Would you like to start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a fully recovered banker and stay-at-home mom turned writer. I have the best family on earth. They love take-out and don’t mind tumbleweeds of dog fur floating on the hardwood, which is good because I’m a disinterested cook and a reluctant housekeeper. Though writing is currently occupying most of my time, I also practice martial arts and hold a 2nd degree black belt in kenpo karate. Pajamas are my favorite item of clothing. Anyone who has read She Can Run can tell I’m a dog person. For those who haven’t, Henry the police dog reject is one of my favorite characters.
During your writing career have you done anything embarrassing in the pursuit in getting published?
There are times I wish I were more of a wild-antics kind of a person rather than a nose-to-the-grindstone writer. This is one of them. The truth of the matter is I got published by rewriting She Can Run until it was good enough (5 rewrites over 4 years) to get an agent through an old-fashioned query. I took workshops, hooked up with critique partners, listened to criticism, and submitted crazily after each new rewrite.
What is one thing about you that your readers would find surprising or never guess about you?
As a child, I was painfully shy and quiet. Obviously to all who know me, I grew out of it. <grin>
Can you tell us about your current work in progress, perhaps you could share a favorite fact or piece of fascinating information it?
I’m currently writing a loose sequel to SHE CAN RUN, titled SHE CAN TELL, a story about a feisty horse trainer, her violent stalker, a 25 year old disappearance, and the police chief who is trying to tie it all together. I’m having great fun developing the romance in this book because of the polar opposite personalities of my characters.
Also, Rayna and I are working on the sequel to Amazon Heat. Mari’s story will be great fun.
You write both humans and paranormal characters. Do you have a preference? Does one develop more easily than the other?
The reason I like to write in both genres is the very different natures of the characters and stories. Switching between the dark, gritty realism of my romantic suspense and the lighter fantasy elements of the paranormal keeps writing interesting and fresh. I think the worst thing that could happen is that I become too comfortable. To me, that means I’m not challenging myself and that I need to change things up. That said, writing the first paranormal was intimidating, and I was glad to have the creative voice of my partner, Rayna, in my head.
If you were to write yourself into one of your books or series which would it be, what role would you pick and why?
I put myself into the place of every character I write. I particularly love my flawed characters, the ones who aren’t always so well-behaved, like Rachel, the heroine of my current work-in-process. Rachel is impulsive. She tends to blurt out whatever is on her mind. Many times she regrets this, but how many people out there always think of the perfect come-back twenty minutes too late? This never happens to my characters because I can go back into the scene and write that come-back in when I think of it. Rachel has a few doozies. In my horse-crazed teen years, my life’s goal was to be a member of the US Equestrian Team. That didn’t quite work out the way that I’d planned <cough> years ago. But Rachel? She made it.
Of the greatest attractions of writing and reading is the ability to immerse yourself into another world or life, to experience things that aren’t possible (or even desirable) in real life. The concept of being a CIA agent or spy is exciting. The reality is likely very dangerous and not so romantic. Characters get to have hot monkey sex in interesting places, like the beach (where we all know the idea of sex is great, but the reality is fraught with issues like fleas, beach patrol, and sand in uncomfortable places.) Characters shoot guns and wrestle bad guys. Characters can do anything that I, the Supreme Being of my own fantasy world, wish them to do. See how much of a rush this writing this can be?
What have you read and loved recently?
I just finished Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, which is a hilarious memoir by Tim Anderson. I also recently re-read Naked in Death, the first of JD Robb’s In Death books and one of my all-time favorite reads. A smokin’ romance!
How do you spend your down time between edits, deadlines, writing and creating new and fascinating books? Do have a favorite pastime or hobby to fill you spare time with?
Spare time? Between writing, promotion, and administrative tasks, there is very little of that for most writers. Most of my spare moments are spent with my family. (Not nearly enough are spent on household chores.) But I do try to allocate time for martial arts, trips to the gym, and reading, of course. I love reading books as much as writing them.
How did you celebrate the publishing of your first book?
I’d like to say there was a wild party thrown in my honor, complete with celebrities, limousines, and the Paparazzi, but it was a school night. So we kept the event low-key. Seriously though, for Christmas my husband and kids had my book cover blown up to poster-size and framed. It was a lovely demonstration of how proud they are of me, and I was totally overwhelmed.
I love author stalking. Do you have any 2012 convention plans? Where can fans stalk you?
So far, I have two conferences scheduled for 2012:
Liberty States Fiction Writers on March 17
515 Route 1 South & Gill Lane
Iselin, New Jersey 08830
Exciting news! This conference has a readers’ track AND a book signing (5:30 to 7:00 PM)
July 25 - 28, 2012
July 25 - 28, 2012
2012 "Readers for Life" Literacy book signing, Wednesday, July 25, 2012, from 5–8 PM
Additional events will be posted on my website (melindaleighauthor.com) as they are booked.
Melinda has offered two autographed paperback copies of She Can Run. The pic works as a linky to goodreads.com if you are looking for more information on the book. Giveaway is open to US residents. Just comment below with email address. I will announce the winner on Sunday February 12, 2012.