Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Spotlight on New Book Debut Author Melanie Gibson #kickingandscreaming

Operation Awesome Spotlight #20Questions in #2021 of #NewBook Debut Author posted by @JLenniDorner of @OpAwesome6

Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts by Melanie Gibson

1- Would you please tell us about your tattoos?

I have three and will get a fourth one in June 2021:
#tattoo #NewBook #DebutAuthor #2021Books #kickingandscreaming #mentalhealth Spotlight on New Book Debut Author Melanie Gibson

1. My first tattoo that I got September 2018 is a black martial arts belt with a lotus flower on my right shoulder. One side of the belt has “Taekwondo” in Korean lettering, and the other has my name in Korean.

2. Inner left forearm done June 2020 – a red rose and key with the words “There are other worlds than these.” This quote is from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and the rose and key are symbolic throughout the series. I got this when I needed a reminder than there are always other opportunities and possibilities when life seems frustrating.

3. Inner right forearm done February 2021 – the word “Author”, a book, a flower, and hummingbird. The flower and hummingbird are from a pretty, little stained-glass lamp I keep on my desk and like to switch on when I write.

My fourth tattoo will be a tribute to my niece, who is the strongest, cutest baby I know.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Read voraciously. You'll learn how you do and don’t want to write.

3- What most motivates you to read a new book?

An intriguing plot is motivating. If I’m dying to know what happens after reading the book’s description, I’m in.

4- International Panic Day, occurring on June 18, raises awareness of struggles with mental illness. What would you suggest to try on that day?

When we panic we often want to immediately escape our current emotions. Journaling helps me stay present and work through a challenge I’m having, and it often defuses the stress of my mental state.

5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with your black belt?

Yes! Great idea for a picture.
#NewBook #DebutAuthor #2021Books #kickingandscreaming #mentalhealth #taekwondo Spotlight on New Book Debut Author Melanie Gibson

6- What was the most productive activity you took part in during the 2020 quarantine?

I edited the final draft of my memoir and worked with my publisher on cover design, distribution, and other aspects of the publishing process.

7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

My Twitter handle:
Shout out to:
Jeffrey Davies @teeveejeff
Glennon Doyle @GlennonDoyle
Matt Jardine @thehardestpath

8- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?

My friend and author of the wonderful “Season of Angels” series Christopher Stanfield: @stanfieldwrites

9- Are you a Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser, and how did you adopt that style?

With memoir I’m a Plotter because I can see the story from beginning to end. With fiction I’m more of a Pantser because I sometimes have no idea what is going to happen until it does.

10- What does your basic writing schedule look like, and how often do you write?

I work full-time, and during the bulk of 2021 I’ve been involved in publicity for my published memoir, so I don’t write every day. I usually do creative writing on the weekends for a few hours a day.

11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

Author name: Stephen King @StephenKing
Title: Revival
Love because: It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the ending was delightfully bleak.

12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?

This may sound strange, but I hope my readers will recognize sadness, frustration, and anxiety. They are real emotions I experienced and are common shared human experiences. I also hope I will make them laugh, feel excited about the future, and enjoy the happy ending.

13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?

I hope my book will show people who are “hiding in plain sight” with mental illness—people who seem to be doing well but are suffering silently—are not alone. I hope to show readers that mental illness is more common than they think, and we as a society need to create an environment that is more open and accepting and promotes good mental health.

14- What is your favorite creative non-writing activity to do?

#NewBook #DebutAuthor #2021Books #kickingandscreaming #mentalhealth Spotlight on New Book Debut Author Melanie Gibson

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

My book is diverse in that it shows a person living and somewhat functioning with multiple mental illnesses in a society that breeds perfectionism and secrecy. Not everyone with mental illness is hospitalized or attempts suicide. Many people, like me, are “white-knuckling” it through life and feel like we can’t tell anyone.

Favorite book with diverse characters: Recently I read Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, about a family of immigrants from Cameroon living in New York City. Excellent storytelling and intriguing characters. It shows a slice of life U.S. citizens don’t often think about.

16- What method do you feel is the best way to get book reviews?

Exposing your book to a wide variety of audiences may not guarantee reviews, but it builds awareness for many people. You never know where one connection or review may lead.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I tried extensively to go the traditional route and get an agent and failed. After letting myself feel sad and frustrated, I read Greenlight Your Book by Brooke Warner and decided that if society has accepted independently produced movies and music, it was time to try independent publishing for my book. I was accepted by She Writes Press, a highly lauded independent press with traditional distribution. It was a wonderful experience with skilled professionals walking me through every step of the process.

18- What's the biggest writing goal you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

I’ve already met a big one—becoming a published author! I would like to write and publish a novel, either comedy or horror.

19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?

What is your favorite positive self-care behavior when you’re having a rough mental health day?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

#NewBook #DebutAuthor #2021Books #kickingandscreaming #mentalhealth Spotlight on New Book Debut Author Melanie Gibson


“An inspiring, sharp, and disarmingly humorous account about taekwondo and mental health.” – Kirkus Reviews


Melanie Gibson is the author of Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts. She began practicing taekwondo at age ten and returned to the martial art after taking a twenty-two-year hiatus. She has a bachelor’s degree in English, a Master of Library Science, and an MBA and has worked in the healthcare industry since 2004. Melanie lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

Social media links:

Instagram: @melaniegibsonauthor
Facebook: Melanie Gibson Author
Twitter: Melanie Gibson Author @TaekwondoLBB

Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts by Melanie Gibson

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Wanting to escape emotions when in a panic- yup, relatable.