Monday, 3 October 2011

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Melanie Atkins

STEPH: I don't know much about Voodoo Bones. What's it about?

MELANIE: Noel Galliano has always wanted her own business, and despite critics who believe she won’t succeed, opens a tiny French Quarter voodoo shop. What she doesn’t count on is finding a dismembered corpse upstairs. Detective Mathieu Bergeron is considered a screw up around the district station, until he puts away the Bayou Ripper. Then another body is found mutilated, and both his arrest and competence are thrown into question. Matt and Noel must work together to solve this terrifying crime in the Big Easy...and along the way, they fall in love.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

MELANIE: Voodoo Bones is a novella, and I wrote it in about a month.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for it?

MELANIE: Not really. It's a romantic suspense set in New Orleans, like many of my books, so I'm familiar with the area, and I already do plenty of law enforcement research.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?

MELANIE: I read a news article about a dismembered corpse found in an apartment above a voodoo shop in New Orleans (a true story), and the plot formed from there.

STEPH: How did you go about picking the hero/heroine's names?

MELANIE: I went with Cajun names because my h/h are from New Orleans.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

MELANIE: I'm a pantser. I've tried plotting, but it doesn't really work for me. I come up with a basic premise, develop the main characters, and just dive in and let the story unfold.

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

MELANIE: I write in a corner of my bedroom in a recliner, surrounded by research books. It's a cozy little space.

STEPH: How long have you been writing? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

MELANIE: I've been writing for about 13 years. My advice is to never, ever quit. Write everyday.

STEPH: What's the last book you downloaded for your Nook? What feature do you like the most about your Nook?

MELANIE: The last book I downloaded is Heat Rises by Richard Castle (the fictional author). lol As anyone knows who reads the blog I co-write with Lee Lofland on his blog The Graveyard Shift, I'm a Castle addict.

STEPH: Fun question: Fess up: Who is your favorite football team?

MELANIE: I'm a devoted New Orleans Saints fan. Who dat? Geaux Saints!

STEPH: Where can we find you on the Web?


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  1. Good timing with this book since we are in the month of October. I found it interesting you based this on a real incident.

  2. Hi, Melanie - Excellent interview. I'm a pantser, too, and your advice to 'write everyday' is spot on.

  3. Let's face it...that is one eerie cover!

    Love the interview, Melanie

  4. Love that you use 'real' Louisiana names. We do have some people with regular last names, but you've given some of the true flavor of New Orleans.

    I was there last week and some of those Voo Doo shops look creepy from the outside.

    We have our own Voo Doo priestess in our area. Real fingernails at least two feet long, gross beyond belief!

  5. Melanie, always interested in where you get your ideas and inspiration. You people form the South live with the idea of voodoo every day of your existence, do you not? (I thought my husband was going to freak out when I told him I had a voodoo doll -- the one sent to us by Sylvia... Still haven't touched that baby I'm intrigued by New Orleans and its spirituality. What a backdrop for your books and your spectacular mystery. So I'm curious. Are you superstitious or do these occult topics get to you sometimes?

  6. Love the premise, Melanie. When we were in New Orleans for an RWA conference, we went on a voodoo shop tour. Very spooky! There are times I could use a voodoo doll :)

  7. Thanks, y'all!

    Pepper, I love New Orleans... the names, the accent, the attitude. It's so different from here, and I'm only 3 hours away!

    Donnell, it kind of freaks me out. We don't have much Voodoo here in Mississippi -- at least, I don't think so. I never hear about it. We're in the Bible belt. New Orleans is in a world of its own.

  8. Hi Melanie,

    I'd love to go to New Orleans and taste the real flavor of the region. I love the premise of this book - it right up my alley!

    Good luck with the new release.


  9. Hi, Melanie! Looking forward to getting Voodoo Bones. I love mystery/suspense thrillers like yours. I liked Silence of the Lambs, too. My favorite book, tho' not in that category: All the Kings Men, by Robert Penn Warren, written in the 1940’s about the 1930’s real-life politics in, probably, Louisiana. You’ve probably already read it. My 23 yr old nephew (not on our side, but on Doug's side) gave it to me!

  10. Interesting Premise.

    Congrats on your book.

    Tina P.

  11. Hey, Melanie, Enjoyed "getting to know you, getting to know all about you..." So, did you like the book by Richard Castle? I love the blogs you and Lee do after the show. Keep up the great work - very entertaining. Oh, the book sounds creepily entertaining as well.


  12. I love how you came up with the idea for this story, which is already on my kindle ready for me to read.

    I know how much you love Castle, so it doesn't surprise me that "his" book is waiting for when you catch your breath.

    Great interview, ladies.

  13. Cool interview. I love all things New Orleans. I'm heading that way soon to take some photos for my new book trailer. I bought this yesterday and can't wait to dive in.

  14. Thanks, everyone! I love New Orleans, too. I need to head back down there soon.

    Jillian, where are you?

  15. And she looks so sweet! Hey,Melanie! I love to meet other writers who aren't plotters who practically write the book while planning. After all that planning, where is the mystery to uncover while you write?