“It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.” says Author E.J. Mellow when asked about writing plots and characters. Read more of this interview and learn more things about The Divide. (Like, who designed the book’s gorgeous cover. 😉 )
First of all, I really enjoyed The Dreamer and am already looking forward for book 2! Can you tell us more about The Divide and what shall we expect from it?
Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed The Dreamer! And thank you so much for having me for this Q&A :-).
The Divide is a lot more action packed. While I think The Dreamer took a little more time in the beginning with getting to know our main protagonist and her life, The Divide definitely jumps right into things. Now that we have a familiarity with Molly and what’s going on with her dreams, the world of Terra really expands in this next one. Molly and her powers get tested in ways no one is prepared for and there were honestly a lot of scenes that were tough for me to write, emotionally. So if you’re a fan of action and surprising twists, The Divide will be a fun ride ;-).
Where did the idea of writing a series about dreams came from?
So here’s the crazy thing, the idea for The Dreamer actually started as a dream. I’ve always had very vivid ones and find them extremely fascinating. A while back I had one that lasted a whole week. Yup, a week! With the same characters and plot continuing on each night. It felt like I was going to sleep and clicking on a TV show and…there was a guy…and yes, he was very good looking (I’m sure you’re seeing some similarities here). I woke up one morning, a couple days into the dreams, and actually felt sad that I wasn’t still there. It was so odd (and probably a little insane). Eventually the dreams stopped, but I kept thinking about them and how strange it was to have recurring ones for so many nights. I told a friend about it, and through that conversation is how my story for this series came about.
If you would compare the writing process of The Dreamer to The Divide, what were the changes that you’ve encountered?
I actually wrote The Dreamer more than three years ago. So spent a very long time reworking, editing, and sending it to very trusted friends and editors to read before it was published this past May. In that regard the process was much longer than writing The Divide. I also think knowing my characters more allowed me to finish the second book quicker. But don’t get me wrong, there were the same concerns I came across in book two, like making sure the storyline was consistent and details of my world didn’t contradict itself from book 1, etc. Having really good editors helps tremendously with this! Overall though, I think the major changes were knowing how to manage my writing, marketing, and editing more fluidly. I’m hoping this will continue to smooth out with each book!
What did you enjoy most about writing book 2 for the Dreamland series?
Definitely getting to explore more of Terra and Molly’s strengths. While I set out to write a protagonist that was very relatable and, for lack of a better word, normal, I’m always a sucker for some kick-ass ladies. And I think Molly starts to step it up in The Divide that way, since she kind of has no choice but to ;-).
When writing, do you focus more on your plot or your characters?
Great question! I think to have a good story you need to concentrate on both. Without a good plot driving the characters, they can fall flat. And if you have poorly developed characters no one would really care about the story. It’s the yin yang of writing. So I would say I try to focus and take great care with both.
One of the many things that I love about your books are the covers! They’re beautiful! Who designed them?
Aw, thank you so much! I actually design the covers and all my marketing materials. My background is in advertising and graphic design, so it’s super fun to be able to apply that to my writing. The original photo for The Dreamer is from underwater photographer Elena Kalis and the one for The Divide is from Dmitry Laudin.
Is there a story of how you came up with the characters’ names?
I’m so glad you asked this question! Names are extremely important in this series as you probably learned from reading The Dreamer. So when choosing them I did a lot of research behind the meanings of each, making sure I chose ones that would invoke each characters strongest personality trait. And here’s a hint, if you ever wanted to do a little digging about certain characters introduced, look up their name for that will tell you a bit more about their ‘could be’ purpose in the book.
Molly’s perspective in the 1st book was really engaging. Was it easy to write in her POV?
First, that’s so kind of you to say. Thank you! And it was easy and hard to write in her POV. Easy in the sense that she’s a 24 year old woman, young and new in New York where her biggest responsibilities are her job and friends—A time that I can still very vividly remember living. It was hard in the sense that some, if not most, of her behavior wasn’t aligned with my own. I think I have more Becca in me, at least when it comes to talking bluntly ;-).
Will we be seeing more of Dev’s side of the story in this book?
Most definitely! Dev’s history comes to the surface in many ways (good and bad) in The Divide.
Have you always liked fantasy stories? (Both as a reader and a writer).
Fantasy is definitely one of my favorites. There’s something about a world so unlike ours, but at the same time similar that’s very alluring. It’s the ultimate mental escape for me especially when there’s magic elements involved. I’m a sucker for magic!
by EJ Mellow
Clapping echoes in the room, and I glance up to find Dev casually leaning against the wall next to the door. His eyes are narrowed with appraisal, and his mouth is half-cocked in his signature amused smile. “Impressive,” he says as he pushes off the wall and slowly walks toward us. His sudden appearance and graceful saunter rock me out of my fighting mind-set. I take in his broad shoulders and the way his shirt hugs him like a jealous girlfriend.
Letting go of Rae, I tuck strands of hair that fell from my ponytail behind my ear, suddenly aware of how sweaty I am.
“I’d like to see what you could do against a real opponent,” he says with a smirk, crossing his arms. The stance calls attention to his biceps, the same ones I once found myself mortifyingly squeezing.
I leer at him. “And I’m sure you think you’re said opponent?”
“There’s only one way to find out.”
Rae fluidly stands from his fall and drapes an arm around me. “Molly here is a natural.”
I snort out a laugh. “And I’m sure retaining past Dreamers’ abilities has nothing to do with it.”
“Don’t be so modest.” He squeezes my shoulder.
“Have you practiced with any weapons yet?” Dev moves toward an empty wall in the center of the room. Placing a hand on it, the area drops out, revealing a rack of diverse armament. There’s an abundance of blades, and my eyes pause on two hook swords, knowing how they feel in my grip, before traveling on to the axes, clubs, daggers, unusual looking guns, and blunt staffs. Here is where Dev stands, taking out two Bō—a Japanese long staff weapon. Somehow I know all the names and uses of these objects, except for some of the guns. Those remain foreign.
The only difference with these weapons and the ones I’d find at home is the material in which they are made—the same strange gunmetal aluminum as the Arcus. And if my memories from past Dreamers are anything to go by, they can be filled with an altered form of Navitas, making them glow the hot blue-white, and lethal toward any opponent.
“I was saving that part of the training for later,” Rae explains soberly.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Dev asks, handling the Bō naturally as he walks back to us. “She seems to have grasped her hand-to-hand combat for today. Why not finish with a little sparring?”
“See what I mean about the tough teacher,” Rae mutters to me.
“What do you say, Molly? Care to give me a go?” Dev taunts, holding one Bō while twirling the other.
I narrow my eyes and extend a hand. “I know I won’t hear the end of it until I do.”
He gives me one of his sexy grins while throwing me the staff. I snatch it from the air, immediately knowing I’ve been trained in the art of bōjutus.
I smile back.
Oh, it’s on.
As if reading my thoughts and without any further warning, Dev sweeps toward me. His intense blue eyes are the last things I register before my mind switches off and I lunge back.
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E.J. Mellow is the author behind the NA Contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series. When she’s not busy moonlighting in the realm of make-believe, she can be found doodling, buried in a book (usually this one), or playing video games. Residing in Brroklyn, NY, she is a member of Romance Writers of America and their fantasy, futuristic & paranormal chapter.
Molly finally uncovers the truth about the strange dreams that plagued her sanity for weeks. Now destined to accept a clandestine role, Molly must find the strength and courage buried deep to push forward and succeed.
With the help of Dev, the roguish blue-eyed man of her dreams—whose dark past resurfaces to haunt him—Molly prepares to test the limits of her newly awakened powers and set right a world on the edge of being consumed by nightmares.
But when an unknown shadow stalks her every step and a shocking revelation about her ancestry comes to light, Molly may find herself forced to make a decision that could leave her alone in the dark and standing on the wrong side of a divide.