Welcome to the fifth Writing Festival Friday, posted late on Friday evening thanks to my incredibly busy schedule earlier today.
The winner of the most recent Writing Festival Friday drawing is Jennifer Gladen. I’ll be sending her interview questions within a few days. Congratulations, Jennifer!
Last week’s winner was Mel Trent, a prolific writer of short stories, novels, reviews, and more. Her interview is posted below.
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Before we get to the interview, I need to remind everyone that the way to enter this weekly interview contest is to make a comment on this article with your website or book links if you have any, and/or information about your writing. I’ll chose the winner next Friday via random drawing. The winner gets interviewed for the following Writing Festival Friday.
You can make your comment any time during the coming week. Comment on the most recent Writing Festival Friday entry at Perspectives on Writing. Writers of all genres are welcome to participate.
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I’m excited to have a great interview to post today. Mel Trent, the winner of last week’s drawing, has written short stories and novels including The Immortal Guns of Talon Konstantine. She’s also a talented non-fiction author with a book for sale at Lulu, Absolutely, Positively True Stories and a series of detailed anime reviews found online through her page at Piker Press.
Linda: I’ve been looking through your archived articles, fiction, and poetry at Piker Press. Why did you decide to start writing for Piker Press, and how has it changed you and your writing?
Mel: I discovered Piker Press in early 2005 after following a link in a National Novel Writing Month participant’s signature. After hanging around the forums and reading their weekly issues, I decided it was a good place to finally try my hand at submitting my work. I started with a short poem, and in April of 2005, I won a poetry contest. After that, senior editor Alex Queen asked me to write anime reviews for the Press. I’ve been writing for so long without even trying to publish anywhere. It really was past time to get started on it. I don’t think it’s really changed my writing any, but it’s given me a lot of confidence. Because of the response I’ve gotten at Piker Press, I know that I am a good writer and that there is an audience for my work. I now feel that I can move on to bigger and better things.
Linda: What themes can we expect to find in your short stories and novels?
Mel: I think that themes are organic. The characters will tell you what your themes are as you move along. I don’t start out with themes in mind. I like to ask readers what themes they see in my work. That said, the themes I notice in my writing are things like revenge, spirituality and faith versus religion, and relationships, especially non-traditional relationships. I like to explore the dynamics in a romantic relationship between two men or a single father and his daughter or how one person’s secrets can affect his interactions with his entire family. Part of that is because of my own experiences. The rest is because I love observing people. It’s one of my favorite pastimes, behind writing and reading, of course.
Linda: What are your writing goals now?
Mel: My current writing goals are to finish up a short story I’ve been working on for a while now and then concentrate on NaNoWriMo. After that, I will probably look to edit some more recent short stories for another Lulu project and start looking into publishers for the long fantasy novel I wrote for NaNo in 2004. I’m also currently gathering information and resources to possibly produce a podcast about writing early in 2008.
Linda: What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Mel: The best thing for aspiring writers to do, I think, is to write. Every day. Write in a journal. Write poetry. Write drabbles. Just write. Practicing the craft is the only way to get good at it. Equally important is to read as much as possible. It’s a good way to explore how so-called “professionals” go about it. Another thing I find helpful is to have a creative outlet that isn’t writing, whether it’s music, painting, knitting, scrapbooking or whatever. You don’t have to be good at it; it just has to be something you enjoy. When faced with a writer’s block, being creative in some way that has nothing to do with writing is better medicine than staring at a blank page or screen and kicking yourself for not being able to write.
Mel recommends The Literacy Site – a “click to give” donation site that funds free books for children.