|By Michelle Symington|
WESTFIELD When Westfield native Melanie Murray stopped acting, she was looking for a new creative outlet and she found it writing.
Murray recently published her first novel, Miss Bubbles Steals the Show, is working on a second novel and has a novela in a collection called Scenes from a Holiday coming out next month.
After graduating from Westfield High School in 1992, Murray moved to New York to attend New York University in Manhattan the following fall. She said she has lived in New York ever since, "give or take a few months here and there."
Murray said that she worked as an actress for a few years and began writing a couple of years ago, after she stopped acting.
"I didn't miss acting per se, but [I] really wanted a creative outlet," she said.
She explained that a friend of hers started a writing group and she decided to join.
"I figured there was no reason not to try," she said. "Out of that group came two published novels mine, and a book called Star Craving Mad by Elsie Miller Abrams."
She summed up her book as a "story of a woman who's trying to be an actress (Stella), whose cat (Miss Bubbles) gets cast in a play."
She explained that the story idea came from many of her own experiences of trying to work as an actress in the city. She added that the story was also inspired by the experiences of some of her friends who are also actors and actresses.
"I really just set out to tell a story about a 20-something trying to find herself in the city and set it in the world I knew best, which was the theater world," she said.
Although the story idea was rooted in personal experiences, she said that the characters are not completely based on anyone. However, she said some of the characters' actions or "little certain things" they do may be based on something she has seen or heard in her own life.
Although Miss Bubbles the cat is one of the main characters of the book, Murray herself does not own a cat.
"I have a dog," she said. "The cat came into the story because I had heard of actors' whose cats were put in plays and I always thought it was funny having to bring your pet to its job."
Miss Bubbles Steals the Show took Murray about two years to write, and she said there were times she became stuck on the storyline.
"That's really the whole process," she said. "It's one of not knowing how the thing's going to turn out until its done."
He added however, that she always knew the ending.
When trying to become a published writer, Murray said that waiting is the hardest part. She added that publishing a book takes a long time.
She sold her book in 2004, which was published by Red Dress Ink, and it came out about one year later.
According to Murray, feelings of rejection while trying to become a published writer were not a problem for her.
"Before I was a writer, I was working as an actress. So, anything you try after that won't seem as full of rejection," she said.
Murray is currently working on her second novel, which she said is a completely different story. She works full-time and writes in her spare time.
Murray said that a piece of advice she would give aspiring writers would be to "keep writing."
She also said it is good for writers to "find people whose opinions you trust to read your work for you. Sometimes you need that outside eye to help shape your story."
Miss Bubbles Steals the Show is available at amazon.com, bn.com, at any bookstore and as Murray said, "hopefully anywhere."