Local author Melissa Minassian has developed and nurtured a wonderful new Young Adult series entitled The PORTAL Chronicles and its first release FLY promises to captivate and inspire readers of all ages.
Melissa, a single mother who lives in Omaha with her adorable young daughter, has always had a passion for faith, creativity and storytelling. From a very young age she has written stories for her family and, in high school, was the youngest reporter to write for her county and city newspapers. Melissa earned her degree in Journalism and worked in marketing, graphic design, and freelance writing before aspiring to write her first novel.
Melissa's inspiration for the first installment in The PORTAL Chronicles series was, according to her, divine. "FLY came to me on June 7, 2008, when I had a super vivid dream that resonated unlike any other dream that I have ever had," she says. "It was for me, divine inspiration. I had always wanted to write a novel and from this dream I now had the story. In the dream were my characters, but more than anything else, it was a feeling. I wanted to revisit this world; I liked the world and became hungry to develop it."
Melissa immediately began to develop her idea and it would take her seven years to the day before she would release FLY. "From the moment of my dream I started writing. The first book took so long," she sighs. “I had to figure out this new world and build a foundation for the series. To create a universe with characters and the world in which they live. Even though it took a long time, it was really fun!"
Melissa self-published FLY as an E-book on Amazon on May 15, 2012, and it quickly became a best seller. "I was humbled. I lived with my characters for so long, so it was very validating for me to see that other people loved these characters as I did." It wasn't long before Melissa's series was picked up by a publisher and soon she had a hard copy of FLY in her hands. "Holding that hard copy of my book for the first time was surreal," she beams. "I was at home and not expecting it. I didn't know it was coming. I opened the package and just gasped. It was really the first moment that I realized this was actually going to happen."
Fly: A PORTAL Chronicles Novel takes readers on an incredible, adventurous journey complete with faith, family and love. A unique narrative gives readers two points of view, one female and one male, and immerses readers into a world that pits good against evil.
Q&A with Melissa Minassian
Omaha Family: You come from a close-knit family, what was one lesson your parents taught you that you still use today?
Melissa Minassian: That is hard to answer as my parents have instilled so much in me. But overall, I think the most important thing they taught me is the importance of fostering a personal relationship with God. Like with any relationship, you have to spend time with someone and work on knowing them more. Realizing this changed my life.
Omaha Family: What is one thing you want to teach your daughter?
Melissa Minassian: I dedicated my debut novel "Fly" to my daughter writing, "To my lovely Lina. May you learn to trust yourself, trust your God, and conquer fear, for then and only then will you truly be able to spread your wings and fly." This encompasses my greatest desires for her.
Omaha Family: How does it feel to be a first time author with such a successful book?
Melissa Minassian: There truly aren't words. And as a writer and word nerd, that's saying a lot! Ha. It was exactly seven years from the beginning of writing "Fly" to its launch in paperback, so it was a crazy, long journey waiting on my dream to become reality. But now testimonials and reviews come in of how "Fly" is touching and changing lives around the world, making all the hard work, heartache, and waiting so worth it. I am completely humbled!
Omaha Family: How difficult was it to put into words the story that was in your dream?
Melissa Minassian: It can be challenging to capture an image, a feeling, or a moment through words, but nailing it always feels so rewarding. Better so, hearing from readers that a scene I wrote moved them to laugh out loud or cry is the highest achievement.
Omaha Family: How do you continue to find inspiration for your other books?
Melissa Minassian: I've learned that the most successful authors are simply amazing storytellers who write what they know and the most successful entrepreneurs are people who simply find a way to meet a need no one else sees or can meet. The process of recovering from life storms I have weathered has revealed themes that I don't see anyone else addressing through fiction. Besides the PORTAL Chronicles young adult series, which largely deals with themes of identity, hope, and empowerment for youth, I'm also working on projects for mature audiences that deal with themes of divorce, affair recovery, and abuse in relevant ways.
Omaha Family: What encouragement do you have for the novice writer who wants to try to grow and express their inner talents?
Melissa Minassian: A dear friend of mine once told me, "When you don't do your dreams, they remain dreams. When you do your dreams, they become reality." So write, write, and write some more! Find trusted friends or writing groups to critique your work. Write what you know. Hone your craft. Find your voice. And if it's meant to be and your work is honest and true, the story will resonate with many.
Omaha Family: If you were not writing, what would you be doing?
Melissa Minassian: I honestly can't imagine doing anything else. Writing is my first love and brings me such joy. Though, when not writing, I enjoy developing my nonprofit Destiny Mode Ministries and its programming promoting peace, healing, and wholeness for young adults and women affected by abuse, infidelity, divorce, and addiction. I also love to travel, sharing my personal journey of redemption and hope with women and youth around the world.
Omaha Family: If you could meet one person, living or not, who would that be and why?
Melissa Minassian: Either the prophetess Debra from the Bible or Joan of Arc. Both were amazing women who unapologetically lived out their calling.
Omaha Family: If you could travel to one place on earth where would you go?
Melissa Minassian: Bahamas! My fave place in the whole entire world. I am constantly saying once my book becomes a bestseller one day, I'm buying a Bahamian island and building a home to retreat and write! Dream big, right!
Omaha Family: If you could have one super power what would that be?
Melissa Minassian: To see into the spiritual realm like Sophie, one of the main characters in my novel "Fly." I think it would be fascinating to be able to see angels and demons and their interactions with oblivious humans on a daily basis. I constantly wonder how much of our reactions and life happenings are influenced by things we cannot see!