Profile and Background – Where do I begin? I am an American multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedurals, Paranormal / Fantasy, and Romance novels. I live in Utah and have resided here all my life.
Early Years – I was raised on a farm where I learned to work hard and play hard. Once the garden was free of weeds, the cows were fed, and the eggs were gathered — it was time to explore. I spent the daylight hours riding my Shetland pony, swimming in the canal (I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired on that one), racing around on our tote goat, and playing softball.
Once night fell, it was my time to read a good book or write about my amazing adventures. On the reading front, as a small child, I remember loving the Boxcar Children series. As I got older, I advanced to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Later on, mystery and suspense became my go-to with Agatha Christie and John Grisham. I guess it’s not all that surprising that I now write criminal suspense and police procedurals myself. On the writing front, I’d have to say I’ve always been a writer. Getting lost in a good story helps me relax. At any given moment I have half a dozen plots formulating in my mind. Only the most stubborn and persistent ideas actually make it onto the page these days.
My Career – Writing for fun took a backseat to homework and term papers when I moved to the southern end of the state to attend college. The warmer climate called to me and my adventurous side. I spent my free time hiking and exploring, swimming, and enjoying the area. After graduation, I headed back to Salt Lake. What I thought would be a part-time summer job, turned into a full-time career with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. After over 26 years employed with the department’s speciality units, I retired in 2016. Working with the SWAT Team, Search & Rescue, K9. and the Child Abduction Response Team was interesting and rewarding — it also kept me busy. I still had the desire to write, but I just never seemed to have the time. Instead, I found myself utilizing those skills in my work rather than writing for fun.
Why? – As my law enforcement career neared the end, my desire to write for enjoyment grew stronger. One particular story kept screaming to be written. One night, I finally sat down and began to write. Before I knew it Dusk, the first book in my Warrior series was complete. My momentum continued and a short time later After Dark, Book 2, was also finished. I was more relaxed than I’d been in years. By the time I retired, I had completed three of my novels and was working on two more — the 4th in my Warrior series and a stand-alone western romance.
Where? – After retiring, I slid quickly into a second career in writing. My basement craft room was converted to my writing cave. I have a comfortable executive chair, large desk and two monitors connected to my computer. The monitors allow me to see my research notes and my manuscript at the same time. The room is comfortable, quiet and provides the perfect environment to foster my creativity.
What? – I write in multiple genres. Criminal Suspense, Police Procedurals, Romance and Paranormal Romance. I use my training and experience to make my stories action-packed and realistic.
How? – Pantser or Plotter? I’m definitely a pantser. When I began writing my Warrior series, I decided it would be a seven-book series with characters that were interwoven throughout all the novels. I thought I would need to plot out the storyline in advance to keep the facts consistent. It didn’t work. I meticulously created an outline in Book 1 with notes on how the story in Book 3 would progress. Once I started the third book, my characters protested and went their own way. It didn’t take long to toss the outline and let the story progress naturally. Since then, I just let my characters speak to me.
My process is fairly simple. Phase 1 is the story. I just sit down and write. During this phase I don’t worry about details, formatting, or grammar. It’s all about the story. I just keep writing until the end. Phase 2 is dedicated to the details. This is where I focus on adding the sights, the sounds, smells and feelings. I also focus on flow during this phase. Are there plot holes? Does one scene jump to another in a disjointed or unnatural way? If so, I work to fix it. Phase 3 is all about editing. This is where I focus on sentence structure, typos, and the boring technical stuff. Once Phase 3 is complete, it’s time to send the story to my beta readers. Then, corrections made, I toss it over to my editor. The final step is one more round with proofreading. Once I get it back I make the final changes and then it’s time to publish.
Writers Block? – This is something I’ve never suffered. I think it’s because I am always working on multiple projects at the same time. At the moment, the first book in a new series just came back from my editor. I completed an article for a magazine I produce. I’m nearly finished with another episode of Paige Carter. And, I’m in various stages of writing three new novels and two short stories. I know this might sound like a lot, but it works for me. Maybe it goes back to my busy farm days, maybe my time working in law enforcement is to blame. Whatever the reason, I function better with a full plate than I do with an empty one.
Other Interests? – Wow, there are so many to choose from, I’m not sure where to begin. Obviously, I spend a lot of time working on my writing. My second passion is photography. When things get too stressful, it’s time to take a quick trip and enjoy nature and the amazing beauty around me. I’m lucky, Utah has majestic mountains, vast desert landscapes, lakes, historical buildings and five national parks. I also enjoy camping, four-wheeling and exploring the backroads on my Harley.
Amazon Author: https://geni.us/melaniepsmith