Today, I have author Melissa E Costa in the inteview chair. We’re discussing her latest novel Feral Hearts, book one of the Feral Hearts series, a m/m urban fantasy romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, Melissa. First off, readers have an idea about the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Melissa: I’m a cat momma with two fur babies. They’re both spoiled little things that love to be at the center of my attention.
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page, and noticed you are drawn to writing character-driven fiction. Can you share why?
Melissa: I think characters are the best part of any story. It’s the people we root for that make us want to keep finishing the book in the hopes of seeing them succeed. We can learn from them and grow in our own lives too.
3. What do you think makes for a great omegaverse romance for readers?
Melissa: The homey feels. I think this is a bit funny because while Feral Hearts has mpreg, especially later down the road, book one—and the entire Feral Hearts series, really—doesn’t have any of those homey, we’re going have a baby vibes, but my first thoughts go there when I think of omegaverse romance. But another thing I think makes omegaverse great is it gives you a chance to have amazing worldbuilding as you describe a universe where any gender can have babies. And Feral Hearts definitely does that!
4. Your latest novel is Feral Hearts: Book One. Can you tell me what inspired you to write this book and develop the series?
Melissa: I was reading a lot of werewolf fan fiction at the time. Honestly, I never thought I would get into werewolves. But several stories later I started writing my own.
5. Since Feral Hearts is the first book in the series, what can we expect from you in the future? Care to share about your current WIP?
Melissa: You can expect three books in the Feral Hearts series. And at this point, I’ve started drafting a follow-up series as well. That, and a spin-off. But mentioning the spin-off will lead to spoilers, so that one will have to wait.
6. When first developing Feral Hearts, did the plot come first or the characters?
Melissa: The characters.
7. Let’s talk about the main character Alex. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Melissa: Alex is a sweetheart. He’s so open and vulnerable. He puts his entire heart out there to be seen and hurt. I can relate a lot to Alex in that the world expects me to be one way, and I fall short.
8. The same for Talen. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Melissa: Talen is also a darling. I just wanna hug him. And then strangle him because he doesn’t seem to realize how loveable he is, and how he’s worthy of love. He pushes people away, particularly Alex. Talen had a rough life, and it shows in the way he closes off his heart to people.
9. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write and why?
Melissa: I love writing Alex and Talen together, so the scenes when they both share the stage are my favorite ones.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Feral Hearts: Book One, what would you tell them?
Melissa: You just gotta meet Alex, he’ll steal your heart away! And Talen is such a sweetie, you’re just gonna want to hug him. The world of Feral Hearts pulls you right in, and you won’t want to leave. Instead, you’ll be rooting for these boys as you get lost in the story world.
11. You have an extensive backlist. If a reader was new to you, which book would you recommend that they start with, and why?
Melissa: For a new reader, I’d start off with The Last Kitsune. It’s a short story I put out originally for the Virgin Shifters anthology which is about shifters experiencing their first time shifting. I say that one because it’s not too long and is also available on KU. It gives the reader a good feel for my writing style. It also will be continued on in a later novel too!
12. Which book was your personal favourite to read, and why.
Melissa: Of my stories, you mean? That’s a toughie! Each of them is very different. But I’ve been working on Feral Hearts for a long time now and as a result the characters have found their way into my heart, very intimately, I might ad. So reading that story always feels like coming home.
13. Again, drawing from the many books you’ve written, which was your personal favourite to write, and why.
Melissa: While Feral Hearts would probably be my favorite to read, it was not my favorite when it came to writing it. Like I said, I’ve been working on it for years now, and it took me a long time to zero in on the actual plot for the book, even though the characters have been dancing around in my head for so long. Actually, I think I had a lot of fun writing Collective of Love: A Maidoa Love Story, Book #1. It’s a sci-fi about aliens on a water planet, and the whole story just flowed, so I felt like I was right there with them on their journey for survival.
14. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Melissa: That would definitely be the flow of the story. I love it when I get wrapped up in the writing, and it’s equivalent to reading in that the world comes alive around you as it unfolds. It’s super cool, and very addicting.
15. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Melissa: Editing. And did I say editing? I also hate when I get bouts of writer’s block, where you have the opposite of story flow happening, and you just sit there staring at the page. Every word feels painful to get out.
16. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
I’d say favorite would probably be The Princess Bride.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
A heck of a lot! I’m trying to read more, and not just in my genre. I feel reading is a good way to refill the creative well. But, okay, just a quick glance, I see I’ve got my own books, Cat Escort as well as The Offering by my pen, Rosary Deville (I like to preview my books before I publish). I also have a non-fiction book about writing, specifically Write to Market. Deliver a Book that Sells. And lastly, Omega Mates, by Maisie Stone and Dragonhunt two by Mountain Blue.
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
I listen to a lot of music. Constantly. If I don’t have the music on during the day, it feels weird. I also go through phases. But in addition to listening to a lot of 80s music, Lana Del Ray, Adam Lambert, Florence + the Machine, and Charlie Puth are some of my favs. Of course, ask me in a few months and it could be all different!
- What song puts a smile on your face?
The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars.
17. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Melissa: Thanks so much for having me. I enjoyed talking about my boys and my new book Feral Hearts. Be sure to follow the series as it comes out!
Book Title: Feral Hearts: Book 1
Series: Feral Hearts
Author: Melissa E Costa
Release Date: August 19, 2021
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy M/M Romance.
Tropes: Friends to Lovers. Childhood friends. Gay for you. Omegaverse. Hurt/Comfort. Fated Mates.
Themes: Soul Mates, classism
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 68 683 words/176 pages
To save the one he loves, he must face the beast within.
Blurb: Alex isn’t a traditional alpha—he’s gentle, awkward, and caring. He also has no desire to assume leadership of the Black Moon Pack once his father steps down.
Talen is an omega stray, taken in by Alex’s parents and raised as his brother. He’s also straight, emotionally damaged, and the love of Alex’s life.
Now of age, Talen is forced into the role of an omega—those treated little better than slaves. Worse yet, the monster inside of Alex has awoken and set its sights on Talen. The beast will stop at nothing to get what it wants, even if it takes the whole world down to do it.
Alex must face his worst nightmares if he ever has a chance at protecting Talen. Is he strong enough to bring them together, or will he lose Talen along with the pack?
Note: The book does not a cliffhanger, per se, but the story’s conclusion won’t be reached until the end of book 3. This three-book series tells a continuous story with a resolution at the end of book three.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Alex couldn’t believe they were going to flog Talen. Eben stood to the side of the pillar with his back to Alex. He had been able to get Alex out of doing the whipping.
Etched into the pillar were symbols from the old language. A loop made of rope was attached to a minor ledge higher up in the stone. Its purpose was for this very thing. The shaman placed a large wooden block at Talen’s feet and had him step up onto it. Even elevated, he still wasn’t tall enough to fit his wrists through the loop, so they told him to hang onto it instead.
Talen wasn’t wearing a shirt. His arms above his head stretched his torso and made visible the taunt muscles of his abdomen and chest. Tiny beads of sweat gathered on his collarbone before they rolled down his back. Whether caused by anticipation or the blistering heat, Alex didn’t know. Talen’s left arm was no longer hidden by his sleeve, making the slight bow in his wrist apparent for anyone who knew where to look. A nearly unnoticeable tremble shook his shoulders. He looked so small then, fragile, even though Talen was anything but.
One of the shamans began making a speech. Her loud voice carried on the wind. “To speak out against your betters is the greatest disrespect you can show to your pack.” She was lecturing Talen, but she also looked around as if talking to the crowd, making an example out of him. A wave of nausea washed over Alex as his anger rose. “When you disrespect your pack, you’re disrespecting yourself.”
“Stupid bitch,” Alex grumbled. “Get off your high horse.” Even though he hadn’t wanted to watch the whipping, his feet moved on their own until he was close enough to see Talen’s face clearly.
“Talen, for your disobedience, you will be punished by thirty slashes to your back to be carried out by the pack leader.”
Eben held a medium-sized bullwhip.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” the shaman continued. “To say to Roman, who you have disrespected by your behavior?”
For one moment, Talen looked like he would say something, and it wouldn’t be nice. That fire burned behind his dark-hazel eyes.
Alex remembered his father’s words at dinner. If Talen doesn’t go through with this, he might have to find himself another pack.
As cowardly as it seemed, Alex prayed that Talen would keep his mouth shut. Please, don’t say anything. Please, Talen. Please don’t say anything.
Talen closed his eyes, and the tension left his body.
“Only to apologize for my insolence.” His words carried on the mild breeze that made standing outside on this humid hot day bearable. But Alex couldn’t care less about the wind or how good it felt against his skin. Instead, his attention focused only on Talen. Even though Talen bowed his head, and his words sounded a bit hollow, there was a fire to them—Talen’s voice, his spark. His energy. His will to fight. Talen amazed him. His ability to stay himself, to not give into fear, regardless of the hell he had been through. Alex envied him. Talen might have been an omega, whereas he was an alpha, but there was no doubt that Talen was the stronger of the two of them.
His father got in position and raised the whip. With a loud crack, it singed between Talen’s shoulder blades, leaving an ugly red gash. Talen’s breath hitched. He clenched the rope, baring his teeth. Every taunt muscle on his body writhed with each slash that marred his back. He wasn’t crying out, though. Talen was a proud one.
Alex tightened his fists.
Each crack grew louder and louder. Alex’s claws dug into his fists until tiny droplets of blood trailed down his palms.
Ten slashes into the punishment, Talen’s visible ribs heaved with each breath. His lithe frame trembled. Then his wolf surged, forming a white aura. It didn’t stretch out into a shadow—mostly that was an alpha thing—rather, it surrounded him like a sphere as it had done before with Roman—a white wolf seemingly chasing its tail in an endless figure eight. Its hazy white color made Talen appear blurry. It wasn’t large enough to affect Eben, only a whip length away.
It reeked of agony, hurt, anger, but mostly pain—Talen’s.
Alex turned away. His stomach clenched in knots. Something dark grew inside of him. Blacker, thicker. As he looked back at Talen, all Alex felt was rage.
Talen let out a scream before he bit his lip and a trail of blood spilled down his chin. Finally, he lost the battle, and he started crying out with each lash.
Alex’s fangs elongated. He wanted to kill them. All of them. His dad included. How fucking dare they lay one hand on Talen? On his Talen.
Melissa writes character-driven fiction, and any genre is fair game. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, anime, manga, and gaming. Living by the motto of trying all things twice, Melissa has jumped out of a perfectly good plane, swum with manatees, dived headfirst into Alice’s rabbit hole, and seduced classy ladies in 6-inch heels. A free-spirited bohemian, she currently lives in artsy St. Petersburg, Florida, with her soulmate and their two adorably needy cats.
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