Teaching was just one of several jobs that Melissa has held over her adult life. Additionally, she did occasional freelance writing, was an English instructor on a UNO television program, The Knowledge Network, and had renters in her house, all before deciding to enter the corporate field (Conroy). Wanting a little more stability, Melissa worked for Scola, an education company, for a year and a half (Conroy). It was during this time that Melissa developed the ideas for the Aether Saga, her first series of steampunk novels. About this period in her life, Melissa says, “I was not very happy at my job, so I finally made the decision I was going to quit and just stay at home and write for as long as I could survive financially” (Conroy). She did some fundraising and used her credit cards to live while writing the draft of what would be her two novels.
After about six months, she went to work as a medical helicopter dispatcher. The main character in her series is an airship captain, so Melissa chose this job as a way to learn more about the aviation industry (Conroy). She has been doing that for about three years now, but she still has grand plans for the future; Melissa intends to start her own publishing company. All of these different jobs have influenced Melissa as a person or a writer in some way. Whether she was formulating plots or researching flight aviation, for Melissa, a job is not just a job; it is a stepping-stone for the next phase in life.
Traveling to other countries enables a writer to experience first-hand other cultures and beliefs. These experiences affect not just their work, but their life as well. Melissa has explored ten other countries thus far: England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Morocco, Spain, Gibraltar, Mexico, Honduras, and Canada. Some of those locations have been the site of mission trips, while others were recreational visits. She says, “My parents, my family and I went to Mexico three times in one year on some mission trips. I went to Honduras right after the Hurricane of ’98 hit and we did some restoration/missionary work down there” (Conroy). She also went to England, Scotland, Belgium, and France on a six-week long mission’s tour doing different undertakings (Conroy).