Today’s featured author is talented in more ways than one. She’s a journalist, author, and also runs a cover-design business with her husband — and it shows. Her covers are sexy and memorable. Melinda De Ross writes paranormal romance, and her latest release, The Plot, is just out. Melinda has written eight books, and some of those have even been translated into Romanian — her native tongue.
Thanks for joining us today, Melinda. You’ve obviously always loved writing, but at what age or time in your life did you realize that fiction writing was for you?
Hello, and thank you for having me as a guest! You’re right, I’ve always loved writing, and I love reading even more. I was working as a journalist ever since I was eighteen and writing poetry for the high school magazine. However, I truly discovered fiction writing when I was about twenty-three. (That is, excluding the cheesy and very improbable romance story I wrote when I was fifteen or so.)
To get serious, I wrote my first novella, a Paranormal Romance called Rendezvous, when I was twenty-three. The writing started as a form of therapy, as I was going through a very difficult time at that moment. It never occurred to me it would get published. To my amazement, it was, a little over a year later, after I translated it into English. Now, three years and two publishers later, my debut story is available on Amazon, and I have discovered that writing is not only one of my greatest passions, but my chosen career. I guess it chose me as much as I chose it.
Being Romanian, do you write the first draft in English or Romanian?
I’ve only written my first two books in Romanian, then translated them in English. Both Rendezvous and A French Kiss in London are now published in English and Romanian, but all of my other books are written in English. I prefer writing in English because, even though Romanian is also a very rich and melodious language, I feel I can express myself better in English. It’s the language of my heart.
What a lovely sentiment!
Do you read a wide range of genres, or do you only love to read paranormal romance?
As I said, I love reading, and I’m never parted from my i-Pod and my collection of hundreds of audio books. I like and have read books in mostly any genre, especially in my teens, when I read as much for love, as for the thirst of knowledge and having a solid general culture. However, Romance in all of its subgenres is my favorite.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are hundreds of them, but the names on the top of my list would be Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon, Jilly Cooper, Mary Stewart, Janet Evanovich… Not necessarily in that order.
If you’re looking for book ideas or need to fix a plot problem, what do you do for inspiration?
I usually have a dozen book ideas in my head, and my technique to put a book together is to inspire myself from wherever I can, but most of all from facts of life. I just finished a Romantic Comedy, which is mostly written from notes. I note everything I hear and see — a funny incident, a joke, something I see on the street or hear in the supermarket. There’s nothing more entertaining than life and people. That is my greatest inspiration.
Do you have a special place to write?
In my bedroom, with my laptop across my knees. I know it’s the unhealthiest habit and that is why I take vows to break it every day. So far, I’ve only managed to burden myself with a number of health problems involving my back, and with fibromyalgia.
Can you tell us about your new release, The Plot?
Well, the first thing I can say about The Plot is that it’s very different from what I’ve written so far, because it touches several sensitive subjects: human trafficking, prostitution, crime, and other things that our society is trying to hide. It is the story of a Japanese young woman who falls victim to a Chinese triad and its human trafficking network. The book shows Yoko’s journey from abuse, escape, revenge and finally, healing by falling in love. It’s a deeply emotional story, and I confess it was difficult to write at times, because I get very involved with each of my characters, and even though it has a happy ending, this young woman starts by being traumatized. I think of The Plot as a literary version of tremendously successful movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Pretty Woman, Memoirs of a Geisha, and other such masterpieces.
Do you write series books or standalones novels, or both?
What do you love most about being a writer, and what do you like the least?
I love that I can make my own schedule, and I hate research the most. It’s absolute hell to have to read dozens of pages about something just to write a paragraph. However, I do learn a lot of new stuff.
Do you have a favourite of all the books you’ve written, and what makes that book so special to you?
I love all of my books, because I pour my heart and soul into them, and each one has a piece of me in it. At the moment, I am very fond of The Plot, because as I said, it’s a strong, emotional story, and I made myself fall in love with Mark Chandler, the extremely attractive hero, who is a rather charming professional thief by night and art dealer by day. I think the most special thing about this book is the way Mark finds enough tenderness and patience within himself not only to accept Yoko’s past, but also to help her heal from her traumas and years of physical and emotional abuse.
One of your most interesting stories is Falling for Italy, where Sonia, the heroine, is a real tough target-shooting instructor with an addiction for fashion. How did you come up with that idea?
Sonia is kind of my alter ago. I was a professional target-shooter myself for over a decade, and I love a woman with a gun in her hand. Plus, I’m also addicted to fashion, to my husband’s distress. There’s something simply irresistibly sexy about a good-looking, well-dressed woman handling a gun, and I think the hero — the gorgeous Italian CEO, Giovanni Coriola — agreed. Writing that book was an incredible experience, and it’s not only one of my personal favorites, but has also been voted by readers as one of my best books.
Wow, you definitely put a lot of energy and passion into your work. Thanks so much for joining us!
Readers, if you want to check out Melinda’s books, there’s three below you can click on to go to Amazon, with the latest release on sale for 99 cents for a limited time, and if you want to keep up to date with what Melinda’s writing, you can follow her on Twitter @Melinda_de_ross, Facebook or her website. Happy reading!