Bright Lights #9 - Melodie Ramone - After Forever Ends
I'm biased, I admit it. Despite having lived in the US for *counts on fingers* several years, I still consider myself Scottish. I like to promote all things Scottish, whether its the proper pronunciation of words or reminding everyone of the fact that everything was invented by the Scots, I'm there.
(NOTE: Everything WAS invented by the Scots. That's no idle boast. We can argue about that later...)
So, when I was introduced to Melodie and found out her book contained a Scottish character and that she herself had some Scottish blood running through her veins, I had to interview her. Fortunately, she agreed and so without further ado...I give you Miss Melodie Ramone
Q - Hello Melodie, tell me a little about your book After Forever Ends.
After Forever Ends is the life story of a simple, yet extraordinary Scottish girl who meets an anything but average Welsh boy that changes her world forever. The book is really about a lot of things. It’s a character driven story about how life deals surprises. It’s about faith and love, strength, and loss. Mostly, it’s about surviving in a world that isn’t always fair and having the courage keep laughing in spite of it all. And learning how important it is to believe in things that cannot be seen.
Q - You self-published because you were determined to do it all your way. Will you continue to self-publish your stories or are you going to try pitching one of your future works to an agent/publisher?
Oh, my God. You have no idea. I am such a rebel. I mean…really. I actually wear combat boots and walk around in a denim jacket that has a Sid Vicious button on it. No joke. Tell me what to do and I’ll do the opposite. Ask me nice and maybe I’ll play along. Hee. I’ve dealt with the traditional publishing industry for years and what I’ve learned is that Corporate America and I do not get along. Hahaha! They HATE me! So, my intention is to always self-publish, but for various reasons. For complete freedom of expression, YES! For total control of my work, finances and my time, YES! (I have never really understood why I should share my money with somebody who didn’t do any of the work, but that’s a different story.) And, yet, I can’t say if someone approached me with a book/movie deal that I wouldn’t jump straight off my soapbox and tear the paper with my pen signing on the dotted line. So, I’ll be self-publishing until that little fantasy comes true. That is potentially a really, really…really…long time.
Q - After Forever Ends caught my attention immediately when I read the blurb and it talked about Scotland and Wales. What made you choose these locations, is it because these places resonate with you or was it just more suited to the story?
I’m Scottish on my Dad’s side and Welsh on my mother’s. Even though I haven’t been back in years, the UK, in general, is just like home for me. I’ve never been anywhere where I felt like I was supposed to be except for there. When I wrote After Forever Ends, I wanted it to encompass all the amazing joy and crushing pain I have known in my life. To embrace that joy, the location had to be the happiest place I have ever known, which was in Powys, Wales. And Scotland! Ah! Home again! My heart is Scottish and home is Edinburgh, so Silvia, the main character, had to be Scottish as well or I could not have put as much into her.
Q - As a self-publisher, how do you go about handling editorial and cover duties? Do you have reliable Beta Readers to help you weed out errors or do you work on all of it yourself?
Well, everybody needs an editor, that’s for sure. You’re making a huge mistake if you don’t get one. I tend to read my book out loud to myself about 10 or 12 million times, then force my husband to sit while I read it to him 14 or 15 million more times. I fix things as I go along, because I write in first person and if the “voice” is not that of the character, none of it is true. After that, I’ll chuck it out there for Beta Readers, but I have to admit that I am not ever in a hurry to put something I’ve written out for the world to see. To me, my work is very personal, so I’m careful about how it’s displayed. Oh, and I do my own covers. Just because I’m a control freak and I’d rather spend my money on sour Skittles and Starbucks.
Q - You and I have something in common: shyness. My Spartan guise on Twitter is more outgoing than me in person. How do you deal with self-promotion and marketing your story to your audience? Does the relative anonymity of the internet make it easier for you? (It does for me)
It is much easier for me to deal with people from inside a box than it is face to face. I HATE talking on the telephone. Seriously, it sends me into fits. I’m not much better face to face, either. I am terribly shy and I have a mean face. Haha! It’s true! If I’m not smiling everybody thinks I’m angry and if I smile too much they think I’m mental! Plus, when I’m serious or thinking really hard, I scowl. My eyebrows knot together, my lips purse and I glare. That, combined with the red hair, gives off some kind of demonic vibe that frightens a lot of people away. So, yeah, the internet makes it easier for everybody! That way when I’m thinking before I answer nobody runs away.
Q - You've had moments in your life when you've stopped writing for one reason or another but you've come back to it, what is it about writing that draws you back?
I can’t NOT write. I write all the time. Whether it’s in my head or on paper, I’m always writing. I’ve tried to be a normal person with a normal job and I was terrible at it. Really, I got fired. A lot. I’m not normal by any means. I’m creative and smart-assy and sassy and a little wild by nature. Very much out of the box. You know, some people are healers and some people are good with machines. People like me are storytellers and if we don’t tell stories, we get a little crazy and things…dishes, pencils, job relations, and even personal relationships…get broken. A lot of people don’t get that, but with any artist, you either love us or you leave us alone. Both are all right with us, we’re busy building universes either way.
Q - How often do you write? Is it difficult for you to find time to write or do you have a set "writing time"?
Lately, I sit down and write only in small spurts. When I really get into my groove, though, the whole world goes bye-bye. I’ll write from seven in the morning until after midnight. My family throws sandwiches at me and occasionally reminds me that they have a piano lesson. Other than that, I’m o-u-t until it’s all written down.
Q - Do you have a favorite place to write?
Not really. I can write anywhere, except with violent television going, like gunfire, or if there’s music. Not music I choose, mind, but something somebody else is blaring. I get all evil when that goes on. I mean…that IS why Physicists invented headphones. Duh! Rude much?
Q - What kind of story interests you? Do you read the same stories you like to write?
Uhm…I don’t AT ALL write the kinds of books I like to read. I actually love fiction, but I don’t read a whole lot of it because I’m obsessed with Science and History. Most of what I read is historical biographies and books on Physics. I’ve actually tried to write some historical fiction and some science fiction, but it never works out. I get too detailed and it gets really boring. Sigh.
Q - Where do your ideas stories and characters come from generally?
The characters in After Forever Ends are mostly real people. A couple are a compilation of different people. But After Forever Ends is a mostly true story, so that stands to reason. As far as my other characters from other books I’ve written…I have no idea. Sometimes I think I channel inter-dimensional beings because they are so different from I am.
Q - The common mantra given to writers is "write what you know", does this apply to your writing in any way?
Yes. Only my mantra is “Write what you know and then make shit up.” That, and, “Write it quick while it’s hot and check facts later”.
Q - What do you think are your particular strengths as a writer? Dialog, action, description...what are you most comfortable with?
I’m very comfortable with dialogue…usually, anyway. I’m best conveying an emotional situation, though. Probably because I’ve led a highly emotionally charged life.
Q - What is the reaction to those around you, family and close friends, about your writing?
I’ve always written. They’re just like, “Yes, she’s at it again. Nobody speak to her and somebody toss her a sandwich before she passes out.”
Q - What are your thoughts on the uses of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter etc) for writers. Has it helped in your development as an author?
God, I love Twitter. Almost my entire platform is based on Twitter and it’s been ultra-successful in helping me meet the right people and make sales. I don’t use Facebook. It’s a long story. But Goodreads is wonderful, too, and I’ve enjoyed using that site both personally and professionally.
Q - You talk about having a love of words on your blog, give me one or two of your favorite words and tell me why you like them.
Some of my favorite words are very, very un-PC, so I can’t go telling you them. They’re not racist or mean or anything, but they’re not nice either. I just think they’re funny. Other people do not. Oh, well. So my favorite nice words? That’s really hard because I love all sorts of words. Lemme think…OK. I like the word “Celestial” very much. I like the meaning, I like the sound, and I even like the way it looks written down.
Q - Do you have any current favorite authors/books?
I have authors that are very special to me, who wrote books that changed my life. I’d have to include Louisa May Alcott, SE Hinton, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman in those. And too many poets to list. But I’ve had hundreds of favorite books, books that made their way into my heart and stayed there. The latest two that touched me deeply were written by independent authors. The first was “Watching Swifts” by RJ Askew and the second was “Invisible” by Jeanne Bannon. Every once in awhile, somebody reaches in and grabs your soul and you just go, “Oh, my Gosh! I GET this!” Both of them managed to do it to me.
Q - How important is it for a writer to also be a reader?
I think it really depends. Sometimes reading can really influence your style. It happens to everybody. You read a book and a bit gets caught in your head, you write your own book and somebody goes, “Uh…Twilight, Anybody?” D’oh! It’s a subconscious thing, really, and happens easily. I honestly try to avoid anything on the best sellers list for at least five years. But, what’s important for a writer is to be SMART. You don’t learn a thing in school. You learn in from living life and from reading books. So, yes, it’s important to READ, but it’s not so important to be trendy about it. Man, I hope any of that made sense.
Q - Library or Bookstore?
Both, but if one had to go and another stay, I’d choose library. Nobody should be denied a book because they’re too broke to buy it.
Q - Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Q - Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Sometimes I listen to music. But it has to be perfect and it’s usually the same song over and over again. Keeps me in a groove.
Q - How do you choose your next story?
Q - How do you choose your next story?
My stories choose me. I never know what’s going to come through my fingertips. I just listen to the disembodied voices and type as fast as I can.
Q - Do you have any advice for newbie writers? Those who are yet to start on their journey?
The best advice I can give any writer, newbie or not, is just to write. Write, write, write and then write some more. Never stop writing. Never give up, never surrender and never, ever listen to the people who discourage you or say that you’re not good enough. Wanna know a secret? Nobody’s good enough. But we all have a voice and every soul has a story to tell. So use your voice and tell your story. And there will always be somebody who thinks you stink, but as soon as you get a kick in the pants from them, somebody else is going to love you. There is always somebody who will get it. And that’s who you’re talking to, not the others. So just keep going and…shine on, Baby. Shine on and shine bright.
And finally - You're going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1 movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or real...it matters not) What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY?
1 book? Really? OMG. I’m on a desert island…wow. OK, well, I don’t know a title, but I want a book on how to survive on a desert island, complete with details on what you can eat safely and how to find clean water. 1 piece of music? I’m going to take the liberty of saying this is an album and tell you it has to be The Cure, Japanese Whispers. I don’t really do dessert, but if I had to have one it would be chocolate chip cookies. And who to share the island with? I’d have to tell you I’d take another Indie author called Carey Heywood (@Careylolo) because we’d have each other laughing the whole time and I don’t think we’d ever run out of something to talk about.
My thanks to Melodie for stopping by. Please check out Melodie's links and pick up a copy of her book AFTER FOREVER ENDS. Available right now!