“Melanie Robertson-King’s Books Have a Great Sense of Place” Interview by Joan Y. Edwards
I am excited and honored to have as a guest on my blog, author, Melanie Robertson-King! Welcome, Melanie.
Hello, Joan. It’s fun to be here. I want to give away a free e-copy of one of my featured books (winner’s choice)to one of your readers. (Winner of Giveaway below interview)
How exciting! My readers will love that.
I can’t wait to meet them. I hope they’ll ask questions.
They ask good questions. I know they’ll love learning about you and your great books. So let’s get started.
A. Name three biographical facts that have made you successful.
My Scottish descent. The Scots can be a stubborn lot and don’t like to give up. I don’t either.
I have an active imagination and can spin a story around almost anything.
My love of travel and being able to visit the locations where my books have been set (so far).
B. Name three biographical facts that hardly anyone knows about you.
I met Princess Anne at the orphanage in Scotland where my father was raised.
My first grandson was born the year I turned 40.
My husband and I renewed our wedding vows for our 25th wedding anniversary in the church at the orphanage in Scotland where my father was raised.
C. What person or event started your interest in becoming a published author?
I had the idea of being a published author from the time I was a teenager, but nothing ever became of it. Years later, I was writing short stories and sharing them with my co-workers who thought they were quite good.
One, in particular, found an ad for a creative writing course and gave it to me. I pondered it for a while because it was costly, but eventually signed up. My instructor was amazing and found something in my writing. At the end of the course, he told me I could write a cracker of a novel. After many re-writes, the first edition of A Shadow in the Past (my debut novel), was contracted to 4RV Publishing.
D.What has given you the greatest feeling of satisfaction and pride?
Holding my debut novel for the very first time, followed by my first sale. I still get that same feeling with every book I’ve written since then.
E. What is a quote that keeps you going?
I have no idea who said it but because I’m determined, I would have to say it’s “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again”… or similar.
F. What are your goals as a writer?
Write and publish the best books I can.
I’d like to hit #1 in one of the categories my books are listed in. I’ve snuck into the top 100 a couple of times, but didn’t stay there long.
Making the New York Times or USA Today bestseller lists, although these lofty goals are lower on my list now.
G. What are your strategies for success?
Hard work and perseverance.
H.What are three essentials for marketing your books?
I have to admit, my online marketing has slipped lately. You can’t go out there with a megaphone and yell, buy my book.
I’ve made book poster adverts with quotes and star rankings of my books.
I’m a vendor at the local farmers’ market, as well as many other events throughout the year where I get to engage face-to-face with prospective and returning customers. It’s hard work but I love the social aspect.
I. Do you use free software to create your book trailers?
Yes. I’ve only made two trailers (so far). The first one I created was a couple of years after the first edition of A Shadow in the Past was released. One of my author friends in Scotland had made a couple for her crime novels, so I thought, why not? I used Windows Movie Maker to create it and once I had it the way I wanted, I put it on YouTube.
When Windows 10 came out, the Movie Maker was no longer available so I had to find something else to use. I discovered through a google search, you can make videos with the Windows Photos App.
I haven’t used it yet, but Apple has an app called iMovie. I thought I would have to download it from the app store, but it was already loaded on my MacBook Air. iMovie has a function specifically for trailers. I might do another one for YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYSand see which one does the best job.
J. What are three reasons why you are glad you decided to self-publish your books?
I’m a control freak, so I love being in control of all aspects of the publishing process.
I write in different genres. With a traditional publisher, you get pigeon-holed into one and it’s hard to break out of that shell.
If I decide I want to change the cover or edit the interior content, I can. I’ve changed the cover for the e-book version of YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS. The original cover wasn’t working.
K. What are three ingredients of every good novel? What is a good book or online resource to teach writers how to put these ingredients in a book?
To me, a good book has to have a strong plot. Something to keep me turning the pages. It also has to have likeable characters. I want to be able to close my eyes and envision the location and the physical appearances of the people on those pages.
I can recommend a few books/resources. First of all, Stephen King’s book On Writing. Excellent.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have an excellent collection of thesauruses. The Urban Setting, Rural Setting, Positive Traits, Negative Traits, Emotion, Emotional Wound. They’re also blogging various occupations on their website. https://writershelpingwriters.net/
L. You do a great job of creating a sense of place in your books, how did you get started doing that? What sites do you recommend to help writers put the right description into their novels?
The absolute best way of creating a sense of place is to travel to the location where you’re going to set your book. Take lots of pictures and if you have a small sound recording device, get some audio clips. If that’s not possible, research the area thoroughly before writing. Google street views is a great way to navigate around a foreign location. And of course, the thesauruses I mentioned above.
M. Would you please share examples of a sense of place from your books?
My current work-in-progress is the second book in my “It Happened” series. It’s called It Happened in Gastown. For those who might not know, Gastown is an area in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The lead characters are Hilary Dunbar (a Vancouver uniformed police officer) and Erik Layne (a heroin addict and brother of Serenity Layne from It Happened on Dufferin Terrace).
I’m struggling some with this book because of its ‘darker’ side. I have almost zero knowledge of what I’m writing about. I’ve googled and googled, and my Emotional Wound, and Urban Places thesaurus have helped me along the way.