Authors are everywhere these days – it seems like we all know at least one person who is “aspiring”. Or who has actually gone through the process of publishing, whether it be traditionally or self-publishing. As one of those in the latter category, I like to give shout-outs to my fellows, no matter how they are (or plan to be) published. This week, I interviewed Melion Traverse, a fantasy and speculative fiction author.
MG: I’m still not quite sure how I ended up writing romance. What drew you to write fantasy and speculative fiction?
MT: Speculative fiction, particularly fantasy, attracted me because it allows me the opportunity to step outside of my own world while still exploring ideas and people. Speculative fiction is, for me at least, part escapism and part endless possibility. One day, I would like to write a historical fiction that has taken up tenancy in my brain, but I still keep finding myself drawn to mythical and supernatural themes.
MG: We all have different ideas of what’s good and what’s bad. What do you think makes a good story?
MT: Ultimately, is it entertaining? I want to be drawn into the world and feel as though I have a vested interest in the main character’s struggle. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to think as I read, but I want to also have the story transport me somewhere I cannot go with only a non-fiction book.
MG: Yes! So much of that! I like to throw in a totally random question, too, so… Who was your childhood hero?
MT: I remember these “who are your heroes?” questions from my childhood. I never understood why so many assignments, short answers, essays, short papers, etc. revolved around this question. Even when I got into high school, I was still answering this question in Spanish class. I mean, I get it now, but it drove me nuts at the time.
I’ve been self-conscious about the answer since the first grade when I said General Ulysses S. Grant and my teacher lectured me, in front of the entire class, about how he wasn’t an appropriate hero for a girl. The hell? Congrats, lady, you just made him even more of my hero. After that, I learned to just pick a pop culture icon and run with that answer. It wasn’t like anybody grading those assignments really cared, anyhow.
MG: Yeah, that’s about the way I operate too – tell me I can’t, and I will. I’ll find a way. Speaking of finding ways, do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
MT: At this point, I’ve done exactly zero marketing of my own. However, years ago I had a coworker who self-published his book and brought copies to the office to try and sell to his colleagues. When people were not interested in buying his book, he resorted to guilting people into making a purchase, or he would corner us in the breakroom and demand to know why we weren’t buying his book. When I told him to let me alone, he redoubled his efforts.
It should probably go without saying that I was less convinced to invest in a copy than I was to contact human resources and explain I would like to eat my lunch without somebody foisting a book on me while demanding to know what better uses I had for my money.
So, pro tip: leave your coworkers alone because their day job sucks just as much as yours does and all they want is to eat their lunch, go home at the end of the day, and cry into a beer about how they didn’t become astronauts (or maybe I’m projecting with that last bit).
MG: Eesh! Yeah, I don’t think I’d want my co-workers knowing what I write, so you definitely don’t need to worry about me trying to sell my books at the office! What general advice would you give to aspiring writers?
MT: Can we find a time machine so I can come back and answer this when I’m successful? Otherwise, I’m reminded of the time I was riding on the bus and a man smelling ever-so-slightly of urine sat uncomfortably close beside me and offered me advice on how to pick up hot dates. Don’t get me wrong, I bet he had lots of life experience, and I don’t doubt there were things he could’ve given me solid advice about, but he wasn’t quite selling me on dating assistance. That’s how I feel when asked to offer writing advice: thoroughly unqualified and more than a little as though I’ve just wet myself.
MG: Lol, I feel the same way! Thanks so much, Melion! It’s always inspiring to learn about authors who write in genres I “don’t” write in! (Shh! Don’t tell my dragon I don’t write fantasy! He thinks he’s still got a shot!)
Melion Traverse writes things. When not writing things, Melion still lives with one spouse, two dogs and an acceptable amount of chaos. She is occasionally found playing with swords, studying martial arts, and lifting weights. Other times, she hides with a book and an energy drink as she avoids the bowling ball-sized tumbleweeds of dog hair overwhelming her house. Melion’s short stories have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Scarlet Leaf Review, and T. Gene Davis’s Speculative Blog. Check out her haphazard blog: https://delusionsofsanityblog.wordpress.com/