Interview with Lekh Magazine

A couple of days ago, I did an interview with Lokeish Umak, Editor-in-Chief at Lekh Magazine. He has allowed me to reproduce some of the interview here on my blog.

“The thoughts of Melisa on complex relationships are well-conceived in her book, The Complexities of Love. In this interview, she talked about her hard work behind the debut book and characters. Read more about her strategic thoughts on writing and finding inspiration to write the book.

In this interview, she talked about her hard work behind the debut book and characters. Read more about her strategic thoughts on writing and finding inspiration to write the book.

Melisa Quigley was born and raised in Victoria, Australia. She has an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been published in anthologies in America, Australia, India, and the Philippines. The Complexities of Love, young adult coming-of-age romance, is her debut novel.

How did you get the word complexities out of love?

Melisa Quigley: Love is complex because when we love someone or are in a relationship, we need to look closer at the person we are with or want to be with and develop an understanding of them and their world. For example, when we are young, we learn about ourselves by looking at our world: mother, father, brother, sister, etc, and how we relate to each person in our family. 

When we go to school, we develop relationships that can be complex because other children may be from different socio-economic backgrounds and have different beliefs and values than what we are used to. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted and will either conform through denial, self-doubt, or because they feel insecure. This is where relationships become complex.

Tell me why and how your character holds it so close to the title? 

Melisa Quigley: Mark is a closet gay and hopes his family will never find out. Being gay in the 60s, and 70s, and decades before that was considered bad. Mark is insecure and walks through life as a teenager with his guard up. He doesn’t show his authentic self because he’s frightened about what everyone will think of him. Being gay and looking for someone else who is gay add to the complexity of dating and love.

His life is complex because when he goes out with Laura, he finds it hard to reciprocate her love because he’s gay. He doesn’t tell her he’s gay. Instead, he acts like a straight male so no one will know he is gay.

There are deep scars and wounding from Mark’s childhood with things that happen within his family nucleus. I won’t spoil it for you here. You’ll have to read the book to find out. Shame and guilt add to the complex nature of being gay and not willing to come out. Mark doesn’t know what he’s looking for because he didn’t see what he was trying to create when he was growing up. He had his parents – a male and a female, to guide him. Females and males pursued him along the way, and it’s how he deals with each situation that shows the complexity of each relationship.

What are your views on love and hate, and, are both needed in a relationship?

Melisa Quigley: Everyone has a right to love and be loved. It doesn’t matter who they are or their background. Love and hate are both emotions that can be experienced when someone is in a relationship. Hate is generally caused through jealousy or betrayal. A person can become angry and/or fearful because they don’t feel loved enough by their partner. 

If a person is brought up in a family where the parents are always arguing, a child can grow up finding comfort in a love-hate relationship because in their eyes it is a way to express love. Experience has taught them that causing pain will bring their relationship closer. What they don’t realize is there are other ways for a relationship to work effectively. People like this need to learn to let go of what they gain from the conflict, e.g., always being right and work towards communicating openly and effectively. Love is needed in a relationship, not hate. If you’re in a relationship where there is a lot of hatred it conjures up feelings of being unworthy or unlovable and no one wants to feel like that.”

If you’re interested in reading more of the interview you can check it out here:

The Complexities of Love by M.A. Quigley

Thank you, Author’s Lounge for inviting me to write about my debut novel, The Complexities of Love and allowing me to reproduce it here. The book took me five years to write and is a coming-of-age romance set in Australia. It’s about Mark, a thirteen-year-old closet gay male who tries to navigate his way through life hoping his family won’t find out he is gay. His best friend, Dave disappeared when they were teenagers and Dave wrote Mark a letter saying he wanted to ask him a question. Dave returns ten years later in the ’70s, and Mark can’t wait to see him. Dave’s parents are having a welcome home party for him, and Mark wants to know if Dave still has feelings for him.

Anyone who has been in a relationship knows how complex it can be. It’s not just about the person we love, it encompasses so much more like race, religion, and what other family members think about our boyfriend/girlfriend. My novel is not your typical boy meets girl/boy romance where they fall in love and live happily ever after. This book is about family bonds, complex sibling relationships, and Mark’s family history.

I was inspired to write the book because I have three gay relatives, one of which used to confide in me about he felt and what he was going through in the ’70s and beyond. I was the only person in my family (and our relatives) who accepted him. I wanted the world to know what it was like being gay in the ’60s and ’70s. In Australia, gay marriage has been legal since December 2017, but in many countries, there is still a stigma about gay people, and they can’t marry. Imagine how it would feel if you loved someone and society didn’t accept you because you were the same sex and you couldn’t marry. I would be devastated if that happened to me.

The target audience for my book is teenagers to adults. It comes under LGBT, Romance, YA Contemporary, and Fiction. When I was querying The Complexities of Love, I thought the world wasn’t interested in people from the LGBT community and what they’ve been through in life up until now. I want people who read my novel to feel that they are not alone and that there are people in the world just like them who are going through the same thing. Everyone deserves to love and be loved regardless of who they choose, and they should be allowed to get married.

I write a six-word story or a poem on Twitter every day. Sometimes my poetry is about what is happening around the world or about thoughts and feelings my characters have or that I have. I know people can relate to what I’ve written because they tell me. I also ask people questions to gauge what they think and feel about different things. You can find me on Twitter @MQuigley1963. My poetry is like a rough draft to get my creative juices flowing for the day. I was taught to look at a picture and write how I feel without editing it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just the fact that I’ve written something is enough. I also post about my life and my novel on Instagram using the same handle.

I am currently writing a novel about abuse. Many people suffer in silence and say nothing. Some women and men over the past years are starting to have the courage to speak out. Something needs to be done to make people feel safe wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. I hope that the novel I’m writing will give readers the courage to report it and walk away.

I was born and raised in Victoria, Australia, and have an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. My work has been published in anthologies in America, Australia, India, the UK, and the Philippines. When I’m not writing I love to meditate, do yoga, cook or do gardening and go for long walks with my husband and two dogs.

Book covers

Today, I’m going to talk about choosing a book cover for your book.

You want a cover that stands out and that a reader will pick up and want to look at because a cover is the first thing that they’ll see. If the cover appeals to them they’ll read the blurb on the back and maybe the first paragraph of Chapter 1 and buy your book.

Here are some things to think about when choosing your cover:

  • How do you sum up the story in one page?
  • What image represents the whole story?
  • How do you convey the title of the book in an image?
  • Do you use words?
  • Do you use images?
  • Do you use words and images?
  • Does what you’ve chosen represent the genre you’ve written?
  • Does what you’ve chosen convey what the story is about?
  • Should there be anything in the background or just a color?
  • What do you want the book’s impression to be?

When the publisher at 5310 Publishing asked me what I thought would be a good cover for my debut novel, The Complexities of Love, I immediately thought about the protagonist and how he viewed himself in society. We all know love is complex and many times we can feel hemmed in. Enter the protagonist, Mark. In Chapter One he states that he is a homosexual like the Guianan cock-of-the-rock, a gay bird albeit stuck in the confines of a cage. Pigeon-holed because of society’s beliefs about who he is meant to be, how he’s meant to live his life, and who he should marry. I imagined the  Guianan in a cage facing away from the door.

Fortunately for me, the publisher liked my idea and when he showed me the proof of my book cover I thought it was a perfect fit.

I hope the questions I’ve raised helps you in choosing your book cover. If you haven’t already purchased a copy of my debut novel the link is in the header. I’d love to know what you think about it and whether the cover matches the story. If you’ve already published a book, I’d be interested to know how you chose your book cover.

Until next time.