It’s author Melanie Ifield on the blog today. She writes books for both adults (The Age of Corruption) and children (Chronicles of Novarmere, The Chicken Liberation Army) and has many books under her belt. Despite having long term illness she writes, and is easily the most positive person I have ever had the opportunity to meet online. Be sure to visit her blog https://melanieifield.wordpress.com/
1)Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in country Australia, where I have now returned after years away attending University and then working in both Sydney and Canberra. I studied journalism at Uni but ended up in the public service; a good occupation that gave me the chance to explore writing fiction in slow times. I started writing when I was very young, when my hand writing was so large each sentence took up a page! While I didn’t write so much for many years between then and now, being an author is really al I’ve wanted since I first picked up a book.
2) Tell us about your books.
I write both general fiction and fantasy for a mixture of age groups!
I wrote The Chicken Liberation Army (CLA), a general adventure novel for ages 7-10, after a friend commented that a fox had ‘liberated’ his chickens the night before, putting it like that so as not to upset his son. I quite liked the idea of liberating chickens, but by children with a desire to do what was best, not by foxes, of course! So I formed the CLA, a group of adventuresome children between the ages of 8 and 11 who know that something is going wrong at a new hen farm, so they set out to find the answers for themselves. It was incredibly fun to write, just allowing the children to have an action packed adventure, knowing they’d come home safe.
I also have a general fiction for adults called The Age of Corruption (AOC). This was a longer and harder project, but still enormous fun. It is all about a young woman who inherited a lot of money and turned to parties and alcohol to pass the time. However, she meets someone new, a dangerous someone who has a dark past and an even darker nature, who teaches her some valuable lessons in self-sufficiency and life. They are drawn into a web of hard men, international hit-men and drugs, but it is always told from the bumbling heroine’s perspective – giving the action and adventure a humorous edge. So while yes, it is about crime, it is also quite simply, just a romantic adventure.
Those two are my general fiction and I most certainly want to get back into that genre and both age groups. However, a lot of my time has been taken up with the release of my complete series one of the Chronicles of Novarmere.
The Chronicles of Novarmere is a fantasy series for the ages 12 and up. It has been read by those in their 20s 30s and older, and it appears to translate into the older groups as well as the younger. It is about a boy, an ordinary boy, who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances and has to find the hero within to save the day. It takes him from his home in our world and deposits him in the magical land of Novarmere, where his best friend is the little dragon Nilofar, who rides upon his shoulders, and the ranger Lan, who teaches him how to survive. It is great fun, with strange magical creatures, dragons, wizards and a war – everything I have come to love in fantasy!
3) You write fiction both for adults and children. How different is it to write books for children as compared to adults? Are there any additional difficulties?
I found that content is really the only thing that was mainly different for me. Of course, the children’s books had to have far more cliff hangers at chapter endings to get the younger audience to keep reading and stay off their computer games…! But in general, I write with a sense of fun always buried in my work, wondering what I’d do in any given situation and how much adventure could I handle? The content and themes, like the darker themes behind AOC, are what changes. It has to be age appropriate in danger levels.
The major difficulty is keeping a tight pace in the children’s books that will keep them interested enough to turn the page, want to read the next book, and stay away from the next box-set of DVDs! There are so many things that are clamouring for our time and attention, especially children who are learning concentration skills, it was harder to drive a plot that grabs them and doesn’t let go.
4) How’s a typical day like in the life of Melanie Ifield??
As some of you may be aware through reading my blog, I am not just a writer, but I am also someone experiencing a long term illness. So there is really no typical day for me. Each day is set up when I get up and my body tells me what it feels able to do. With an automatic nervous system disorder, my eyes are greatly affected, so the morning may be a little bit of social media, but screen time is hard and painful, so I limit it severely. I hand write most things these days, when able, typing on the screen as little as possible. A good day may see me able to spend an hour at the screen, a bad day sees me laid up on the lounge chair unable to look at anything.
5) How long do you take to complete a book? Do you edit as you write or after you have finished a draft?
When I first sat down to write the Chronicles of Novarmere, I wrote feverishly. I completed all four books and the CLA in an 18 month time frame. That’s not to say they were ready for publication, but the ideas were there and the characters were set. I’d write anywhere up to 6000 words a day, re-reading the last chapter and fiddling with it every day I sat down at the laptop. I like to edit ideas as I go, but my editor, who happens to be my sister, would say I don’t edit for spelling or grammar at all! Which is not quite true, she should read the first draft… I chop and change sentences as I go to try to make the action sleek, then go back over it all once I’m done to make sure there are no major inconsistencies, like a change of eye colour!
6) How is the publishing process like?
I found the self-publishing process traumatic as first! But now it’s not so bad. I think I must have made every mistake in the book (pun intended!) and still do, but I am learning as I go and find there are loads of groups that have amazing members ready to help out.
7) How do you promote yourself as a writer?
Mainly through social media. But due to the limitations of chronic illness, I’m afraid I don’t promote myself enough! It is a fine balance between rest, writing, research and promotion – one I am yet to master!
8) You have some interesting posts on your blog. For how long have you been blogging?
Thank you! I haven’t been blogging long at all. Only this year. I try to mix things up. It isn’t just about writing and my books, but more how writing integrates into my life and how my life affects my writing; especially how illness prevents the feverish writing I use to do, as I am more likely to do 7000 in two months, then not be able to write for the next two months.
9) Which author and books have most influenced you?
Oh that is almost impossible to answer! I read so much and feel that nearly every epic fantasy author I’ve read plays a part in how I write, as I think everything we read percolates through our subconscious, especially if we loved it. Enid Blyton and Emily Rodda have influenced my children’s books, along with JK Rowling of course! I’d have to say Janet Evanovich had a big impact for my adult book.
10) So what’s going to be your next release?
I am working on a compilation of short stories set in the Novarmere world that will bring to light the background of some of the things that happened in the Dark Wizard Series. There are so many books I have in my files, sometimes I do not even know where to start! However, I cannot pin a date to that, as everything takes a lot more time in my world these days.
11) Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. I have enjoyed not only answering these questions, but reading your interviews of others. I can only add to other authors out there that there is so much joy to be had from seeing your books come alive, don’t ever give up!
Happy reading! Melanie
A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India writing mostly in the fantasy genre. His historical low fantasy short “A Song of Blood” has released and is being acclaimed by reviewers.
To download his fantasy novella “The Drabird” for free CLICK HERE!