Interview with Mel Henry

What do you read for pleasure?
I like reading romances - sweet and unpredictable, with a touch of erotica. I love relatable characters with understandable flaws. If it's a series, even better because I like seeing how a character/characters progress over time. I want to know the back story and the future story.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read almost everything on my Kindle. I fought the e-reading trend HARD. The thought of not smelling an old book or hearing the crack of a spine on a new book didn't appeal to me at all. Then, my niece lent me her Kindle to read a series I'd expressed interest in and that was all she wrote. I used to travel with a suitcase full of books whenever I went on vacation. Now, I just throw my Kindle in my purse and I'm good to go.
Describe your desk
It's an old HON office utility table. It's big and heavy, but it has plenty of room for me to spread out my notebooks and research binders. I've got candles and a basket with pens and pencils. Since music is the key for me to focus, I also have an iPod speaker with classical or instrumental music going. I definitely work better when the desk is clean, but right now, things are starting to pile up.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in Iowa. My favorite thing (and almost the only thing) to do was visit the little town library. I would check out dozens of books at a time and devour them. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I escaped my dull little town through reading. I did the same thing when I wrote. I remember having poor scores on creative writing assignments because I could never finish a story in the small amount of time the teachers gave me, but I didn't care. Having a good story was far more important to me than being done on time. Once my teachers realized that, they began giving me a little slack.
When did you first start writing?
Outside of school assignments, I began writing poetry in junior high. When I was sixteen, I joined a support group for kids of widowed and divorced families and in that group, we would share our stories through essays we'd read aloud. Those essays were the first things I wrote that really expressed what I was feeling. I still put a lot of emotion and heart into what I write because of it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It's part of my plan, actually. In a world full of authors, it's far more likely to be rejected by an agent than to be accepted. There are plenty of people who have great stories who just don't get the breaks to be published on their first attempt (sometimes even their first ten). There has to be something to add to the package to give it an edge because having a good story isn't enough. Building a readership through indie publishing can give me that edge. Being able to provide solid sales with a strong fanbase can make the difference between a NY Best Selling author and an author who gives up.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love hearing that my story touched someone's life. If it made them laugh, cry, smile or mourn, that's the greatest motivator for me. That's why I love reading reviews - good, bad or ugly. As long as they're authentic, I can handle whatever feedback a reader gives me. I just want that feedback. It's like the applause a musician would get on stage. It's fantastic!
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. Without my fans, I might as well be writing in my diary. When I write, the first thing I consider is how well a character or a scene will be received by my fans. Will they like him? Will they hate him? Will they remember lines that have been said during this scene? I write for them - not me.
What is your writing process?
I tend to come up with ideas when I'm relaxed and not stressing about everyday stuff. Typically, this happens when I'm traveling. I've started carrying a notebook and pen with me all the time so I don't lose the ideas I come up with. When I get home, I'll shut myself up in my office, also called the War Room. I'll light candles or turn on my wax burner, turn on some instrumental music and pound out everything I can.

Oh, who am I kidding -- 90% of my time is spent avoiding Twitter and Facebook (unsuccessfully) and the other 10% writing. I do close the door, turn on the music and light the candles, though.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"Distance and Time" began as a fan fiction story inspired by my favorite boy band. A friend had written a story with her own characters with a cameo of my character, so I decided to write a story for my own character and how she got to where she is. It was never supposed to be read by anybody but me and my best friends. With the encouragement of these friends (and others), I decided to rewrite the story and attempt publication. The feedback was positive from the get-go and I couldn't *not* move forward. It was too exciting!
What are you working on next?
I'm working on the second book in the "Time After Time" series. It's called "Better in Time" and it's being told from Josh's perspective. He's the protagonist's love interest in "Distance and Time," and it gives the fans a bit of insight into his heart. It's so easy to get lost in one character's perspective and we tend to believe everything she says, feels and does is the gospel. "Better in Time" will give the readers a little reminder that not everything is as it seems. It's been a little bit of a challenge for me to get into Josh's mind, but I think they'll be very happy with it.
Published 2013-12-15.
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