to write.” She started fleshing out the details of her dream, and the rest of the story fell into place. “The process was fascinating,” she said. “Whenever I had spare time—evenings, weekends—I would work on it.” She even went through the pregnancy of her daughter during that time, and after three years and 400 typed pages, she finally had the first draft.

Finishing a manuscript is a huge accomplishment, but it’s only the first step. Thankfully, Minassian has a close friend who is a writer and editor and asked to look at the story. “I hadn’t told anyone I was writing a novel,” she said. “I trusted her with this baby of a manuscript, and she told me I had to get it published. She was my first validation.” The two worked on revisions together for another year until they felt it was ready for publication.

Minassian tried to find a publisher but most won’t accept manuscripts without representation from a literary agent. So she decided to self-publish on Amazon and started with an eBook version, which came out in May 2012. Due to challenges in her personal life at the time, she didn’t promote or market the book. But friends and family read it, left reviews, and word of mouth spread quickly. Before she knew, FLY had earned the number four spot on Amazon’s young adult fantasy list. “It was very surreal,” she said. “I knew this is what I was supposed to be doing.”

She decided to once again reach out to a publisher. Tate Publishing had given her positive feedback the first time, and now that her book had enjoyed success on Amazon, they offered her a contract. “We did three rounds of editing, but it was all minor,” Minassian explained. “They didn’t change anything with the story, so it was a pretty painless process.” Even the book’s cover design was easy to generate—Minassian had a vision for it during another dream.

The new print version of FLY released on July 14, 2015, with local press and book signings. The story is centered around two characters with the story told from both of their points of view. Seventeen-year-old Sophie and nineteen-year-old Everett who is an agent with Portal, which is a paranormal task force and anti-warfare league. Sophie realizes she has the power to see into the spiritual realm, and Everett guides her through that process. “It’s Sophie’s coming of age story, and she’s very much me at that age,” Minassian said. “It breaks down spiritual aspects in a fun story line that includes demons, angles, and spiritual aspects.”

FLY is book one in a planned five book series. Minassian said all of the novels are already loosely outlined, and she’s half way through writing the second book, which she hopes to finish this fall. Her writing style incorporates fantasy, adventure, and plenty of humor. Although it’s targeted at the young adult market, Minassian said she has lots of female adult readers and surprisingly, male adult readers too. “I’ve had readers tell me they’ve laughed out loud and cried while reading it,” she said. “There’s a bit of everything in this book. It’s my heart on paper.”

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