Melissa Lynn Herold is the author of the Iyarri Chronicles (Heaven’s Silhouette with more novels to come), and nonfiction that focuses on using herbs and oils to grow real-life fairytale hair. Her shop, NightBlooming, is home to her herbal alchemy, including oil blends she’s lifted right from the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. Melissa has always lived in the Midwest, with its lush summers and snow-swathed winters. Naturally left-handed, she was forced to write right-handed in school and as a result can write illegibly with either hand. She takes her green tea unsweetened and her coffee black.
A writer since middle school, Melissa filled piles of notebooks with stories about familiar characters and then later, ones of her own creation. She is scientifically-minded and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs. Melissa’s debut into published fiction is the immersive and darkly unique Heaven’s Silhouette, Book 1 of the Iyarri Chronicles.
When your family can hardly feed itself, books are a luxury. Melissa grew up scrounging novels from garage sales and second-hand stores, meaning she read a lot of different things, many of which were never intended for little girls. Because of this, no gift is more precious to her than a brand-new book. Melissa’s favorite fiction reads involve richly built worlds, complex characters, and evocative storytelling. For nonfiction, she loves reading about herbalism, ancient civilizations, and real people with extraordinary stories.
Melissa has a B.A. in English Writing from Winona State University where she completed an independent study on Magic in Literature to 1700 and wrote her Senior Thesis on Genre Fiction as Literary Fiction. Melissa has worked with the English department at WSU to shape both the Undergraduate curriculum and develop a Graduate level program in Professional Writing.
A Renaissance woman in the truest sense, Melissa turns her hand (and her mind) to whatever piques her curiosity. Among other things, she is a self-taught photographer, DIY monster, painter, and gardener. Just as content in a dress as she is heavy work boots, her deep knowledge across an array of topics often threads its way into her fictional worldbuilding.
Both more content around animals than crowds of people, Melissa and her husband have an array of cats, all of whom are too cute for their own good and none of whom listen.
At home no place more than a quiet forest, Melissa’s yard is home to more creatures, some wild, some not. She keeps butterfly koi in a pond in the garden, and honeybees in handmade apiaries.
Melissa is a lifelong nerd who loves RPG games and PC gaming. Artistically, she sketches, paints, and loves making costumes and decorations for Halloween.
Melissa and her husband live together in a sweeping river valley. Keenly aware how fortunate she is to call such a beautiful place home, the lush bluffs, thick mist, and glittering snow often find their way into her writing.
Answers to the questions Melissa is asked most often are right here. Have something you want to know? Melissa’s Patrons can submit questions for a once a month Q&A!
When and/or how did you start writing?
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, so much so that I’d frustrate my mother who would buy me a new book and I’d have it finished before the drive home was over. I started writing my own fiction in middle school and haven’t stopped since.
What is your writing routine?
I don’t set a word goal for the day or have a locked in schedule. Some scenes come slowly and in tiny pieces while others are written in an immersive rush. Unerringly, however, I do my best work in the wee hours of the morning, when the rest of the world is tucked in to sleep.
Do you outline? or do you just sit down and write?
A bit of both. I have an outline, but prefer to use it more like a compass and less like a map; it gives me a general direction to head in. I find that outlining too tightly stymies some of my characters best, most organic interactions. I also tend to write very big first drafts and then carve it down to the heart of the story.