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#AADNOLA Spotlight Interview with Melanie Card
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you MamaKitty for inviting me here today. I’m a coffee, chocolate, and theatre addict who writes YA Fantasy under the supervision of one crazy cat (who still thinks she’s a kitten). I grew up in the smallest city that could satisfy any theatre addict,Stratford,Ontariowith it’s world renowned theatre company… although what came first? The theatre or my love of it? They also have an amazing chocolate company, so that’s probably where I got two of my three vices.
2. Did you dream of writing when you were a little girl or did you dream of other things like being a ballerina (or world domination, like me)?
After the initial desire to be a babysitter when I was in grade 2 (I had the coolest babysitter in the world), my next career dream was to be a writer. Throughout high school and university my dreams were in flux as I explored music and theatre, but I always came back to writing. Eventually I decided to stop fighting it and completely embrace being a writer.
3. Were you always interested in YA/fantasy or did you start out interested in something else?
I’ve always been drawn to fairy tales and myths and fantasy stories. The first stories I wrote were about fairies and dragons and princesses, and while I often added in adventure and mystery if the stories weren’t set in a historical, fantastical world, there were always magical elements to them.
4. Do you prefer Alpha males or do you like the Betas you can push around?
I think it all depends on the story. For me it’s all about the character and everyone of us has elements of alpha and beta in us. What comes out depends on the situation. The hero in my debut novel, Ward Against Death, is essentially a beta, but that doesn’t mean you can push him around. He’s a normal guy thrust into a situation he has no experience with. He’s a scholar and a physician and has no desire to hurt anyone. But when push comes to shove he’ll stand his ground and do whatever it takes to do the right thing even if that puts him in danger.
5. What is the first book that you can remember making an impact on you and why did it make such an impact?
This is a tough one. I read lot a books as a kid and there were so many I loved. I think they made a collective impact on me. I remember a great series on world mythology (three books, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian) that I kept getting out of the library over and over again. I have wonderful memories of sitting in my parent’s backyard in the early summer evening with my mom and my brother readingAlicein Wonderland. And I remember hanging out at the science fiction / fantasy / mystery specialty bookstore, browsing through all the books, trying to figure out which ones I really wanted to buy because I couldn’t afford to get ALL of them.
6. What is your writing process?
My process changes from story to story. Some books just flow and I can’t seem to write fast enough to keep up with the ideas and words. Others are like stop and go traffic, where I write something then realize I need to answer an important question before I can move on and can spend a couple of days trying to figure it out. I often do a partial, point from, plot outline, and usually know the big scenes I want to hit, but sometimes the characters do something or say something that changes the outline and I’ll follow that and change the plot.
7. How do you approach revising?
I revise on a variety of levels and it can take me a while to get a manuscript to a place where I’m happy with it. I start with the big stuff, character, plot, etc and work my way through. I often have a list of things I want to looked at from when I’m writing the first draft. Sometimes I think of something that I want to fix earlier in the book. I make the list so I don’t go back and rewriting during that initial drafting period. Once the big stuff is done, I look at words, structure, pacing, flow, and the little details within each scene. Then, I turn to even smaller technical stuff looking at repetitive words, misused homonyms, etc.
8. What authors inspire you?
I’m always inspired by the writers who juggle all the complications of everyday life (be it day-job, family, etc), and maintain their determination and positive attitudes in the face of what can be an emotionally challenging career.
9. What are your top 5 comfort reads?
This is going to sound strange but I’m not much of a re-reader (I don’t tend to watch movies over again either). There are writers who I know will give me a good read, Deborah Cooke, Maria V. Snyder, Barbara Hambly, and Mercedes Lackey, so when I need a “comfort read” I usually turn to them.
10. Are you part of a group of writers/Do you have 1 trusted reader or CP?
I belong to Romance Writers of America and their Toronto Chapter, as well as I’m a Seton Hill University MA Popular Fiction alumni and they have an excellent online writing community. I also have a handful of writer friends who live nearby who I hangout with on a regular basis to talk shop. As for someone who readers my writing, I have one amazing critique partner (who I met while attending Seton Hill). We clicked early on in the program and have been working together ever since.
11. Do you have a day job? If so, do you see yourself being able to (or even wanting to) leave it any time in the future to pursue writing full time?
I’m extremely fortunate to not have a day job at the moment and have been pursing my writing full time. I couldn’t have done this without the understanding and unconditional support of my husband.
12. What is your goal as a writer?
To tell stories and help others have that same joy and excitement I feel when I’m immersed in a great tale.
13. What do you *love* most about writing?
The characters. There are always moments when I’m drafting a story when the character stand up and do or say something that surprises me and changes things about the book. I know, the words are coming from my head, how can I be surprised? I don’t know how it happens but it does. And to me those moments are pure gold.
14. What do you *hate* most about writing?
There’s nothing I hate about writing. I was surprised to find out how much non-writing stuff (like promotions) is a part of the “writing job” and I’m trying my best to learn about all that. But I’m kind of shy and it isn’t nearly as natural to me as just telling stories.
15. What are you reading right now?
I’m just about to start reading Steel by Carrie Vaughn
16. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’m looking forward to meeting everyone at the Author’s After Dark Conference, but again, I’m a little shy, I’ll probably be the one hanging out in the corners.
THIS OR THAT
1. Peanut butter or jelly? Both
2. Chips or cookies? Both!
3. Bacon or sausage? Bacon
4. Print or eBook? eBook
5. Pen or pencil? Pen
6. Print or cursive? A strange combination of both.
7. Notebook or computer? Both (depends on the situation)
8. Kleenex or handkerchief? Kleenex
9. Zombies or vampires? Vampires
10. Angel or Spike? Angel
Melanie has always been drawn to storytelling and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t creating a story in her head. Her early stories were adventures with fairies and dragons and sword swinging princesses.
Today she continues to spin tales of magic in lands near and far, while her cat sits on the edge of her desk and supervises. When she’s not writing, you can find her pretending to be other people with her local community theatre groups.
Connect with Melanie:
MamaKitty is a mother to a beautiful little girl, wife to her own real life hero, a registered radiographic technologist, student, book reviewer, and author of contemporary romance (as Paige Prince). She hates to be bored, loves a good book, and can usually be found on Twitter or Facebook.