Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Aquaria Chronicles Newsletter

The Aquaria Chronicles Newsletter
Photographs and Text Copyright Mel Dawn 2017.
By now the Aquaria Chronicles has been out for nearly six months. Thank you to everyone who has made this journey possible. I don’t want to go on and on about my book, so please enjoy these photographs from the Vancouver Aquarium, an interview with me, a fun maze, and more.   

Questions and Answers with Mel Dawn 

1. Question: What would you say is your biggest failure in life?

Answer: My biggest failures have actually led me to creative careers. So, you can tell me all you want that “You can’t make money doing that”, and my life’s experiences will prove you wrong. Ironically, since my big failures  I have made a living being a graphic designer, online content writer, and craftswoman. My entire life my brother has asked me when I will get a “real” job. 

2. Can you tell us about your current projects?

Answer: I am currently working with about five different story ideas, from middle grade to adult, in fantasy and science fiction. Most likely I’ll post on my author’s page and ask people to vote for their favorite concept, because I really can’t decide. 

3. Are you friends with other writers?

Answer: Yes, I am, and there are certain ones who have encouraged me to get back into writing again, around 2012, after a very long hiatus. I have local writer friends, and online writing friends. Some of them are listed in the dedication part of my book. I also enjoy attending writers’ festivals such as Creative Ink Festival, and writers’ conventions whenever I can. 

4. People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Answer: It most definitely is not, and ironically, people even think those thoughts when you’re also a non-fiction writer, like I am. Some people seem to think that I only work two hours a day and sit in front of the TV the rest of the time. In fact, there are many days when I’m stuck in front of the computer screen for 16 hours, half for paid work, and then creative writing time to work on my own projects. It’s also not glamorous wearing dirty clothes because you haven’t had time to wash, or eating pizza because there is no time to cook. 

5. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

Answer: I do know many authors who are in their 60s and older, because they have retired from their jobs and can do what they want, but I wouldn’t consider them wealthy. They cover their expenses, and have some extra cash to work on their projects. As for us younger folk, most of us have a secondary job to finance our creative writing.

6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Answer: After doing the final edit on my latest book I have a concern that each character doesn’t completely have their own speaking voice. While they may be similar, after all, they all love sea creatures in my storyline, I think that I need to spend more time carefully crafting their unique voices. But it’s good to always work toward a new goal with each successive book. 

7. Question: Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?

Answer: I believe this was “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss when I was five. I still remember when I was a little girl how much I hated both of those things, and today I still do, as I am a vegetarian now. 

8. Question: Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end, or even a year?

Answer: Aqua Marine took me four years from writing, to editing, proofreading, formatting, and publishing. My first novel only took me weeks to get published, and thankfully it’s no longer available online. My next two books are in the same Aquaria Chronicles series, so they should be released before winter begins. 

9. Question: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Answer: When I was about eight or nine years old I wrote a “book” about a lost black cat. It wasn’t even for homework, I simply wrote it on my own. I showed it to a friend of my parents who read it, and said he had really enjoyed it. Sadly, I no longer have a copy. I was always that kid in school who wrote three stories for every one assigned. 

10. Question: When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

Answer: No, the goal was always to go to school to earn a degree, and then find work. I earned a gemologist degree before I realized I’d only be making minimum wage in that career. I have quite a list of degrees and diplomas to my name now, but it was a good thirty years before I earned two writing certificates. 

11. Question: Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

Answer: Yes, it does. It’s hard to stare at a glowing screen for eight hours, and then do it all over again that same night. 

12. Question: Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors? 
Answer: I really enjoy travelling, and hope to do more in the future. I’ve been to Egypt, England, USA, and Canada. Right now a writer’s life means being stuck in front of the computer. The only compromise is getting out for small daily walks.

13. Question: Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?

Answer: Yes, definitely. Some of my favorite musicians and celebrities are those that reply back to me directly, so I want to do the same for my fans. 

14. Question: Have you ever taken any help from other writers?

Answer: Yes, I often ask for advice. There are some writers that are extremely giving and generous with their time. Hint: I buy their books!

15. Question: Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?

Answer: I have, but I was going to tie it in with a post-apocalyptic story, so it wouldn’t be entirely true. 

16. Question: Do you see the writing genes in any of your family members?

Answer: No, I don’t. I have no idea where I got my writing genes from. I can’t even think of any distant cousins who enjoy writing. 

17. Question: Has it ever happened to you that someone published your story in their own name?

Answer: Yes, but we had a contract. I frequently do ghostwriting for other writers or non-writers. It can actually be a lucrative form of income. 

18. Question: Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Answer: Yes, once a story or book has been published I’ll save only the most recent one or two versions.   

19. Question: Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or can you just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
Answer: I can sit down and write anywhere, but editing and proofreading require quiet time at home. 

20. Question: Where Can I Buy The Aquaria Chronicles?

Answer: You can find my book on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and Amazon. Here is a handy reference link if you need it: The Aquaria Chronicles

Aquarium Maze Time! 
After you have swam out of the maze, go back and colour in your pathway. 
You'll discover a surprise!