We had the good fortune of connecting with Mel Gill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mel, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The idea for The Steam Box stemmed from my passion for reading (romance being my favorite genre) and constant conversation within the book community about women being uncomfortable discussing their sexuality or even speaking about the steamy scenes in books.
As I dived into romance I realized I had to go out of my way to seek out romance authors that are women of color. I realized I had to look a little harder than what’s displayed at Barnes & Noble to find women who liked like me or my friends and family. I also wanted to read about love stories that reflect the world, and there’s more than just hetero romance. I decided then that I wanted to. uplift these stories and that’s a big part of my box.
I am a Navy veteran and now a military spouse, and a lot of my passion is also driven through that. While you’re out to sea, there’s nothing better than getting lost in a book to forget for a minute that you’re confined to a ship. As a military spouse whose husband was deployed during all of 2020, I found that romance novels are a fabulous distraction.
Through The Steam Box, I want to change the world. I want to destroy the patriarchy and notion that women aren’t allowed to talk about pleasure, or that our pleasure is less important than that of men. I grew up in a Latinx household that didn’t talk about sex, or pleasure. I found that I am not the only one, and that we should not be ashamed of wanting to embrace our sexuality.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think one of the things I am most proud about is my service in the Navy and that has truly set me up to be where I am today. I still have a long way to be where I want to be with Steamy Lit but without the structure the Navy gave me at a young age I wouldn’t have pursued the career I have today. Steamy Lit is my company but during the day I work in intercollegiate athletics and I love it. My passion has always been college sports and I love being part of that team. After the Navy I finished my bachelors degree from the University of Florida in Sports Management. It has not been an easy journey at all, working full time, while also pursuing something I am so passionate about like Steamy Lit is hard. I have to be able to give both passions 100%. Managing my time and setting boundaries has been super important for me to be able to balance out both careers.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to the Great Maple to have breakfast before we head to La Jolla cove cause those views are amazing. I would follow that up by laying out on the beach. I personally love Mission Beach, but WindandSea is beautiful as well just watch out for the seagulls cause they took a burrito out of my mouth last time I was there LOL. If we went to mission I think I would love to stop by Azucar in OB to grab some cuban pastelitos and some cuban sandwiches to take to the beach with us. After laying out on the beach all day, I would take them to The Latin Chef at liberty station to grab dinner at one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants in town!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh wow, okay well for starters The Bad Bitch Book Club, specifically Mackenzie Newcomb and Lily Herman who reignited my love for romance and have been championing me the whole way. My friend, Sasha Nunes owner of Bark Organix, who encourage me to pursue this passion and business venture. My husband, KJ, who came home from deployment to a lot of vibrators and book and listens to all my ideas and supports me every step of the way. In his eyes, there’s nothing that I can’t do. My mom, who uprooted her live in Peru and moved us to the USA to give us opportunities like this one. Her hard work and perseverance has been instilled in me and I owe it all to her. The book community that has embraced me, specifically my bookstagram family. They have lifted my voice and my vision and this would not be possible without their endless support, Finally to the authors who made me fall in love with romance; Kennedy Ryan and Alexa Martin. Your books and writing give me life and your voices are part of my WHY.
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