100 Creatives 2014: Melissa Maygrove, Romance and Happy Endings

What She Does: Melissa Maygrove's mother likes to tell a story about constantly finding her daughter in the closet with a pen, flashlight, and spiral notebook writing away. She's made up stories all her life, but never really found the time to do it as an adult. Once she did, she passed off a throwaway novel she admits was terrible and after three manuscripts found her place in romance. She likes romance because the endings are happy.

Her first novel is Come Back. It follows Rebecca Garvey, a young girl who is left behind on a wagon train and heads off on an adventure with a handsome stranger. Readers will feel a kinship with Jean M. Auel's Plains of Passage as the two come to rely and love each other in the harsh, 19th century West. Even for a non-romance fan like me the first few pages will grab you.

And yeah... it's kind of nice to have a happy ending.

Why She Likes It: "I enjoy the brainstorming stage, when research sparks my imagination and scenes play out in my head so intensely, I can't help but write them down. But my favorite part is doing the final read-through and experiencing the story in its finished, polished form."

What Inspires Her: Maygrove draws from everywhere for her ideas. Great movies and other books, certainly, but even a short YouTube clip can be enough to spark a story idea. Her writing hero is Carolyn Davidson. Maygrove likes the way she blends old-fashioned values with mainstream romance. The moral framework of her stories fits the historical setting, but she isn't afraid to write a love scene.

If Not Here, Then Where: "I hope to move to a rural location at some point after the kids leave home. I like Houston--it's the only home I've ever known--but I'm a country mouse stuck in the city."

If Not This, Then What: Maygrove's night job is as a nurse, and if writing doesn't continue taking off for her she would want to pursue more scientific employment opportunities.

What's Next: "Come Back did better than anticipated, and it branded me as western historical writer. I have readers asking me for another western, which means my dystopian will have to wait. Two of Come Back's supporting characters have been bugging me to tell their story, so that's what's next. I can't tell you whom, though; it's a spoiler."

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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