Interview with Melissa Harker Ridenour

What was your inspiration for writing your first book?
I have a couple of reasons for writing my first book, What Would You Do?A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, beginning with a traumatic memory from my childhood. My very good childhood friend and classmate was abducted, raped and murdered by a predator. Adding to the tragedy of the story is the fact that her mother, the next year, committed suicide. She was never able to cope with the loss of her daughter, especially in such a violent way.

That haunting memory has always affected me, even as I became a mother myself. One of my greatest fears as a young mother, and even now that my children are grown with children of their own, is that something similar could happen to my children or grandchildren. That fear, combined with the alarming statistics regarding missing and exploited children is the second reason that prompted me to write a book that would teach children to take a pro-active role in staying safe from predator harm and to help parents and other child caregivers learn how to keep children safe from abduction or harm.
What is your writing process?
First I brainstorm for ideas. Then I complete an outline and a sketch of major and minor characters if the work is fiction. If my work is a piece of non-fiction, I research and document everything thoroughly.

Then it is just getting down to basics of writing, re-writing, and editing, all of which are extremely tedious and time-consuming. As Oscar Wilde said, "I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out."
What is the main message of your books?
The main message of my first book, What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers is empowerment. Teaching children about stranger safety and how to take a pro-active role in staying safe from abduction or predators, without making them fearful of all strangers, is a delicate balancing act, but it can be done. That is a message or take-away from my book.
The concept of “stranger” is difficult for children to understand. What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers explains to children the concept of strangers in a very kid-friendly way and teaches them a method for determining whom they should and should not trust.

The main message of my second book, The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale, is to entertain and to educate. Children are entertained with a good school story with which they can relate while, simultaneously, being provided with strategies for dealing with the ever-increasing bullying dilemma.

The main message of my third, soon to be released book by Crimson Cloak Publishing, is pure campfire or fireplace type of tale, fun and entertainment. “Tell me a scary story, but not too scary.” In my experience as a parent and as a grandparent, such requests for scary stories from my little ones were frequent and familiar ones. It has also been my experience as a former school librarian to note that books of ghost stories were always among the most requested by children and teens.
What are some of your marketing strategies?
I have been relentless at marketing and promoting my books. I do promotional posts on a daily basis. I use Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, book blogs, newspaper, radio and television interviews, and Librarian list-servs to post promotional messages about my books. I have created blogs that also serve to promote my books.

I have created book trailer videos for both of my first books, and I plan to create one for my upcoming book to be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing.

In addition, my website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books at also serves as an informational format and promotional format for my books and the lessons children and parents can learn from it.

Posting daily links to the various professional and social networks for viewing my video book trailers have been a great marketing tool as well. Posting daily Twitter tweets of tips from my books proves to be educational to followers and beneficial for promoting and marketing my work.

The fact that I offer school workshops in my local area that are based on my book, also serves to promote and market the book.
Published 2015-08-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Amazing Adventures in Shelby's Shoes
Series: Crimson Cloak Educational. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 5,640. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2016 by Crimson Cloak Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Girls & Women
Playing dress-up in her mother's shoes, Shelby's imagination takes her all over the world. But she comes to realize that she has the power to make her own dreams come true. With a chapter of information on achieving Girl Power, for parents to share, this is a lighthearted book of empowerment for children.
Scary Ghosts and Playful Ghosts: Children's Tales of Fright and Delight
Series: Crimson Cloak Educational. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,990. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2015 by Crimson Cloak Publishing. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Paranormal, Fiction » Children’s books » Legends, Myths, Fables / Other
Here are six ghostly tales to delight children, with a chapter discussing the question of ghostly apparitions generally. DO YOU BELIEVE? Read this book to decide!