Today marks a first for my blog. I’m not posting about my own books, or any of the ins-and-outs of indie publishing. Instead, I’m interviewing another indie author who was recently kind enough to tell all her own blog followers about my novel, REICHOLD STREET.
I think this is a wonderful opportunity to return the favor. So let me introduce M.S. Fowle, known to her friends as Mel, who has already written five books of fantasy.
Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Mel.
It’s such a pleasure, Ron! Thank you so much for having me! If there’s one thing I love about being an author, it’s meeting all these amazing people.
Even though we all have our own projects we’re working so hard on, we always find the time to help one another. Whether it’s offering advice in a short article on our blogs or hosting an author interview, it’s really a wonderful community of genuine people from various walks of life, all sharing a love of words.
We’d all like to know – where do your ideas come from?
For me, it’s usually some really strange dream I had. It’s probably only one little scene out of the whole story, but then that snowballs into this enormous thing. I’ve always had really weird dreams.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I always start with a basic outline, but I hardly ever write that out to the end of the story. Once I start really writing it, then I just see where it takes me.
When do you do most of your writing?
At this point, it’s whenever I can. But usually, it’s at night, after everyone else is asleep. I used to be such a night owl, but not so much these days.
Who (or what) inspires your writing?
People-watching is a great way to inspire characters and their back story. Or a minor character from a book I’ve read or a film I’ve watched. Then, I mold and shape them into what I want, adding or taking things away here and there. But it always seems to be the second my head hits my pillow at night when my brain starts to really work.
Do you have any funny or peculiar writing habits?
I’m not sure you’d call them “funny or peculiar” but I always start my stories in my notebook, usually as vague bits and pieces of the story lurking in my head. Then, I don’t do anything with it for a while, sometimes for months.
I sort of let it “ferment” in there, working out various details. And when I end up with writer’s block once I start the full-on writing process, I work on digital art inspired by my story. That usually motivates me.
What’s your favorite quote?
A quote that puts a smile on my face would be from Mark Twain: “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”
But as far as inspiration and strength go, I believe Maya Angelou put it best: “I got my own back.” It’s a beautiful thing to have the love and support of others, but it can’t be the only thing holding us up. We need to be accountable for ourselves. Depending solely on others will only lead to our own downfall. I need to be able to stand on my own two feet.
If you could change something about yourself, what do you think it would it be?
Personality wise, I wish I could turn off my brain. I over-think the most mundane things, stuff no one can change at this point. I could turn-in for the night completely exhausted and still spend hours awake in bed just thinking. But in terms of writing, I wish I had flawless editing skills so I could save myself a lot of hassle.
What do you like to read in your free time?
In the off chance I actually get free time to read, I love just about any science fiction or fantasy. I love being swept away to some other world, either futuristic or magical or both.
It’s the ultimate escape for me. But even with that kind of favoritism, my favorite book of all time is “The Color Purple.” I can’t even count how many times I’ve read it and it still makes me ball my eyes out every single time.
What are your plans for future projects?
I have an urban fantasy series that I’m right in love with. I want nothing more than for that to be successful. I think it means so much to me because I based the main character on my lovely niece. I’m still debating whether to try and get it traditionally published or take the indie route, but I’ll need an editor either way. I just want readers to love it as much as I do.
What do you find to be the hardest thing about writing?
That’s easy – finishing my story! I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’ve slammed face-first into a brick wall when it comes to bringing my books to an end.
Maybe I don’t want to say goodbye. Or maybe I’m just so worried about doing it “right” that I over-think it and get stuck. I can’t even count how many unfinished books I have still waiting for me to figure everything out.
OK – So what’s the easiest thing?
The opposite of the hardest thing, actually: starting my story. I love writing out that first chapter to get things rolling.
I know you design your own covers, and will do that for others. How do they contact you?
There are plenty of ways to find me! They can go directly through the website Melchelle Designs where they’ll find a contact form on almost every page.
Or they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about their needs. We’ve got plenty of premade covers to choose from, and I occasionally do custom artwork as well. One of the greatest compliments I get from authors is how easy I am to work with. I think it helps that I’m an author too, so I know what it’s like from their end of things.
And I love creating visual art just as much as we all love to write. That’s key – loving what you do.
Do you think the book cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely! And still, I wish it didn’t. There are plenty of amazing books out there that are ignored or take longer to get off the ground just because their cover art is “boring” or “hard to look at.”
That was one of the reasons why I started making and selling book covers. Every author deserves to have the right artwork to complement their hard work. They put their heart and soul into writing their stories – it’s only right that their book look its best when they send it out into the great, big world.
Reviews for your book “The First Night” have been very positive. Most readers absolutely loved it, but I noticed one reader panned it. What’s your reaction to negative reviews?
I think my initial reaction is the same as anyone else’s: dread. But every author needs to remember that every book has bad reviews, even the best-sellers and classics.
The main thing is to make it a learning experience. Maybe that negative review points out some faults you could actually fix. Or maybe the reviewer is just trolling and trying to get a rise out of you. Don’t let it! Learn what you can from it and move on. Negativity just comes with the territory, no matter what profession you’re in.
Mel, thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to take part in this interview!
Thank you so much for having me, Ron!
Good luck and have a Happy Holiday!
CONNECT WITH MEL ONLINE
Author Site: http://msfowle.wordpress.com/
Book Cover Site: http://melchelledesigns.com/
Facebook (msfowle): https://www.facebook.com/msfowle
Facebook (melchelledesigns): https://www.facebook.com/MelchelleDesigns Twitter (msfowle): https://twitter.com/ms_fowle
Twitter (melchelledesign) https://twitter.com/MelchelleDesign Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5804837.M_S_Fowle Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/m-s-fowle/58/140/36
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007MOAU0W Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/msfowle
BOOK LINKS – The First Night (Book One)