Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you so much for joining us for another interview with one of our wonderful honorees. For this interview, we were able to sit down and speak with Melanie Joy Mezzancello, author of Love Snaggs: A Little Dog’s Courageous Journey. Love Snaggs is a beautiful and imaginative story about a Yorkie mix named Snaggs who goes on a journey filled with adventure, bravery, and heroism. Love Snaggs is a truly heartwarming story that any animal lover will adore and find hope in, especially after the loss of a pet. Adults and children will both enjoy this delightful book. Keep reading to find out more about it and its author, Melanie Joy Mezzancello!
MCA: Hi Melanie! Thank you so much for joining us today and congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! Can we first start the interview by finding out a little background about yourself?
Melanie: I grew up in North Providence, RI, and I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree from Bryant University where I became a member of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority. I also spent two years at Assumption College in Worcester, MA, where I was classically trained as a singer. I had the privilege of touring Italy with the Assumption College Chorale, where we had an audience with Pope John Paul II.
I have always been passionate about dogs, animals, and animal rescue. I’m also a dancer and an artist. I like to work with acrylics, resin, and mixed media, and I enjoy knitting & crochet. I have the privilege of tap dancing and dancing Flamenco with some incredible women that I’m so honored to call my friends. We perform in Orlando. I’m about to embrace 50 this month, and mine is a message of hope! I beat cancer 3 times, I have had to have 20 surgeries, and I’ve battled Crohn’s Disease for over 20 years. It almost killed me twice. Now…? Now, I’m doing things I never imagined I’d do. It’s never too late to chase your dreams! Grab onto the good stuff in life!
MCA: We love that message. You are an incredible woman having gone through all of that and coming out of it with such a positive outlook! Can you tell us what lead you on your path from a degree in science to an award-winning children’s book author?
Melanie: At first, writing was more of an outlet for me. I had a lot of health issues starting in my late twenties, and journaling really helped me cope. It was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I really started writing. I spent a lot of time in hospitals – having lots of tests and doing a lot of waiting. The waiting was brutal. I kept one of those fifty-cent marble notebooks and a pen with me at all times, and I journaled my entire experience. I wrote about all of it – the bad, the scary, the really bad, and the blessings along the way. When my treatment was done, I turned it into a manuscript for a book. But I never shared it. It turns out that it was just too personal to put out there.
MCA: That’s an amazing journey you have had. Maybe one day you will find a way to share some form of that book! What was your inspiration for writing Love Snaggs – A Little Dog’s Courageous Journey?
Melanie: It was when I adopted my dog Wesley that I was inspired to write a story. He has such soulful eyes, and I just started imagining that he had taken a spectacular journey to get here. So one night I just started writing. I wasn’t planning on writing a book. I just had an idea. That idea was the spark, and from there on out, the story just flowed. I have no idea where it was coming from. It just kept flowing. The characters just burst into life within my own imagination, and my fingers on the keyboard struggled to keep up with my brain! After many months of writing into the middle of the night every night, I actually had the makings of a book.
MCA: Well you certainly made them burst into life for your readers as well! The writing in Love Snaggs does an amazing job at making the characters jump off the pages. What are some of the key lessons found in Love Snaggs – A Little Dog’s Courageous Journey?
Melanie: The overall message of the book is one of love and perseverance. I think it also touches on the values of love of family, friendship, diversity and cooperation to overcome obstacles. In the story, Snaggs pulls together a little band of rather unlikely allies… different animals and even different species work together to help Snaggs in his journey.
MCA: Tell us more about the characters that can be found within Love Snaggs – A Little Dog’s Courageous Journey!
Melanie: The star, of course, is Snaggs! Snaggs is a plucky little Yorkie Terrier mix who is determined to find a way back home to his family. Snaggs is small but very brave. During his life on Earth he had many health issues, but he never let them stop him from living his best life. That courage serves him well when he decides to trek to Spire Mountain! Snaggs is witty and likes to use “gallows humor” a lot. He has a fierce love for his family.
Raptor is a super cool character. He’s a pterodactyl, and he is NOT what you’d expect. I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil it for you. He’s feathered, funny and he has a quirky thing with fruit! He is Snaggs’s strongest ally who will be put to the test when he meets Lucar.
Lucar is the ultimate bad guy. He’s a mongrel dragon, dripping with oily wickedness. Snaggs is the wrench in Lucar’s diabolical plan to steal the throne of Royal Volcano.
MCA: What would be your ultimate dream for your book?
Melanie: My ultimate dream for Love Snaggs would be for it to be made into a film. I can totally picture my characters coming to life in an animated film, or even one that’s a hybrid of traditional movie blended with some CGI. I feel like the characters are so relatable – not just for kids, but for everyone. I’ve even begun a list of who I’d choose to voice my main characters!
MCA: We’ve read some of the reviews for Love Snaggs and one thing is abundantly clear, people absolutely love your book! What kind of response from readers have you received?
Melanie: I am honestly quite humbled by the response I’ve gotten. I have all five stars on Amazon, and I’ve won 5 awards so far, including your prestigious award. I won three Firebird Book Awards (First Place in Juvenile Fiction, Second Place in Children’s Fiction & 2nd Place in Animals), and I’ve received an Honorable Mention from the New York Book Festival. And Reader’s Favorite just recently reviewed my book and rated it 5 stars in every category. It was Amy Louise Hill’s review from Reader’s Favorite that really took my breath away. I posted it below. Words just can’t express how grateful I am to have this kind of recognition and feedback.
“Love Snaggs was a pleasure to read. Having gone through the loss of my dog recently, I found this book incredibly emotional to read, and there wasn’t a single page where I wasn’t crying my eyes out. Every word has been carefully thought out and aids in telling Snaggs’s story. The author has a talent for pulling at the reader’s heartstrings from the start. I loved every page of this beautifully-written book and it is now one of my favorites. This book is perfect for all ages, as it can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. I hope Mezzancello continues to write more in the future and that I have the honor of reading her next creation. Congrats, Melanie Mezzancello – you have written a true masterpiece.” -Amy Louise Hill, Reader’s Favorite
MCA: We couldn’t agree with that review more! Thank you for a wonderful interview, Melanie, and thank you for all you do for animals and for your readers. Love Snaggs is a joy to all who read it, we cannot wait to see what you come out with next!
You can learn more about Melanie Joy Mezzancello and her award-winning book, Love Snaggs – a Little Dog’s Courageous Journey by visiting her MCA Shop pages.