I'm so excited to introduce our next author. E.J. Mellow is the award-winning author of the Dreamland series and the highly anticipated Animal Under the Fur (which I absolutely loved!). Today, she shares her upcoming projects, inspirations, and influences with us. Let's get on with the interview.
Personality Type (Myers-Briggs):
No idea…but I’m pretty sure there’s an N and J in there. Haha
Oof. Hardest question ever. Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Island of the Blue Dolphins, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Pride and Prejudice, I’ll Give You The Sun and any book by Lisa Kleypas
Emma Raveling, J.K. Rowling, Julie Kagawa, Colleen Hoover, Jane Austen, Margaret Weis, Sarah J Mass, Neil Gaiman, V.E. Schwab and I’m sure a thousand others I’m forgetting at the moment.
In the winter, deep purple. The rest of the year, turquoise.
Cereal with a scoop of peanut butter
City of Your Dreams:
New York City or London
Favorite TV Show/ Movie:
Changes way too often to really say
Favorite YouTuber/ Channel:
HBO and Netflix
Morning person or night owl:
When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
What inspired me to get started in writing, and keeps inspiring me today, were really other stories and books. When I was little—on top of obsessively reading comics—I dreamed of becoming a Disney animator. Drawing characters and imagining their stories was a large part of my childhood. While the animator thing obviously didn’t transpire, the passion to create worlds and people to fill it stayed with me.
In high school is when I actually thought about trying to write a full story, after I took this amazing English fairy-tales class.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love reading. It’s almost impossible for me to read other books while I’m writing so as soon as I hand off my manuscript to my editor or hit publish I binge as many books as I can before starting to work again. I also love movies and hanging with my friends and family.
I love your funny dialogue and sarcastic and humorous writing style. What helps you write good dialogue?
Thank you so much! I think what’s helped me write dialogue is two things. One: reading great dialogue other authors have written. Marissa Meyer and Lisa Kleypas are two examples who I think kill it at the dialogue game and reading their work has taught me a lot in how to create a character’s personality purely through conversation. Two: Reading the dialogue you write out loud. This was something an editor friend taught me a long time ago and has proved invaluable. If it sounds unnatural and gets you in a tongue twist to read out loud, it needs to be re-written. Good dialogue, in my eyes, has to naturally sound like someone would actually say it to work.
You have a degree in Fine Art and split time between design and writing. How does that work? What kind of visual design work do you do?
I grew up in a creative household with both my parents being artists, so design is something that has always come very naturally to me. I went to school for graphic and advertising design and luckily a component of that is ideating stories and writing scripts for commercials. This kept my writing side active and is what has ultimately bridged my two loves—storytelling and design.
I freelance in advertising as an art director, which allows me to take time off to write my books. It’s a lifestyle I’ve worked very hard to achieve and am very thankful I get to experiencing it in New York City.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? What do you do to motivate yourself when going through a writer’s block?
Almost everything can act as an inspiration for me—music, conversations, seeing something on the street. Living in NYC helps with this and I’m constantly watching and observing the things around me, waiting for inspiration to strike. So yes, life itself, and the people, can be a really rich place to grab from.
As for writer’s block, mine isn’t so much that I don’t know what to write (since I outline my stories), but more that it will take me hours to get into the mood. When this happens, I often reread a lot of what I’ve already written to try and jump-start my gears again. I think the best advice I have for this is to push through until the words start flowing again, no matter how painful. Or talk to someone you trust about what is bothering you with your story. Often times just saying the words out loud can click things into place.
What do you think is the most important quality for a writer to have?
Discipline. Finishing a book is a huge practice in self-discipline. Even with agents and editors, only you will truly be giving yourself deadlines and forcing yourself to sit and write instead of doing a hundred other distracting things. So yes, I’d say discipline to sit down and work is a very important quality to have as a writer.
You are active on various social media platforms. Do you think it helps a writer to connect with his/her readers or does it take time away from the actual writing?
This is a great question. The landscape for author and reader relationships has changed drastically since the start of social media and while I can’t touch on what it was like before such channels were open, I can say that I appreciate being able to have an open dialogue with those that enjoy my books. I’ve been able to meet all sorts of people from all over the world because of it. Some of my current closest friends are from connections I started on Bookstagram. It’s truly lovely.
It does, however, create another platform to maintain, which nods to the second part of your question with it taking time away from writing. But this again goes back to discipline and how to properly manage the expectations of readers verse where to draw the line in regards to yourself, your productivity and mental health.
Personally, when it comes to sitting down to write, I often have to hide my phone in another room and turn off the internet to keep the temptation at bay to check what’s happening online.
What is the best compliment that you’ve received for your work?
A reader once said The Dreamland Series was on her favorite’s list next to Harry Potter and I pretty much died.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Do you have any projects in the pipeline? When can we expect to hear more from you?
Thank you so much for having me! It was such a pleasure chatting with you!
I do have a project in the pipeline, a 3 book standalone series to be exact, but that’s as much as I can say for the moment. Hoping to share more details soon!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. Can't wait for your future releases!
In the meanwhile, you can find E.J. on her website and on social media.
Check out her books here:
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/author/E-J-Mellow