We have an exclusive interview with author and poet Mandy Melanson, who took home 3rd place in our Midsummer Mischmasch contest. Her take on Shakespeare was phenomenal! Enjoy her interview and see why we love her so much.
Mandy is a single, stay-at-home mother of 3 home-schooled children. Her love of the written word began when her mother would read her bedtime stories. This love of fictional worlds has traveled with her throughout her life. She has been a writer since the age of 7 years old when she wrote her first short story “Jane the Tiger.” It was written on construction paper in crayon, but that was the moment she knew what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. Currently, she is studying English and aspires to become a state certified teacher who can ignite a fire in others for creative writing and language, while inspiring others through the worlds she creates on the page.
She has published her first short story, and her first poetry compilation “The Mind of the Muse” available on Amazon. She is currently working on two full length manuscripts. In the meantime, she posts her flash fiction and poetry on her blog and the Facebook writing groups RhetoricAskew where they are also working on their first group anthology, and Elements of Genre Writing. She loves to connect and share with other like-minded followers of fiction.
CONNECT: Facebook | Blog
- How long have you been writing?
My earliest memory of writing is from when I was 7 years old. I remember busying myself with crayons and multi-colored construction paper while my mom folded clothes. It was there, sitting in my parents laundry basket, that I wrote my first story called “Jane the Tiger” complete with colorful illustrations. But I think my favorite part was the rainbow yarn my mom helped me use to bind the pages together.
- What kind(s) of writing do you do?
Everything. Right now, my focus is on the science fiction project “Mindweaver” which is a collaborative effort with Dave Alexander. I’m also working on a psychological thriller based on my personal experiences surviving domestic violence.
- Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
The science fiction project came about from a conversation. We both, unknown to the other, wrote flashes based on the conversation. I can’t remember who showed their piece first, but when we saw how well they meshed together we knew it was something that deserved to be pursued. The personal connection I have to the subject matter of the psychological thriller pushes me to finish that one. It’s therapeutic in a way.
- What inspires you?
My kids. Every time I get discouraged in what can sometimes seem to be a losing battle in this industry, I look at their little faces and know I have to keep going. I want them to know they can live their dreams, to do that I have to live my dreams.
- Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?
My mom. My earliest memories of books all involve my mom. She read to me throughout her pregnancy and continued throughout my childhood. I remember thinking I wanted to make the kind of story that would bring that same feeling of comfort and happiness to other kids and their parents.
- How do you find or make time to write?
Coffee. I have to write around my kids schedules which are constantly changing because they are at that age where they are going through a lot of changes themselves. I either write ridiculously early in the morning, or stay up late after everyone else is sound asleep. Without coffee I would probably still be working on my first chapter.
- Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
My first draft is all by emotion. I write what I feel. After taking a couple days away from the project, I go back through to give it a rough edit, then ask my trusted critique partners for input before the final revisions.My first draft is all by emotion. I write what I feel. #author #interview Click To Tweet
- How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
My families’ support and determination. I’m an incredibly stubborn person by nature, so I keep pushing forward to reach my dream even when the odds are totally against me.
- What projects are you working on at the moment?
- What process did you go through to get your work published?
I’ve self-published my poetry compilation in a chapbook called “The Mind of the Muse” available on Amazon.
- What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Editing. The first draft is easy. That’s the time when I just let my heart open up on the page. The hard part is editing something that has so much emotion in it, and everything I write is by emotion.
- What do you enjoy most about writing?
The ability to create something out of literally nothing. Giving meaning to an empty space on a blank page. The entire process is a beautiful chaos that I just love.
- What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t true?
That you have to follow the “rules.” Sure, there are some non negotiables in writing, but for the most part it is okay to take risks. You just need to make sure you know why you’re taking them, and that they benefit the story.The first draft is easy. The hard part is editing something that has so much emotion in it.… Click To Tweet
- What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they should?
The subject for my psychological thriller is domestic violence and the impact it has on the psyche. Most who have never been exposed to abuse believe that getting out of the relationship is the end of the torment for the victim. That just isn’t the case, at least not for most. This book shows the battle beyond the escape.
- For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start?
Local domestic violence shelters. Talk to those who have first hand experience, sometimes just having someone listen to them can help rebuild the self-efficacy their abusers sought to undermine.
- What are some ways in which you promote your writing?
Honestly, promoting is my downfall. I really need to spend more time in that area.
- Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love the classics, the Bronte sisters, Dickens, Poe … I love authors who love language.
What impact have they had on your writing?
They’ve probably made my writing too flowery, to be honest. The days of the overly descriptive narrative are long gone, but I still love them and fight to keep my writing from following that same purple path.
- What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
Authenticity. Everything I write is deeply personal and I pour pieces of myself into every word.
- What are you currently reading?
My guilty pleasure, “Wuthering Heights.” I read it at least once a year.
- What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I think the future of writing is moving towards greater support of Indie authors. It seems like people are moving away from the formulaic writing which we saw for years and are looking for the unique, unknown voices.
Thank you for your time and interview. We wish you much success in all you do.