Sunday, February 7, 2010
Author Interview: Melanie Atkins
I have the privilege of interviewing Melanie Atkins today. This is Melanie's second visit to my blog, and she's here to share a bit more about herself, her journey, and her new book, Prime Suspect -- the second release in her New Orleans Detective series through Desert Breeze Publishing.
Shawna: Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Melanie: I'm a multi-published author of romantic suspense, I love crime dramas, and I love to read. Writing is more than an escape for me—it’s what I do. I grew up in the Deep South listening to my relatives spin tall tales, and some of it must have rubbed off.
Shawna: When did you first become interested in writing?
Melanie: Well, I wrote stories about my cats when I was little, and I managed to scratch out a few short stories in high school and college. Guess you could say I've always written.
Shawna: What genre do you prefer writing/reading? And why does this genre appeal to you?
Melanie: Romantic Suspense/Suspense/Thrillers -- Because I love being on the edge of my seat and get a high from the tension that hums across my nerves when I experience those stories. I hope to do the same for my readers.
Shawna: Can you tell us a little about the ups and downs on your journey to publication?
Melanie: Everything went smoothly until my first publisher went belly up and I, along with many other authors, had to fight to get my rights back. They were eventually returned and I've been able to resell many of those books, but the entire experience was traumatic. I now spread my work around. Don't want to put all my eggs in one basket again.
Shawna: Wow! And that's good advice to pass on to those of us just starting out.
How do you approach a new project? Do you research and plot before you write? Or do you have a general idea and just go to it and see where it leads?
Melanie: A little bit of both. The story I'm working on now required some research before I started. I did that, wrote a few chapters, and then stopped to plot.
Shawna: Will you tell us about the New Orleans Detective series, and your newest book, Prime Suspect?
Melanie: Well, for starters, I love New Orleans. I only live three hours away and went to college even closer than that, so I've spent a lot of time there. I adore the city. From the quaint homes in the Garden District, to the wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter, to the green confines of City Park. I enjoy the history, the romance. The resilient people. I'm also fascinated with cops. I used to be married to one. Personal differences aside, I truly admire what he does and tip my hat to all of the men and women in blue. New Orleans + cops = my series. PRIME SUSPECT is the second book in that series. In this story, New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Marisa Cooper prosecutes murderers for a living, but the tables are turned on her when her ex-husband is found dead in her garage. To prove her innocence, she must team up with her former fiancée, Slade Montgomery, the detective who risks his career--and his heart--to help her find the real killer.
Shawna: Sounds intriguing! Can't wait to read it. Before I move on I'd like to congratulate you and the state of Louisiana on the Saint's Super Bowel victory. Woohoo!
Okay, about the book -- can you give us a little history on the characters, including how you developed them , and what endears them to you?
Melanie: The heroine, Marisa Cooper, is an ADA who used to be a defense attorney. She clashes big time with the hero, Slade Montgomery, a "cop's cop" after she's suspected of murdering her ex-husband. I love the juxtaposition of an officer of the court being accused of a crime. The idea was just too good to pass up -- especially when Marisa must depend on Slade--the man she left standing at the altar--to help prove her innocence.
Shawna: What do you hope to be able to accomplish through your writing?
Melanie: I want to entertain, to give people an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
Shawna: Any ideas for future projects?
Melanie: I'm working on a gritty single title suspense right now. Don’t want to give anything away, so I'll just say it's set closer to where I live and involves some tough subjects. I hope to bring light to a dark area that's not often explored.
Shawna: Other than your book, which I'm certainly looking forward to reading, do you have any recommendations you'd like to pass along?
Melanie: I have another book that was released from another publisher in December. SKELETON BAYOU is a single title romantic suspense set in South Louisiana. So far, it's gotten terrific reviews. You can read more about it on my website at http://www.melanieatkins.com/
Thank you, Melanie! And best of luck to you with your new book and future releases.
Melanie has a treat for us! A heart necklace and earrings for one lucky person who tells us the name of the next book in the series after Prime Suspect. The answer is on her blog at http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com. Just answer in the comment section, but hurry. Winner is whoever's first!