Spotlight: Melanie Lane

Melanie Lane shows off her new book at Say the Word Poetry Slam June 3, 2015.

Melanie Lane shows off her new book at Say the Word Poetry Slam June 3, 2015.

There is a new author super power on the horizon to watch, and her name is Melanie Lane. Melanie, not even 20 years old, has just published her first book, “Slam: Based on the Diaries of Mel Leavitt and a True Story” (Volume 1).

Melanie may be a new published author, but she’s no noob to writing and has been at it for a few years. “I first started writing back in 10th grade,” said Melanie. “My College Success and English teachers gave the class assignments to write poems and when I turned my poems in, they advised me to take a Creative Writing class to increase my skill.”

It didn’t take long for Melanie to accept writing as a positive outlet for strong emotions. “The first thing I remembered writing and loving was my slam poem, called ‘Freak,'” she recalls. “It was about a boy who used to bully me repeatedly back in middle school by calling me a freak.” Melanie wrote the poem as an assignment for class. “I got to release those emotions and feel better about the situation in the past,” she said. Her poem, “The Freak,” is currently published in the “Northwest Florida State College 2014 Blackwater Review,” a prestigious annual literary publication.

SLAMMelanie says that being a published author has increased her drive and determination. “Ever since I finished writing my first book last summer, I was determined to have it published while I was still a teenager. So I believe my determination is what changed me overall.”

Determination is something this girl has plenty of. She currently entered her senior year at the University of West Florida and is in a sorority called Phi Sigma Sigma. Majoring in history keeps her busy but she still finds time to write.

“Next to studying, the other most important thing is making time for yourself,” said Melanie. “Whenever I need to take a study break, I grab a pen and my diary, or just pull up Microsoft Word on my laptop, and I just let the ideas and words flow.”

Melanie knew that publishing wouldn’t be an easy feat, and she turned to her support system for strength and advice. “I’m not the best at grammar so I wanted to find someone who could help me out and who I trusted with my work,” she said. “One of my best friends, named Christina Freeman, who just graduated from the Collegiate High School, helped me edit and she also helped me make the book cover.”

An experienced author friend and mentor, Jocelyn G. Donahoo, introduced Melanie to Createspace and guided her through the process. Jocelyn wrote The Cookie Cutter House. “I was very fortunate to have all the support and help I was given,” said Melanie.

Melanie is happy to give back to the writer community that has given her so much and offers encouragement and advice to new authors just starting out. “It may be hard at first but knowing what you want to do and actually doing it are two different things,” she says. “and work for it, then you can do it.”

From Amazon: Mel Leavitt is an eighteen-year-old high school senior who has dreams of becoming a slam poet, even though her parents don’t approve. She met many people when she first began her slam poetry career, such as members of the New West State College writing club, the Power Poets, who she has encountered problems with. The club president, Maryse, was a good friend to Mel in junior year when the club began. However, something changed when Maryse told people about Mel’s huge crush on the club’s slam poet champion, James Slater. The dashingly handsome James Slater knew about Mel’s crush on him and took advantage of her over the summer, leaving behind emotional scars. Now that Mel is a senior, she has a slam poetry career and a senior project. She decides to base her project on her passion, slam poetry, to which her parents disapprove of. Mel knows that in order to complete and pass this project, she has to work with Maryse and James, something she doesn’t look forward to. When Maryse’s reign over the Power Poets club becomes tyrannical, and with James by her side, they seem almost unstoppable. No one has the courage to stand up to Maryse until she pushes Mel around. Mel then decides to stand up to Maryse in the only way she knows how, through poetry.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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