Stroke Victim Turned Author. Ask me anything.

Melisa Ruscsak
Nov 14, 2017

A lot of people have similar stories. They decided their choice of career at an early age. Went to school to hone skills to help them succeed in that career. I had thought that I was one of those people.  Having a passion for cooking and creating new dishes I studied Culinary Arts in high school. Back then I had thought about continuing schooling but thought a practical education might serve me better.

Now what does and of this do with being an author? Everything.

In 2011 My heath started a rapid decline and I suffered two strokes. Just two weeks apart. The first one only caused weakness on my right side. The second? I don’t know if all of my medical issues are from the stroke or from the surgery that I was going through at the time. Nor will I ever. However, it started me on the track of writing.

In 2011 at age 28, I was reduced to trying to communicate. Not typing as in using every finger on the key board but using one hunting and pecking to find the letters that I barely recognized. It would take until 2015, after one divorce and getting married to someone who has seen me at my worse, that I would start the grueling task of typing my first novel.

By the end of 2015 my first book would be published. In 2016 being picked up by one small publishing company before switching to another. Currently, with Wild Dreams Publishing I couldn’t be happier. My first book has been revamped with an awesome cover that I designed with help of my husband. Translated into a total of 5 languages now available and another 4 that I am waiting for release dates for. The second will be in print on Black Friday (Nov. 24, 2017)

Ask me anything, from my health, being a mother to an autistic child or about my book. Let’s talk. I’m not the fastest of typist but I will answer any question asked. So, share with your friends and family. 

Please follow me at https://www.facebook.com/OfLiteAndDarke/

Disclaimer: Everything is based on personal experience and not on research unless otherwise stated.  

Comments are locked

Conversation (55)

In three easy steps and under a minute you could be hosting your own AMA. Join our passionate community of AMA hosts and schedule your own AMA today.

Let's get started!

How many books have you written so far?

Nov 15, 2:52PM EST0

I have one Published. one that will be released on Nov. 24th 2017 and I'm currently working on the third. However I have written over 20 fanfics andone othe rbook that I have not released 

Nov 17, 3:39PM EST0

Experience really helped. Have you shared stories or have written something about autism?

Nov 15, 8:47AM EST0

Not yet. Right now I'm working on other projects before trying to write from experance. 

Nov 17, 3:37PM EST0

Oh I see. Melissa, do you have a twitter account I can follow?

Nov 19, 2:07AM EST0

What time do you feel is good for you  to write?

Nov 14, 4:46PM EST0

Any time that I am awake it is a good time to write

Nov 14, 5:01PM EST0

You're such an amazing survivor. My father won over 5 stroke attacks before breathing his last due to complications after 7 years. He suffered being immobile and incomprehensible due to slurry speech. How fatal is the aftermath of the latest attack on you? How do you make sure there's no other one coming?

Nov 14, 2:48PM EST0

I am so sorry to hear about your father. My last stroke was mild but somehow it corrected a little known codition called Forgien accent sydrome. So Although my speach isn't perfect it's at least in english. There is no real way to know if i will have another but i keep my blood pressure down. Stay way from stressful situations and try not worry about the what if's in life. I'm here today so i'm going to make the most out of it.

Nov 14, 4:00PM EST0

What will be your advice to those aspiring authors?

Nov 14, 11:49AM EST0

Never give up. You have your own "voice" just let it come out as it's ment to. Don't change to fit someone's elses idea. 

Nov 14, 3:57PM EST0

Where do you sell your novel? How do you market your work? 

Nov 14, 8:59AM EST0

Currently you can find my works on Amazon. B&n has the forgien laguages but for unknown reasons is having a hrad time updating thier computers to include the english versions. As far as marketing I do alot of social media and every podcast and radio interview that I can

Nov 14, 3:57PM EST0

How long does it take to recover from a stroke?

Nov 13, 7:33AM EST0

I found you never fully recover. You adapt. You learn new skills. But you never "recover". 

Nov 13, 3:06PM EST0

Do you have a favorite book?

Nov 12, 11:01AM EST0

It's so hard for me to pick one book out of so many. But my favorite book series is theat by Anne Bishop called "The Black Jewels" 

Nov 12, 11:18AM EST0

How long have you been writing?

Nov 12, 1:25AM EST0

I have always wrote as ittle things such as Fanfictions or little stories and poems for myself. But It wasn't until 2015 that I began creating a world all my own

Last edited @ Nov 12, 11:19AM EST.
Nov 12, 11:19AM EST0

Did you have to change your diet after the strokes?

Nov 11, 8:30PM EST0

For a while I had to. Mostly to a liquid or soft diet until I re-learned how to chew and swollow without choaking. I still have trouble with some of my favortie foods such as m&m But when there is a will there is a way

Nov 12, 11:21AM EST0

Do you have a special place where you go to be inspired?

Nov 10, 12:10PM EST0

I can find inspiration just about anywhere. 

Nov 10, 6:46PM EST0

Do you have a muse?

Nov 10, 11:28AM EST0

My husband is my muse. If not for him, I might not have written The New Reign or the books that follow.

Nov 10, 6:48PM EST0

What's your favorite style of writing?

Nov 10, 11:09AM EST0

Not a question that I can answer, as I believe that every author has their own style.

Nov 10, 6:49PM EST0

What's your travel style?

Nov 10, 11:03AM EST0

Please elaborate as to what you mean.

Nov 10, 6:50PM EST0

How long does it take you to come up with a topic?

Nov 10, 8:18AM EST0

For me it's not coming up with an idea. It's getting it to paper.  I can come up with an idea in a day, but evolving it is where it can take a month or a year. 

Nov 10, 10:26AM EST0

How do you make an income while you are writing?

Nov 10, 5:44AM EST0

because of my health I can't work a traditional job so I am on social sercurity most due to my seizures. If I could hold a tradional job I would live to. I so miss the social interaction.  Not to mention how interacting with people is a great way to get rid of writter's block.   

Nov 10, 6:00AM EST0

Did you enjoy English as a child?

Nov 10, 5:34AM EST0

Not al all. i didn't understand it, wasn't interested in nor  did I pay much attention during the class. As A teen I never saw the value in that class nor was it "needed" in my choice profession.  Looking back I wish that I had paid more attention 

Nov 10, 6:02AM EST0

Can you do things like drive after a stroke?

Nov 10, 5:11AM EST0

Am I phyiscally able to drive?  Sort of. I No longer have full vison so if somethin is at my side I don't see it. Really if I'm not looked right at something I won;t see it. But what keeps me from driving is my seizers (Caused by surgery or post stroke) The law says a person can't drive if they have had a seizer with in a six month time frame. Since the type of seizers that I have, most of time those around me can't tell that I'm having an active seizer until after the fact. it is much safer that I don't drive.

Nov 10, 6:07AM EST0

Is there a support group, counselor, or mental health professional you recommend?

Nov 10, 2:52AM EST0

Personally I reccomend the Cleveland Clinic or those connected to them. When I was in the area for mental helath I had wonderful experinces with Firelands. 

As far as support groups due to my age at the time there wasn't any options. So most of my care fell to my family then later to my now husband. 

Nov 10, 4:12AM EST0

What do you do in your spare time?

Nov 10, 2:40AM EST0

Spare time? is there such a thing? Joke. I raise chickens as pets, play video games, do digital art. And once in while I try to paint, but that is only if I'm feeling adventeriouse and if I can find the grips that I need to add to the brushes.

Nov 10, 4:15AM EST0

What is your favorite book?

Nov 10, 12:32AM EST0

The Black Jewles by Anne Bishop is my top favorite followed by The misted Cliff serires by Catherin Asaro, The Selection Serires by Kiera Kass and the Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Nov 10, 4:18AM EST0

What do you think of the trend in digital media nowadays?

Nov 9, 7:46PM EST0

Personally I find nothing better then curling up with a good boook, but I can't seem to get comfortable with a tablet or e-reader. I don't get it. But hay each there own. I don't have to understand it or even partake in it. I can choose to buy my papper backs or Hard covers when avaible.  However that is me as a reader. Me as an author can understand it since it is more of a price point and storage solution.  Or at least from my point of view.

Nov 10, 4:23AM EST0

Do you have a Facebook page I could like?

Nov 9, 5:24PM EST0


Nov 9, 5:27PM EST0

What major lifestyle changes did you have to make?

Nov 9, 5:09PM EST0

My entire life turned upside down post stroke. I went from working 40 hours a week to not working at all. When I spoke no one could understand me. My books that gave me joy ; I could barely reconize the words.  On top of that I had had an autistic daughter who was acting out more because she didn't understand mommy was sick or understood how to tell some one what she feeling. 

Then you throw in a divorce.  Needless to say 2011 was not a good year.

Now I could have given up but it's not in me. So it took a little over a year to regain the understanding of the alphabet. I had to relearn to write, hold a pencil, walk, hold a spoon.  

In 2013 on my wedding day it was the first time I walked without a cane. 

Nov 9, 5:20PM EST0

How do you know if your writing is good enough or appealing enough to outside audiences?

Nov 9, 3:34PM EST0

I'm lucy to have family members that are very picky when it comes to what they read. If they enjoy it i know I'm on to something ti may need tweeked a bit. But it is a start.

Nov 9, 4:18PM EST0

Who is your favorite author?

Nov 9, 1:29PM EST0

Anne Bishop

Nov 9, 3:17PM EST0

Do you feel like your characters are your friends or are they more like extensions of yourself?

Nov 9, 1:22PM EST0

It depends of the charcter one or two are morphing into exstinons of mymelf. Others have become dear friends and then there are few that I want so badly to kill off. 

Nov 9, 3:18PM EST0