I write in two different genres so I use two different names to avoid confusion.. I write my novels using the name Mel Shore and I use Elayne Shore for my children’s books. The name Mel is actually the first three letters of my married name ‘Melton’. The name Elayne is from my middle name with a slightly different spelling. The spelling of my middle name is actually ‘Elaine’. The last name Shore is my maiden name without the final ‘S’
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest novel under the pen name 'Mel Shore' isn't finished yet but it is based on true events and is called 'The Victim'. In a five month period I went through some devastating discoveries and a few tragic events that changed my outlook on life. I called it 'The Victim' because that is what I felt like during this short time period. I am writing it with fictitious names and a couple of fictitious locations to protect everyone's privacy. Even though the events are true it is not a documentary so I am listing it as a work of fiction in the Drama genre.
The latest children's books I've written is a fantasy series called 'Sammy the Sea Serpent' and is about the amazing adventures by a family of sea serpents. The first book called 'From the Beginning' features twin sea serpents named Agnes and Horace. They both discover an island where they meet Eric the dragon. After surviving the ice age on an uncharted island, Eric and Agnes have two children named Tommy and Sammy. The second book is all about their adventures and a close encounter with a ruthless big game hunter named Reginald Van Horne. Book three is currently a work in progress.
When did you first start writing?
I have been writing most of my life, but I didn't start writing books until 1999 when I started a book called ;Red Can Be Deadly'. I had so many rejections from publishers that I got discouraged and stopped writing until 2012 when I met another successful author. She was in my college class and inspired me to finish the novel I'd started and get it published. I found a publisher that accepted my first children's book called 'Candy Girl' and my first novel at no cost to me. Since then I have written six more children's books and a second novel. I am currently working on a children's series called 'Sammy the Sea Serpent'. and another novel called 'The Victim' based on a series of true events.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My first three books are published by a company that doesn't charge the author to publish a book. However, I am not able to track any sales and they only issue statements twice a year. The also don't pay any royalties until the end of February and the end of August. As an indie author I can not only keep track of sales, I can get royalties on a monthly basis if my books are sold.
What are you working on next?
Actually, I am working on two different types of books. All of my novels are written under the name Mel Shore and my children's books are written under the name Elayne Shore. The latest novel is a drama based on true events called 'The Victim' and a children's series called 'Sammy the Sea Serpent'. My first children's series is about kittens, starting with 'The Three Little Kittens' , 'Three More Kittens' 'Brendyl's Kittens' and 'Little Orphan Andie'. I'm not sure if I will add to this series in the future as I'm currently working on a new fantasy series called 'Sammy the Sea Serpent' about a family of sea creatures and prehistoric animals.
What do your fans mean to you?
I measure my success by the number of readers that enjoy my books and not by the income they might generate. One day I hope to have enough fans that I will have to put a fan mail package together because I have too many fans to write a personal response to. Until then, I will try to answer any fans who want to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I can offer my book in numerous eBook formats without paying a large fee. The publishing company that has the contracts on my first three books charge a fee for this service. Also, I can offer my book in several sections if I want and the reader can also download a sample in any of the eBook formats. Smashwords also distributes to several retail outlets including libraries.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Indiana so I was mostly raised there and in Chicago. My family was a middle class family and we moved a lot of times so I have numerous stories to tell. My first two novels are strictly fiction but my third book will be based on true events. My first children's series is mostly about kittens since my mother was a devout cat lover. My current children's series is pure fantasy although there are some life lessons included like loyalty, friendship and compassion.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Hearing from a reader that they enjoyed reading what I wrote. I don't write books just for the income. I want to offer something to the general public that they might like to read and enjoy. I love to read books myself and want to give that love of reading to others.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author of all time is Dean Koontz. He has been my main inspiration in what to write and how to write it. Everything I've ever read of his makes me feel like I know the characters and that I am right there beside them as a witness to whatever is happening at the time. I also like several romance authors like Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen and Nora Roberts.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life in general. I have always been an optimist who looks at a glass of water as half full instead of half empty. I also have a lot of interests in addition to writing and that keeps me young at heart. I love to read, work on my computer, play hidden object games on my computer, play with my cat and create beautiful things like collector dolls and art.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Creating works of art like collector dolls or playing hidden object games on my computer. I also love to draw and paint, even though I haven't done either for a while. I also use Photoshop to create the illustrations for my children's books. My first children's book is called 'Candy Girl' and the publisher did the art work for it but I really didn't like any of the illustrations. Rather than delay the book I let them go ahead and use their artwork, but I did all of the illustrations for the rest of my children's books.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I haven't read too many eBooks since I don't have an eBook reader, but I usually look online at Amazon.com. If I find something I'd like to read I download it to my computer, but all I have is a desktop computer so it is hard to read very many books that way. I prefer to have something I can hold in my hands and as soon as I can I plan to get an eBook reader. I just don't know yet which one I will buy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I've had to write several essays for school and I guess those could be considered stories, but my first novel was 'Red Can Be Deadly'. The first children's book I ever finished was 'Candy Girl' about a girl named Candy who loved to eat candy. When she didn't get enough candy at home she ran away and ended up in Candyland where she turns into candy herself.
What is your writing process?
I usually write an outline of what I want the story to be about and use that outline to keep myself on track. Sometimes the book takes on a life of its own and I have to revise the outline, but so far I've been able to keep to the basic outline. For example, my novel Red Can Be Deadly had a chapter about a midnight slasher and it didn't seem to fit the storyline so I removed the chapter and made it into another novel.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I've read so many books it's hard to remember which book I read first, but the first book I ever read that had an impact on me was a book by Dean Koontz. Up to that point, most of the books I'd read weren't anything memorable, but his novel was so realistic and so well written that I wondered why no one had discovered him yet. Stephen King was well known even then, but Dean Koontz had the better writing style and I've tried to emulate him in my own writing style.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to incorporate the basic theme of the book in the cover. For instance, the kitten books have pictures of the kittens on the cover and my book Midnight Slasher has a man with a knife ready to attack a victim.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favorite book is Watchers by Dean Koontz about a super intelligent dog. It is a suspense thriller that is humorous, heartwarming and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Another favorite is one called 'Sweet Bliss' by Daisy Logan. It is a laugh-out-loud comedy about one man's campaign to win the heart of a girl named Bliss. Other favorites would have to be most of Kay Hooper's romance novels. She has a very distinct writing style and covers several areas of interest.
What do you read for pleasure?
As I've already said, I read anything written by Dean Koontz and sometimes romance novels that catch my eye in the book section of Walmart. I also go to garage sales and buy used books to read.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Right now I don't have a preference since I haven't looked at all of the options available yet. Most likely I will buy a Kindle, but that isn't written in stone yet.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I plan to try other marketing strategies in the near future.
Describe your desk
Since I have an All-in-one computer, it covers my entire desk. I do most of my writing with MS Word, so I don't really need any desk space to write my books. If I get tired of sitting at the computer I sometimes write on a pad of paper in longhand and transfer my thoughts to the computer later. The desk itself is just a cheap desk someone gave to my daughter with an open hutch on the back side for my speakers and my external hard drives.
Where do you live?
I live in a suburb of Houston, TX called Baytown, with my daughter and two of my grandchildren. I used to have a poodle named Ginger who would have been 15 years old Oct 8, 2013 but she died in June 2013. Right now I don't have any animals but someday I may get a companion if I can find another dog like my poodle Ginger.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.