Moonlake: Hi, I’m Moonlake Ku and welcome to the Writer’s Awakenings interviews. Today, we have Mandy Melanson with us. Firstly, tell us about yourself and your journey into writing, Mandy.
Mandy: First off, I’m a single mom to 3 amazing kids. I think I’ve always been a writer. I can remember making up stories in my head even as a small child. I was seven-years-old when I put my first story on paper, though. It was fully illustrated in crayon on construction paper that was tied together with rainbow colored yarn. It was horrible, but it was the start.
Moonlake: Despite you claiming that it was horrible, I can see that you have a fond memory for this first story of yours *wink*. I guess like many writers I interviewed before, real life probably came in between you and writing since this point. So when is it that you first decided to pursue writing in a serious way and what are the circumstances?
Mandy: I’m pursuing my state teaching certification in Language Arts and it was in one of my classes that my instructor discussed my writing with me privately and said that I had a story to share with the world and she believed this was my calling.
Moonlake: Did you manage to capitalise on some of your writing in this class later on, you know, turn into short stories or novels?
Mandy: Yes, in a way. During that class I wrote pieces that eventually morphed into backstory for some of the characters in my novels. So it isn’t directly in the story but it’s definitely related to it.
Moonlake: That’s still a good use for them, after all the actual story is only 10% what we writers have to work out in our head about the various elements underlying the story. So what happened after you got this encouragement from the instructor?
Mandy: After finishing her class I decided to seek out writing groups. I joined Elements of Genre Writing and found some of my dearest friends in this business through that group. I later started Rhetoric Askew with some of those friends. I’ve been encouraged by them and I hope that the sentiment is returned.
Moonlake: Ah, finding like-minded peers is very important as I learnt first hand. So how do you think founding Rhetoric Askew, an anthology series, has helped you as a writer?
Mandy: It has helped tremendously because I’ve learned how to look at a piece from an editor and publisher perspective. Being able to look at my work objectively has helped me edit and polish my stories instead of being over protective of them, I’ve learned how to improve them.
Moonlake: Cool, you can never use less objectivity when it comes to editing. Looking back, how would you have done things differently or would you have done things differently?
Mandy: At this point, I think the only thing I would do different is start pursuing writing as a career sooner.
Moonlake: I hear this said a lot in prior interviews and on some days I felt like this too. *smile* So overall, how far do you think you have progressed from your initial point?
Mandy: I think writing is a constant learning process. Of course, I’ve learned and grown since beginning with construction paper and crayon but you never reach a point in writing that you feel like you have your feet solid on the ground. That’s the beauty of the process. It’s fluid and constantly changing. I find that even with my current project which will be my debut novel, A Mother’s Instinct, that I’m learning things about writing and the business as I go. I hope I always continue to learn and never reach a point that I think I have no where else to go, that would just be depressing.
Moonlake: Well said, I agree completely. Now, do you want to tease us a little on your debut novel or is it too early yet?
Mandy: Oh, my debut novel is something I’m very excited about. It’s called A Mother’s Instinct. I can’t give too much away, but I can tell you that it’s a fine line between murder and justice. My character, Detective Ryan Woodward, learns that the hard way when a vigilante comes to town.
Moonlake: Okay, what about social media? Do you want us to start following you now? If so, please share the details with us.
Mandy: Not for myself personally but please join us at Rhetoric Askew on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/551246565025153/