Interview with Steve Melton

What is your writing process?
I usually write an introduction. Sort of like a narrative outline of what's coming in the rest of the story. Next, I use an outline with Roman numerals, abcd, 1234 etc. Like the stuff they used to teach in grade school way back when the Earth was still cooling. I always think ahead, kind of like reading a road map of where I think the story should go.
Thinking ahead lends itself to many "ooooh yeah" moments. I consider these moments to be roadside attractions that I look forward visiting during the writing journey. I don't trust them to memory. I always scroll down to the next blank page and make notes on ideas, future scenes, dialogue, characters etc. I check them off as they are integrated into the story. There is always a page of ideas following the last page I am working on. That way I won't forget any potential future kernels of literary brilliance. For me, the best time to write is early in the morning before the sun comes up. My wife and kids are still in bed. The house is stone quiet with no distractions. A perfect time for the caffeine to kick in and start the old creative juices flowing. If I'm writing Christian literature, God gets all the credit. Other Christian writers can verity that If a writer is open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, stuff just seems to flow through the old fingers and onto the page. The process is similar for secular works. Only I am always asking myself what I would like to see happen, how would I react to a situation, or what dialogue would I find interesting. I find editing to be painful. It's often like cutting off your own arm or leg. But it has to be done because everything written isn't always brilliant literature. Being objective about my work is impossible for me. One trick I use to help determine quality is to put a finished work aside for a time. The longer the better. Then read it again. If sounds so good that it seems like someone else wrote it, it just might be good. One last thought; It's always a good idea to write about things one knows about, or is familiar with. If there is a part of a work or a subject that I am not familiar with, I research it exhaustively before I include it in my writing. There is always that one person out there who knows everything there is to know about about DNA mapping and chromosome splicing techniques for the Peruvian rock snail. You don't want them writing on their blog, "This work is a waste of time and money. Steve Melton obviously knows nothing about Peruvian rock snail genetics."
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was the Adventures of Dick and Jane. You know. Way back when writing on cave walls was popular. I only remember one line from this famous work. "See the toy jump out at Tyke." I think it was a Jack in the Box that scared the pee out of the family pooch.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to sneak up on it while it's sleeping.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Bible - God
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Wolfen - Whitley Strieber
Modern Times - Paul Johnson
Being George Washington - Glenn Beck

God, monsters, history, politics. I'm really into an eclectic mix of things.
What do you read for pleasure?
Guitar Player Magazine
Drudge Report
Military, Sports, Musician Biographies
Graffiti on bathroom walls
Body language and People's faces
Vintage Mad Magazines
My own writing
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A good pair of reading glasses. Oh, I think you must mean Kindle.
Describe your desk
It's kind of hard to see. It's covered up with a mountain of books waiting to be published. Two brass Sasquatch statues, A plastic St. Lois Cardinals cup from 1999 that hold all my pens and pencils that don't work. Stevie Ray Vaughn mouse pad. Stereo laptop speakers. Headphones. Phone, Calculator, Paint brush, Calendars. Ugly green lamp. Spray can of electrical contact cleaner that I squirt at the occasional stray fly. Dust. Two volumes of Yellow Pages from three years ago that I never use. An old CD boom box with a missing grill cover. Last but not least, my HP laptop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I have grown old. Not sure I've grown up yet. I have many decades of life experiences that I have incorporated into a large collection of writing projects and works.
When did you first start writing?
Seems like I can remember my folks yelling at me for scribbling my name on the wall with a purple crayon. I think it was last week.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Presidents and Kings. I got the idea for the story after watching the Republican debates a few years ago. Mitt Romney crossed the stage and put his hand on Rick Perry's arm while trying to make some kind of point. I remember thinking how cool it would have been if Perry would have punched him out, live on national TV. He would have gotten my vote. That's how I started my story. With a presidential debate between an evil incumbent and a young challenger. The president tries to intimidate his young challenger and gets knocked out for his efforts. It was a righteous punch that results in a landslide victory for Cranston Carter.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy of writing so far was when I wrote my first volume of children's poetry. Somehow a copy of it made it into the hands of an elementary school teacher in South Carolina. She had a special needs student who was experiencing reading difficulties. She would read the poems to her class on special occasions. One day the student told her he was determined to learn to read so he could read my poems by himself.
What are you working on next?
My next publication will be "Pasadena Thunder." It's the story of an older woman whose husband dies and leaves her a 1970 Dodge Challenger. I was spinning the radio dial when I heard the old Jan and Dean song from the sixties. "Little Old Lady From Pasadena." I didn't think it was out of the realm of reality for an old lady to be a street racer with a monster, vintage, muscle car.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I like to spend time writing about writing. Kind of like what I'm doing now. When I finish this "up close and personal" thing, I might go to the gym, go hunting, camping, fishing, bike riding, running, volunteer work at the Veterans Home. Cooking. Eating. Clam digging and dog polishing.
Published 2014-04-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hot Chips
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 11,900. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » American poetry
This collection of poems began in 1992. The first one was scribbled on a paper sack in a college cafeteria while the author was working the cash register during a slow evening. Linda Blitz Mud Pies, Fishing In the Toilet, Navel Destroyer, Jumping on the Bed, Martian Kick Ball, Jello For a Pet, Dryer Rider, Monster In My Closet are titles that offer a hint as to what one will find inside this book.
Blue Ridges Silver Streets
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 128,550. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
Time changes things . Memories are forever. After thirty years, Frankie Nelson returns to the family homestead to find that the summer vacation "Garden of Eden" in the Blue Ridge Mountains isn't the way he remembered it. Little remains of a way of life he cherished as a child. He has a wealth of magical memories of kids, kin, characters and adventures. And the desire to write about all of it.
Pasadena Thunder
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 89,470. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
A “Brand new, shiny red, super stock Dodge” driven by an old lady used to be the stuff of legends. Now it’s for real. Gracie Carson is an aging widow with nothing left but a mountain of debt and a monster street machine resurrected from the past. A super potent, red,1970 Dodge hemi Challenger. Will it be her salvation? Or, will she die trying to tame the beast on the streets of Pasadena?
Presidents and Kings
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 93,910. Language: English. Published: April 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Corrupt politicians and malevolent world leaders have America on the verge of collapse. But God is raising up a righteous champion. Cranston Carter is a former black ops, combat marine who has followed the Holy Spirit to vanquish all foes, foreign and domestic. He is a modern day King David who stays on the front lines of battle. Even as President of the United States.