Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Melodie Ramone, author of novels AFTER FOREVER ENDS, BURNING DOWN ROME, and short story GLIMMER, and welcome her to my blog.
Q: For how long have you been writing?
A: I started writing when I was a very little kid, probably about five or six years old. I got published for the first time when I was twelve and have been in the publishing industry on and off ever since.
Q: Have any life experiences inspired you to write your books?
A: Oh, goodness, yes! After Forever Ends was based largely upon my own experiences. Many of the characters in the book are real people. Some are dead, some are still living. Every single location in the book is real, too. I changed a couple of names, but if you did a simple google search, you’d find the places. Of course, a lot of it is fiction, but the core of what it’s about is based in reality.
As for Glimmer, that was only a reflection of my experience. I have lost more than one person to cancer, but that story literally came to me as I was trying to go to sleep and instead of sleeping that night, I stayed up and wrote the whole thing in like five hours. I didn’t realize what I had until I woke up the next day.
Burning Down Rome, on the other hand, was a mixture of my own experience and the experiences of others. I worked for six years in Public Relations involving the music industry. Specifically Punk Rock and Metal bands so I saw a lot go down as far as the highs and lows of the lifestyle. I made some very dear friends who didn’t make it out alive and still have some who lived to tell their tales. Burning Down Rome was my tribute to them – I wanted to show “rock stars” for what they are, because behind all that noise and hype, they’re just normal people trying to survive in an industry of insanity and intense pressure. They laugh, cry and bleed like everybody else. Sometimes they break, too, but in the end it’s the courage they have against the odds and the passion in their hearts that makes them legends. They deserve more than the out-dated, stereotypical ideology that’s perpetuated about them in books and movies.
Q: Each writer works in different ways with reference to writing. Do you have a writing program/schedule that works for you?
A: I am a bit of a schizophrenic writer, honestly. My writing always begins with a character and then a voice. Then I have to wait for that character to start talking to me and tell me their story, then the whole thing just takes off and I type relentlessly for about three or so months until it’s all down. I never know what’s going to work for me or when I’ll be taken over by “the voices” so my schedule is pretty much The-Little-Train-That-Could style. I write like a bulldozer.
Q: Do you have any favorite book genres which you love to read?
A: I am and have always been in love with straight up Literary Fiction. I don’t care if it’s YA or Paranormal or anything else. If it’s a story that’s long and deep and messy with real characters who have souls, I’ll read it cover to cover.
Q: Are there any favorite books and authors who have been influential upon you and your writing?
A: There have been a lot of authors who have impressed upon me. I have to say that the book that changed my life was Oliver Twist. I was about nine when I read it for the first time and it blew me away. I read it again years later and it was even more powerful. It changed my life and made me think, “Yeah. I want to write something like that someday – something that makes people stop and see the world a little differently than they did before they read it.”
Q: From my reading experience of GLIMMER, I found it to be a striking, well-written story with vivid characters and memorable moments. As I like to find similarities between books and movies, it reminded me of those US films from the late 1960s/early 1970s which had an air of etherealness, but were also grounded in more realistic territory. What inspired you to write this story, and explore the touching relationship between the central characters?
A: First, thank you for paying it such a high compliment! But to answer your question, I am not sure where it came from. I was literally laying in my bed and couldn’t sleep and the first line rolled through my head: “It seems like all my life I watched her.” I was like, “Uh-oh!” because I knew the “voices” had started and there would be no sleep. Then it unfolded and took on a life of its own. Ryan, the narrator, just wouldn’t stop talking and even though I didn’t know where he was going with it, I could physically feel his pain.
I’ve had to say goodbye to so many people in my life. People who were beautiful and special and important to me. People that made the world a better place just because they were in it. I well know the unfairness and pain of losing somebody the way Ryan lost Rhiannon in the story, as well as the longing to know that they are somehow still with me, or even just to know that they are okay. I know what it’s like to be constantly searching for something that’s lost. We all have to come to some kind of closure. I think that’s what Glimmer is about, really. Finding peace in the reality that no matter what happens to us, true love really does last forever… and it doesn’t matter if it’s romantic love or love between a parent or a child or even friends. If you love somebody that much, the bond always remains. It’s as sweet as it is bitter, really, and there’s an odd comfort in embracing that.
Q: Amongst your stories, is there one which is closest to your heart, and why?
A: That is so hard to answer, but I’d honestly have to say at this point it’s Burning Down Rome. Mostly because I resonate with the spirit the characters in the book have, their passion for what they do and all the exhausting, hard work they put into every moment of every day of their lives. They are each so weak in their own ways, but so incredibly brave.
Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows, either from the past, or currently on the air?
A: I almost never watch television. I don’t even have cable TV. But the show from my past that had the strongest effect on me was Star Trek: Next Generation. I always wished Captain Picard was my dad.
Q: Are there any hobbies or pastimes you like to participate in when you have spare time?
A: I knit. I’m not a fantastic knitter, like I don’t make sweaters and stuff, but I love to knit simple things. I love to read. I’ll read just about anything if my eyes will let me. And I listen to tons of music.
Q: You are a versatile writer in terms of genres, tackling stories in the romance, and musical genres. Would you like to write stories in any other genres?
A: I’d love to write something paranormal. I grew up in a haunted house, so I could draw on that. It would be interesting to visit that topic and fictionalize what that was like.
Q: Are you left-handed, or right-handed? Being a left-hander, it is interesting to see how many writers are either one or the other, or ambidextrous.
A: I am predominately right handed, but I can write with my left easily. My daughter, who is an artist, writes and does most things with her left hand, but draws with her right.
Q: Do you have any other writing projects, or new/upcoming releases, that you would like to mention to readers?
A: I am working on a new book, yes. It’s in the early stages and I’m not sure where the narrator is going to take me, but right now it’s looking like it’s the story of a thirty-something woman who’s “gone insane.” Meaning she’s had enough and she’s not taking anymore. Gloria Gaynor songs spring to mind as I consider her. I think this one is going to be fun to write and even more fun to read.
I am certain you will join me in thanking Melodie today for her time, and that we look forward to reading more of her works in the future. If you wish to contact Melodie, she is available on:
– Melodie’s books can be accessed by clicking on the book covers below: