Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writing and Writers: Melanie Atkins

Writer’s Block airs every Tuesday, at 9 a.m. MST on KFUN/KLVF, streaming live at

The bodies drop in these plot-driven stories

My live interview with Melanie Atkins was a great conversation about her books, her muses and her ability to turn out new work regularly and on deadline. Melanie provided brief answers to my questions via e-mail and her responses are below.

Her stories are set in the deep south and filled with hot “…cop heroes and women who know what they want. No fainting violets here.”

As an inspiration Melanie stands apart. She didn't "...really get back into writing," until 2001, but when she did, she hit it full out and with commitment. She has published 13 books since 2004 and is working on number 14.

Interview Summary:

 WB: Let’s begin with you telling us how long you’ve been writing.
MA: All my life, beginning with stories about my cats when I was a kid. I wrote some in high school, then went to college and got married, and life got in the way. I started writing again after my divorce, got serious about seeking publication in 2001, and sold my first book in 2004.

WB: Was this what you always wanted to do and why?
MA: I never really knew what I wanted to do until I found writing again. Then I knew.

WB: Tell us about getting published
MA: I'm currently published with Desert Breeze Publishing and Whiskey Creek Press, but I do have plans to self publish an older title I pulled from another publisher. I'm going to see how it goes.

WB: What is the hardest part of book creation, the writing or the promoting and business side?
MA: Promotion is definitely the hardest. So many avenues exist now online, with so many social networking venues, blogs, websites... it's mind blowing.

WB: It seems you have a pen name for some of your books. What are the reasons authors use a pen name instead of always publishing under their given name?
MA: I use a pen name for all of my books except some mainstream Southern fiction. I still use my ex-husband's name (I kept it because of the kids) and I didn't want to use that on my books. So I chose a pen name.

WB: You stated in something I read that your cats are your muses. Talk a little about that.
MA: I talk to my cats sometimes as I bounce ideas around. They look at me, giving me the idea that they're listening, even though I know they're not. Helps me think. lol

WB: Give listeners a little background about your novels and what inspired them.
MA: I write suspense set in the deep south. Everyone has always told me to "write what you know," and the south is what I know best. I've also done a lot of law enforcement research and attended a lot of conferences to help me get it right when it comes to cop info, guns, and the like. I love mysteries and sitting on the edge of my seat. So... bodies drop quite frequently in my books. The darker the story, the better.

WB: You are a prolific writer. What is your writing schedule?
MA: I write all day a couple of days a week, and partial days the rest of the time. My mother is elderly, and I have to spend time with her and run her errands, buy her groceries, etc. Let's just say I write whenever I can.

WB: What is your preferred writing method – pen and paper? Computer? And why?
MA: Computer. I could never keep up with my ideas writing longhand.

WB: What writers inspire you?
MA: I love to read Lisa Gardner, Karen Rose, Linda Castillo, John Sanford, Tess Gerritsen, and Jonathan Hayes.

WB: What are you working on now?
MA: Right now I'm writing the fifth book in my Keller County Cops series for Desert Breeze. I'm on deadline, so I need to get it done.

WB: Tell listeners how they can get your books?
MA: All of my books are up at and many other online outlets. I also have my entire library of books on an Apple app for iPhones/iPads, and an Android app for those devices. Makes it easy for people to find all of my titles, learn where I might be signing one of my print books, and read excerpts.

To give you an idea of the books Melanie writes, here are a few of the titles: Chosen Target, Prime Suspect, Marked for Murder, Blood Rite, and Deliverance From Evil. For more about Melanie and her work, go to her website at


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