Friday, July 28, 2006
Presenting...Interview with Melanie Wells
Please see the archives for reviews of both books.
I have a penchant for suspense, especially the supernatural. So naturally my reading would take me to Melanie Wells' work. Not only is she a fantastic writer, she's insightful and humorous, too. She will also return your e-mails, which is an added plus. :) I just had to interview her, so here it is...(I didn't even have to mow her lawn in return. What a peach.)
1. What is your writing story? How did you start your journey as a novelist?
Like all writers, I started out as a reader. I can remember sitting up by myself at 2 a.m. reading my Dr. Seuss books when I was 4 years old (like most writers, I am also an insomniac). I also had the entire collection of Grimm’s and Anderson’s fairy tales, which I read obsessively. This could be, by the way, why I write such dark stories. Those fairy tales are some tough mojo – people are always getting cursed or transformed into swans or left to die alone in the woods. I tried writing stories when I was a kid, but they were terrible and depressing, since all my characters were orphans (fairy tale influence). I didn’t make a serious attempt at writing until about ten years ago. I was living in Steamboat Springs, CO, and it snowed 15 FEET in one month. There was nothing else to do, so I started writing a novel. And that was the beginning of the end.
2. You have two books out now, published by Multnomah - When the Day of Evil Comes, and its sequel, The Soul Hunter. I've seen others compare your "spiritual warfare" elements to that of Peretti and Alcorn. Would you say their statements are accurate? Why or why not?
I would say the comparisons are accurate only in a very general sense. My books are very different in tone from theirs – I make a point to keep mine quirky and funny, whereas their books feel more serious and dramatic to me. And I think our theology of angels and demons differs as well. I wouldn’t mind our book sales being comparable, though! If as many people like my books as like theirs, I’ll be in the Caribbean by now.
3. Tell us a bit about the idea behind your Day of Evil series.
The idea behind the series came from a dream I had at my best friend Trish Murphy’s house. She’s a singer/songwriter in Austin, TX. I was there for a writer’s week – we write all day and then fry chicken or make tuna casserole at night – and had a dream about a creepy white guy with a slash on his back. There was a ring and a necklace also and the whole thing was set at Barton Springs in Austin. I wrote the first chapter of When the Day of Evil Comes the next day and we spent the rest of the afternoon at Barton Springs talking about the creepy demon dude. We named him Peter Terry after two ex-boyfriends we don’t like (if you date a writer, you’ll pay the price if you ain’t nice).
4. In what direction do you think the CBA should be going in regards to the fiction it publishes? What is your hope?
I’m not sure how to comment on this because I’m not a huge fan of the concept of “Christian” fiction in the first place. I don’t like to use Christian as an adjective. I think it’s off-putting. I’d like the CBA to produce challenging, literate, interesting fiction, just like the rest of the world should aspire to do. Why should we be any different?
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The solitude. Hate it.
6. Is there any ritual you go through before you sit down to write?
Other than re-folding my socks, sorting my coins into piles by date and type and generating lame reasons to send e-mails and generally avoiding writing entirely? Um, no.
7. You have a great sense of humor. Do you want people who have read your books to come away laughing, thinking, constantly looking behind them, or all three? (I ask because I did all three.)
If you’re not doing all three, I’ve blown a tire and need to change something. Definitely all three. In equal measure.
8. I noticed that in the picture of you on your website, a coffee mug sat closeby. Is coffee your secret vice?
I’m a tea person. Besides, if it were a secret, I couldn’t possibly tell you, could I?
9. When will your third book be released? Give us a teaser.
The third book, which I’ve tentatively titled Suffer the Little Children, is due out in October of ’07. It will feature the little girl, Christine Zocci, from the first two books, and also the little boy Nicholas Chavez from The Soul Hunter. Dylan will be back, of course, as will Peter Terry. And I think I’ve actually figured out how to tie up all the loose ends (the wedding ring, the necklace, Peter Terry’s identity – the whole banana), which will be a relief to everyone, especially me.
10. What is your best advice for yet-to-be-published authors?
I made myself a promise when I started writing that I would let anyone who asked read my stuff. And for years, I did that. I learned more about writing from those first terrible drafts (and all the depressing feedback I got) than from anything else I could have done. Let people read your work, then toughen your spine, thicken your skin, and listen to what they have to say about it.
11. Is there anything else you'd like to tell the readers?
Little known (but illuminating) facts about me:
I love office supplies. If someone at the office walks off with one of my pens, we have a kangaroo court and a public hanging in the parking lot.
For some reason, I never have stamps.
When I was little, I wanted to be a product demonstrator when I grew up (demonstrating shampoo, makeup… whatever – as though this is a real job).
My dog, Gunner, weighs 5.7 pounds and is two tons of trouble.
The first concert I ever attended was K.C. and the Sunshine Band (lame).
Thanks so much, Melanie. That's more information than we wanted to know *grins*. I've listed the links for your sites below. Everybody, go check her out!