Hello Melanie and welcome to Coffee Time Romance & More’s Interview Session. It is my absolute pleasure to be here to ask you a few questions and we hope you enjoy our unique forum. We are delighted to take this opportunity of allowing your readers an insight into you and your work.
First of all, a few direct questions about Quest for Justice. Which of your male characters did you find the hardest to write about and why?
I had a hard time writing the main villain, Salvador Salazar, because he was such an evil, evil man. He made my stomach turn.
Lol…I’m sure your readers will appreciate your sentiment. What do you think the level of sensuality/heat is?
The heat level is intense.
If you could sit down with any of your characters for lunch, which would it be and why?
I'd love to sit down with C.J. Bowman and get his take on living in witness protection. Or anything, really. He's a troubled, handsome detective who finds healing in Abby's arms. I fell in love with him just a little bit while I was writing this book.
Gotta love a complicated hero. How long did it take you to write Quest for Justice?
Longer than it should have. Probably about four months. I needed to write it in two, but had story trouble I had to work out. Then one day, I had a revelation and was able to push through to THE END. I was so relieved. The characters had finally started talking to me again.
What makes your characters so vulnerable yet strong? Can you describe them to us?
I try to give them a strong "rootability factor" from the beginning. They're all flawed, troubled people, just regular folks, who come up against great odds and come out on top.
Nice…and crucial to create characters people can relate to.
Now a few questions about Melanie Atkins: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I write by the seat of my pants... after I develop my characters. Sometimes, it's a real challenge.
Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?
I actually have the TV on with the sound down, complete with eye candy from one of my favorite crime shows, and my earphones in, so I can listen to the music I've downloaded on my iPhone A mixture of all sorts of stuff, from Adele to Bon Jovi to Train. An eclectic mix that helps me to focus on the words.
Do your characters live with you when writing? Have you ever had them take over for awhile when writing?
Yes to both questions! I become very involved with my characters. They talk to me at odd times, too... such as when I'm in the shower, about to go to sleep, or in church, and I have to adjust so I can make notes. I've learned not to ignore them, no matter where I am, b/c as soon as the thought hits me, it's gone. So I have to get it down somehow, whether I jot it on a napkin or make a voice note in my phone. Whatever works at the time.
Love that! What inspires you with writing, in life to make you happy?
People, in general, and friends, to be specific. Hearing or reading other people's stories, learning what makes them tick. It fascinates me. I've always thought I was an introvert, and I guess I am to some extent, but the older I get, the more I love being around others. That always makes me smile.
Do you ever find yourself dragging your family and friends into your stories? And, if so, do they recognize themselves?
Sometimes, but usually my stories come from ideas I get from reading news stories or even a bit of fiction on TV. Things that make me think. I don't ever directly use anyone I know in my books... although I do threaten that I'll do it if they do something stupid. Tee hee!
LOL…that’s a good way to keep them in check. What song would best describe you/your life?
Beauty in the World by Macy Gray. The world is filled with beauty, with so many amazing things... with so many fascinating stories. Love this song.
Finally…Rumors are circling around your Romantic Suspense novel, Flash Bang, as having some newsworthy flash of its own. Something indeed Epic… (pardon the pun) Can you tell us about that?
Yes! Flash Bang is an Epic Award finalist. I'm so excited. Winners will be announced at Epicon in San Antonio in March. Wish I could be there, but this year, unfortunately, it's not in the cards.
How absolutely exciting and congratulations! You’ve achieved more than what some can only dream of.
Thank you so much for being here Melanie. I know how busy you are and no wonder! Look at all you’ve achieved. This has been fun and I truly hope to see you back here to give us updates on your fascinating journey. Thank you also for the adventure you give readers through your characters and their intriguing lives developed between the pages you write.