Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Melanie Jayne. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.
Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Wow, let’s jump right into making me sound like a crazy woman. I’m in the process of writing my twelfth book and I’ve finally figured out a few things about my process.
I am a slow starter. Although I’m a Planner and I have a very extensive outline, the first third of the book is a grind. I wonder if this story is the worst ever, if I should stop, maybe I should look at the job postings in my area? And then, I find my rhythm and I zoom. I can’t wait to turn on my laptop and continue the story. I talk about it constantly; people think the characters are real people. How my poor husband’s head has not exploded is really a mystery because I am difficult during the beginning and annoying until the end.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
I write using a pseudonym. It’s a combination of my best friend since college- Melanie, who is brilliant, generous, and truly a lovely person. Jayne is my mother’s middle name and the author, Jayne Rylon was instrumental in pushing me to publish my first book.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
I’m a Leo so I don’t think that I can answer this question. What? I really need to. Oh, okay….
In today’s world I would say that a healthy ego is helpful. I published after I turned fifty so I had life experiences and I knew myself and I had time to create Melanie Jayne the author. I watched author friends go through so much pain over a bad review or a snub. I entered this game with my eyes wide open.
I try to stay true to myself. I try to think before I post on social media. If something makes me angry or hurt, I usually take some time before I respond. But reviews, cruel comments, and being ignored still sting, I’m not going to lie. I try to focus on the positive and hang onto the belief that good things happen to good people.
And since I am amazing, they will happen to me.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I’m an extrovert which is uncommon for a writer. I LOVE going to conferences. I am social and can’t wait to meet people. I met my closest advisors at conferences because I’m comfortable talking to strangers. I think I sell books at signings to people that have never heard of me because I’m friendly and I can chat.
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
I had my first “I feel like a success” moment this past June. I was at a conference and two strangers were reading my book, Best and they kept seeking me out to discuss the story. They were reading the book on their phones while waiting in line to eat! For me—that was amazing.
I write Contemporary Romance featuring characters over the age of 35, so that is a niche. I write what I love, but currently that market is small. I feel like I’ve accomplished something major because I can do what I love.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
My research in general is limited. I keep a file of people that know things. I have an EMT for medical questions, a Marine, an attorney, a teacher, my assistant is in law enforcement.
I try to keep things general, because by nature, I am someone that gets caught up in learning new things. I would never get to the writing part because there would always be one more book or paper to read.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
I don’t really like my given name so when I pick character names, I have fun. I like odd names, dramatic names. My editor has a rule that unless they are closely related, the main characters and active secondary characters cannot have first names that start with the same letter. That rule sounds simple but I always end up looking at my book of baby names because I have to make a change.
My Change Series has many “L” names and I just found another I love, but I’m wondering if that will be too many. I’m arguing with myself because Lyric is so feminine and her character has a gentle soul, it would be perfect.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
The opening. I swear my muscles just tensed as I thought about the question. The general rule is you must hook a reader within the first three chapters, which makes the opening SO important. The need to set the tone, the location, give insight into the characters…that’s a lot of pressure.
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Songwriter, Guitarist. My question- Are you really human? Read about his life and escapades.
Adele, Singer, Songwriter. So talented and so young. My Question- What is your writing process? And what is your skincare regimen? Her complexion is amazing.
Harvey Levin, Creator of TMZ. If I were 30 years younger, he would be my boss. My Question- Are you hiring? He knows many secrets- I’d try to learn a few.
Deb C. She is my friend and is a creative force behind many authors. She can tell a story or recount a moment with such flair. I would sit back and listen to her talk. It’s always entertaining and educational.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
Recently, I was chosen (do you hear trumpets?) to run a BookBub ad. That brought traffic and there were purchases which I was very happy to see. It was expensive, but there was a return. Plus, my next choice is too.
In Person at Conferences- I sell my books very well when I can interact with readers.
People starting over, Doing it Better, Getting it Right.
Connect with Melanie: