Mel Torrefranca recently stopped by the Book Writer’s Café to offer some amazing insight into her life as a published author and a digital entrepreneur.
Not only does she remain diligent in her writing career after more than a decade, she has also risen to fame and stardom as a YouTube Vlogger.
One of her most popular and captivating videos (with over 730,000 views) is when she strictly followed the daily routine of Haruki Murakami for one week, which included running ten miles per day (Murakami is a marathon runner), no small feat.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
At the time I did not think writing would be anything more than a hobby for me, as I was convinced it couldn’t be a legitimate career. However, after publishing my debut novel LEAVING WISHVILLE in February of 2020, I recognized how much passion I had for the publication process and decided to pursue writing and publishing full time as a digital entrepreneur.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I write my first draft within a month, so the time-consuming part is the editing process. When I’m in deep writing mode, such as when I have a deadline approaching, I usually edit for at least four hours a day. This could either be in the morning or at night. I also create schedules for myself outlining which chapters to work on each day before my deadline and prioritize writing over other projects I’m currently working on.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I don’t have an accurate average yet. My debut novel LEAVING WISHVILLE took me nearly two years to write, but my second novel CAPSULE, which is releasing on July 10th of 2021, has taken me only fourteen months.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always write in the dark. I find that it helps me stay focused, especially if the environment around me is cluttered and distracting.
What advice do you have for writers?
My main piece of advice is to stop overthinking the writing process and go for it! You don’t need to read writing advice articles or have previous experience to get started — you’ll learn along the way.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to stop rushing the editing process. I would frequently set unrealistic deadlines for myself and feel shame when I couldn’t meet them. I’ve learned to be more flexible with my deadlines, and I believe having a less rushed mindset has helped me stay motivated enough to edit more efficiently.
Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied your last book or your current book you are writing?
I listen to music at almost every writing session. I previously stuck to instrumentals exclusively while writing because songs with lyrics would distract me, but recently I’ve enjoyed music with vocals as well. While writing and editing CAPSULE I listened to a combination of indie rock and mellow piano music.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each of my books stand alone, but I have common themes weaved into them as well as similar mysterious tones.
What does literary success look like to you?
Success to me is creating a story that genuinely entertains people.
I understand that not everyone will connect with my stories, but for those who do enjoy my work, I find it extremely rewarding to know that I’ve released a piece of art into the world that can bring people joy for at least a few hours of their time.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? Why?
I have written two young adult novels. My first was a magical realism novel called LEAVING WISHVILLE that I published at the age of seventeen. So far my favorite is my second novel, a science-fiction thriller called CAPSULE.
I made riskier choices for CAPSULE’s story and challenged myself with a more descriptive writing style, but LEAVING WISHVILLE will always hold a special place in my heart.
What is the significance of the title?
In the novel, CAPSULE is a threatening video game interlaced with reality that downloads itself onto sixteen-year-old Jackie Mendoza’s phone. The title subtly references both capsule pills and time capsules, which play a background role in the story.
What was the inspiration for the story?
I pushed myself to write a novel where everyone was the bad guy. At what point has someone stepped too far to deserve redemption?
Judging by the responses of many of my readers, the line to cross is much further than I had thought.
What is the key theme and/or message of your book?
CAPSULE touches various topics such as morality on the internet, grief, and selflessness, but I would say the most prominent message is to never judge someone based on first impressions alone.
CAPSULE introduces three completely different characters who judge each other immensely only to discover that they have more in common they had originally assumed.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
I would say I relate to the main character Jackie Mendoza the most. She struggles with social interaction not because she’s afraid of reaching out to people, but because she doesn’t believe she needs friends in her life.
This is an experience and mindset I’ve shared with Jackie in the past.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
The most challenging part to write was the setting. My debut novel LEAVING WISHVILLE took place in a small isolated town, but scenes in CAPSULE hardly take place in the same location twice as the main characters are constantly on the move.
Describing the location from scratch in nearly every scene was a new experience for me.
What was the highlight of writing your book?
My favorite part was definitely the beta reading process. Fifty-five people read and critiqued an early draft of CAPSULE to help me decide what changes to make. This was the first time I had shared the story with anyone besides myself, and it was exciting to hear their unique — and sometimes contradicting — perspectives on my work.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The most challenging scene to write was definitely the one that involves the most romance. If you’ve read CAPSULE, you’ll know what I’m talking about. LEAVING WISHIVLLE’s main characters are in middle school with nothing more than childish crushes, so writing that scene in CAPSULE pushed me out of my comfort zone. I cringed so hard while writing it.
What books are you writing now?
I know what my next three novels are going to be, but I’m struggling to choose which story to develop first. I don’t want to give too much away, but all are within the young adult category.
What books are you reading now? What books are currently on your bedside table?
I love writing fiction, but I don’t read much of it.
You can follow Author Mel Torrefranca on social media @
Leaving Wishville (2020)
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).
Forthcoming: The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
You can follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 470,000+ followers
“A spellbinding tale of love and espionage set under the looming shadow of the Berlin Wall in 1975… A mesmerising read full of charged eroticism.”
“An engrossing story of clandestine espionage… a testament to the lifestyle encountered in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.”
“There is no better way for readers interested in Germany’s history and the dilemma and cultures of the two Berlins to absorb this information than in a novel such as this, which captures the microcosm of two individuals’ love, relationship, and options and expands them against the blossoming dilemmas of a nation divided.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“A Time to Forget in East Berlin is a dream-like interlude of love and passion in the paranoid and violent life of a Cold War spy. The meticulous research is evident on every page, and Fewston’s elegant prose, reminiscent of novels from a bygone era, enhances the sensation that this is a book firmly rooted in another time.”
“Vivid, nuanced, and poetic…”
“Fewston avoids familiar plot elements of espionage fiction, and he is excellent when it comes to emotional precision and form while crafting his varied cast of characters.”
“There’s a lot to absorb in this book of hefty psychological and philosophical observations and insights, but the reader who stays committed will be greatly rewarded.”
“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”
“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”
“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”
“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”
GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction
FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)
“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”
“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”
American Novelist CG FEWSTON
This is my good friend, Nicolasa (Nico) Murillo, CRC, who is a professional chef & a wellness mentor. I’ve known her since childhood & I’m honored to share her story with you. In life, we all have ups & downs, some far more extreme than others. Much like in Canada, in America, the legalization of marijuana has become a national movement, which includes safe & legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use & research for all.
“This is a wellness movement,” Nico explains. The wellness movement is focused on three specific areas: information, encouragement, & accountability.
In these stressful & unprecedented times, it makes good sense to promote & encourage the state or condition of being in good physical & mental health.
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.
TEXANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ~ share the mission of their national organization, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, for all Texans.
Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.
Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis