Interview with Melissa Wong

What is your writing process?
I sit down and stare at a blank page. Words come out, but half the time they are not useable!

I have a lot of files with back story, full character bios, info about the world, an outline for the next few books, etc. Often if I am feeling uninspired I'll read through that for a bit until an interesting idea jumps out at me.

I only get time to write when my daughter is playing by herself, when she is asleep, or when my husband is home and I can sneak off for some writing time. I put on headphones and play music that I feel fits the scene I am writing. I also have a wax warmer and I'll melt scented wax that corresponds to the scenes I am writing. [I used a scent called "Camelot" often when writing volume 1 of "Atlantis: TVC"; it has a clean, pear/amber profile that is really subtle but refreshing.]
Often the music I'll play is instrumental--soundtracks to RPGs, or anime series are my go-to for a long writing session.

Sometimes I'll sneak off to a local tea shop and write there. When I am stuck on a scene at home, writing outside the house usually helps to clear the block.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes! I was... I think ten or eleven. It was about a group of cats that could talk and they were searching for a magic necklace. I don't remember any more about it than that. I think it was something like thirty pages long, all written out on lined paper, ha ha. I remember my mom was sick in bed at the time, and had been for several days, so I read it aloud to her.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember the first 'adult' book I ever read, and that was "Finders Keepers" by Barbara Nicholae. I have always read well past my age level, and I was seven or so when I stumbled onto it. That was when I realized I enjoyed long, involved stories. This opened the door to me reading more complicated books like "The Hobbit", or "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe", titles that I had thought might be boring because they looked too grown-up for me.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Seeing my characters come to life on the page was a huge motivator for me. I started writing for myself, and maybe a few people who might read my stuff online, but then I got to thinking that I could self-publish it and share it with a wider amount of people--people who might actually like my stories so much, they would give me a little money to read them.

I'm not in it for fame or fortune, but if people enjoy my story as much as I do, and I can help support my family a little by doing it, then the hard work is worth it to me!
Describe your desk
It's less of a desk and more of a laptop stand... I have a mouse, mouse pad, and laptop. Maybe a drink, and some small toys if my daughter is playing on the small amount of real estate left over.
How do you approach cover design?
This is a tough one, because my covers are different from standard novels, and more like the covers of comics. I want to convey a sense of what the volume is about, but I don't want to give away important plot points or story lines. They might seem kind of like movie posters to some people, heh heh.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love fantasy, especially worlds that reflect a more realistic view of life, [and death] where the author isn't afraid to write characters as being 'complicated'. Yes, I am among the current horde of people waiting for G. R. R. Martin's "Winds of Winter" to drop, heh heh.

But I also love the Gotrek and Felix novels, set in the Warhammer Fantasy world. You can't beat a good, solid adventuring duo set in an amazing grimdark universe. One of my favorite things about the titular characters, Gotrek and Felix, are that they are strong characters, but not powerful enough to kill the story or my fear that one [or both!] of them may die if they are in danger.

I also enjoy humor, and to scratch that itch you cannot beat Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. [I really couldn't pick a subset of characters to say I like, but I always enjoy a good story concerning the witches--especially Tiffany Aching.]
Who are your favorite authors?
David Eddings and Terry Pratchett, definitely. While I enjoy Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series, it's the only thing of his I have ever read, so it's hard to say if I like the author or the series.

I also enjoy William King, and C.L. Werner
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which people are calling a 'phablet'. I was one of those hold out sticklers on eBooks, clinging to my paper and glue like it would protect me from progress. I still enjoy the smell of a good book, but now that I have become more accepting of eBooks, I am looking into getting a Kindle of some sort, hopefully on the cheap because I am stingy.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The short version is that a teenage girl is kidnapped in the middle of the night and brought to a place she thought only existed in stories, and she is told that she is intended to be the new ruler of this place. It's a nice slice of life story, [or maybe coming of age story?] with magic and a little political intrigue in it.
What are you working on next?
Currently I am working on volume 2 of "Atlantis: TVC", and I have several other stories planned out that I could choose to write after that is done, or even alongside it. [perhaps to prevent burn out] I've had all these characters and their stories in my mind for so long, they are all clamoring to get out faster than I can put their tales on a page!
Published 2015-02-06.
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