Melinda Valentine was born in upstate New York. The youngest of four children (and the only girl) made it easy for her to turn to books as a companion. As a young child she was whisked away to Baltimore, Maryland. She spent her youth reading books such as Nancy Drew, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Little House on the Prairie saga.
Today Melinda calls West Virginia home, with her husband and their three hilarious children. She works full time as a bank teller and creates characters that she hopes her readers fall in love with as much as she has.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I read Stephen King’s IT when I was 12 years old. I knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to pull someone into another world and I wanted to do it in a way that stayed with them long after they read the last page. I started writing my first manuscript the day I finished that book. Spoiler alert: I was 12, it was horrible. 🙂
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? Since I still work a full time job, I have to put off my writing until the evening. I come home, make dinner for my family, and then I get to work. I usually write until 9pm. After that I spend the evening promoting, making teasers, and networking. When I’m off of the day job, I use the extra time writing.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I definitely do! I go back and reread the last two chapters. Hoping some creative lightening bolt will strike me. If I’m still struggling I take a night off before going back again. If that doesn’t work, I pull out an unfinished project and work on that for a day or two. Usually that does the trick.
4.Are you a plotter or pantser when it comes to writing a story?A pantser all the way! I have a few notes on a white board and a cork board with post its but nothing structured at all. Mainly just character names and descriptions. I don’t think I would know where to begin if I wanted to plot.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published? I am traditionally published for now.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I’m currently published with two houses. Each experience was different for me. I sent 30-35 queries between my two books. Some rejection letters came quickly. Others came after months of waiting. The worst ones asked for the full manuscript before politely declining. When you get that coveted email, the one that has the “golden ticket”, that’s when the fun begins. With my most recent book, the process was quick. I went from signed contract to release day in about 4 months. My biggest advice for aspiring authors would be to never give up. The world of publishing is subjective. Rejection letters are a part of the process. Just because your manuscript doesn’t fit with one house, that doesn’t mean it won’t be perfect for another.
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? My highlight since becoming a published author would have to be all of the incredibly talented writers I’ve met, both in person and online.
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? Best Man for the Job is a romantic suspense. It’s targeted for 18+ due to some spicy scenes. Max Fear is an ex-cop now PI, he takes it upon himself to protect Sloane Robertson after she witnesses her boss get murdered. Sparks fly instantly between the two, only she’s taken by a cheating boyfriend. While they are in close quarters alone together, can Max convince her that he’s the Best Man for the Job?
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Social media is a must, but only make profiles on the sites you will use regularly. If you never long in and post things, there’s no point in having it. Create a website and build your email list. Promote in groups geared toward readers and authors finding each other. It’s important though, that not every post is about your book. Readers want to be engaged and they want to know you. They want a connection. Think 80% everyday posts. whether it’s about your personal life, the writing process, funny memes for example to 20% of posts being “buy my book”
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book? Each book is different. I’ve written a book in 30 days. One took 3 months. I also have one that it’s been 3 years and it isn’t finished yet.
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. With Best Man, I filled out a cover art form letter describing my characters. that information was then sent to the design team. I was lucky enough to fall in love with their vision.
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? What is this spare time that you speak of? ha ha. I read a lot. I love hanging out with my family. I’m a karaoke fanatic. I really am just a big nerd.
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