Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Author Interview featuring Melissa Brownlow

Welcome Melissa Brownlow to The Writing World

1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
My alter ego is an elementary teacher, working through the day with a wonderful bunch of grade 6 students.  Then, my alter ego transforms into her split personality, which is a wife and busy mom of three boys.  I love to read, knit, scrapbook and write, of course, and I love my critters!  I have a dog, a pair of cats, an assortment of fish, a leopard gecko and a hamster, and my backyard is a certified wildlife refuge and is currently home to a wide variety of birds - including a nesting pair of Eastern Bluebirds.

2. What types of books do you write?
I write fantasy adventure novels.

3. Who's your main audience?
Oddly, that continues to evolve.  When I started, I was aiming more for the high school/adult age bracket, but I've found that my novels are enjoyed by a wide range of readers, the youngest I'm aware of being twelve years old.  

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
Let's start with the strengths - they're easier and less embarrassing.  I can usually see the overall story arc before I start, and the plot line isn't confined to just a single book either.  I think I'm pretty good at character development as well, since my readers are certainly attached to their favourites.  As for weaknesses, I've been told that some of the descriptive expressions I use aren't the best, or are a little too literal, and I know that I can always improve on my descriptions.  Sometimes I forget to describe a character at all.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
Writer's Block is an interesting expression.  I think it's not so much a "block" as it is your brain telling you it's time to take a break.  When I have Writer's Block, it's usually right after I finish a project, or immediately after beginning one.  I just take some time off, and when the voices in my head start arguing over plot lines, I'm good to go.

6. How many books have you written?
I have written four books so far, and I have two in the works.  There are a number planned, however.

7. How many are published?
Three are published so far, with the fourth due out in the summer.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
I self-publish, and I love it!

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing, without a doubt.  It's so hard to edit your own work.  Fortunately, I have a wonderful group of young ladies who let me use them as guinea pigs.  I read to them aloud from whatever I'm working on, and that often helps to find some of the errors.  Then, they read a hard copy (along with some other wonderful people who don't mind this sort of tedious work), and together we find some more errors.

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy reading Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Historical Fiction.

11. Who's your favorite Author?
Hmm... I have a few.  If forced to pick one, it would have to be Mercedes Lackey by virtue of the fact that she's been a favourite longer.

12. What's your all time favorite book?
That would be "Arrows of the Queen", by Mercedes Lackey.  I read it from the school library the first time, bought it for myself (one of the first books I bought), and hunted it down with the first copy went missing.

13. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on how busy the alter ego and split personality keep me.  I have written the very first skeleton draft in as little as eight weeks, but it's usually closer to six or seven months when you total up revisions, editing, type setting, etc.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Aislynn, the main heroine of my trilogy.  She's both a lot like me and nothing at all like me.  She has my temper and some lack of basic common sense, like me, but she's tall, athletic and awesome with pretty much any weapon she can lay her hands on - totally not like me, but the way I'd love to be!

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
That characters have minds of their own, and when you sit down to write, what you come away with is not necessarily what you were expecting.  I've sat down and characters have died unexpectedly, characters I planned demises for escape their fates, and arguments I never predicted crop up from time to time.

16. What does your family think of your writing?
They're really supportive.  My husband, especially, is willing to let me bounce ideas off of him, will provide suggestions and he's generally really good about it all.  He did end up costing me a half-book rewrite once, but his suggestion really did make the story better.

17. What does your writing schedule look like? 
I write at night.  My boys are young enough to be in bed earlyish and my husband works nights, so I usually get two or three hours a night, five or six days a week.

18. Do you manage to write every day?
Not every day, but most days.  When I'm not working on a novel, I've usually got a short story on the go.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
Aside from "Pursuit of Power" coming out in the summer, I'm really hoping to have my first mid-grade novel out around Christmas.  It's currently a work in progress, and is called "Different".

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Write!  Write often, write anything, and don't delete any of it.  Create a slush file on your computer somewhere to put words you no longer want, because if you delete it, there will come a time when you'll go looking for it, and you'll kick yourself.  Been there, done that, learned from the mistake.

My website is:

Thanks again!
Melissa (M.M. Brownlow)

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