What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk, exactly. When I’m writing, I can picture my story unfold as if I’m watching a film on a screen. I can imagine exactly how each character looks and sounds, down to the minute detail. In fact, when I was writing Love Snaggs, I could easily picture my story as an animated movie.
What do you think are the elements of a good story?
Of course, the plot has to be good; it has to draw me in. But for a story to be exquisite, you have to give your readers an immersive experience, not only with the plot but also with the characters. The characters have to be robust & realistic in such a way that the reader can truly empathize with them and make an emotional connection. And last, but certainly not least, the ending should leave the reader hungering for more.
You’re invited to a dinner party. Are you:
- The center of attention
- Off in a corner talking to one or two people
- Standing by the door waiting for a chance to leave
- At home reading or writing your latest work
- Why did you pick the response that you chose?
This question made me laugh a little. In the old days, I would have been close to the center of attention at any kind of party. Nowadays, you’d catch me off in a corner taking to one or two people. I guess life shapes us in different ways, and for me I’ve become more introspective and thoughtful, and a bit less of the social butterfly I was in days past.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I had to really think about this one. It was probably A Tale of Two Cities. I remember reading it when I was in high school. It was when Sydney Carton switched places with Charles Darnay, knowing he’d be executed at the guillotine.
What comes first in your writing, the plot or the characters?
Honestly, the more I thought about this question, the more I ended up in a circular argument with myself. When I write, I am not structured at all. I prefer a free-flowing approach, and I usually develop both the plot and the characters as I go along. Although, I do have a “library” of characters that I’ve conjured up and put on ice for the time being!
Describe your writing space.
I’m not too picky, and I can write practically anywhere, but I usually prefer to write late at night when it’s quiet and free of distractions. A long time ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I got in the habit of carrying a journal with me wherever I went. I spent a lot of time in hospitals, and there was a lot of waiting. Writing in those journals was the outlet that helped to keep me grounded and calmed my fears during that difficult time. In fact, I wrote a whole book about my experience with cancer. I never published it though. It turns out it was much too personal a story to share with the world.
What tools do you use to write?
Besides my plethora of journals and colored pens, I predominantly use my iPad to write. I found a great and inexpensive app called TextilusPro. I like it because it’s the closest thing to Microsoft Word that I’ve found, and it’s easy to use and has some useful features. And of course, every writer needs a thesaurus.
Also, it’s not exactly a tool in the traditional sense, but you have to have some inspiration too! Personally, I sometimes feel bogged down by technology. It helps to find some time each day to unplug and get outdoors where it’s quiet so I can clear my head. Just being outside and connecting with nature really jolts my creativity.
If you could interview a famous author, who would it be and what three questions would you ask him or her?
Without a doubt, I would love to sit down and chat with Dean Koontz. Of all of my favorite authors, I’ve probably read him the most. Naturally, I would want to know how he keeps coming up with ideas for new stories, especially because his ideas are so wild and out there! But I’d also want to know more about him as a regular person. What’s his favorite meal? What makes him laugh? What kind of music does he like? Does he have any phobias?
What common traps do aspiring writers fall into?
I think the biggest trap aspiring writers fall into is believing “I can’t.” We spend so much time doubting ourselves and spinning our wheels about what we can’t do instead of just doing it. Sometimes our biggest obstacle is ourselves. We could all use a little Jedi training in that regard, right? Just ask yourself… what would Yoda do?
That being said, it’s also important to seek out feedback on our work. Accepting constructive criticism is an integral part of growing as a writer. It can be intimidating to ask for honest feedback, but it’s worth it!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family and my dog Wesley. I love to knit, crochet and play music on my ukulele & guitar. And I’m Italian, so I love to cook, and I’m one heck of a home baker too, if I do say so myself! I live in the beautiful State of Florida, and when the weather is nice, you’ll find me somewhere along Route A1A with the rag top down, headed to one of our lovely beaches.
I also really enjoy traveling, especially by sea. I’ve been to some amazing places. Last year I had the unique opportunity to visit Antarctica. It was breathtakingly beautiful and so inspiring. For me, it’s important to spend time in nature like that. And of course, hanging out with the penguins was just epic!!
I’m Melanie, and I’m the author of Love Snaggs. I’ve always loved to write. If fact, writing
helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life, including battling breast cancer.
I’m happy to say that I’m a 10-year Survivor. I grew up in North Providence, RI, but I’ve called Central Florida my home for over 20 years. What else about me? I’m a huge New England Patriots fan, my favorite place is at the beach, I learned some of my best life lessons from Yoda, and I make a wicked awesome pie. Live a life of gratitude.
Love Snaggs is my first book. I’m proud to say that it has a 5-Star rating on Amazon! I hope that it brings as much joy into your heart as Snaggs brought into mine.
Find Melanie’s Book:
Amazon Book Listing: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1612969259
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