Melissa Delport is a wife and mother of 3 young children but that hasn’t stopped her from following her dream to become a published author. Her latest work – The Legacy Trilogy – comprises of 3 books. The Legacy (book 1) and The Legion (book 2) are available on shelves now and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015.
An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.
“I was driving home from work when inspiration struck, and a storyline started unravelling in my head. For a few days it was all I could think about and eventually I realised that the only way to get it out of my head, was to put it all down on paper. I started writing, and that was that.”
How inspiring Melissa – to see your dream and make it happen! This is why I thought Melissa would be a perfect candidate for my Women at Work interview series…
Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?
I live in Hillcrest, KZN with my husband and three children, aged 7, 4 and 3. At the age of 24, I opened a logistics company along with my business partner, which I owned for almost ten years. In March 2013 I released my first novel, The Legacy and since then I have released another three books. When I was offered a publishing contract late last year I sold out of the business in order to write full-time, as I needed to find a balance and spend more time with my family. I chose the route that would bring me the most job satisfaction, although not necessarily the same financial security!
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I have always loved to write, since I was a young girl, but I didn’t believe it was something I could do professionally – until my publisher proved otherwise.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
I am what you could call a compulsive learner. I have been studying since I left school – I love it, and I love to learn. I have completed courses in Road Freight Management, Health & Safety & Bookkeeping, to name a few. I did a degree in English and Psychology and then completed a year post-grad in Victorian and Shakespearian literature, so I studied English quite extensively, but it was more because it was something I really enjoyed than because I thought to make a career out of it.
What was your first job in the industry? And what path has your career taken since?
Writing my first book was the first “job” I’ve had in this industry! I’m still writing books but my path has been one of personal growth – I think that my writing has matured so much since that first attempt and my books are stronger for it.
What have been the highlights?
Without a doubt being offered a publishing contract. It is very surreal having your dream become a reality.
What’s the best part of your job?
The amazing feedback from the readers and being able to interact with them through social media. I have received wonderful reviews which validate you as an author and inspire you to keep writing.
What is the most challenging part?
Learning to be patient. I am a very proactive person and if I want something done I want it done now. Writing a book is a marathon, though, not a sprint and I have to take one day at a time. I have so many wonderful book ideas that I want to write, but I have to exercise patience and develop each story at its own pace. The story itself guides you – you cannot put a timer on it.
What is your typical day, or maybe week if days are very different? How do you fill your time between writing novels?
Initially I spent most of my time writing and working on my current book, but now there are so many other factors that come into play. Writing guest posts, speaking at events – it all takes time and requires a very different kind of writing. Promoting takes time away from your fiction writing, but it is essential and I am grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. I try and do most of my writing in the morning, leaving me free to indulge my children in the afternoons, but I invariably end up sneaking in a chapter or two when everyone else has gone to bed and the house is quiet. I do not really have much down time between novels, as I start plotting the next when the current one moves into the editing phase. By the time one novel is completed, I am usually already writing the next.
What are the “secrets” to your success?
Fierce determination and a little bit of luck. I am very headstrong and when I set my mind to something I am like a dog with a bone! To make it as an author you have to have talent, but even some of the most talented writers struggle to make it in this business. Luck was on my side when my book landed on the right desk, at the right time, and a publishing deal was forthcoming.
As a mom how do you get the balance between your family and career life right?
I have learned not to sweat the small stuff. If you set the standard too high you are doomed to fail, so I try to relax with my kids. I’ve realized that ultimately, all they want is to be loved. If you can give them that, and instill in them a sense of self-worth, it doesn’t matter if you get everything else wrong.
What do you do for fun in your down time?
Being a busy person, my favourite thing to do if I find a rare moment to myself, is to lounge around in my PJ’s and watch series. I love anything made by the CW Network – it’s my dirty little secret. And I love getting a pedicure – there’s nothing better than pretty feet!
What do you still want to achieve for your career?
I want to see my books on the bestseller shelves, competing on an international platform.
Here is a bit more about the first book in Melissa’s trilogy…
One man obsessed with power.
One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him.
One war that changed the world.
“World War Three lasted twelve days. Twelve days was all it took for mankind to devastate the planet and almost eradicate the human race. No victor emerged from the ashes and billions lost their lives. We survivors lived through the bleakest of winters. A primal existence became the new order, and the little that remained of our humanity hung in the balance. Then one man stood up and changed the world. I believed, as did everyone else, that he was the hero of our time, the man who had saved us from our own demise. His name is Eric Dane and he is the President of the New United States of America. He is also my husband, and my greatest enemy.
I grew up oblivious to the truth, until my father found me when I was nineteen years old. He told me about the many horrifying facts that our new leader kept hidden from us. And he told me that beyond the borders the Resistance grew and fought for freedom from the oppression that Eric Dane had imposed on us. My name is Rebecca Davis. I am twenty-six years old, and in me the Resistance has found the ultimate weapon.”
A narrative of good and evil, love and passion, right and wrong – and at the centre of the story a strong woman who is prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause she believes in.
The Legacy is an action-packed, adrenalin-inducing thrill ride which will leave you riveted long after you have turned the last page.