Interview with Melissa Coleman

What is your writing process?
Cyclical. It comes in waves. This book took me two years to complete. I would go months without looking at it, and at times it felt like a burden. I can't say it was an overly enjoyable experience, more like necessary. I started with a rough timeline and wrote chapters/scenes out of sequence, starting with the ones most visceral to me.

There were three weekends that Sara and Nate were with their Daddy during those two years that I stayed in the house from Friday evening until Monday morning - no shower, no people, just me and the laptop. I was "in the zone", and words flowed on the keyboard. I have conveniently packed away my sadness and emotions about my Mom, so to write about her death took solitude and time.

I would produce a large chunk of work, send it to my editor….he would work it over and send it back…then I would work it over again. That back and forth tweeking was very creative and more enjoyable, because I could see things coming together and forming into an actual book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My Mom used to read "Never Tease a Weasel" to my sister and I when we were little. Amy and I both seem to be sensitive to the feelings of other people and animals…and I believe these times with my Mom had something to do with it. My Mother was a very kind, gentle woman. I won't lie though, life has made me hard. I walk a fine line between harboring disgust for most humans and feeling sensitive to their feelings at the same time.

In college Philosophy 101 we studied Plato's Allegory of the Cave. That professor and the experience had a profound impact on me. It was my first exposure, albeit in a indirect way, to the fact that there are people in the world less fortunate who need help to better their situation. And it takes brave people to break out of their comfort zone and help them. This story also began to open my eyes to the fact that there was a world outside of the one I grew up in because of the way the professor had us relate Socrates observations to our present lives.
How do you approach cover design?
For a few months I studied ebook cover design winners and losers in the indie world. And read up on what qualities define a successful ebook cover. The work of one designer in particular caught my eye more than once so I contacted him. He was a gem and it was simply luck he became the first designer I worked with. I gave him the gist of the book and he provided me a few of his draft design ideas. One was clearly a front-runner but I couldn't put my finger on what I didn't like about it relative to my story. We tried a few of my ideas, which in design, were horrible. As I sat looking at his designs a few weeks later it came to me. The final result was a combo of features from two of his designs, coupled with a detail from my thoughts...and we had a winner!
What do you read for pleasure?
Typically nonfiction, I like to read about real-life experiences of people and animals. Currently I'm reading Ex-Muslim by Naeem Fazal. Although recently I did read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn which was awesome. I'm not very well-read and don't know the classics, which is pitiful. Some days the best thing I read is The Onion - and LOL while my kids are watching TV which thoroughly annoys them.
Describe your desk
It's a crappy old drafting table but I love it. Folders and papers for work usual piled on it. I'm far from important enough to have a fancy-schmancy executive-style desk. Half the time my kids are sitting at it playing MineCraft or looking for crap they want on Amazon.
When did you first start writing?
Seeing that I've only written one book, and just a memoir of sorts, I don't consider myself a "writer" by any stretch. But my Father always told me I could write, my Mother always said I should do more of it. I suppose looking back, I discovered in college that I enjoyed writing, and got A's on papers and creative projects I wrote and found it rewarding. If I was 18 again and had to chose a college major, I would give Writing a whirl.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I'm in the zone, sitting at my computer, and words come out flowing from emotion. I write much better than I speak and have written things that I really don't know where they've come from. I love when that happens.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My coffee pot, the dogs milling around asking to go pee, a job that I love, and I seem to be in a frantic race to provide a life and opportunities for my children that I didn't have. Basically, this means make and save enough money to afford them a start in college and opportunities to experience the world and blossom.
What's the motivation behind your book?
After SaraBear was sold, an entrepreneur-friend of mine told me he really thought I should write a book. A book that was somewhat of a "how-to" for women, primarily mothers, who wanted to start a business. A manual-of-sorts exposing the dirty secrets of real entrepreneurship and how I made a success out of my business. Prose that was supposed to come from my brain, rather, ended up coming from my heart; and the personal, emotional journey became the primary focus. The part that I had kept private, yet I most needed to share. My friend admits the final result was very different than what he had in mind - but that his wife read it in two days and it made her cry. That was pretty cool.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a poem, in college. About a mouse living a hard life in the ghetto and the irony of the same hard life of the large creatures (humans) that lived around him. It was dark and sad but landed me an A.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Have a Kindle and iPad, neither of which I use. Love the feel, look and smell of books and meandering through the library. The more books on our bedside tables, the better. Sometimes when I'm in Barnes and Noble I put new books up to my nose and breathe them in, preferably when no one is looking.
Published 2014-08-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Recipe for Disaster: How a Simple Idea Grew Into a Million-Dollar Business, Transforming the Inventor Along the Way
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 56,580. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Starting up
A colicky baby. Postpartum depression. A sense of the walls closing in. A moment of desperate inspiration. A baby product. What started at her dining room table as a basket and unique fabric liner eventually reached overseas production, international distribution to five countries and the shelves of such giants as Target and Babies“R”Us. Ultimately, to be acquired by a large juvenile company.