Melody Anne Shares Writing Conference Adventures + Why it’s Important for Writers to Get Out of the House

Melody Anne is The New York Times bestselling romance author of the Billionaire Bachelors, Surrender, Unexpected Hero’s series. Though she started out in the corporate field of business she followed her passion for books to become the writer she is today.  To date, she has over seven million book sales and has earned multiple placement on varying best seller lists and has been an Amazon top 100 bestselling author for three years in a row.

A country girl at heart, she likes the sense of community of the small town that she lives in. She loves spending time with her family and friends when she’s not writing and enjoys connecting with her readers.

RM/IR: You wrote for years before being published in 2011, but initially studied Business in school. What was it that pushed you to become an author of instead working in the corporate field?

MA: I never thought writing was a career I could accomplish. It was something that seemed so out of reach. It took me a long time to write that first book, but when I finished it, I was so excited, and I decided to give it a try. I submitted to Harlequin and waited and waited. Then I decided to look at other places, and that’s when I discovered self-publishing. With nothing to lose, I gave it a shot, and then was stunned when I started drawing a fan base. I’m so glad I faced those fears and now get to do what I love so very much.

RM/IR: You’re a country girl at heart and love the small town you live in. What do you think are the best perks of living in a smaller community versus a big city?

MA: I am a total country girl! I think the advantages to a small community is that the entire town is there for each other. If your pet gets out, the neighbors will bring them home. If your child is doing something they aren’t supposed to, your neighbors will let you know. It’s great. You always have a support system and a friend around every corner.

RM/IR: What are three of the most important lessons you have learned from being a writer over the years?

MA: This is a tough question. I have learned discipline for sure. I make my own schedule, so if I don’t make myself sit down and work, it won’t get done. There isn’t a boss telling me what to do. I am the boss. I’ve also learned that this isn’t something we do alone. We have an incredible network of people all around us and it’s important to recognize that and to lean on one another. I’ve also learned that to write well, we have to leave the house. We can only sit in an office for so long before we need to get out into the real world and experience life to find new stories for us to tell.

RM/IR: Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years? 

MA: I want to be a multiple genre author. I am beginning a thriller soon. I think the day I stop trying to stretch my brain, will be the day I should quit writing. I want to always push myself and see where it will take me.

RM/IR: What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you as writer? Any fun writing conference/ convention/book signing stories?

MA: I have had many fun experiences while at conferences. My favorite memory is probably when we were in New Orleans. J.S. Scott took a bunch of us out to a fantastic dinner and we might have enjoyed the refreshments a little. I talked a group of people including Ruth Cardello and several members of J.S. Scott’s street team into walking back to the hotel with me. There was a Coyote Ugly bar and we went inside and were soon enjoying more refreshments. Then I talked everyone into getting up on the bar for a dance. Instead of jumping up there with them, I was the one snapping pics. We are still talking about that night. It was too much fun.

RM/IR: What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

MA: My absolute favorite thing is when I hear from fans that something in the story either made them cry or laugh. I love to feel emotion when I read a book, so for others to feel it from mine makes what I do that much better. I have heard wonderful stories of the books helping them while in the hospital with a loved one, or while home sick. I also love to hear that their husbands are very appreciative of them reading.

RM/IR: Why do you think the romance genre is dismissed compared to other genres? How can we change this negative image?

MA: I think that used to be the case. I don’t think it is so much anymore. It might be because we always know how the books will end. They meet, they go through trials, they may or may not break up, and then they live happily ever after. I think some authors might feel this doesn’t challenge us as authors. But I think it makes it more of a challenge, because then we have to come up with a story that hasn’t been done a thousand times already, and that stands out among the masses. It’s hard to find something new in romance and that is something I’m always searching for.

RM/IR: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

MA: I love to spend time with family and friends. And now I am on a health and fitness kick. I work out with weights three times a week, do cardio three times a week, and try to recover on the rest day. I feel that I am constantly sore, but I love the changes. I’m going to get a punching bag soon and start boxing. I hate that it took me so long to make fitness a priority but with as sedentary a job as I have, I need to do something that makes me move.

RM/IR: Do you think that the cover, especially for the romance genre, plays an important part in the buying process?

MA: One hundred percent the cover determines whether or not a person will go right on by without even reading the description or not. I have had my covers changed many times in the past. I will continue to challenge myself and do new things to make my books stand out. It’s important for us to keep on pushing.

RM/IR: When giving advice to a new writer, what would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

MA: I love the control I have over my self-published titles and we earn a higher percentage. I also love my traditionally published books too. I work with great people who want to see my succeed. I think it’s better now to be as diversified as possible. So you can have the best of all worlds.

RM/IR: Compared to your first book The Billionaire Wins the Game how have you evolved as a writer when looking at your newer releases? What advice would you giving your past self when you started publishing books?

MA: I have lost my nervousness. I went back in to The Billionaire Wins the Game and redid it after I had a couple years experience. I am much more confident than when I first began this journey. I know my characters more and I love developing them and turning them into their own unique people. It’s one of the ways I’ve grown. I think in the beginning I didn’t believe in myself, and now I do. I know I can always improve and I push myself to do just that.

Thank you so much for speaking with me. It was a pleasure to have some questions I haven’t been asked before and to have to think about the answers. I hope you have a wonderful day.

  • And I had the pleasure of hanging out with you and enjoying some real NY pizza at RWA in 2015. Thank you for the advice then and now!