Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Interview with Melanie Wells!

I was given the honor of interviewing suspense writer Melanie Wells on her thrilling "Day of Evil" series. The first book, released in 2005, "When the Day of Evil Comes" gave readers nation wide chills every time they saw a fly afterward. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read it and see for yourself! Second in the series is "The Soul Hunter", an equally creepy and extremely well written novel in bookstores now!

Melanie Wells is the founder and director of Lifeworks, a Christian counseling community located in Dallas, Texas. Her books are guaranteed to leave nibbled fingernails and gasps of shock in their wake. If you're searching for a real page turner and a well plotted story with a fun, sarcastic voice, look no farther!

Betsy: So, Melanie, how did you get the idea for “When the Day of Evil Comes”?

Melanie: I had a dream one night when I was spending the night at my best friend Trish Murphy’s house. She’s a singer/songwriter (www.trishmurphy.com) and I was there for a week of writing. My dream was about a creepy, skinny pasty white guy with a slash on his back. In the dream, we were at Barton Springs in Austin. There was something about a ring and a necklace. The whole thing seemed very real and invasive – like the white dude was actually IN my thoughts, as though he were real. I woke up and wrote the dream down and spent the day writing the first chapter of When the Day of Evil Comes. Trish and I went to Barton Springs that afternoon and spent the time talking about the story. We named Peter Terry after two ex-boyfriends we don’t like. ::grin::

Betsy: Well that's one way to create a character's name! So, have you had any experiences with spiritual warfare like the character in your stories?

Melanie: Some of the stories in the book actually did happen to me. The fly thing, for instance, which seems to get everyone riled up. It’s apparently pretty universal to have eerie experiences with flies. Mine happened at a very terrible time in my life, when I felt oppression from all sides – we’ve all been there – and the entire scene had a creepy, other-worldly quality about it. I wrote the fly chapter in the middle of the night that night. There are lots of other stories – some of which show up in the books and some of which just inspire the ideas. If I tell you about them all, I will sound like a wacko. So let’s just leave it at that.

Betsy: Wow. What made you decide to start writing fiction in the first place?

Melanie: I’d always wanted to be a writer. I made feeble stabs at it over the years. None of my efforts were any good. I was reading through some of that old material tonight, just laughing at myself. I was living in Steamboat Springs, CO, about 10 years ago and had a lot of time on my hands. It snowed 15 feet in one month. So I started writing a story and it turned into a book. I learned how to write while I was working on that manuscript. After that I was hooked. It’s sitting on an editor’s desk in NYC right now. I hope it finally finds a home.

Betsy: I'd say based on your success so far, the chances are great that it will! ::grin:: So, Melanie, can you relate at all to the character of Dylan Foster? How similar are the two of you?

Melanie: We’re really not much alike. The one similarity we have is our mutually poor attitude. I just can’t do the whole paint-by-numbers thing. Corporate Christianity has always been a struggle for me, and as a result, I think my spirituality has always been solitary and edgy and a little bit uncomfortable in the mainstream. Dylan and I do share that. She’s my small voice shouting into the howling wind. Her strange personality quirks (her obsessive personality, her solitary existence) are all hers. Also, I’m a better girlfriend than she is. She really doesn’t deserve David. He’s too good for her. ::grin::

Haha! Well, from your bios, I can tell you’re a big fan of Texas. Have you always lived in the Lone Star State? And is the saying really true – we shouldn’t “mess with Texas?” ::grin::

Melanie: I was born and raised here in Texas, of course. So it’s really a sin for me to live anywhere else. But I have strayed a few times. I spent some time in Vail and in Steamboat Springs. I loved both places, but the map on the TV weather just looked WRONG to me. What can I say? And definitely, you should not mess with Texas. We are the one state in the U.S. with permission to fly our state flag at the same level with the Stars and Stripes. That’s because we were once a sovereign nation. We still think we are, which is a problem for everyone but us.

Betsy: Were you surprised at the huge success of your first fiction novel?

Melanie: Yes, actually. You never know what to expect. You throw it out there in the ether and just wince, hoping you don’t get flattened. You make plans to explode your computer with bleach and ammonia, and then the reviews start to come in and you go, “Hey! Come look at this!” and haul your friends to see your poster at the bookstore. It’s a pretty nice surprise, really.

I bet it was! Tell us - how many Peter Terry books will there be?

Melanie: There are two so far – When the Day of Evil Comes, and The Soul Hunter. I’m working on the third one, tentatively titled Suffer the Little Children. Multnomah, my publisher, was just bought by Random House, though. So I don’t know whether this book will see the light of day. People need to write the publisher at WaterBrook Press (owned by Random House) and let them know they want to see book 3. His name is Dudley Delffs, I think.

Betsy: I hope the third book makes it to the shelf! They're so intriguing. It'd be a crime not to have the last one in the series. One thing your books make me consider is spiritual warfare. Obviously, the theme of the series is based on Dylan's experiences with the supernatural. I've realized over the years that the topic of spiritual warfare is often absent from church teachings and sermons. It almost brings a mentality that it is "taboo" or "off limits" to Christians and should be avoided. What is your opinion on that?

Melanie: I think spiritual warfare can be pretty wacky. Lots of nut balls gravitate toward that topic. I’m sure that’s why so many churches avoid it. I don’t blame them. You want to keep the nut balls corralled if at all possible. But, I do wish churches would stop moralizing and lobbying for political causes and instead start to talk to people about their inner battles. That’s what my books are about. These are Satan’s greatest victories, I think – the small ones. Self-doubt, a fundamental sense of worthlessness, the conviction that we’re alone in the world and unlovable. This is where the real battles are fought. We’re losing, by the way.

Betsy: Sad, but true. Very true. On a lighter note, what is your advice to all of the aspiring authors out there?

Melanie: Write, write, write. And then let your friends read it. And then fasten your seatbelt and listen to what they have to say. It’s the only way to learn.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Check out Melanie Wells exciting "Day of Evil" series today!

Also, you can visit Melanie at www.melaniewells.com and cast your vote for David! Should he and Dylan stay together? Vote now!!


Dineen A. Miller said...

Great interview, Betsy! Thanks for letting me know about it. Melanie's books sound great! The covers are nice a creepy too. LOL! I'll be adding her to my reading pile.

Cheryl said...

Melanie Wells is one of my favorite authors and a great interview. Good job Betsy! :-)

Georgiana Daniels said...

Ooo, I'll have to go get these books. Great interview!

Margo Carmichael said...

I loved the first one and I'm looking forward to the second. Thanks for posting the interesting interview.

Camy Tang said...

Thanks for the interview, Betsy and Melanie!