I’m with Melanie Comley, bestselling indie author of the thrillers Cruel Justice, Impeding Justice and Final Justice as well as two romances, A Time To Heal and A Time For Change.
JJ: Mel, I’ve read your short bio in the anthology 25 Indie Chicks, so we can start there. I gather you broke up with your husband in 1993 and moved to France on the spur of the moment, in 2000. In France, you and your mother bought a farmhouse with barns, and converted and renovated it, so that you had your own living accommodation and a gite. Have I got everything right so far?
MC: You have indeed. 😉
JJ: My first question is this: Didn’t you regret leaving friends and family behind when you moved out of England?
MC: Not really. The pull to leave England was far greater than the one telling me to stay. Most of my family have followed us to France anyway, and friends know they can always visit.
JJ: You don’t have the complication of children, I guess?
MC: No. But I have two demanding dogs who insist on dragging me round our village every morning.
JJ: Did you speak any French before you left?
MC: I learnt French at school but I’d forgotten most of it by the time we settled here.
JJ: How’s your French now?
MC: I don’t speak much French now, almost 12 years later! Lol The trouble is every time I try to speak it the French people converse in English back because they want to improve their English. So it’s made me very lazy. Also, learning a new language is very hard and I wouldn’t be able to devote the same amount of time to my writing as I do now if I practiced French more.
JJ: You say you never think about your life back in England. So have you put down roots in France? How would you feel if you had to sell up and return to England?
MC: That’s a no-brainer for me, I would do all I could to remain in France. England is far too expensive to live compared to France. I have a beautiful house that has beamed ceilings. The same kind of house in England would be three times the price.
JJ: About your writing: You have written 2 romances and 3 thrillers, so far. Which do you prefer writing and why?
MC: I love writing thrillers because you definitely get an adrenaline rush. I try to incorporate the same sort of style in my romances too. They’re pacey with plenty of action.
JJ: You say that, when you made it through the Authonomy process, Harper Collins were only interested in publishing celebrity autobiographies. Did they actually say that, or is this your own interpretation of the situation?
MC: My review from them was excellent. They even said that Impeding Justice was one of the best books on the site. If that was the case then why didn’t they take a gamble? In the last year Impeding Justice has sold over 75,000 copies, you can make up your own mind who was right and who was wrong.
JJ: What can you tell us about Authonomy? Is it, as people say, a popularity contest, where the writer with the most friends gets to the top, not the writer with the most talent?
MC: I don’t think that’s the case, as I’ve already explained they thought my book was one of the best on the site. I used the site to improve my writing and hone my skills. I’d advise anyone with writing ambitions to join the site, not to make a dash for the desk, but just to improve their writing full stop.
JJ: After your phenomenal success with your eBooks, you signed with Richard Curtis, a New York agent. Why? Why not continue on the indie path? Why fix something that isn’t broken? And why give a huge chunk of your income to a middle-man?
MC: You raise some valid points there and this time last year I would’ve agreed with you, but the opportunities an agent can offer far outweigh what Indies can achieve by themselves. Movie contracts for instance. At the moment I still have the Indie rights to my books, so I’m not giving the agent a percentage until he comes up with a terrific deal. 😉
JJ: Which of your books has sold the most?
MC: Impeding Justice, it’s been out just over a year now.
JJ: Are there other genres that you might try?
MC: No, definitely not. I only read thrillers and romances so I could never see myself tackling another genre.
JJ: Is there anything else that you’d like to tell people about yourself, past, present or future?
MC: I’ve always worked 70-80 hours a week, whether as a Supermarket Manager or a Pub Landlady or Interior Designer, being an Indie writer has increased the hours I work by at least 20. Anyone considering embarking on the Indie route with their writing should bear in mind this business is tough. Don’t venture into it thinking you’ll pay off your mortgage in a year, because you won’t!
You can find my books on my two blog sites.