by Connie Ward, Publicist
What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
Writing is my creative outlet. It’s the way I best express my feelings and ideas. I’m so impressed by what other writers do—how they can use characters to provoke emotion and inspire readers. I’ve always wanted to create stories and characters that could do the same.
What type of stories do you write? And why?
I almost always write realistic fiction, because our world can be just as interesting as any fairyland, and humans can be just as compelling as mythical creatures. I write what I’m passionate about or interested in at the time. I also enjoy exploring new forms of writing. Most of my stories have a unique way they are written—be it in letters, diary entries, or verse (like Remember Me).
What do your family/friends think about your writing?
My family and friends are very supportive. They always agree to read the awful first drafts, which is a great help. They compliment the good qualities of my writing, but more important, they’re not afraid to say, “Melanie, this makes no sense. Rewrite it.” They’ve really helped me grow as a writer.
Where do you get your ideas?
Characters often just jump into my head. When I’m listening to music or sitting in class, waiting for the bell to ring, I’ll start creating a character in my mind. How could he/she relate to this song? Would he/she listen intently to the teacher’s lesson or walk out the door, not even waiting for the bell to ring? Thinking of new perspectives on my everyday life situations often inspires new characters.
How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
Most of my stories are character-driven. I’ll plan out my characters, but then I’ll let them show me their stories.
What makes Remember Me special to you?
Remember Me is one of the few stories that I’ve actually finished and the only story that’s not still a torn-up, coffee-stained manuscript sitting on my bedroom shelf. Even though I’m very self-critical, at the end of the day, I’m proud of Remember Me and glad I finished it.
How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
My characters typically highlight a certain quality of myself—be it positive or negative. Although I use part of myself as a foundation for my characters, the more layers I add to their personalities, the more different from me they become.
Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite
of this author(s)?
I’m still new to gay/lesbian fiction. I’ve got a lot of authors left to explore! From the LGBT fiction that I have read, the most influential book was The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George. Her characters are drastically different and unique, so much so that each character is interesting enough to have a book all to herself. I strive to make my characters just as memorable.
Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
Don’t be afraid to write something because you’re scared of what other people will assume about you. Good fiction doesn’t play it safe. Write it all down—anything and everything you want. Let your stories take you on a journey—not just a walk through the park.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
Obviously I love reading, but I also enjoy ice skating, rock-climbing, yoga, flea marketing, listening to music, hanging out with friends, attempting to draw, and discovering new things along the way.