Meet Melissa Reynolds!

Hey everyone! I told you that we have big plans for this publication and here’s one of them. We took on an intern! For the next few months, Melissa Reynolds will be helping us with editing, reading submissions, and maybe even some of the newsletters. For an introduction, we’ve played our favorite twenty questions game. Say hello and keep reading and submitting, we’re so grateful for all our followers.


Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a mom of four amazing kids and an English Major at WVU. I love plants and rescue them from a slow death in the discount section whenever I can. I can’t bake a loaf of bread to save my life, but I make a mean cheesecake. I own more books than I can ever hope to read, play Dungeons and Dragons on a weekly basis, and listen to Viking inspired music.  

How did you hear about The Metaworker and what attracted you to the magazine?

I happened across Metaworker during a submission blitz and fell in love with the submission guidelines’ tone. Metaworker stood out as an accepting magazine that not only encouraged writers but did so with a quirky sense of humor that suits my own. 

What sort of subjects/genres do you like to write about and why? 

I have a pet project, an epic fantasy series, that I work on whenever inspiration hits, but for shorter pieces I tend toward magical realism or autofiction. However, everything boils down to characters for me. I can tackle any subject or genre if I can latch onto a good character. 

What or who influenced you to start writing?

I have always spent my time writing. Somewhere there’s a picture of two-year-old me, sitting in a box and ‘writing.’ I kept a journal nightly, thanks to my mom’s urging, and was an avid reader (thanks to my mom again). However, I didn’t take my craft seriously because I didn’t think I had anything worth saying. About nine years ago, I tried out a writing site and gained fans, friends, and a mentor. The positive feedback I received made me believe in my writing enough to give it a real shot. 

Are you a morning person or a night person?  Does that influence what time of day you write?

I’m a night person, but I write whenever and wherever I can. Quiet moments are rare for me, so I snatch up the chance when I have it.  My muse haunts me at 1 AM though and I find some of my best writing happens in the middle of the night. 

Do you prefer coffee or tea?  Cats or dogs?

Both. I drink a lot of coffee out of necessity (darn muse won’t keep decent hours), but I love a hot cup of lavender tea in the evening to unwind. I have two cats, Sam and Fallon, and a dog named Zoe. I love both in different ways and can’t be pinned down on which is better.

Have any of your pieces been published?  Where?

Yes. I have pieces at Everydayfiction, Blazevox, Horrortree, WVU’s Calliope, and here with Metaworker. 

What else are you involved in when you’re not busy with The Metaworker?

I’m an active member of the Morgantown Writers Group and am helping them edit an anthology, River and Stone. I can also be found by the pool while my kids swim, driving them to art class, or occasionally in a pool hall scamming my friends or shooting Call of Duty zombies. 

Have you gone to any literary events lately?  Which ones?

I’ve not gone to any big conventions or anything like that, but my writers group hosts retreats once or twice a year. We all pitch in, get a cabin, and spend a weekend together writing. We enjoy good food, great company, and the peace and quiet nature brings. We might not always meet our writing goals, but we come away refreshed and ready to dive back into our projects. We’ve gone to Ohiopyle, the outskirts of Berkeley Springs, and Dolly Sods. I’m looking forward to our next one in a couple of weeks at the Stonewall Jackson campgrounds.

Other than The Metaworker, do you have a favorite literary journal and/or website?

I tend to read articles on how to write more often than stories since I get a healthy dose from class and my writers group. I’m a fan of LitReactor and Write It Sideways, but when I want to read a story, I check out Reddit’s subreddit Destructive Readers and Wattpad.

If you could be any character, who would you be and why?

When I was a kid, I used to tell myself stories to help me fall asleep; after I’d keep dreaming about whatever story I thought up. My favorite was Robin Hood, but I wasn’t him. I was a random girl traveling the roads who he attempted to rob. The Merry Men liked my sassy self and I’d end up joining their clan out in the woods. I still have an infatuation with the idea of living out in the woods, fighting for and helping the poor so I think that’s what I’d choose to be. 

Other than your keys or phone, what is one item that MUST be in your pocket or purse before you head out the door? 

I don’t carry anything else, that’s all I really need. I travel light now since my days of carting a mountain of baby stuff and diaper bags are behind me. 

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

I went hiking at Coopers Rock near where I live. I had the idea that I’d lose myself in the woods, sit on a rock, and write in the green silence there for a while. I packed the usual things, but also brought my laptop. The morning was clear and sunny. I had walked about five miles when it started to thunder and black clouds swirled overhead. I was certain I would get caught in a downpour out in the woods and my laptop would be destroyed along with the novel I’d been feverously working on. At this point, I didn’t know the trails well enough to take shortcuts or where the nearest pavilion might be. I had to either run five miles over rocky and root lined trails or shelter under the trees and pray. Against my instincts to run back, I rushed another mile up the trail and came out on an access road. A group of army guys happened to be there, setting up to do a drill or something. They knew the quickest way back to the parking area, thankfully all paved. I hurried to my car as the first drops began to fall. The rain started in earnest when I was in sight of my car, so I dashed. I ended up drenched, but thankfully the water didn’t soak completely through my backpack to my computer. That was the day I put aside my hard-headedness and subscribed to Microsoft’s cloud service.

Do you have any helpful resources for writers that you’d like to share?

Fanstory.com is great for beginning writers, or really writers at any stage. You not only learn from receiving reviews, but by giving them as well and it can serve as a nice replacement for a writers group if you can’t attend one in person.

What are three books you think everyone should read and why?

Gosh. That’s like asking me for the best flavor of ice cream or what my favorite song is; I find it almost impossible to choose. However, there is one trilogy of books that have stayed with me and have shaped what I like to write. Stephen Lawhead’s The Song of Albion. The main character ends up in the Celtic Otherworld and through a few adventures becomes a king. Best of all, the first line of the first book is the last line of the last book. I’m also a fan of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, Stephen King’s Dark Tower, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I wish I had sage advice to pass along or tips to make writing easier or something incredibly witty and charming to say. But sadly, the only thing that comes to mind is this; you don’t have to suffer to make great art. Sure, suffering can be used in art, but it isn’t a prerequisite.  Don’t forget to have fun along the way.

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