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Melissa Anne Peterson Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Vera Violet (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Melissa Anne Peterson
Author Melissa Anne Peterson was born in Shelton, Washington, and grew up in this rainy working-class logging town. She got a BA and BS in both writing and biology from The Evergreen State College and her MS from the University of Montana.

She has worked in endangered species recovery in Washington and Montana for twelve years.

Melissa’s writing has been published such places as Seal Press, Camas, Oregon Quarterly, and Flyway Journal of Writing & Environment.

She works outdoors in some isolated locations, often times in some rather rough weather. Then she comes home and studies hard. Every so often, she has a beer with some of her friends.

When Melissa was young, she liked “Watership Down” by Richard Adams, reading the book several times and writing many stories about rabbits. When she was a teen, she got more into the beat generation of writers and read William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. During her early twenties, she was all about the Harlem Renaissance, writers like: Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.

She writes because her life is usually quiet, and because it seems like it has always been so. In her head, there is this silence that overcomes each and every moment. Inside of her there is a hush that is able to invade every thought. When she does hear a voice, it won’t go away.

Melissa gets a lot of ideas from observing people and dreams. A thing she forgets a lot is when people ask her that is how much other works of art inspire her. She gets especially inspired by music. Driving alone in her truck works wonders to get her through some terrible cases of writers block.

A chapter called “Nazi” in Jimmy James Blood was penned almost completely stimulated by a dream as well as an Over the Rhine song. It is a book that would not have been written the same way had it not been for the music she was listening throughout the writing process.

She is unorganized while writing stories, particularly not while writing the first draft. At certain times of each year she will be so busy she winds up writing things down in pieces all over the place. Some paragraphs will end up in field notebooks (where she is supposed to be jotting notes about the weather, plants, and animals). Some pieces will be written on journal articles or the homework she is supposed to read.

She will write in different notebooks and sticky notes. It is simply a mess. Since she doesn’t have an office, she makes do with putting these random things onto one shelf, until she can put it all together. This is something of a long and arduous process.

During the off-season she would get up with her family, and would begin writing after she had some coffee. She takes a break at noon, and possibly begin again in the afternoon, maybe printing and editing what she wrote that morning (if she isn’t busy with something else). Melissa may have other things on her plate at any time.

In the spring and summer, she writes on the bus while on the way to her job. It is a trip that takes forty minutes, starting at 6:25 A.M. so those writing sessions are often times dark, dreamy, and cryptic. Otherwise, she will just write whenever she is able to get a minute, waiting out in her truck, or when she is on hold, or stuck at the doctor’s office.

While in graduate school, she mostly read scientific journal articles, but the rest of the time, she reads mainly fiction.

In her work, she puts some of her personal life experience, however, everything she writes is not all true. It is a bit of a tangled knot of both real and not real.

She writes mainly literary fiction. That being said, there are aspects of fantasy in her work (particularly in the story “Little Fish”) although she would not classify it as fantasy.

The only part of the process of writing she does not particularly like is that it can get quite lonely at times.

Melissa would like to meet a few of her ancestors, and feels as though they watch over her.

Melissa’s debut novel, called “Vera Violet”, which was released in the year 2020 which is from the general fiction genre. It was released by Counterpoint Press.

“Vera Violet” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. This is the story of a rough bunch of teens growing up in the twisted rural logging town. There is no sense of safety at all. No jobs to speak of. There is a truck that waits with the engine running, a tiny group of loyal friends, a 1911 pistol with a pearl grip that is hot, and some boots covered in blood.

Vera Violet O’Neel’s home is located in the Pacific Northwest. Not craft beers and the glamorous scene of coffee bars, rather the hardscrabble region of broken dreams and busted up pickups. Vera’s dad is unstable, her mom left, and her brother is left deeply troubled. Against this rather gritty background, Vera battles to put together a life of her own, one fortified by her hard-won love and her friends. The relentless poverty combined with the twin lures of easy money and crystal meth quickly ruin some fragile alliances.

Her world has been torn violently apart, Vera flees all the way to St. Louis, Missouri. All alone in a tiny apartment, she grieves for all her buried friends, her broken family, and Jimmy James Blood, her beloved.

Fans found this to be both gritty and jaw-droppingly lyrical, and Peterson’s voice is a clarion call for the disenchanted and downtrodden. This is nothing less than a stirring and visceral experience and is one of the exciting and authentic debut novels. Melissa writes with a poetic and powerful voice, and vision is rather unflinching. This novel explores themes of violence, poverty, and environmental degradation that is played out in the young lives of some young close-knit friends.

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