Melanie Ray – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My most recent book is book 1 of The Great Destruction Series. It’s titled In The Beginning and begins in a fairly friendly way. The reader is introduced to romance and drama, while getting to know the characters. However, some threats are placed here and there to make the reader aware that there is a much bigger problem underneath the surface. By the end of the book, the plot will radically change and the happiness and joy will lead to an adventure with tragedy straight ahead. You may think of Book 1 as before Alice jumped in the mirror in Alice in Wonderland. It is only the tip of a very huge iceberg the reader will experience.

Tell us something about yourself.

I am originally from Kansas, but I moved to Texas a few years back. I tried to become a teacher and a web designer, but my dreams changed when I met my husband. Instead, I now write and raise my toddler with her two Labradors.

What inspired you to write this book?

At first, I was only going to write a cute book, but during this time, tragedy fell upon my family. I found that using my originally cute story and turning it into something more, something meaningful, could help me deal with my own pain. By the time I dealt with my grief and accepted it I had an outline for the last book to my series.

How did you publish this book?

I published this book through createspace. At first, I was thinking about traditional publishing but I saw how hard it could be and that my books probably would not be out for years. Then, I would still have to promote them to make any kind of dent. I didn’t want to do that though, and I wanted control of my story’s design and choice of editing, as well as how I promoted. So instead, I used a wonderful editor, Mike Valentino, created my own cover, and published my book. After all, I have more books behind this one. I love creating and writing new stories, so this won’t be the last.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I began writing back in 1999 some simple fiction and published it on the net. I held my first reviews in prestige and wrote more. Once I started to see how much people liked my imagination and style, I knew I was ready to become a real author.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

The storyline. Sometimes I write three different versions of my work before I figure out which way I should turn. My imagination and choice between what will happen next can lead me on several journeys, but I can only pick one storyline to follow.

How do you do research for your books?

The only inspiration of research I have for my book is my husband who is a geologist. I wanted to make something in nature be both friend/foe. From the stories he’s told, the information he’s shared, and staring at his vast collection of minerals (Takes up one full room) I came up with the concept of the inhibitor. His love and scientific understanding of Hawkings and Einstein also caused inspiration for the future books in the series.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

Yes I did. I learned how to come to terms with my grief by expressing it through my writing. It has also taught me that I can use my whimsical style of writing and turn it into something more meaningful than just a fantasy story.

What are you reading now?

Right now I am reading Truitt’s Fix by Rex Evan Wood.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I love to read some traditionally published works by A. Lee Martinez, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Otherwise I usually read unpublished works within Authonomy and Slushpile now. My favorite Author is Shakespeare’s Talking Head (his online identity) and Jessica L. Degarmo. Mrs. Degarmo wrote a chicklit story called How To Meet A Guy At the Food Lion that touched my heart and her work should soon be published. Shakespeare’s Talking Head wrote a horror/comedy that I have never seen the concept before anywhere called Dropcloth Angles. I finished his entire story (over 95,000 words) in about a week.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am working on two books right now. Book 2 to The Great Destruction Series. This story starts around eighty years later after the events of Book 1 but I can’t say much more than that without ruining the ending of book 1. I am also working on another book called Lost Secret. It’s about an all children town, a common hero, and a woman who brings troubles similar to the mafia into the small innocent town. Within the story, the hero has to learn to grow up and the woman has to learn to grown ‘down’.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Write it. Don’t think about the editing at first, simple write the whole entire novel out. Afterwards, edit, review, edit, review. Make sure you get your work out there for others to read as well. Even if you can’t present the whole thing to the public, you may find writing sites such as Slush Pile Reader that will give you good ideas how your story is developing. Scribophile is a very important outlet too, but this is not for review. To help learn your grammar skills and the flow of your novel, you will get in-depth critique that will leave you thick-skinned.

Above all, setting money aside for professional editing is very important. Look around hard enough and you will find a decent one at a decent price. Professional editors are skilled and can find the smallest detail that was wrong that any other person could go over 100 times and never see. Leave this for the last step of the writing though, as you’ll want to fix all your changes before paying for edits.

As for publishing, I cannot give much. I chose createspace because I wanted to have control over everything. My other friend, Jessica L. Degarmo, went the traditional route and she is now receiving a contract for her writing. Publishing choices is up to the writer.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I have started a site at Read It In 7 Days lets the reader read my entire novel and work in progresses when they sign up for seven days. If they like it after that, they can pay a five dollar membership fee and continue viewing my work. I also have a more popular side where I choose a free book, self published or unpublished work and Read it For 7 Days to see if I like it. I am also trying to start a Slow Readers Club on it as well, to help out people who want to read and talk about books, but don’t have time to anymore.

Last but not least, I have my Mommy Blog section, making it easier for people to learn all about me. When my book comes out shortly (By the time of this interview it should be out to buy via Amazon and my online store) readers will be able to pick up the physical book as well.