About Melanie Surani:
Melanie Surani is a blogger, hair stylist, and author with a heart for international travel. She grew up in Memphis, Tennessee before taking extended trips to Canada, Germany, and Philadelphia.
When she isn’t cutting hair, Melanie is thinking about ways to kill people (for mystery novels). DVDs of British comedies help keep her calm. She lives with her husband and cat in New York City, where she is hard at work on her next novel with Booktrope Publishing.
Her previous work includes The Morning After, Commanding Disappointment, A Body in a Seat, A Similar Fate, and The Silent Treatment, a novel soon-to-be republished by Booktrope.
Melanie is a member of the International Thriller Writers society. Her fiction can be found anywhere ebooks are sold.
What inspires you to write?
There are a lot of things going on in my mind, and sometimes the only way to get rid of them is to write them down. Either I’ll want to tell someone off, or something happened and I can’t stop dwelling on it, but once I write it down, either it’s not interesting enough to keep thinking about, or I keep it going and it becomes fiction. Either way, the “problem” becomes something else, and I don’t have to think about it in the same way anymore.
Writing is also about entertaining myself. If you couldn’t tell, I’ve got an overactive imagination, and the best way to continue certain fantasies is to write them down and expand on them. Hopefully, that entertains you too.
Tell us about your writing process.
I plan everything out when I write. I structure my outline by taking the most basic version of the story (one line, if possible), and slowly expand on it.
“Man stumbles upon a murdered woman.”
Then I’ll ask myself who the man and woman are. Where are they when they meet? What were they doing that led to the woman being murdered? Each answer leads to more questions, and I answer until they’re all done. Then I’m finished with the outline.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do a little of both. First, I tell them what to do (in the outline), but once I fill in the scenes with dialogue and body language, they don’t always cooperate. I’ll say, “Wait a minute, Steve, I need you to say this to her or the whole next scene won’t work.” And Steve says, “I gotta do it this way.” So he does, and the next scene is a little different because of it. And that’s okay with me, because I love being surprised by where the story goes.
What advice would you give other writers?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how much you want to be published, the real joy is in writing for its own sake. If you’re not writing because you love it, it’s not worth doing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I started by self-publishing, which wasn’t for me. I couldn’t afford to hire an editor or cover designer, so my book didn’t suffered. When I heard about Booktrope (a hybrid publisher), I wanted to be part of it. They provided me with a team to work on my books (editor, manager, proofreader, cover design), who all get paid a percentage of sales commission. It’s still not much money, but my books look amazing and I have something I can be proud of.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing is changing a lot, but I think there will always be gatekeepers. We as readers need them. Heck, authors need them. I don’t think the written word (i.e. books) will ever go away. Tablets and readers are perfectly fine (the other day I was reading my Kindle and wondering what my 15 year old self would have thought about Star Trek-type technology in the near future). As long as humans are around, we’ll have stories to tell. We’ve used cave paintings, scrolls, books, stage, film, and the internet to get our messages out, and we’ll tell stories on whatever comes out in the future.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: mystery, suspense, literary, mainstream
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.