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Meet: Melissa Close

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

Meet Melissa Close!  Melissa is a senior Writing, Literature, and Publishing major at Emerson College about to publish her book, Wandering and Other Stories.  The book will be published through the Wilde Press Inc. branch of Emerson’s Pub Club!  Here’s what Melissa had to say about her book:

What inspired you to write Wandering and Other Stories?

I came up with the ideas for a lot of the stories contained in Wandering and Other Stories while I was taking a class called Magical Fiction at GrubStreet last summer. Maybe it was the fact that the weather was weird that year, or maybe it was how the room we were writing in every week was hot and humid, but whenever the class was given a prompt I would always connect it back to the natural world. “Breach,” the first story in the collection,” came from a prompt about magical places—the first prompt the class was every given. “The Legend of Teddy Freckletoe” came from a throw-away name tossed around by one of my classmates. All of the stories kind of gestated in my mind from that summer up until winter break, which is when I finally sat down and wrote them all out.

You decided to donate all proceeds to the Environmental Defense Fund. What was your motivation behind choosing them to receive your donations?

The Environmental Defense Fund is a nonprofit organization that advocates for environmental stewardship. It’s dedicated to promoting legislation that finds innovative ways to solve some of the most pressing environmental issues facing today’s world. I chose this charity not only because I believe in the work they do as an organization, but also because their mission resonated with a lot of themes contained within Wandering. Each of the stories in my collection is in some way connected to the natural world. Some are even the direct result of environmental anxieties about the path we as a planet seem to be on. I think the characters in my book would be happy to know that the proceeds from their stories are going to support efforts to create a greener future.

What was the biggest challenge in writing Wandering and Other Stories?

I think the two things I always struggle the most with are dialogue and titles—which I go back and forth on all the time. I have a bad habit of relying on narration more than I should, and it can be difficult to check myself as I’m writing and actually add the conversations that need to be there. I often spend the most time on these passages because I want to make sure that the words characters are saying will feel natural to the reader.

The biggest success?

Finishing it! I’m a notoriously slow writer, and one who will just keep editing for all of eternity until someone throws a deadline at me. Wandering and Other Stories is the first book-length project I’ve ever completed.

Is this the first time you have been published?  If so, how does it feel?

Besides one story in Generic Magazine my sophomore year, I have never been published before! It feels pretty incredible. This whole process has been so much fun. Everyone in Pub Club has put in so much time and effort this semester, and I’m so grateful for them believing in this little collection of fantastical stories. I’m excited to hold the physical book in my hand!

Is there anything you wish you could change?

If I could make one change it would be to go back in time and force myself to start writing earlier. I had originally intended for this collection to have five stories in it, but because of time constraints only felt that four were ready for publication by the time Pub Club’s deadline rolled around. That fifth story didn’t make the cut—and to be honest probably would have pushed me over the page count anyway—but I still wish I had given it a better shot.

What is one thing you want everyone to know/keep in mind about your book?

It’s fantasy, so expect a lot of strange and magical things to happen. And even if a majority of the stories in my collection have sad or bittersweet endings, I think there is plenty of hope and joy to be found within them. You just need to look in the right places.

Anything you’d like to add?

Thanks to everyone in Pub Club for all of their hard work! I hope you all enjoy reading Wandering and Other Stories!


I’d like to offer a quick congratulations to Melissa and all the hard work she put into writing Wandering and Other Stories!  It couldn’t have been easy!  As a member of Pub Club myself, I had the opportunity to work closely with Melissa’s book, and I’ve got to say, it’s a must read!  Make sure to stop by Pub Club’s book launch to purchase your copy of Wandering and Other Stories for only $8.00!  And, in addition, remember that all the proceeds from Melissa’s book will go to benefiting the Environmental Defense Fund!  For more information about Pub Club’s book launch event, check out our article!

Talia is the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Emerson. Talia is also a Chapter Advisor, Region Leader, and HSA Advisor. She has previously worked as an intern for the national headquarters of Her Campus in the community management department. Talia is a Writing, Literature, and Publishing major at Emerson College in a 4+1 combined bachelor's and master's program in publishing. She is an aspiring writer and publisher. Talia is known for living life with her journal, a pen, and three lovely cats.