This post is all about He Saw Me First by Melody Anne.
Cassandra Montana is a small-town bookstore owner. But what others don’t know—or even suspect—is that she is hardly who she says she is and hasn’t been for a decade.
Once known as Tina Moore, she grew up in Washington, DC. Her mom with a popular DC socialite, and her dad worked at the White House. America knew Tina as their sweetheart until she turned 14, and the police broke down the door of their family mansion to find her holding a bloody knife while her father lay dead below her. The family’s dark secrets remain secrets, but Tina gets thrown into juvenile prison until she is 18.
Tina then becomes Cassandra, declaring to never think of her old life or what happened again. It is how she ends up in Ravish and becomes a bookstore owner. But no matter how many years pass, she can’t escape what happened because she knows the truth.
Greyson River also lives in town and wants nothing to do with women like Cassandra. He hates having ties to anyone. But then he actually meets Cassandra, and nothing ends up being the same for him. Secrets come to light for both of them, and the people in Cassandra/Tina past may just be back…
This new novel by Melody Anne sounds like an awesome read. It’s the first in her new series, and I honestly can’t wait to read it. But I’m not good with suspense, so I think I need all three books out so I can binge them; that way, I’m not left on a cliffhanger!
I’m excited to share that Melody is joining us today to chat about He Saw Me First. Once I read the book, I wanted to learn more details from Melody. So, without any further delay, let’s welcome Melody!
Melody, hi! I can’t wait to chat about He Saw Me First, so let’s jump right in! Tell us more about Cassandra Montana!
Cassandra has never known an ordinary life. She was born into an ultra-wealthy political family in Washington, and life isn’t what it seems for her. She goes through tragedy and comes out on the other side. I love Cass. She’s probably my favorite character I’ve written about because I feel like I know her. We learn more about what happened to her through flashbacks throughout the book. She’s also the strongest character I’ve ever written.
I love the concept of this book! Was it fun to write?
It was amazing to write. I was never an outline author. I always wrote by the seat of my pants. I couldn’t do that with this book, so I worked on the outline for an entire month to get it right. That made writing it fast because I knew what I was going to do next.
I ended up adding about five chapters to the outline because something would happen, requiring another chapter here and there. It was amazing to write as I was filled with so much emotion, from sadness to joy and everything in between. I live my writing. I feel what I’m writing. If I’m not feeling it, then I scratch it and start over. If I’m feeling the emotion as I write, I hope it comes through to my fans, which I’ve been told happens. They laugh, cry and burn along with me.
Who was your favorite character to craft?
Hmm, this is tough. I always like the heroines of the story as I relate to them. My heroines have gotten stronger and stronger as I write more and more books. There was a time in my life I needed rescuing, so I wrote heroines who needed to be rescued. Now I’m stronger and feel like I can do the rescuing, so my heroines take on those traits. I love Cass. I also love some of the side characters. Emmy is one of my favs who will have her story in book three. I’d have to say, Mattie, who is named after one of my nieces, is one of my favs in this book. I love her fire and determination.
What was the most challenging part of plotting He Saw Me First?
I’m dealing with child abuse in this book which sucks to deal with. It’s so much more of a reality than most people realize. I have my own story that made me want to do this book in the first place. The hardest part of this book was to make that aspect of this horrific subject real without crossing a line.
I didn’t want to glorify child abuse in any way, but I wanted to push the boundaries a little so people would understand Cass and feel for her. That meant I went over those scenes repeatedly, walking on the edge of the knife without cutting myself in half.
Do you have a favorite chapter you can’t wait for readers to read?
This book has my favorite ending chapter of all time. I can’t say anything about it without giving the book away, but I laughed a lot while writing this and had so much fun with it.
Cassandra and Greyson have a complicated relationship. What sets their relationship apart from other novels you’ve written?
The biggest thing that sets it apart is that it’s difficult for Cassandra to trust anyone, so I had to be careful with how I wrote their romance. I like strong, confident men, but Cass has been abused, so I can’t have him throwing her against the wall for some hot sex. I can do that with other characters who haven’t been traumatized, but it’s not appropriate in this book.
I really think their relationship has a lot of chemistry and growth. They both learn what works with the other person. They both have good hearts, and they both have secrets. It was fun to bring that all together to a point where they could lay everything on the table without fear of rejection or abuse.
How long did it take you to write He Saw Me First?
I was so obsessed with this book that I wrote the first draft in about three weeks. I write fast, though, always have. I spent a month on the outline and research, and then I did two full revisions along with edits. This book overall took longer than most of my books. I think it’s well worth the extra time. I finally realized after my last edit that I will always want to change something because the story keeps evolving in my mind. I love the reaction I’ve gotten from my editors and beta readers. I think the fans are going to really love this book and the series.
Will there be a sequel to He Saw Me First?
I can’t write single books. I fall too in love with the characters, so I always do series. She Saw Me is up for pre-order. The main characters are part of the townspeople, but you’ll see lots of characters from this book, like Cass and Greyson and Mattie and Lisha.
Where can readers find you on social media?
I have Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, all @authormelodyanne. I try to keep up with messages, but they get a little overwhelming. I do go through them eventually, though. I love, love, love when fans make posts, posters, quotes, and other things on my pages, though. Please tag me. It means the world to me that you love my books enough to do this.
Anything else you want to add before I let you go?
Thank you all for supporting me for 11 years now!! What a great job I have, that I get to put all of my thoughts on paper and make a living from it. I can’t imagine doing anything other than writing now that I’ve lived this life for the past 11 years. It’s my world. I don’t go anywhere without a story running through my head. It’s wonderful. I hope you enjoy He Saw Me First, and I can’t wait to read reviews and see what you have to say about it.
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