This week, I pick up author Melissa Bradley at her home and she tells me she wants to go to her home away from home. So, I set the transporter controls for Paris. In no time we are sitting on the Left Bank at a pied a terre enjoying wine and fine chocolates. Now this is nice. The City of Lights, a fine wine, and a wonderful author. Onto the questions...
1. Who is Melissa Bradley and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
Wow, most fascinating in my city…I’m sexy and smart and… Oh wait that’s a personal ad, ahem sorry. LOL I don’t know as I am fascinating, really, but I love to hang out with a variety of people from all walks of life and learn about things that take me out of my comfort zone.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I am an avid NFL junkie and do nothing on Sundays in the Fall, but watch football. I will not answer my phone unless it is to discuss the games and I know who those people are, they are on my list. I’m so addicted I play Fantasy Football, too. I also love to bowl, both in the actual alleys and on the Wii, where I am Goddess of the lanes.
3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming an nuclear scientist?
Nuclear scientist was out because I hate math. I suck at it completely. I guess it would have to be the voices in my head and the freedom to make up my own universes and control everything in them. LOL Rather maniacal, aren’t I? I also got inspired by the works of C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume and a horde of romance authors I read on the sly without my parents’ knowledge.
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I would absolutely love to have dinner with Liz Williams, Edeet Ravel, Stephen King, John Stewart, Michio Kaku and J.K. Rowling. I find them extremely interesting people and I adore their writing. I can just imagine the fun I’d have talking to them around the dinner table with awesome food and drink.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?
My books would be great company because they are funny, sexy and have an edge to them. They’re filled with loads of snappy dialogue and would make the time fly for sure. I was told by someone that they are not bad for rereads, either.
6. Share the Bradley process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.
I never really thought of my whole process per se. I would have to say that my inspiration for stories comes from all different places so I always have a notebook handy. When something or someone strikes my fancy, I start making notes. I get out whatever is in my brain. Then I develop plot or characters or setting, whichever I feel most like working on. The next step is fleshing out the story. I do general research first, saving the more specific stuff for when I do the writing. I don’t know what’s necessary until I’m actually working on it. I have a variety of research methods that include Google, reading and interviewing.
I don’t have a set schedule for writing just now, but I’m trying to work on that. I tend to write mostly when I’m in the mood because things flow better. As for an outline, I sort of do one, but I’m mostly a pantser.
I edit as I write, which means I take a long time to get a manuscript finished in the first draft. Then I do another round of edits, take it to my crit partners, then do a final edit. After that, it’s off to wherever that particular story is going, whether it’s my current publisher or someplace new. There’s a query involved with some place new so that involves some extra steps.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
My advice is to start writing. When inspiration hits start to outline, jot down scenes that pop in your head, anything, but keep writing. The important thing is to get out whatever’s in your head first. You can work from there, shaping it, adding, subtracting, etc. Everyone’s writing style is different so remember to do what’s best for you. Once you’re finished, then comes the editing, beta reading, querying, etc. Also, try to network with other writers as much as possible. You can learn a lot about the craft and the business side of writing.
8. I saw an amusing t-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
I love that saying. I’ve spent a lot of my life hugging the corners and riding the pine because of various things that have happened, but I’ve been working past all that and one thought that helps me through is let the bodies hit the floor. Stuff is going to happen to matter what you do. No one can live your life, but you and you have to just get out there or you’ll end up living a life you hate.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
Nah, I could never stop writing. Too many voices in my head. LOL I have two sequels planned for two current stories, Michael’s Keeper and Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf. I also have a zombie story and a historical planned.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
People can find me by visiting my blog, Melissa’s Imaginarium at http://melissasimaginarium.blogspot.com/, or on My Space at http://myspace.com/melbwrites.