Sunday, July 7, 2013

Interview with Author J.C. Mells

Here is an interview with Author J.C. Mells!
*Comment on this post for a chance to win the Pierced.*
1. What would you like included in a brief bio about you?
My parents met overseas in Iran where my father (British) worked for British Petroleum and my mother (American) was a teacher in an American school. We left Iran before the 1979 Revolution when my father retired from BP and moved us all to Spain.
When I was fifteen I was finally sent to live in England with my half-sister, where I attended the British equivalent of High School.
Having dual nationality, I was eager to move to the United States not only because America was the place of dreams and possibility, but also because it was far away from the family squabbling that arose after the death of my father. I arrived in the U.S. in September 1990.
I somehow ended up in New York City, where I eventually went back to school, earning two Master’s degrees after my Bachelor’s.
I currently live in Las Vegas, where I have been living for the last eight years. Until recently I was working for a restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. How does a gal with a Master’s from Columbia University and another from NYU end up waiting tables in a Las Vegas casino? Well, you did ask for a “brief”bio…

2. I just finished reading Pierced and  I am hooked (no pun intended). Tell me about the creation of the book?
I bought a Kindle.
As I was used to playing WoW until seven or eight o’clock in the morning seven days a week, I replaced it by reading until dawn every day. My five year World of Warcraft (WoW) addiction coupled with a night time restaurant job ensured I kept“weird” hours.
I essentially replaced one addiction with another – I could not read enough and fast enough.
I read a whole heap of awesome books over the next year – I also read some absolute crap too. Some of that“crap” I had downloaded in the first place because of some of the wonderful reviews it had received. And here is the point I have been trying to get to for the last few paragraphs! If they could do it – then why couldn’t I?    After all, some of my university professors had often told me I had a talent for writing.  So I went to work the next day and announced to my co-workers that I was going to write a book. They all laughed at me.

3. Where did your idea for Pierce's inner voices of Veda and Mildred come from?
To be honest this might sound like I am making this up, but it is totally true. I wanted a completely flawed character with social anxiety disorders, addictions and a whole heap of other “quirks,” and the inner voices started out as just that - inner voices.
I was typing on my laptop with the television on in the background with the sound turned down low so as not to distract me. I had it turned to Turner Classic Movies. Mildred Pierce came on and I found myself stopping between paragraphs to watch a scene here and there.  Somehow my character’s inner voices became Mildred and Veda. It was at this point I named her Pierce too. 

4. No spoilers, but what can I and other fans expect from Pinked?
As I work on Pinked right now, I am still fiddling with voice and tense. I really loved writing from Pierce’s POV– mainly because the scattered quirkiness of her inner dialogues is a lot how my brain is always churning.

My “dilemma” with Pinked is that, of course, I am going to have a lot from Lucas’ POV – but I think I have to have Pierce’s too. And this is what I mean by“experimenting.” Author’s usually stick with the same model within a series. I guess I want to now hear from Lucas as well as Pierce in this next book.

Without giving away too much about Pinked, I can say that my writing is more character driven than anything else. I love reading books about vampires and werewolves and empowered female characters – but I also want to know the how and the why. I also love a good romance too. But how do you deal with romantic feelings when you are a victim of abuse? Are romantic feelings even important when you have so much other stuff going on? (This is hard to write without giving Pierced spoilers too!). So in a nutshell, Pinked will lean more in the direction of a Paranormal Romance than the first book – I think!

5. What do you think sets your writing apart from others?
As this is my first series/book, I cannot say that anything does set me apart. I will state that I still consider myself a fan of the genre first and a writer second. All this means is that I am trying to address issues that always frustrate me in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres. The main one being: adapting to the times we live in.
If a teenager today went up to her best friend and said“I am a werewolf” the response would probably be“Cool.” My point here (I think!) is that a lot of current books (probably thanks to the Harry Potter franchise) are about young women/teens coming into and learning about their hidden powers. If I have to read another book about someone ending up at a school to learn about her abilities I am going to poke my eyes out (Okay, maybe I am being overly dramatic here, as there are plenty of good books that deal with this).

6. If you could spend one day with one character form Pierced who would you spend your day with, and what would you do?
Either at the Electric Daisy Carnival with Lucas (I think this may actually become a scene in Book three!), or tea and biscuits with Virendra and Pravin.

7. What are your goals going forward in your writing adventure?
My goal is probably the same as most other self-published authors out there. I dream of doing this as my main and only source of income. I have no aspirations of being the next Stephenie Meyers (is it blasphemous to admit I have never read one of her books?). Although some small degree of her success would be very welcome! I just want to be able to give up the day job and support myself solely through writing.

8. What is something about you that most people do not know?
I am pretty much an open book. Anyone can write to me and ask me anything – I love to connect. I have nothing to hide! My full name is Justine C. Mellows – but at my last job of eight years I was always called “Mells.” So that is where the J. C. Mells came from. I think it’s my only ‘secret’ – that really is not a secret at all!

Check out Author J.C. Mells on Amazon and at her website

New Author with Amazing Books: J.C. Mells

I am practicing what I have been preaching and have bought at least one book from an Indie Author a month. In June my socks were knocked off by writer J.C. Mells. I stumbled upon Mells through a post she had written about how to market your ebook when running it for free. It is a pretty extensive post that keeps growing. Seriously, it is like a Chia Pet look at it How to Promote your Self-Published book.

There I was somehow drawn to how much work she put into promoting her book Pierced here is a description below.

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Imagine the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Betty Crocker.
That’s Pierce in a nutshell.

Pierce has been on the run for two years from the man who held her captive in a vampire compound for almost a decade. Life on the run would be a lot simpler if she didn’t suffer from several social disorders and ‘quirks,’ have a ten-year-old brat in tow, as well as have two characters from a 1945 classic film living in her head and guiding her at every turn.

I surprisingly bought this book. Surprisingly because of the following:
1. I don't think I have ever read an urban fantasy/ paranormal romance. I am sure they are good, but not my style.
2. I try to avoid anything with the word vampire in it.
3. I RARELY buy books. I borrow from the library, and download free ones. I think I have bought maybe 7 books in the last year, and most of them were by well-known authors.

So, I bought the book. And . . . I loved it. How can you not buy a book that states in the description,
Imagine the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Betty Crocker.
That’s Pierce in a nutshell.

I loved it so much that I did something else uncharacteristic of me, I wrote the author and told them that I loved it & begged her to write the rest of the series. Side note: I have never read a series that was not completed yet. Narnia was completed way before I read it, Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, etc.

She came out with a 1.5 called Escaped. It is a prequel that in my opinion should be read after Pierced. So I bought Escaped and read it within 48hours of purchasing it.

So, I bought two books outside my comfort zone, connected with a new author, and scored an interview out of the deal with J.C. Mells.
Check her out. I think you will be happy you did.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Avoid the Perfect & Add the Rocky to your Writing

Ever try to use  your books as an extension or your life. Don't do that unless it is an autobiography.
Some writers get stuck in the trend of writing about things that they wished happened to them or how they wished things would happen. What they usually get is a book that is smooth sailing, happy ending, and no bumps. In other words, it is boring!

If you want to write about something you would like to achieve in life like finding the one true love, buying a house in the country, or becoming a rock star try the following:
  • Journal about it.
  • Write an outline of the story/book and then throw every speed bump, road block, and wrench into the story. You might even want the main character to not reach his/her goal.
    • True Love is a Serial Killer
    • Allergic to Dogs now that she finally can afford her dream dog.
    • The amusement park is closed. (Oh wait, that one has been done before.)
  • Accomplish the goal in real life. Get a life coach if you need it.
  • Find a way to put a spin on the story. Add a subplot, a twist, humor, etc.
  • While writing the book, think if it is interesting and does it have qualities to grab a reader's attention.
  • If all else fails, write a short story about it to get it out of your system.
Avoid creating the perfect life and trip and situation in a book. There has to be some rocky territory in there somewhere.