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Interview with Melina Durga


Melina Durga
Angel of Mercy

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. I am an author, freelance writer, blogger, and history enthusiast. I have been writing since childhood and have a degree in English. I write both fiction and nonfiction. I’m married with a daughter. When I’m not writing, you can generally find me doing yoga or keeping up with current events.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Angel of Mercy, my historical fiction novel set during World War I, will be available for purchase on June 28.  Heinous: Forgotten Murders From the 1910s, my nonfiction true crime book, will be available July 9. Both are available exclusively on Amazon.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. I don’t really get them from anywhere. They simply come to me. I have never once come up with an idea while brainstorming. The ideas that stick around in my head and refuse to leave are the ones that I pursue.
 
Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Write as much as possible to practice your craft. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Connect with others who share your interests.

Q.5 Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. I try to be more original. I write about what I know instead of trying to fit a mold.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. That’s a tough one because the writing industry has changed a great deal since my youth. There was no such thing as social media, eBooks or self-publishing and most people didn’t have home computers. So I suppose I would tell myself, “It gets better.”

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A.  I don’t really have any suggestions. This would vary depending on an author’s genre and what she needs help with.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Writing emotions that realistic. Also, not writing stereotypes.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. I have a baby names book, but because I write historical fiction I tend to select names based on what were common names during the decades of my characters’ births.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. No, I don’t read reviews, but I do understand their importance in selling books.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. Yes, my husband is very supportive and wants to see me fulfill my career dreams. My parents have always encouraged me to do what I want instead of taking a job simply to pay the bills. I also am blessed to have friends who encourage me on rough days.

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. Fans, of course, are essential to any writer. After all, we authors want nothing more than to share our work with the world. Without fans, the plot of a novel is simply an abstract concept.

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. If you exclude the ones I wrote in my youth, seven. My favorite so far is Angel of Mercy because it took me several years to complete. But I’m also a fan of the next two books in the series. They aren’t yet available for sale but they are written.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I write my fiction rough drafts by hand then type them, editing along the way so that the typed version becomes the second draft. I write fiction at night, and nonfiction during the day.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. My greatest accomplishment has yet to come. 

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. Vanity presses.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. My husband, John. He’s a professional editor with more than 30 years of experience.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I would like to meet Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He was a very fascinating person whom I admire. He spoke nearly a dozen languages, was a professor of rhetoric, a politician, and a military general who was brilliant at strategy. 

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. The novel examines the double standards that were in place during America’s Gilded Age, a favorite time period of mine.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. It’s been very much a learning experience. I’m still learning, but each day I’m getting closer and closer to my ultimate goal.

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