During my time as a self-published author, I have watched several authors go from the lowest rung to so high it is hard to keep up. My first guest on my newest blog is Anthony J. Melchiorri. I first met his work as a member of the Reading Deals Review Club when I read Enhancement. I loved how he interwove the medical elements into that story so much that I had to contact him, via his website. From there, we have had a symbiotic relationship. He writes awesome books and I devour every word. Not literally. From time to time we exchange thoughts on writing, books, and medicine. Today, we are going to discuss different aspects of being an author. You, dear visitor, get to be in on it. If you are a fellow author, please remain calm and save your questions and comments for the end. If you are a reader and don't want to read about the author stuff, feel free to scroll to the end for the links to where to find him, his books, not to mention, a cool slideshow I put together.
LH: Please tell our visitors a little about your background and how it led you to be a published author.
AJM: I tried to stick with a career just pursuing science. But I couldn’t do it. Back when I was studying biomedical engineering in college, I picked up a degree in English, too. I remember wandering around the University of Iowa campus dreaming about the writer’s workshop quite frequently. The cozy building and library, that houses the workshop and visiting writers, overlooks the Iowa River. In the winter, snow covers the sloping river bank and I would walk by that building thinking about how cool it would be to stay warm inside that library, writing with the river, ice, and snow as my backdrop. I met so many great writers at Iowa and took some workshops and classes that kicked my butt into gear. And amid all that, one piece of advice sticks out in my memory: Write every day if you want to be a writer. And so I did until I finished my first book. Then, rinse and repeat to get my next.
LH: I love your imagery. I've been known to stare out my window at the mountains for inspiration. Writing every day is a challenge, yet it seems that advice has done well for you. You know I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read of yours. Yet, I noticed there has been a huge difference in your popularity after The Tide and Eternal Frontier series went live. What do you think made the difference between your early works and what you are writing now?
AJM: I really wrote my first few books for me. I combined my love of sci-fi with biomedical science, scientific characters, and a near-future world in some kind of turmoil. However, I didn’t really write those books with an audience other than me in mind. They were quite literally a hard-sell. Once I dug a little more into where existing readers were (post-apocalypse and zombies, space exploration and pew-pew starships), I wrote my stories in packages that would appeal to those readers. And I think that worked. I try to combine my own writing passions with stories and settings that I know will appeal to and please readers out there.
LH: I’d say that proves that education doesn’t stop when you leave school. In my experience all types of authors do lots of research and self-education, what type of author do you consider yourself?
AJM: I’m primarily self-published verging on a hybrid. I’ve liked dealing with traditional publishers for audio, and I’m looking at bringing some new projects to the traditional side, if possible. Most of my work still falls squarely in the self-published realm, though.
LH: You’ve put in a lot of effort thus far into your writing career. I know that you work full time and write part-time. To me, you produce more books than others I know in your position. What would sway you to become a full-time author?
AJM: I’ve spent so long pursuing a career in science that I think it has become part of my identity. It’s hard for me to turn away from the lab bench and research that have been such an integral part of my life’s story so far. Not being able to jump right back into science admittedly scares me a bit. That, and I like having health insurance, which becomes frighteningly expensive to try to get on your own for a family.
LH: That makes total sense. If things were different and you were to become a full-time author, would you seek or accept a publishing contract from someone such as Thomas & Mercer?
AJM: I would certainly accept a publishing contract, so long as it had the right terms. I value the freedom I get self-publishing, so I wouldn’t want a contract to infringe on that. I also have some idea of how much my books are worth now, so the financial agreement would have to be fair, too. But with that in mind, I’m definitely interested in and pursuing some traditional agreements. Anything to get my books out to new readers is welcome by me.
LH: I think you have a firm grasp of your value as an author and your sense of independence. If everything offered fulfills your expectations and you were to take a publishing contract, would you still produce books on your own or be exclusive?
AJM: I would prefer to still be able to produce books on my own. It would take one heck of a great deal to push me to be exclusive.
LH: On to another topic. I know that you sometimes work with Nicholas Sansbury Smith. What is it like to be part of that writing duo?
AJM: Working in a duo is both easier and harder. Easier in that we come up with some fun ideas and push each other with character and plot ideas. When one of us gets stuck, the other usually has a great idea to help. The hard part is making sure that our parts of the stories line up and our characters don’t seem different when we combine our work. I think the more we work together, the better we accomplish this.
LH: From what I've seen you do a pretty great job of blending. Do you have any upcoming books that you can share about at this time?
AJM: Nick and I are working on a spin-off series from his Extinction Cycle world. I’m excited to work on it because Nick enlisted me early on in developing the science for the series. So writing in the actual world for me is a blast. I’ve got the last couple of books in The Tide series that will also be releasing over the next several months. Beyond that, I have a new military sci-fi series in the works that I’m hoping will be a lot of fun.
LH: Speaking of fun. If, in the next few years, mankind was able to go into space and travel long distances safely, would you consider going?
AJM: I would definitely be down. I love traveling, and space would be the ultimate destination. However, being realistic, I probably wouldn’t want to travel from Earth for more than a few months unless we were in one heck of an awesome spaceship with plenty to keep me entertained. And admittedly I would like to see my family every once in a while.
LH: What if you were able to bring your family along?
AJM: I think even if I could bring my family along, I'd prefer to have some ties to Earth. I think I'd miss all the outdoors and greenery!
LH: I think I would miss the outdoors as well. Thanks for being here today with me. Where is the best place for someone to find you and learn about your books?
AJM: Thanks for the great questions! Amazon is the best place to see everything I’ve got out there: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KHDOHBI
LH: Where can they follow you?
AJM: I’m most easily reached and followed via Facebook and my website.
If you are new to Anthony J. Melchiorri's work, you can pick where to start, although I would recommend starting with book one of his series. Because if you don't you'll be like what the heck is going on here. Lots of medical and sometimes military elements mixed in with great action and adventure to round out your science fiction not mention post-apocalyptic reading. Feel free to let the slideshow run to see his books from the earliest days to now.
I hope you enjoyed visiting with Dr. Melchiorri - yes doctor, he has a Ph.D. - as much as I did. He's a busy person but if you have any questions, I'll field what I know. As for those I don't I'll look into it for you...or you could just follow him on Facebook and ask him yourself.
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I'm Lynn Hallbrooks - an author, blogger, cheerleader, founder, proofreader, reader, and reviewer. I have read and reviewed books for Masquerade Crew, NetGalley, and Reading Deals, to name a few. I enjoy reading books by new-to-me authors as well as sharing my love of books with others.
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