I had the chance to talk books and writing with author Mel Massey; take a peek at our interview, excerpts from her books, and what's coming soon from Mel's world!
Chrystal: You have written in a couple of different genres, horror and fantasy. Which is your favorite genre to write in and why?
Mel: I think fantasy is my first love. I enjoy writing horror, and I use elements of horror in the fantasy series, but I love creating the fantasy elements. In Urban Fantasy settings, I’m able to weave both horror and fantasy together because, to the innocent, wouldn’t fantasy come to life be a horror? I think in some respects, yes.
Chrystal: Your latest book, Decker, is a companion to your Earth's Magick/Book 1: Earth novel, correct? Why did you choose to write about that particular character?
Mel: Yes, Decker is the first of the four companion novels to the series. Originally, the series was simply going to be the five books. However, Decker, Theo, and Vasha all became reader favorites and I was struck with the idea that I could tell each of their stories in turn. Decker and his brothers are over 2,000 years old, so they have rich and interesting tales to tell. Boy are they interesting!
Chrystal: Would you say that your books are plot driven, or character driven?
Mel: Oooh….that’s tough to answer. The main character’s; Mela, Wyatt, Decker, Theo, and Sammuele – All are what makes this a story. Without them, this would have been a sad, short tale. With such a mix of characters, you never now who’s going to do what. So – character driven.
Chrystal: Tell us a bit about your writing process. I know that sounds cliché, but...do you have a specific process or do you write as the mood takes you? Is there a requirement for your writing, such as a quiet location, a certain area of your home or office...? Do you follow an established writing routine?
Mel: I try to write everyday. I have no real set time, just whenever the mood hits me. But my process before I begin is pretty exact. I never start a book without outlining it on paper first. I outline every chapter and spend a lot of time scribbling in the notebook, rearranging plot points, long before I ever open a new document on the computer. I can write just about anywhere as long as I have music playing. I prefer the Pandora station, Classical Music for Studying.
Chrystal: People are always asking authors this question also, but I have to know: where do you get your ideas? Do you do any prewriting, note taking, or extensive research before beginning a new book or story?
Mel: Like I said, I outline the story before I start to write. After I do that, I look over the outline and go over any magick spells, rituals, or whatevers that happen and create those. As a practicing Pagan myself, I have loads of resources go through in order to create the magick in the series.
Chrystal: How long would you say it typically takes you to write a book?
Mel: First draft…maybe a month. After that, I set it aside and read a book. Sounds funny but I try to leave my imaginary world for a bit and visit another before revisiting it. It helps with the objectivity when rereading it for the first round of edits. After that maybe another month or two.
Chrystal: How much of your own knowledge and experience is infused into your characters?
Mel: Lots of my Pagan practices are infused into the story. The characters all have a little of me in them. Isn’t that the way for all of us who write? It’s a cathartic process.
Chrystal: Talk a bit about your family and friends. What do they think about your writing? Do you ever use them as models for characters, and if so, do they recognize themselves?
Mel: Everyone in my family is really supportive. My husband is always the first to read my book, before editors or anyone else. He’s a pretty big fan. Although, he did threaten me with divorce if anything happens to Wyatt. I need to make sure he stays safe, eh? My eldest thinks it’s very cool and my youngest could care less. I have amazing friends who do get characters named after them on occasion but for the most part, it’s my Street Team who get the really cool parts. They help all of that behind the scenes. So, the Street Team (named the Elementai Secret Society) all know who they are named for in the books and get a say in minor aspects of that character. Total ESS member perk.
Chrystal: If you could choose one famous author to learn from (living or dead), to pick their brain and get great writing advice from, who would that be? Would you let them read your books and give you feedback?
Mel: Anne Rice. Hands down, that is one classy lady. I admire her on so many levels, I wouldn’t know where to begin to explain her awesomeness. Of course I would let her read my writing, but I’d chain smoke the entire time.
Chrystal: What will be next for you? What are you working on now?
Mel: I’m currently writing the next book in the Earth’s Magick series, Earth’s Magick Book 2 ~Water~. I’m hoping for that to be ready for readers by winter.