There are many talented artists in the world, but few are true renaissance people. Mello Yello is one who, while even being a teenager, is realizing her dreams and sharing her soul through arts..
If Mello Yello were a character in a Jane Austen novel, she would be described as "accomplished." In the days of Austen, accomplished young ladies displayed talent and knowledge in many skills such as penmanship, language, music, art, dancing, and etiquette. Mello is the modern day equivalent of those accomplished young ladies displaying skills in many types of artistry and a great deal of knowledge for someone who is only 18 years old.
Mello Yello caught my eye when speaking to the Lead Editor/Owner of the Grumpy Dragon, Spring Lea Henry. Spring Lea excitedly showed me a new manga she published called Shatterwood. I had never read a manga before, but as I have always been a fan of Japanese animation (anime), I figured I would give it a shot. Reading a truly Japanese-style manga was interesting, as it reads from back to front and right to left, which is the opposite of how American graphic novels read. But for me, it was worth the effort of learning something new to partake in the experience of Shatterwood.
Shatterwood is the story of a young man going to an academy where science and magic intertwine. While there he makes new friends and possible enemies. The characters in the story are rich and hint at in-depth pasts and complicated futures. When Mello wrote the book at the young age of 14 she already had a grasp on truly manga-like characters. It is important to mention that she did not just write her manga, she illustrated it herself. She is a writer and a traditional artist, but that is not all.
Mello is also a guitar player who writes and sings her own music. Her song Jenna J ( featured) fully captures the feelings of many girls who want to be looked at as more than just arm candy and loved for their spunk.
Mello Yello graduated from high school early and attended aesthetician and cosmetology schools where she picked up a flair for makeup. Armed with her favorite brand of makeup, Urban Decay, she can create interesting looks for those of us who are looking for something different and eye-catching, including lips done up as a British flag, eyes awash in glitter, and looks to complement steampunk fashions. Mello's exotic face can also be seen on the back cover of the book The Cadence by Casey Hays where she is posing as the villainess, Alexis.
I had an opportunity to interview Mello Yello, and she gives us a little peek into her world
Samantha: When did you begin writing?
Mello: I've been writing stories since grade school, and when I was around 11 or so is when I think I realized I wanted to write books. I've always been a bookworm, and that inspired me to start dreaming.
S: Was Shatterwood your first story?
Mello: Shatterwood is my first published book, but definitely not the first story I've created. I've worked on several others, all in prose, which I'll probably rewrite and publish in the future. Shatterwood is my first manga, however.
S: What inspired the storyline behind Shatterwood?
Mello: The story behind Shatterwood was inspired by a lot of folklore surrounding mineral and elemental properties, mostly crystals. I've always loved science, and I think it's really interesting how much modern-day chemistry owes to alchemy. I wanted to combine the two in a world where science and myth were one and the same.
S: What made you pick Manga as the style of your first book?
Mello: To be honest, I never really imagined myself doing manga until Spring Lea (my editor) suggested it. I was more interested in doing novels. However, when I met her at a library workshop and showed her my sketchbook, she said she would love to see a manga from me. I think I started drawing manga when I was around 10 or 11 and had been working on character designs and things for a while. Once Spring Lea told me how much she liked my work, I got to work brainstorming plot and story ideas.
S: Other than writing what else do you enjoy doing?
Mello: Besides writing and illustration, I really enjoy reading and music. I play the guitar, keyboard, and Irish whistle and sing, and I like to write songs when I get the inspiration. I'm also really into video games and computers. I'm in college right now, and I'm taking a lot of IT and web design courses.
S:Are you working on another book?
Mello: In addition to Shatterwood volume II, I'm working on a few novels which I hope to get published in the near future. The first one I'm completely done with, and it is going through editing right now. It's going to be a series about the Revolutionary War, which I actually started writing when I was 12 or 13. It's gone through a lot of revision since then, but I'm really excited to get it finished. I'm about halfway through writing the sequel to that, and then after those get done, I have another novel to finish, which is a western.
S: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
Mello: I've never been a big fan of long term "5 year" and "10 year" questions, because honestly, the future is unpredictable. I try to live one day at a time. However realistically, if I set my goals, I think in 10 years I'll probably be writing, doing volunteer work, and making enough money to support all of my cats. The rest is yet to be seen. I think my aim right now is just to be happy.
Well with so much talent at her disposal it is certain that wherever Mello lands, she will land on her feet and run!