Interview with Melanie Surani

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read by myself, I believe was The Foot Book (Dr. Seuss). I was so enthralled that I could read the whole thing, that's all I did for a while.
How do you approach cover design?
I like to scale down the story to its most condensed form. It's tricky conveying genre, tone, plot, and character in a single image.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Subject to change, of course, and in no particular order.
1. Blankets/Habibi (tie) - Craig Thompson
I love these books because the imagery is so beautiful and because the stories pack such an emotional punch.

2. Misery/Pet Semataty/The Shining - Stephen King
Probably my favorite author. His characters are so real that whatever strange BS Mr. King throws at them seems totally normal.

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Vanity, lust, murder ... this book has it wrapped in a pretty, gaslight bow.

4. Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Some stories are better than others, but as a whole, this guy keeps me entertained.

5. Metropolis - Thea Von Harbou
Few people today have read this book. Goes hand in hand with the 1926 movie of the same name. Husband made the movie, wife wrote the book.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle with e-ink (or whatever they're calling a non-backlit screen). It's an older version, but it's got storage for about 2,000 books and doesn't strain my eyes. Small enough to carry everywhere, which is great because I spend a great deal of my day on the subway.
Describe your desk
My desk is everywhere. I use my laptop on the breakfast table or the sofa or in bed. That, or I make notes on a printed-out copy of my book and edit on the subway, or use the notes section on my phone to continue a first draft.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Lived in Memphis, TN until I was 23. This city is a great backdrop for my characters, though I'd hate to see all my books set there (just like I'd hate my whole life to play out there). Memphis has feelings of nostalgia, of family (good and bad memories), plus, I know where things are.
When did you first start writing?
First grade. Started out basically plagiarizing, but it was good practice for when I graduated to fan fiction (which I will never show to anyone).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The publishing industry is changing a lot these days. Just a few years ago, if you didn't go with a "real publisher" it meant you weren't any good. Now to be an indie author means you're taking control of your own work. I don't have to cut significant pieces out of my work to make it "more commercial" or settle for a cover I don't like. Everything (good and bad) reflects back on me.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I usually need to pee, and after that I'm hungry.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
At the ol' day job.
Published 2014-03-30.
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