Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The Writer's Brain: Mel Comley
I was a little intimidated by Mel before I met her. She had these great thrillers, a genre I was writing, and I pictured her a little like her protagonist, Lorne Simpkins, an aggressive, go-for-the-throat type. The reality, as I quickly learned, is quite different. Mel is one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you will meet and thousands of sales later just as nice and helpful to other writers as she always has been.
Her best-known books are the Lorne Simpkins crime novels, Impeding Justice and Final Justice. I am told that the third book, Cruel Justice, is the best of the lot, but it is currently in the hands of a top agent, who is looking to place the book with a traditional publisher. I wish her success, but there's no question the indie world will miss Mel if New York and London snatch her up.
If you need one other reason to envy Mel Comley, she has moved from her native England to the north of France, where she is able to devote much of her time to writing new books.
Michael: How long have you been writing? Is writing a calling for you, or did you fall into it by accident?
Mel: I’ve been writing full-time for the past ten years, before that I used to write the odd short story when I wasn’t working 70-80 hours a week at my ‘proper job’.
Michael: What is the work you are most proud of having written? Is there a particular scene, chapter or POV that you found especially challenging?
Mel: That would have to be my latest thriller, the third book in the ‘Justice’ series. The opening scene of Cruel Justice grabs you by the throat but it’s the end of the book, where the heroine’s life is in jeopardy that I found exciting to write. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a challenge though. Also, in Impeding Justice there’s one particular scene that I found emotionally challenging to write and it reduced me to tears.
Michael: What do you hope they will take away from reading your books?
Mel: Hmmm…Interesting question. I hope that readers will foremost enjoy my stories and root for my protagonist. But the main reason I wrote the Justice series is because I wanted to highlight a woman’s role in the police, I hope I’ve achieved that with Lorne Simpkins.
Michael: What would you like to accomplish as a writer? Do you have any specific goals?
Mel: I’m not in it for the potential money I can earn. I mainly write because of the enjoyment it gives me and hopefully my fans. I believe I have a gift to entertain readers, saying that you’re never going to please every reader who reads your books.
Michael: What is your writing process? Do you write by outlines or fly by the seat of your pants?
Mel: It depends, initially I have a plan in my head, when I first started writing I used to set out every chapter but as my confidence grew I’d create a general outline and as you say, now I ‘fly by the seat of my pants’. ;-)
Michael: When you start a new book, do you like to talk about it with friends and family or keep it to yourself?
Mel: I never discuss a new book with my family, to be honest they’re just not interested in what I do, that might change if I become rich though! I do discuss, if I have some plot issues, with a group of writers I’ve become very friendly with, we support each other’s work and are not afraid to tell it how it is, which is what you need being an Indie writer.
Mel's books sell well on both sides of the Atlantic. Impeding Justice is currently only 49 pence in the UK and 99 cents in the US, which is an inexpensive way to be introduced to her books.
A Twist in the Tale