Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Melissa Bradley, author of steamy novels, and that fun blog Melissa’s Imaginarium.

Welcome, Melissa!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Author Melissa Bradley

I am from the South Side of Chicago, a little neighborhood right along Lake Michigan and the Indiana border. It’s a place once re-knowned for its steel mills and churches. The mills have long since disappeared, but we’ve still managed to maintain a vibrant area. My home is actually located near three lakes. Wolf Lake and Powderhorn Lake are mere blocks from me (I can see Wolf Lake at the end of my street) while Lake Michigan is just a few minutes north east. I love to go walking on the trails there.
I am huge into football (da Bears!), basketball and hockey. I am fiercely loyal to my home teams and have superstitous rituals that I have to keep. I also love to go to museums and am the one person you get behind who has to read every single placard.
I have a twisted sense of humor and a sarcastic mouth. I love to laugh and make fun of myself on a regular basis. I also have a billion dollar caffeine habit. LOL
My day job has been a variety of things. I’ve been a freelance editor, writer, tutor. I’ve done time in the trenches of law firms as well as retail. My favorite job was working in the box office of a theater. I got to see a variety of productions and met the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and John Candy.
 I love to read a lot of genres, but I love to write erotica, sci fi, horror and history.
 One of my biggest passions/hobbies is movies, horror in particular. Halloween is my national holiday. I have a movie fright fest that I do every year and sometimes I go all out in costume. One year I dressed as an 80’s slasher vic complete with fake blood, big hair and shoulder pads.
My hidden talent, hmmm…I can do variety of accents and voices. I have faked people out with the way I can mimic an accent. I’ve been told I do a good Yosemite Sam. LOL

On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I write at my desk, which is in my bedroom. I’ve just moved so I am still getting used to the space and as of this writing my favorite things are still packed away. Among the things I keep on my desk are a rainbow onyx sphere, a blue fluorite sphere and a hand blown tealight holder I received from a fellow Grateful Dead fan I encountered at a street fair.

Melissa’s Workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My current desk came from my new roommate. It’s more of a computer cabinet slash desk, really. It’s made of light wood and has cork on the inside of the doors so I can hang my calendar (Harley-Davidson motorcycles, my faves), my favorite quotes, my Blackhawks hockey emblem and a picture my nephew colored for me.

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Reference books are probably the most important thing that I have on and around my desk. I use them for grammar questions, research consultation for stories, and of course, the Synonym Finder by J. I. Rodale. I also could not live without pens, notebooks and sticky notes. When I’m working, they multiply on my desk like pennies in a change purse.

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love the shelving space on my desk. It does not make up for the built-in bookcases that I had at my old place, but it’s great being able to have my reference books right at my desk instead of across the room. Oh and I love the electrical outlets in here. Strange, I know, but my old place had one set of outlets in the room and I had to use power strips galore. Now, I can plug everything in without jerry-rigging cords.

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Diet Pepsi is my poison of choice when I work. I am addicted to the stuff and cannot function without gallons of it.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I have so many favorite authors  that it is very difficult for me to pick just one, but C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series played a big part in inspiring me down this path of writing. I also found inspiration in Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Mary Shelley, Harper Lee and of course, all those awesome bodice ripper books of the Eighties.

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I am not able to write full time so the bulk of my day is taken up with day jobs. I write when I find the time, usually late at night or very early on Saturday mornings. I guess I really don’t have a typical writing day. I do meet once a week with my critique partners, though.

3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I don’t have a certain amount of time that I spend writing. I have to fit it in when I can. My main distraction is this Pac Man-like game called Crunchy Munch. I am addicted to it. But, since I write so little each day, I usually can concentrate on what I need to do without distraction.

4. Why do you write?

I write because I enjoy creating my own worlds and people. I enjoy being able to imagine something, then breathe life into it. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I decided I wanted to write like C.S. Lewis and I created my own tale. I worked very hard on it. When I showed it to my teacher and told her what I wanted, she promptly replied with “That’s nice sweetie, but do you have any idea how hard it is to become published?” I was crushed. Another teacher, Mrs. Martello, saw me crying and asked me what was wrong. I told her. Next thing I know, she took my story, read it, then brought it back to me and told me that I could write like Lewis if I wanted, that I would make a great author. She wasn’t even my teacher and she inspired me.

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I think the most important advice I received as a writer was write you want. Create your story the way you want. If you would read it, then so will others. Your story will find its audience, just be patient and remain true to the spirit of your vision.

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Thanks, Melissa, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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62 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Melissa Bradley”

  1. Boo to the mean teacher! Glad that other one told you that you could write like Lewis.
    Excellent author to feature, Nutschelle!

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Aww.. Thanks, Alex. It’s amazing what we remember about certain teachers. And it’s odd, but though Mrs. Martello never taught me, she has been my friend for years and years.

  2. siv maria says:

    What a great idea and an excellent author to learn more about. Will be keeping an eye out for more.

  3. DEZMOND says:

    hope that’s a Pepsy Lite, Melsy :))))

  4. I loved learning more about Melissa! It’s always great to meet another sports fan, even if I can’t stand the Bears LOL. 😀

    I’d also love to hear the Yosemite Sam voice, how fun.

    Thanks for this glimpse into Melissa’s world, Nutschell! :)

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Julie! I’m so happy you enjoyed the spotlight today. And whoo hoo, another sports fan. We rock! And if you can’t stand the Bears,I understand. I have a couple of teams myself that I can’t stand. :)

      I’ve been doing Yosemite Sam since I was a kid and I think my fave line is “I’ve got you outnumbered one to one.”

  5. Thanks for introducing us to Melissa. I love that she has special rocks on her desk. I have a little tray in my office filled with special rocks from places I’ve visited.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      A fellow rock person, Yay! I love your rock tray, such a tangible connection for wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Melissa is my blog friend too … this was a wonderful interview. I learned a lot, and really liked the very last part about being true to yourself and your story.

    Kathy M.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hey Kathy! Thanks coming by. I’m glad you enjoyed Nutschell’s interview today. And those last words were what my writing mentor, Beth, taught me. She really knows the business and the craft.

  7. Shelly says:

    I always wondered what her area looked like.

    Hugs,
    Shelly

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Shelly! Thanks for stopping by today. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and got to see what my working area looks like. :) It is kind of small, but as long as it holds my computer and my Diet Pepsi, I’m okay. LOL

  8. Great interview. Thanks Siv. Melissa, it’s interesting that you mention your spheres first. It’s obvious they are very important to you.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hey Maurice! Yes, they are very important to me I’ve been collecting them for years and I just find them so soothing, so beautiful. I love finding out what the particular crystal or stone stands for in terms of metaphysical beliefs. Some have also been gifts from good friends who share the same interest.

  9. mooderino says:

    Great interview with the lovely Melissa.

    cheers,
    mood

  10. Jemi Fraser says:

    Love this peek into Melissa’s world! Our favourite objects do say so much about us – family, sports, nature, knowledge – awesome choices! :)

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Jemi Thank you very much for stopping by. I’m happy you loved reading about my favorite things. It really does give a glimpse into a person. I try to have my characters in my stories have favorite objects.

  11. Nebular says:

    Very entertaining interview! Some of the stuff I already knew, some didn’t.

    I’ve known you for two years, but I’ve never seen your working space ever. It looks neat and very writer-ish. :)

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Thank you sweetie! It is a small space, but very efficient, I think. More organized than my old space. LOL

  12. Morgan Shamy says:

    Sooooo fun having Melissa here today! Loved the interview! It’s so clear Melissa’s a writer, with her metaphors and humor and cleverness in her answers… I LOVED it! 😉

  13. You know, some people who teach should never have qualified to be teachers. What was she thinking? Teaching children is much more than relaying the information inside a textbook.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      I agree. Unfortunately, my teacher at the time was not the most encouraging woman. I saw her years later and she was still as hard-nosed, by-the-books as ever. But, Mrs. Martello has been my friend for years and years. She even has some of my stories. She just recently retired and judging by the umber of former students there, she really made a huge difference to many people.

  14. Awesome space! I always love peeking into other writers’ spaces.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Christine, I’m happy you enjoyed the picture of my space. It is small, ut I have everything I need…Computer and Diet Pepsi LOL

  15. Another great Writer’s Workspace. And hurray for teachers like Mrs. Martello who encourage young writers.

  16. Great interview Melissa. It’s nice to get to know you a little better. I’m glad there was a teacher who encouraged you to go after your dreams.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Jessica! thank you so much for coming on over here today. I’m really happy you enjoyed my interview. Nutschell certainly got me to talking today. And I will always be most grateful to Mrs. Martello :)

  17. Mary says:

    I loved John Candy. Still adore Emma Thompson. Great workspace, Melissa. I think it’s important to write what we love and want.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Mary, it’s great to see you here. Thank you! I loved, loved John Candy and he was a very nice man. Emma, she is very thoughtful and funny, too. I love her, still as well. Writing what we love is freeing to our creative souls, I think.

  18. Such an encouraging post; love your work space (and the cats who share it). Thank goodness for that second teacher. Also, I would be that person standing next to you reading the placards. 😀

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Thank you, Sharon! I’ve never owned cats, but even if they aren’t mine, I love them like they are. :) Mrs. Martello is one of the most imprtant people I have ever met in my life, for sure. And high fives on the placards. They’re part of the museum experience, after all.

  19. I used to use a hutch just like that for my computer. Tiny, but it worked!

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Diane! Yep, all you need is space for the computer and your poison of choice. Diet Pepsi for me. I think I could have bought and sold Pepsico at least once over with my habit. LOL

  20. deniz says:

    Yay for Melissa!
    How neat to have regular critique partners – in person!
    It’s awful sometimes when people don’t realise how much the slightest phrase can hurt – good thing that second teacher was around

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Thank you, Deniz! My crit partners are the best. We actually met as part of a larger writers group and have been friends for years and years now. And you are so right, sometimes just the slightest phrase hurts big time. Words really are powerful weapon. Mrs. Martello just retired and from all the former student we had there, she really made a huge difference in the world.

  21. Jess Haight says:

    Great to learn more about this author! The area where she lives sounds wonderful and I am just like her when I am in a museum. :) I loved that a teacher who wasn’t even her teacher inspired her! Yeah!

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Jess! It makes me happy to hear you like my home neighborhood. It really is a unique area within Chicago. I’ll have to post pictures sometime soon. And here’s to another museum reader like me. Yay! We rule! :) Mrs. Martello is a teacher to everyone, I swear. She always paid attention to every student who crossed her path. Even now, retired, she can’t resist helping kids.

  22. What a terrific interview! It’s alwys nice to get a peek behind the curtain into the spaces where wonderfully creative people like Melissa make the magic happen – interesting details, and love the photos! Top marks all around!

  23. Lydia K says:

    Games are always a distraction! Nice to see your workspace, Melissa!

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hey Lydia! There are days when I can waste hours playing Crunchy Munch. It’s like I go under and emerge three miles from shore. Glad you liked my workspace. I’m really loving it now that I am all settled.

  24. Great to meet you Melissa and your writing desk looks a bit like mine:)

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Tania, it’s wonderful to meet you as well. I’m so glad you enjoyed the spotlight today. And I know our spaces are tiny, but they hold the important things. :)

  25. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Melissa .. great to read the interview – and love the sound of your new neightbourhood/home area … and those walks around and by the lakes. I admire that you can write in such a neat confined space … and Narnia and Lewis – I have a review to do on the Show that’s on in Hyde Park at the moment .. I must get that up … probably next week …

    Nutschell – you did it again .. excellent author and questions …

    Cheers Hilary

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Hilary! Thank you. :) I’m really loving my new area. I’ve lived a little closer to Lake Michigan most of my life and have always driven past Wolf Lake, but now I get to explore it and it’s great. I love my new desk a lot, but I do miss the old one. It was a lot messier, but now I’m forced to be more organized. LOL Would love to read your review. sometime.

  26. Laura Eno says:

    Hi Nutschell and Melissa! Great interview and I’m glad to know a bit more about you. :)

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hey Laura! Good to “see” you here. I’m very happy you enjoyed the interview and finding out more about my writing life. Nutschell really made me talk. :)

  27. Great advice on trusting what you like to read and the readers will come! We always have to work on our confidence, don’t we? In the end, it is up to us to have that faith. Melissa so nice to meet you. Love the stickies and pens all over the place!
    Great interview, Nutschell, as usual. I learn so much from other authors. Thanks.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Sharon! aww.. thank you. Yes, Confidence is definitely something most of us writers need to work on. It’s hard when we pour so much of ourselves into our babies, then have to face rejection.

      I have an enormous addiction to office supplies. I think it rivals my caffeine addiction LOL

  28. I’m one of the people who usually reads all the placards, too. LOL.

    Great writing words of wisdom!

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hi Golden! Here’s to placard readers everywhere. If you don’t want to follow us, go around. LOL

      Thanks!

  29. Hey, Melissa! Great interview, very interesting, actually, since I don’t remember ever discussing writing spaces with you. That looks like a nice one. Folks, Mel is not only a super great friend but she is, truly, one of the best writers I’ve ever come across. Mel, I’m waiting for you to hit that Big One so you can quit worrying about jobs and zoom up to the NY Times bestseller lists. I have no doubt you can do it. I know you can. XOXOXO

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Thank you for the high praise, my friend. I can’t believe we never talked writing spaces. LOL And from your keyboard to God’s ear. :)

  30. Melissa, your teacher was an idiot. I’ve read all your books and LOVED them, especially Maxie Brisco: Werewolf. I’m glad the other teacher inspired you and you stayed with your God-given talent.

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Thank you, Sloane! Yeah my teacher was a hard case. She was never one to encourage dreams. She figured poor kids on the South Side of Chicago were better off focusing on jobs instead of passions. It’s no wonder I am friends with Mrs. Martello

  31. That has inspired me to write my next blog post. I have no idea what the subject is but reading about writing got me excited.

    Nutshell, I got the book. Thank you.

    Can I be featured on a Wednesday? Do I count as a writer?

  32. Mina Lobo says:

    Thank goodness for the Mrs. Martellos of this world! And I agree with your advice 100% – staying true to one’s vision is what it’s all about. You didn’t ask for an “Amen,” but I’m giving it to ya anyway: A-MEN! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

    • Melissa Bradley says:

      Hey Mina! Thanks for that Amen, my friend. I’ve always believed that you should write your story, all the really great ones don’t follow a formula, they create a new one.

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